Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Climate change a ‘catastrophic’ threat to global health, say "experts"

More stupid miserable Leftist propaganda. I was born and bred in a place where a normal summer was what Brits and many others from Northern climes would call a "heat wave". And we enjoyed it! It gave us a good excuse to drink lots of cold beer -- and one of life's greatest pleasures is that first mouthful of cold beer on a hot day!

And the sort of sickly-looking people who abound in the streets of London were nowhere to be seen. Everybody seemed to be in good health, though the suntans may have helped with that impression. So if global warming made cooler climes become like my home town of Cairns they would be much better off.

Cairns is in fact a significant tourist destination. Japanese and Scandinavians come there to escape their winters. The planes flying in to Cairns International Airport never seem to stop

And speaking of food crops, you haven't lived until you have tasted tropical fruit grown right beside you in the tropics. Ever had Granadilla with icecream as a dessert? It is just about completely untransportable but if you take a short trip South of Cairns to Innisfail or Babinda you can get it straight off the vine. And it is well worth that effort

Life just leaps out at you in the wet tropics. It is cold that is anti-life -- But that seems to be what Greenies want

Climate change will be “catastrophic” to global health and could foster global instability and insecurity, a group of prominent scientists, environmental health experts and government officials warned Monday.

They urged governments around the world to tackle climate change, and asked that the EU immediately adopt a 30 percent CO2 greenhouse reduction target by 2020.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne asked governments around the world to focus on preventative climate change solutions to create a “cleaner, healthier and safer future for us all.”

A statement released by the group warns that dealing with climate change will further burden the world’s militaries and have “enormous” human and economic costs. These include more frequent extreme weather events, water and food shortages, the spread of diseases, potential ecosystem collapse and threats to livelihoods.

Such problems could trigger mass migration and conflict within and between countries.

“Climate knows no frontiers,” said Lord Michael Jay, chairman of Merlin, an international health charity. Even in difficult economic times, “we must not fail to take tough measures ... There is a real need for more commitment and more action at a national, international and industrial level,” he said.

In a phone interview, Anthony Costello, a global health expert at University College London, argued that the most pressing impact of climate change is crop shortages and resulting increases in food prices.

Costello used the example of the Russia’s heat wave in 2010 that not only led to the deaths of thousands of people, but also led to the collapse of Russia’s wheat crop. The wheat crop devastation had a direct effect on the past year’s spike in world food prices.

“There are clear linkages here,” Costello said. “Changes in food production - even small changes - can have huge effects on people.”

Rising food prices have an uneven effect on developing countries, because these countries rely heavily on agriculture and people in these countries already spend a larger percentage of their income on food.

“Any shifts in food prices can be catastrophic,” Costello said.

Hugh Montgomery, director of the University College London Institute for Human Health and Performance, warned that ignoring climate change will cost lives.

“It is not enough for politicians to deal with climate change as some abstract academic concept. The price of complacency will be paid in human lives and suffering, and all will be affected. Tackling climate change can avoid this,” he said.


The Sun, not Man, warms the Earth

A German climate researcher has discovered that the surge in solar radiation that began in 1700, peaked in 1960 and is still at historically high levels was far stronger and more significant than had previously been realized.

According to Dr. Horst-Joachim Ludecke, who spent months comparing the varying widths of annual tree-rings and stalagmite deposits with recent temperature and sunspot records, this remarkable increase in solar activity was the real reason why the weather got warmer from 1950-2000. There has been no warming since 2000.

Dr. Ludecke reports his major discovery in the latest issue of the acclaimed climate-science journal Energy and Environment.

His discovery is consistent with earlier results from Professor Sami Solanki in Finland, who reported in the journal Science six years ago that the Sun's activity in the second half of the 20th century had been greater than during almost any similar period since the end of the last Ice Age 11,400 years ago.

In contrast to Professor Solanki's conclusion that Man was nevertheless the main cause of global warming since 1950, Dr. Ldecke's research shows that the Sun is the real culprit.

The new analysis indicates that changes in the Sun's output of radiation, which depends upon anomalies in its magnetic field that show up as sunspots, are what really drives temperature changes here on Earth.

Dr. Ludecke said: "The Sun is still recovering from the Maunder Minimum, the 70-year period from 1645-1715 when there were hardly any sunspots. It was less active then than during any similar period over the past 11,400 years. It was then that the Hudson in New York and the Thames in London used to freeze over in the winter.

"It is the unprecedentedly rapid recovery of the Sun's activity over the past 300 years - far stronger than anyone had previously suspected - that has been the chief driver of global warming in recent decades. We have very little to do with it."

Dr. Ludecke's analysis of the 200-year record of monthly temperatures measured by thermometers at five northern-hemisphere stations shows the Earth cooled almost as much in the 19th century as it warmed in the 20th.

Also, two 2000-year temperature reconstructions - one from a stalagmite, one from tree-rings - indicated that 100-year ups and downs in global temperature far stronger than those of the past 200 years were commonplace, strongly contradicting the "official" hypothesis that 20th-century global warming is unusual.

Dr. Ludecke said, "The Sun gives its name and its warmth to the Solar System. One should look there, not here, for the true cause of recent global warming."


New academic paper provides context for 20th century warming

Dr Ludecke has expanded the paper referred to above. The key finding again is that a slight 20th century warming almost exactly balanced a slight 19th century cooling so we are in fact living in an era of great climate stability. The Abstract and Conclusion of the expanded paper are given below. the full paper is available from Dr Ludecke [moluedecke@t-online.de]

Long-Term Instrumental and Reconstructed Temperature Records Contradict Anthropogenic Global Warming

Horst-Joachim Ludecke
EIKE, European Institute for Climate and Energy

Supplemented version of an article published in Energy & Environment, Vol. 22, No. 6 (Sept. 2011)


Monthly instrumental temperature records from 5 stations in the northern hemisphere are analyzed, each of which is local and well over 200 years in length, as well as two reconstructed long-range yearly records - from a stalagmite and from tree rings that are about 2000 years long. In the instrumental records, the steepest 100-year temperature fall happened in the 19th century and the steepest rise in the 20th century, both events being of about the same magnitude.

Evaluation by the detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) yields Hurst exponents that are in good agreement with the literature. DFA, Monte Carlo simulations, and synthetic records reveal that both 100-year events have too small probabilities to be natural fluctuations and, therefore, were caused by external trends. In contrast to this, the reconstructed records show stronger 100- year rises and falls as quite common during the last 2000 years. Consequently, their DFA evaluation reveals far greater Hurst exponents.

These results contradict the hypothesis of an unusual (anthropogenic) global warming during the 20th century. The cause of the different Hurst exponents for the instrumental and the reconstructed temperature records is not known. As a hypothesis, the sun's magnetic field, which is correlated with sunspot numbers, is put forward as an explanation. The long-term low-frequency fluctuations in sunspot numbers are not detectable by the DFA in the monthly instrumental records, resulting in the common low Hurst exponents. The same does not hold true for the 2000-year-long reconstructed records, which explains both their higher Hurst exponents and the higher probabilities of strong 100-year temperature fluctuations. A long-term synthetic record that embodies the reconstructed sunspot number fluctuations includes the different Hurst exponents of both the instrumental and the reconstructed records and, therefore, corroborates the conjecture.


Instrumental records going back a maximum of up to about 250 years from present show the temperature declines in the 19th century and the rises in the 20th to be of similar magnitudes. If we assume anthropogenic CO2 to be the agent behind the 20th century rise, we face a problem when it comes to the 19th century. The detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA2) evaluated - for the five records selected here - very small natural probabilities for both centennial events. Therefore, the probability that they are the result of deterministic trends is high, but what actually caused the trends to be diametrically opposed remains unknown.

In contrast, two high-quality long-range records, SPA12 and MOB, show frequent centennial rises and falls of equal and greater magnitudes than their shorter instrumental counterparts during the last 2000 years. Smoothed SPA12 and MOB records are reported to be in accordance with other biological proxies, indicating that centennial fluctuations at least as strong as those of the past 250 years were indeed common events. This is further confirmed by the DFA Hurst exponents of 2 0:9 for SPA12 and MOB that are far higher than the 2 0:6 of the instrumental records.

As a consequence, the impact of anthropogenic greenhouse gases is most probably a minor effect and - in view of the 19th century temperature fall of similar magnitude - not appropriate as an authoritative explanation for any temperature rise in the northern hemisphere during the 20th century.

Because no reliable explanation can be given for the conict between the different Hurst exponents and probabilities in the instrumental and reconstructed records, a hypothesis of solar inuence (manifesting itself in long-term sunspot fluctuations) could be put forward to explain the contradiction. A monthly synthetic record covering about 1500 years and using a Hurst exponent of = 0.6, which corresponds to the instrumental records was therefore superimposed on the trend of the sunspot numbers. The DFA2 result for this combined record shows that it embodies both the short persistence of the instrumental data and the long persistence of the reconstructed data. The hypothesis expressed here suggests that the sun could be predominantly responsible for the 100-year-long rises and falls in temperature over the last 2000 years.

Some interesting admissions from a Warmist article

Predictably, they give NO evidence of human effects and just refer to that mythical "consensus". They even quote Al Gore as an authority! When they do talk scientific facts, however, they are more interesting. I excerpt that part:

The Sun's Energy

Scientists and astronomers have studied the impact of the Sun on the Earth's climate as far back as the early 1800s. Historians have traced the earliest such studies to the research of Sir William Herschel, who tried to link the frequency of sunspots to the price of wheat. His belief was that the number of sunspots would be indicative of the amount of the Sun's energy that is received by the Earth. That energy would affect the amount of wheat produced, which would affect the price.

Herschel’s study didn’t make a big impact at the time because he did not have access to historical temperature records to make any useful comparisons. However, there has been a significant amount of research conducted since then to show that variations in the Sun's energy output have an impact on changes in Earth’s climate.

One such study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, provides more evidence of this link between the Sun and the Earth. Through their analysis of historic temperature deviations, geomagnetic activity and the frequency of sunspots, the authors concluded that “the Sun has a significant role to play in the long-term and short-term climate change.”

“With more and more data available, it may provoke some thought to further explore the solar influence on Earth's climate with geomagnetic activity acting as a possible link,” said lead author Mufti Sabi ud din, scientist of the Astrophysical Sciences Division at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India's Department of Atomic Energy. “It may evoke some response so as to bring to the fore the substantial role of the natural forcing at work on the observed climate variability.”

Mufti, however, noted that the evidence does not indicate the Sun and other natural forces are the main drivers behind current climate change.

“We do not rule out the natural forcings at work,” he said, “but there isn't enough quantitative evidence to say that natural forcings are the dominant cause of current climate change. We have made it amply clear that the anthropogenic origins cannot also be ruled out."

Orbital Change

Another natural occurrence that has caused major changes in the Earth's climate in the past is shifts in the Earth's orbit. Consider the Sahara desert, for example. There is a wide acceptance among scientists that the Sahara transformed from a fertile grassland to a desert because of a change to the Earth's orbit. This shift in how the Earth circled the Sun affected the amount of sunlight that region of Africa received.

The Earth's orbital tilt is said to vary between 22 and 25 degrees roughly every 41,000 years. While a natural event such as this could bring about major changes to the climate, some scientists are warning that there is a possibility for reverse feedback. In other words, instead of an orbital tilt causing climate change, such as the one that took place in the African continent, current changes in climate could end up causing changes in the Earth's axial tilt.

In an article published late last year, Astrobiology Magazine reported on such a prediction: “Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say that the current melting of ice in Greenland is already causing the tilt to change at a rate of approximately 2.6 centimeters each year. They predict that his change could increase in the years ahead.”

While fascinating, 2.6 centimeters is an infinitesimally small fraction of a single degree, and scientists say this is far too small of a change in Earth’s tilt to have a noticeable impact on climate.

The Brookings Institute released a report in April on the public opinion on climate change in the United States and Canada. In a survey of 2,130 people, the report found that there is a progressive decrease in the number of people who think there is “solid evidence of global warming” and an increase in the number who think there is no solid evidence. In the fall of 2008, 17 percent of people did not believe in global warming. In the fall of 2010, that number had increased to 26 percent. Even though the number of climate change believers has decreased, the majority of people still believed that the Earth is undergoing global warming and most of them (61 percent of Americans and 57 percent of Canadians) felt it was a “very serious” problem.

Moving On

Despite knowing the difference between weather and climate, both climate-change supporters and opponents in politics and in the media often can't refrain from using short-term weather patterns to bolster their respective arguments. Harsh winters are used as evidence of no global warming while scorching summers are used to support the viewpoint of human-caused warming of the Earth. Individual seasonal weather events such as a “snowmageddon” or heat waves cannot be directly attributed to either argument of the climate change debate because such events alone are temporary.


How the EPA is Ruining American Industry: Interview with Rich Trzupek, author of "Regulators Gone Wild"

Rael Jean Isaac interviews Rich Trzupek

This book could not have been published at a more propitious time. As the economy falters, it seems that every critic of this administration cites the role of regulation in strangling American business and industry--thereby preventing them from hiring new workers. Rich Trzupek, a chemist and environmental consultant for twenty five years, provides much needed chapter and verse, focusing on the devastation wrought by what has become the most abusive agency in the government alphabet soup--the EPA.

Interwoven with the discussion of the EPA's increasingly off-the-wall and often counterproductive regulations, Trzupek provides stories of the real people and companies who are its victims. For example, he tells the story of a retired gentleman who invested his savings in a six unit apartment building in Chicago. This gentleman hired a professional management company to look after the property.

Under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, sellers and landlords of dwellings built before 1978 must provide a form disclosing the presence of lead-based paint on the premises. The management company goofed, failing to send tenants the required form. The Illinois EPA, discovering this omission, demanded over $140,000 in penalties from the owner.

This staggering punishment clearly did not fit the supposed crime --and in fact, in this case, there was no crime at all, for the buildings had no lead paint. All that was involved was an inadvertent paperwork mistake. The EPA was immovable. The owner eventually succeeded in having the fine significantly reduced, but only at the cost of huge legal bills from an environmental lawyer who took on the regulatory behemoth.

Trzupek shows that both the regulations themselves and the process of implementing them are badly flawed. As the above case illustrates, penalties are unrelated to damage done, merely to paperwork, and given the mountains of paperwork the EPA requires, especially of larger companies, with the best of intentions, it is hard to avoid some failure in that area. And the EPA goes for the jugular.

Moreover, companies have to deal with moving targets. No sooner is a goal achieved for a pollutant than the EPA lowers the standard--and the company finds itself suddenly out of compliance. Then there's CERCLA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, under whose terms the EPA can pluck millions out of industry pockets. It doesn't matter if a given company made only the most miniscule contribution, say, to a hazardous waste site, if it's a big company, for the EPA it's like hitting the jackpot in Vegas, because the company can be held responsible for the entire cleanup costs.

As for the regulations themselves, as time has gone by and there has been a radical reduction in pollution, they have become ever more stringent to ever less purpose. Under a current EPA proposal, to quote Trzupek, "many potentially toxic pollutants will have to be controlled so tightly that no one will be able to find them. That is one step removed from setting emissions limits at zero, and just about as unrealistic and unachievable a goal."

Trzupek writes of the scare tactics used by what he calls the environmental industry, an apt term for the so-called environmental watch dog groups like the NRDC, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth etc., who have the media and to a large extent the EPA itself, in their pocket.

They are never satisfied, never praise the achievements that have been made in cleaner air and water, foment public fear and hysteria as a way of staying relevant--and rich in donations from a public convinced of dire environmental peril. Global warming is the most recent false scare promoted by the environmental industry and if you are not already a skeptic on that subject, Trzupek's cogent chapter "There's Nothing Cool About Global Warming" should make you one.

Read this book. It will make you mad, And a great many people will have to be mad--so they will organize to do something, if sanity is to be restored and American industry saved from its regulator-destroyers .


The crookedness never stops at the BBC

The BBC, in determining its policy towards the coverage of global warming, which is of course not simply a scientific issue but an economic and a political issue, too, ought to shred that section of the Jones review and revert to the impartiality laid down in its charter.

In the second half of July, when most of us were preparing to set off on our summer holidays, the BBC Trust published a lengthy review of the impartiality and accuracy of the corporation’s coverage of science, most of which was taken up with what was described as an “independent assessment” by the geneticist Professor Steve Jones.

A substantial section of Jones’s assessment was, understandably, devoted to the important issue of global warming. Regrettably, that section was characterised chiefly by ignorance and intolerance. I was saddened not only by these general defects but also by an unwarranted attack on me personally. So, to be completely fair, I should quote the section in full.

Claiming that there is no longer any scope for serious debate over global warming, and that the media “face the danger of being trapped into a false balance, into giving equal coverage to the views of a determined but deluded minority and to those of a united but less insistent majority”, Jones complains:

“The impression of active debate is promoted by prominent individuals such as Lord Monckton and Lord Lawson. The BBC still gives space to them to make statements that are not supported by the facts: that (in a February 2011 The Daily Politics show) 95% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources, while in fact human activity has been responsible for a 40% rise in concentration, or (a November 2009 Today programme) that volcanoes produce more gases than do humans (the balance is a hundred times in the opposite direction). For at least three years, the climate change deniers have been marginal to the scientific debate but somehow they continued to find a place on the airwaves.”

The false accusation that I am in the habit of making statements about global warming “that are not supported by the facts” was highly damaging not only to me personally but also to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which since its inception in November 2009 has become a respected and reliable source of information relevant to the global warming debate, and of which I am founding chairman.

And not only had I not made either of the statements complained of — leaving aside the question of their veracity; I had not appeared on either of the two programmes. (Nor, for that matter, had Christopher Monckton, whose position on this issue is, incidentally, not the same as mine.) I immediately emailed the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, to complain. Receiving no reply, and after consulting the trustees of the GWPF, I instructed my lawyers to demand an apology and retraction.

This the BBC did on the BBC Trust’s website in the following somewhat grudging terms:

“On 8 August 2011, the trust published an updated version of Professor Steve Jones’s independent review of the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC’s science coverage due to an ambiguity [sic] in the section on climate change ... “The trust and Professor Jones now recognise that the passage as originally published could be interpreted as attributing statements made in those two programmes to Lord Lawson or to Lord Monckton. Neither programme specifically [sic] featured Lord Lawson or Lord Monckton and it was not Professor Jones’s intention to suggest that this was the case. Professor Jones has apologised for the lack of clarity in this section of his assessment, which has now been amended [by the removal of my name and that of Lord Monckton].”

But that does not dispose of the matter. The thrust of the Jones review is that in its coverage of global warming the BBC gives too much airtime to dissenters from the conventional wisdom such as me.

The very reverse is the case. Despite the authoritative role of the GWPF, invitations to either me or its excellent director, Dr Benny Peiser, to appear on air on this issue are almost as rare as hen’s teeth.

This is not because of any hostility to me personally. I am frequently invited to appear on BBC programmes about the economy, and from time to time I do so. But on global warming the BBC has a clear party line, and anyone who might provide an informed challenge to the party line is not wanted.

Jones’s mindset is revealed by his use of the term “climate change denier” to describe anyone, such as me, who is a dissenter about any aspect of the global warming orthodoxy. It is a term I find particularly disreputable and offensive, as it is clearly intended to group climate change dissenters with Holocaust deniers.

In its letter to my lawyers containing Jones’s grudging apology, the BBC litigation department wrote that “Professor Jones does not, however, resile from the statement ... that your client promotes the impression of active scientific debate on the issue of global warming when in fact there is clear consensus to the contrary”.

In fact, as the name of my think tank makes clear, our concern is primarily in the area of policy: in the light of the facts, to the extent that we know them and understand them, what policy is it rational and proportionate to pursue?

We are, of course, interested in the views of well-qualified scientists. It was for this reason that we recently published The Truth about Greenhouse Gases, a briefing paper by William Happer, an eminent professor of physics at Princeton University. The paper should be read in its entirety, but at one point Professor Happer provides his own summary of the main thrust, in these terms:

“Let me summarise how the key issues appear to me, a working scientist with a better knowledge than most in the physics of climate. CO2 really is a greenhouse gas, and, other things being equal, adding CO2 to the atmosphere by burning coal, oil and natural gas will modestly increase the surface temperature of the Earth ... The combination of a slightly warmer Earth and more CO2 will greatly increase the production of food, wood, fibre and other products by green plants, so the increased CO2 will be good for the planet, and will easily outweigh any negative effects. Supposed calamities like the accelerated rise of sea level, ocean acidification, more extreme climate, tropical diseases near the poles etc are greatly exaggerated.”

I do not know whether Jones regards Happer as “deluded”, still less what qualifications he has to do so; but it is interesting that he essentially torpedoes his own thesis, and implicitly agrees with Happer (although he wholly fails to grasp the significance of this), in one lone sentence of his review:

“Now, there is general agreement that warming is a fact even if there remain uncertainties about how fast, and how much, the temperature might rise [my italics].”

The difference between a slow and gentle warming (Happer puts it at something like 1C over the next 200 years) and a sharp, accelerated warming this century is massive and at the very heart of the lively scientific debate that Jones claims no longer exists. (Last week that debate was intensified by the publication of research suggesting that solar activity might lead to a cooling. Previously such a possibility was discounted by the scientific consensus.) The fact that there has been no recorded global warming at all so far this century adds credibility to the Happer view, but it is of course too soon to be sure. What is sure is that this has a profound bearing on what policies it is rational to pursue.

It is clear that the BBC, in determining its policy towards the coverage of global warming, which is of course not simply a scientific issue but an economic and a political issue, too, ought to shred that section of the Jones review and revert to the impartiality laid down in its charter.

No doubt it is influenced by the fact that all three political parties at present cleave to the conventional wisdom, and that there is thus no problem of achieving party political balance. However, some might reasonably contend that the unanimity of the three main parties makes it all the more important that, in the public interest, adequate airtime is given to informed dissent.


Economic realism raising its head in "Green" Britain?

On the issue of green energy policy and growth, there are some reasons to hope that the Government may be modifying its position, though I do not expect a major U-turn.

Last week’s economic news was mixed, biased towards the negative. Starting with the good news, exports picked up in August, whilst imports fell back, resulting in a modest improvement in the trade balance. But one swallow doesn’t make a summer and given the downturn in our major export markets we are far from the much-desired export led growth projected by the OBR in March. Manufacturing slipped back in the month and unemployment jumped to 2.57 million (June to August) to a 17-year high.

Economic growth, or the lack of it, is back in the news with Mr Balls ever quick to condemn the “draconian cuts”, which are really rather modest – and necessary. The credit ratings of Spain and Italy have been wilting recently and I’m convinced ours would be too if there was a significant retreat from fiscal prudence. But the pressures are undoubtedly on the Government to “do something” about growth and many eyes will be focussed on the growth measures announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 29 November.

It should, of course, be remembered that the March Budget was tagged as one “unashamedly about growth” but The Plan for Growth released at the time, jointly authored by the Treasury and BIS, was a tepid and unambitious affair. And even though I supported the Chancellor’s welcome announcement that an employee must work for two years rather than one in order to claim unfair dismissal, and pay a fee for taking a case to a tribunal, it should be noted that the volume of business regulations rises inexorably. Employers have faced yet another package of extra employment regulations since 1 October. In addition to the implementation of the EU’s Agency Workers Directive which may cost businesses £2bn a year, the default retirement age was finally abolished and the minimum wage increased. With apologies to Job, what the Government giveth the Government taketh away.

There is no serious tackling of the mountain of employment regulations which is such a burden for SMEs and a major disincentive to job creation. But I fear the coalition Government will be reluctant to challenge employee vested interests and little will be done – even though unemployment is now rising quickly.

Turning to energy policy and growth, there are some reasons to hope that the Government may be modifying its position, though I do not expect a major U-turn. In his conference speech the Chancellor hinted strongly that British companies would not be sacrificed in the race to build a greener economy. He said that Britain would move “no slower, no faster than our fellow countries in Europe” and “we are not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business”. And there have already been some hints that George Osborne may unveil some support for energy-intensive firms, badly affected by rising energy costs, in the Autumn Statement.

Osborne’s comments were, however, not wholly novel and unprecedented. In May 2011 Chris Huhne stated there would be a review of policy “in early 2014 to ensure our own carbon targets are in line with the EU’s” when he released the details of the Fourth Carbon Budget. This Budget, for the 5-year period from 2023 to 2027, includes a target of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with the 1990 level. This target is yet one more step along the road to the overall objective of cutting carbon emissions to 80% of the 1990 level by 2050 – the almost complete decarbonisation of the economy. The implications for electricity generation, indeed the whole economy, are staggering to say the least.

And when mulling over the Chancellor’s comments about not putting the country “out of business” we should remind ourselves of the extra costs that DECC expects business, in general, and energy-intensive industries, in particular, to bear. In July 2011 DECC estimated that electricity prices for industry could be anything up to 52% higher in 2020 because of “green polices” compared with prices in the absence of such policies. (In 2009 the estimates of the green “add-ons” were, if anything, higher.) For chemicals and steel, for example, these are competitiveness-shredding, viability-wrecking increases in energy costs. They are more than enough to drive these industries to migrate overseas, along with their CO2 emissions – thus having zero net impact on global emissions totals. I shall await the Autumn Statement’s proposals on this sensitive subject with interest.

The Government’s international comparisons are still framed, of course, in terms of the EU. As a member of the EU we are committed the Renewables Directive, behind our ruinous dash for wind, and the EU’s targets for cutting greenhouse gases - though it should be added that our targets are tougher than the EU’s reflecting some masochistic desire to lead the battle to save the planet from dangerous manmade global warming, insofar as it exists, even though others, even in the EU, may not follow.

But the EU is only part of the problem. A quick inspection of international data shows that we are but a bit player in the world of manmade carbon emissions. UN data show that China was by the far the largest emitter in 2008, responsible for over 23% of the total, followed by the USA (18%), India and Russia (nearly 6% each), Japan (4%) and Germany (nearly 3%). We rolled in in 9th position with 1.7% of total emissions. The EU27 in total was responsible for 14% of emissions. Moreover, given the rapid increase in China’s emissions their lead is probably significantly greater now. Indeed I would not be surprised if the increase in China’s emissions since 2008 exceeds our total annual emissions. The futility of our green posturing would be almost bearable if it were not damaging business and pushing people into fuel poverty. It is difficult to think of a more contrary policy, all the more insufferable given the sanctimonious and accusatory tone in which this topic is so frequently discussed.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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