Thursday, April 23, 2015
John Kerry: On Earth Day, time running out for climate change
I agree that time is running out for the global warming scam. That is why they are getting so frantic. But who would believe an old fraud like Kerry, anyway
In the 1950s and 60s, America's natural resources were in bad shape. Communities were so polluted that clouds of smog lingered over cities like Los Angeles. Rivers and lakes were filled with chemicals. In my hometown of Boston, the harbor was among the nation's most polluted waterways.
We were on a dangerous path. But on April 22, 1970, after years of mounting concern and hard work, the first-ever Earth Day took place, and a new commitment to action took hold. Thanks in no small part to campaigns begun that day, our air, water and land are in far better shape now than 45 years ago — even as our population and economy have steadily grown.
There is a lesson in that experience, because America is once again on a dangerous path — along with the rest of the world. Climate change, if unchecked, is an urgent threat to health, food supplies, biodiversity and livelihoods across the globe.
The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It's energy policy. If we pursue a global clean energy economy, we can cut dramatically the amount of carbon pollution we emit into the atmosphere and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
So we know how to address climate change. The question is whether national and local leaders will summon the political will to do it effectively and soon.
Rubio: ‘Humans Not Responsible for Climate Change in the Way Some of These People...Are Trying to Make Us Believe'
In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he believes “humans are not responsible for climate change in the way” some want people to believe.
“Humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe climate is changing, because there's never been a moment where the climate is not changing,” said Rubio.
Rubio questioned how much former Vice President Al Gore’s proposed cap and trade system would actually change the pace of climate change and how much it will cost the U.S. economy.
“The question is, what percentage of that or what is due to human activity? If we do the things they want us to do, cap and trade, you name it, how much will that change the pace of climate’s change vs. how much will it cost to our economy?” Rubio said.
“Scientists can't tell us what impact it would have on reversing these changes, but I can tell you with certainty it would have a devastating impact on our economy,” he added. [Well put, Señor]
UN Chief Wants Action on $100 Billion Climate Fund
More than five years after President Obama and other leaders agreed on a 2020 goal of raising $100 billion each year from public and private sources to help developing countries deal with climate change, the United Nations wants to see action.
Ahead of Earth Day on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is pointing to a meeting next month in New York where he says he will be looking for clear indications from governments and investors as to how the ambitious goal will be reached.
“Climate change is the defining issue of our times,” he told a conference hosted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week. “It is also an enormous economic opportunity.”
On Saturday Ban again tackled the subject, at an International Monetary Fund event in Washington.
“We need a credible trajectory for realizing the $100 billion goal per year by 2020, as well as the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund,” he said.
“This was a commitment which was made in 2009 during the Copenhagen climate change summit meeting. We have only mobilized $10 billion as an initial capitalization of this Green Climate Fund. I would really hope that there will be a trajectory, a path, which will be shown to the member-states.”
And at a pre-Earth Day concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night, Ban called on concert-goers to raise their voices in support.
“I want to hear from you,” he told the crowd. “It’s our last chance to slow global warming.”
Launched in 2011 as a result of that 2009 decision in Denmark, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is designed to help developing countries curb “greenhouse gas” emissions and cope with occurrences blamed on climate change, such as rising sea levels.
The aim is to reach $100 billion a year by 2020.
As of April 10, the fund had received pledges from 33 countries, totaling $10.2 billion. That includes a $3 billion pledge by Obama last November, by far the largest contribution promised to date. Some GOP lawmakers have signaled an intention to push back.
The next big date on the international climate calendar is a U.N. climate mega-conference in Paris in November that is meant to deliver a new global agreement.
Ban and U.N. climate officials want clarity on the financing issue, as a confidence booster ahead of the Paris gathering.
Subsidies in the firing line
According to the World Bank, two key ways for governments to free up funding to help achieve the $100 billion target is by “putting a price on carbon” – through carbon taxes or emission trading schemes – and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
“With a small percentage of the money that saved by ending subsidies or of the revenue raised from a carbon tax or permit sale going to climate finance, governments could help meet the $100 billion climate finance commitment and other mitigation and adaptation needs,” it said in a report Saturday on the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.
A coalition of eight countries – Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – is targeting the subsidy issue in particular. The coalition, calling itself “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform,” said on Friday governments spent more than $548 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2013.
The group noted pointedly that this was more than five times more than the $100 billion target for climate mitigation and adaptation by 2020.
“The elimination of fossil fuel subsidies would make a significant contribution to the goal of keeping average temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the coalition added, referring to the goal which world leaders several years ago decided was necessary to avoid what global warming advocates say will be potentially catastrophic effects on the planet.
Study: EPA Preparing to Slash Another 300,000 Jobs
The Environmental Protection Agency is putting the final touches on a rule requiring a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030. An independent analysis by The Heritage Foundation predicts “[a]n average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs,” adding the U.S. may lose half a million jobs in the manufacturing sector and 45% of the jobs in the coal mining industry.
As for the EPA, it says collateral damage could cost up to 80,000 jobs. But a new American Action Forum report, whose findings mirror that of Heritage, says the EPA isn’t taking secondary impacts into consideration. All told, nearly 100 power plants may be taken offline, which will have major economic ramifications. “Based on American Action Forum (AAF) research … more than 90 coal-fired power plants could be retired across the country,” write Catrina Rorke and Sam Batkins. “Secondary employment impacts suggest that EPA’s power plant regulation could eliminate 296,000 jobs, about the population of Cincinnati, Ohio, and more than the total number of jobs the economy created in February 2015.”
The writers conclude, “EPA might tout the benefits of its proposal, but the significant job losses are just as noteworthy.” Indeed. Unfortunately, all that’s important in the minds of this administration is, as EPA administrator Gina McCarthy explained, “We have a moral obligation to act.” A very contorted moral obligation.
Paul Krugman’s Solar Delusions
Solar’s getting cheaper, but it can never be a big reducer of carbon emissions. Solar energy can solve global warming. That’s what Paul Krugman claims in his April 18 column in the New York Times, “Salvation Gets Cheap.” Krugman extolled “the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.”
He used to dismiss the claim that renewable energy would be a major source of global energy “as hippie-dippy wishful thinking.” But now, he says, thanks to the falling price of renewable energy, the process of decarbonization can be accelerated and “drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are now within fairly easy reach.”
Solar is getting cheaper. And solar capacity is growing rapidly. But Krugman is still wrong. Solar won’t result in “drastic cuts” in greenhouse-gas emissions for two simple reasons: scale and cost.
Before going further, let me be clear: I’m bullish on solar. I’ve invested in solar. A decade ago, I paid to have 3,200 watts of solar panels installed on my roof. Why? Simple: I got a big subsidy. Austin Energy paid two-thirds of the cost of my $23,000 system, and those panels now provide about 30 percent of the electricity my family and I consume.
I will also gladly stipulate that Krugman is right about the plummeting cost of solar. In 1980, the average global cost of a solar photovoltaic module (which converts sunlight into electricity) was about $23 per watt. Today, it’s less than $1 per watt. Those falling costs are helping accelerate solar deployment. Between 2007 and 2012, according to BP, global solar capacity grew ten-fold and now stands at about 100,000 megawatts.
But that torrid growth doesn’t spell the end of hydrocarbons. Even if we forget the incurable intermittency of solar energy — which requires grid operators to have stand-by conventional generation capacity (from natural gas, coal, or nuclear) available for periods when the sun isn’t shining — the reason why cheaper solar panels won’t lead to major cuts in global carbon dioxide emissions is that solar’s contribution remains infinitesimally small.
Between 2007 and 2012, the same period during which solar capacity grew tenfold, global coal consumption rose by the equivalent of more than 10 million barrels of oil per day. Meanwhile, in 2012, the contribution of global solar production was equivalent to roughly 400,000 barrels of oil a day. Put another way, over the past half decade or so, just the growth in coal use is equal to about 25 times the contribution now being made by all of the world’s solar projects. And the coal-fired power plants that have been built over the past few years are likely to run for decades.
Why is coal use soaring around the world? Because demand for electricity is soaring. Since 1985, global electricity production has been growing by an average of about 450 terawatt-hours per year. The International Energy Agency expects global electricity use to continue growing by about that same amount every year through 2035.
Germany has more installed solar-energy capacity that any other country, with about 33,000 megawatts of installed photovoltaic panels. In 2012, those panels produced 28 terawatt-hours of electricity. Just to keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand by using solar energy alone would require installing 16 times as much photovoltaic capacity as all of Germany’s existing capacity — every year.
Despite the math, Krugman has been hyping solar for years. Back in 2011, Krugman claimed that we are “on the cusp of an energy transformation driven by the rapidly falling cost of solar power.” Sure, the costs of solar are falling, but it still remains far more expensive than coal, natural gas, or nuclear. Last week, the Energy Information Administration released its latest estimates for the cost of new electricity-generation capacity. By 2019, the agency projects, the cost of one megawatt-hour of electricity produced from solar photovoltaics will be $130. The same amount of electricity produced from natural gas will cost about half as much, $66, while a megawatt-hour of energy produced from a conventional coal-fired plant will cost $96. Nuclear, at $96 per megawatt-hour, will also remain less expensive than solar.
To bolster his claim that solar can save the world from global warming, Krugman cites the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saying that the new document “asserts that the economic impact” of drastically overhauling our energy and power systems would “be surprisingly small” and would “basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.”
But Krugman neglects to mention the outlandish assumptions the IPCC made in making its cost estimate. Those assumptions: “All of the countries of the world begin mitigation immediately, there is a single global carbon price, and all key technologies are available.”
A single global carbon price? If there’s one clear message from the last decade or so of climate-change meetings in places like Copenhagen, Bonn, Durbin, and elsewhere, it’s this: The countries of the world will not agree to a carbon tax. Hell, we can’t even get universal agreement to ban land mines, and yet the IPCC is making cost projections based on a universal price on carbon!
If Krugman and the IPCC scientists think that the transition to an economy based on renewable energy will be cheap, they haven’t been paying attention to what’s happening in Europe. In Spain, subsidies for renewables have resulted in some $35 billion in governmental debt that must now be retired.
Since 2000, Germany alone has spent about $100 billion on renewable energy, and Germany’s environment minister recently estimated that the country may have to spend as much as $1.3 trillion over the next 25 years as it attempts to reach its targets of producing 35 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
Krugman may not want to admit it, but here’s the truth: For all of its merits and rapidly declining cost, solar energy cannot even keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand, much less replace significant amounts of hydrocarbons or allow “drastic cuts” in carbon dioxide emissions.
Climate change is among the most difficult issues of our time. If we are going to be serious about it addressing it, we have to be serious about the low-carbon sources that can provide the vast quantities of energy that the world demands at prices consumers can afford. Yes, solar will play a role in the years ahead. But the fuels of the future are N2N: natural gas to nuclear.
The Abbott government has put Australia's renewable energy industry into limbo -- and almost no-one seems to care
Well done! The writer below is a Warmist but his facts are pretty right
18 months after the election of a government supposedly “open for business”, the renewables industry in this country is in ruins.
Investment has fallen off a cliff – down a stunning 90 per cent since early 2013. More than 2000 jobs have disappeared. Almost no new large-scale renewable energy is being built in Australia, so hostile has the environment become. Banco Santander, the world's third-largest clean energy lender, packed up and left in March.
The reason? The government has sabotaged the industry. According to international energy consultants Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “the Australian large-scale clean energy industry has become practically uninvestable due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the government's review of the Renewable Energy Target.”
As we’ve chronicled here at New Matilda, the Renewable Energy Target was once the tripartisan policy of the Coalition, Labor and the Greens. The law, which was passed under the Howard government, mandates that there must be 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity fed into the grid by 2020.
Before the 2013 election, the Coalition promised many times to keep the RET. “We have no plans to change the renewable energy target,” Tony Abbott said in September 2011. “We will be keeping the renewable energy target,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in February 2013. “The Coalition supports the current system, including the 41,000 gigawatt hours target,” Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said in July 2013.
The promise was broken in early 2014, when the government announced that former Caltex boss, noted climate change denier Dick Warbuton, would head up a review. Surprise, surprise: the review recommended abolishing the RET altogether. Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane then used the report as political cover to attempt to slash the RET, to 26,000 hours.
But the RET is a law which requires amendment, and Macfarlane has been unable to get any cross-bench support for his changes. He instead said he would “negotiate” with Labor over a revised target. After first refusing any kind of compromise, Labor eventually came all the way down to 33,500 hours. Macfarlane is holding out for 32,000. In the meantime, renewables investment tanked, and has never recovered.
You get the impression the Coalition is quite happy that negotiations have stalled. No deal on the RET means the renewables industry stays in limbo, killing investment and destroying the medium-term prospects of the sector. Meanwhile, carbon permit-free coal makes windfall profits. And Macfarlane doesn’t even have to do anything. He can just fiddle while the renewables sector burns.
If this wasn’t the Abbott government, and we weren’t talking about renewable energy, it would be difficult to believe. Imagine a government that set out, quite openly, to destroy an entire sector of business activity, for purely ideological reasons – breaking an iron-clad election promise in the process.
But that’s precisely what’s happened in renewable energy, which depends upon the RET to leverage new investment into the Australian grid. It might be the biggest scandal in economic policy in recent history – and almost no-one seems to care.
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Posted by JR at 12:38 AM