Monday, March 09, 2020

A conservative Climate Change policy?

The article below is a proposal that we do not need to confront the Green/Left head-on.  There is a hope that conservatives might be better accepted if they acknowledged the need for CO2 reduction and offered some proposals for action in that direction.  How well-founded Greenie scares are is not addressed. The proposals are understandable but overlook two things:

1) There is no such thing as a happy Greenie. No matter how much we lean in their direction, they will still criticize  and reject us.  There is no get out of jail card other than complete surrender

2). Most of the political spectrum already has a much better way of dealing with Green/Left antagonism: They fudge. Even the ecologically holy Europeans do it. Germany is building new coal-fired power stations, for instance. They talk the Greenie talk but they don't walk the walk. It is precisely that which Greta Thunberg has noticed. She says the nations are offering only "beautiful words". She is the "fool" who speaks the truth that nobody wants to hear. She is too young to pretend that black is white.

Just about everyone in politics knows it is all a sham but very few see fit to say so.  They don't want to risk breaking ranks.  Only Donald Trump is a big enough man for that.

What an embarrassment that autistic girl is!  We live in a world where it helps to be half-mad to speak the truth. A lot of politics is like that.  Crenshaw is well-meaning but naive

It’s called the New Energy Frontier, and it’s a joint plan by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who propose a free-market strategy to address the challenges posed by climate change. Crenshaw cogently observes that conservatives have all too often allowed leftists to put them on the defensive. Since conservatives reject leftists’ extreme solutions to a problem leftists artificially inflate into a crisis — a problem such as rising global CO2 levels — conservatives, Crenshaw says, are effectively labeled as “being too heartless or too stupid to solve the original problem.”

The plan “focuses specifically on carbon capture, a field in which there is already promising innovation,” Crenshaw explains. “For instance, the company NET Power, located near my district in Houston, has developed a natural-gas electricity plant that has the capacity to power 5,000 homes, while capturing and recirculating CO2 back through the plant via an innovative thermodynamic cycle. As a result, the system produces zero net emissions.”

Furthermore, the House GOP’s plan rejects the Democrats’ often-promoted carbon tax in favor of a carbon-capture tax credit that incentivizes technological development rather than penalizing industry. The U.S. leads the world in CO2 emissions reduction due in large part to the development of fracking technology that has led to our nation’s natural-gas boom. Leftists always resort to taxes, which suppress innovation. Crenshaw argues it’s time for a carrot instead of a stick.

Crenshaw asserts that “conservatives can either tackle the issue of carbon emissions sensibly by proposing workable solutions, or run the risk of allowing the Democrats to do it for us — with policies that would offer marginal environmental benefits at a devastating cost to the economy.” The Crenshaw-McCarthy bill is a welcome proactive approach.


One in five UK children report nightmares about climate change

One in five children are having nightmares about climate change, according to a British survey on Tuesday, as students globally stage protests over a lack of action to curb global warming.

About 17 percent of children in Britain said worries about climate change were disturbing their sleep while 19 percent said these fears were giving them nightmares.

The survey of 2,000 children aged eight to 16, conducted by pollster Savanta-ComRes for BBC Newsround, also found that two in five, or 41 percent, did not trust adults to tackle the climate crisis.

Over the past year, millions of young people have flooded the streets of cities around the world demanding political leaders take urgent steps to stop climate change, inspired by 17-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Emma Citron, a consultant clinical child psychologist based in London, said young people were clearly fearful about climate change with the survey finding 58 percent were worried about the impact that climate change will have on their lives.

Read also: Eco-anxiety: Managing mental health amid climate change impacts

"Public figures like David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have helped young people to voice their worries and we have to make sure that we as adults listen to them and ... help them become involved in positive change," she said in a statement.

"We all need to support them not to feel hopeless but rather to present to them hopeful and balanced messages about their futures and ensure that they get the right professional help if their anxiety is unduly high."

The American Psychological Association has said it was aware of reports of growing "eco-anxiety" in children, but research was needed to establish how common it was.

Britain's Oxford Dictionaries recorded a 4,290 percent increase in the term "eco-anxiety" in 2019, particularly among young people.


H/T Climate lessons

UK: Why the war on wood burners?

Boris Johnson’s government seems to be banning things first and looking for justifications later. Following on from its nonsensical plan to phase out diesel and petrol cars, it confirmed on Friday that it also wants to ban the sale of coal and ‘wet’ wood for use in domestic stoves and fires in England.

The press office at the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) declares that the government is taking ‘bold action to cut pollution from household burning’. It claims that wood-burning stoves and coal fires are ‘the single largest source of the pollutant PM2.5’ – that is, airborne ‘particulate matter’ with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres. For comparison, that’s tiny stuff that is about three per cent of the diameter of a human hair.

DEFRA says that domestic burning emits ‘twice the contribution of industry and three times the contribution of road transport’, adding that ‘these measures will help to tackle a form of pollution that penetrates deep into our hearts, lungs, and blood, and has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most harmful air pollutant for human health’.

The new rules mean that the sale of traditional coal and wood that has not been dried will be banned. Bags of coal and smaller bags of ‘wet wood’ will be phased out by February 2021, with sales of loose coal direct to customers prohibited by 2023. Homeowners will be told to burn dry wood or smokeless fuel instead – both of which are far more expensive. Alternative fuels will only be permitted if they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

While a ban on these ‘dirty fuels’ might sound like a positive thing, there are major problems with this policy.

First, the risk posed by air pollution is far less clear than campaigners would have us believe. There are recurring claims that tens of thousands of people die each year in the UK from air pollution. The best guess is that the risk of dying increases by six per cent per year for every 10 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre you’re exposed to. But it really is an educated guess. The estimate hides enormous uncertainty. For example, the studies don’t measure individual exposure, but are based on snapshots of levels in different areas. So the risks of PM2.5 could be much higher or lower, and they could be greatly influenced by confounding factors. Are people who are exposed to more pollution also more likely to be poor, for example?

Second, the UK’s air quality hasn’t been this good for centuries. The decline of industry, the long-term switch to gas, improvements in car-exhaust emissions and more have meant a steady decline in pollution. DEFRA’s statistical release on UK air quality, published in 2019, suggests that stoves and open fires have had some impact on air quality, but it’s not enormous. Yes, there are bumps in pollution levels in the morning and especially in the evening, as those stoves and fires are lit, but the difference between mid-afternoon and mid-evening is not huge. The combined effect of other forms of pollution is clearly more important.

Why the war on wood burners?

The experience of the Great Smog in London in 1952 is testament to the fact that burning coal in large, dense urban areas can be a problem. As a result, it is banned in many cities in the UK. Extending that ban to wet logs might make some sense, too. But to ban the sale of these fuels completely, in a manner that will affect everyone in England – even in the majority of places where air quality is not a problem – is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

For some people, burning coal and wood is a necessity, as they are not connected to the gas network and heating their homes with electric heaters is too expensive. But even where a stove or fire is not essential, it is still a great pleasure for millions of people. Forcing people to use smokeless fuels, which are far more expensive and less aesthetically pleasing, should be justified with hard evidence.

Just for good measure, under this policy logs would need to have no more than 20 per cent moisture to be permitted for sale. That’s difficult to achieve by just leaving them to dry out in the air, so that means they will usually need to be kiln-dried. Sticking logs in a big oven to dry out is surely going to add to the UK’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Oh, the irony.

This ban is excessive and the evidence to justify it is weak. Ministers and civil servants must be too busy listening to the lobbying of NGOs to take account of the interests of wider society.


Extra emissions are the dirty little secret of electric cars

Bjorn Lomborg

If you listen to the media, a green automotive future has arrived and a tsunami of electric cars is out­selling petrol and diesel around the world, transforming the planet and solving climate change.

We need a reality check. Battery-powered electric vehicles are fairly popular in urban China and California, as well as a few countries that heavily subsidise their drivers. But globally, fewer than 0.3 per cent of all cars are pure electric, and across Europe, BMW says, customers don’t want them.

Unsurprisingly given the price tag, electric cars are often playthings for rich people. One US study shows the richest quarter of people receive almost all the public money spent on electric car subsidies. Moreover, electric cars in the US are driven fewer kilometres on average each year than conventional vehicles: 11,200km compared with 16,400km for petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.

Combine this with the fact 90 per cent of households that buy an electric car also have a conventional car that is driven farther, and a clear picture emerges: most electric vehicles are a second car used for shorter trips such as shopping and small errands — and for virtue signalling.

But aren’t electric cars better for the environment? Barely. While no CO2 emissions come directly from driving electric vehicles, they are powered by elec­tricity produced largely from fossil fuels in many parts of the world. More energy is also used to manufacture electric vehicles — and, in particular, their batteries — and this energy is usually reliant on fossil fuel.

Indeed, a new study from the International Energy Agency shows that an electric car with a 400km range and charged with electricity produced at the global average will have to be driven 60,000km just to pay off its higher CO2 emissions in production. That means a new electric car driven the average 11,200km each year will have paid off its carbon debt only after five years. The IEA hopes the world can reach 130 million electric cars in 10 years — a breathtaking ask given we have spent decades reaching just over five million. Even if we could do that, emissions would be reduced by only 0.4 per cent of global emissions. In the words of IEA director Fatih Birol, “If you think you can save the climate with electric cars, you’re completely wrong.”

The IEA finds a hybrid such as the Toyota Prius is as good for the climate as an electric car when measured on lifetime greenhouse gas emissions. A petrol-powered vehicle emits only nine tonnes more across its lifetime. We could have reduced a similar amount through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system in the northeast US, for only $US51 ($77.60).

Yet governments dole out lavish support for electric cars. The IEA estimates that each electric car on the road has cost $US24,000 in subsidies, R&D and extra infrastructure investment. We could have cut almost 500 times the CO2 if we’d spent the money cutting carbon through the RGGI cap-and-trade. Little wonder the Dutch Court of Auditors recently ruled The Netherlands was wasting taxpayer money on subsidies, calling them “an expensive joke”.

And surprisingly, more electric cars often mean more air pollution. In China, which is the world’s leading electric car market, a study reveals that because China’s coal power plants are so dirty, electric cars worsen local air: in Shanghai, pollution from an additional million electric-powered vehicles would kill nearly three times as many people annually as an additional million petrol-powered cars.

Nonetheless, governments increasingly are setting deadlines for when electric cars will take over the world. Norway ambitiously plans to prohibit petrol and diesel cars in 2025.

The Scandinavian nation has the world’s largest electric car market share, but this is propped up with enormous government support. Rules eliminating the costs of registration and sales tax can be worth up to $US70,000 for a single electric car.

Moreover, electric car owners save half, or about $US1000 a year, on congestion charges in Oslo. They also get to drive in bus lanes, which is great for them but leads to increased travel times for public transport users.

Additionally, the Norwegian state is investing heavily in charging infrastructure and grid upscaling, something Goldman Sachs puts at $US6 trillion for the world during the coming decades.

That is why in Norway a staggering 42 per cent of all cars sold last year were pure electric. But a new study for Norway shows how hard ending petrol cars will be and gives the lie to those who seek to transform the vehicle market. It finds that without Norway’s overgenerous subsidies, by 2030, only 9 per cent of all car sales will be purely electric. Even maintaining all the subsidies and dramatically increasing taxes on petrol cars while setting strict emission targets would be unlikely to allow Norway to reach its goals anytime before 2050.

The misconception that electric cars are close to taking over and will solve climate change is dangerous because it directs our attention away from the technological breakthroughs in green energy generation needed to reduce rising temperatures — and away from innovations needed to cut air pollution.

Electric cars are fun to drive and will likely be part of our future transportation solutions. But they will not be a major part of the solution to climate change or air pollution. Today, electric cars are simply expensive gadgets heavily subsidised for the wealthy to feel good while doing very little for the planet.


Green ‘lawfare’ a $65bn deal hit to projects

Comment from Australia

Green activists are using a back door on environmental laws to delay an estimated $65bn in projects­ ranging from dams to a salmon farm, with “lawfare” forcing companies into court for more than 10,000 days in total since 2000.

Conservation and green groups have used 11 new legal claims in the past four years to tie up seven projects in regional areas, including the $16.5bn Adani coalmine in Queensland, a new $140m port on Melville Island­ in the Northern Territory, Victorian government forestry and the $30m Tassal salmon farm in Tasmania.

The 11 new cases of environmental groups using secondary legislation since 2016 have resulte­d in seven major projects being delayed in court for a total of 2600 days, as business investment in Australia drops to its lowest level since the 1990s.

According to analysis from the free-market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, legal activism using the federal environmental protection act has put $65bn of investment at risk, with delays totalling more than 28 years in court.

The tactics of activist groups have delayed 28 projects between 2000 and 2019, with an estim­ated value of over $65bn.

The projects include six coal and iron ore mine projects, two dam construction projects, two dredging projects, forest and pest management, a tourism development, multiple road construction projects, the construction of a pulp mill, a desalination plant and a marine supply base.

After the election of the Morrison Coalition government, the Queensland Labor government fast-tracked final approval for the Adani coal project in the Galilee Basin, after a nine-year approval process and an extra 341 days in court after an Australian Conservation Foundation appeal started in 2016.

In 2017, a Bob Brown Found­ation challenge against a salmon farm in Tasmania, to protect the southern right whale, was dismissed after 237 days in court but an appeal meant another 349 days in court.

According to IPA research fellow Kurt Wallace: “A small group of green activists are using a special legal privilege to delay and disrupt $65bn of investment, which is disproportionately damaging regional Australia.”

He said the disruptive liti­gation from environmental groups using a section of the act allowing conservationists to take companies to court was not leading to substantial changes in ­environmental controls on the projects. “Disruptive lawfare has not led to environmental improvements,’’ Mr Wallace said.

“Of the cases under section 487, 94 per cent have failed to bring about a substantial change to the original project which had been approved by the commonwealth Environment Minister.

“Section 487 has allowed the courts to be used as a strategic tool for environmental activism.

“Green groups, such as the Australian Conservation Found­ation and Wilderness Society, are using legal challenges to delay and disrupt major projects with the goal of restricting investment in the resources sector by raising costs and uncertainty.

“Repealing section 487 would be a massive shot in the arm for investment in regional Australia and create an enduring stimulus for the Australian economy. (It) will not diminish the legal avenues available to farmers and private land owners who wish to take legal action against a mining project that could adversely affect their interests.’’

Disappointing news today. Equinor has announced that it won't be drilling for oil in the Bight. We desperately need to improve our oil security.

Former resources minister Matt Canavan said activists were exploiting environmental laws merely to delay projects.

“Every day that major projects are held up is another day that a desperate Australian family doesn’t have a job,’’ Senator Canavan said.

“Our environmental laws act as a big yellow light slowing everybody and everything down.

“We need laws that focus on protecting major environmental issues, not being an alternative avenue­ for radical green activists to pursue a political agenda.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: