Sunday, December 13, 2020

UK to stop funding overseas fossil fuel projects in climate summit vow

Note that this concerns government expenditure only. Private funding (The City) is not ruled out. Government funding was slight anyway

British taxpayers will stop subsidising overseas fossil fuel projects under a pledge by Prime Minister Boris Johnson which opens a new front in the push for more urgent international action on climate change.

Johnson will announce the "world-leading policy" while opening a virtual climate summit on Sunday morning Australian-time from which Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been blocked from speaking at.

The plan is yet to be finalised and a start date has not been settled but Johnson will tell world leaders he will stop the government's export credit agency from providing finance or other support for the extraction, production, transportation and refining of crude oil, natural gas or thermal coal overseas.

"Climate change is one of the great global challenges of our age, and it is already costing lives and livelihoods the world over," Johnson will tell world leaders.

"Our actions as leaders must be driven not by timidity or caution but by ambition on a truly grand scale."

Green groups have accused the British government of "rank hypocrisy" for talking tough on climate change while still directing billions of pounds towards polluting projects abroad.

In June, it promised nearly £900 million ($1.58 billion) in loans and bank guarantees to help build a huge liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique which will open up the country's vast gas reserves. Environmental campaigners are challenging the deal in court on the basis it is incompatible with the United Kingdom's Paris climate accord commitments.

A third runway at London's Heathrow Airport was blocked by the courts in February because the mega infrastructure project did not take the UK's climate obligations into account.

UN secretary-general António Guterres is pushing for all development finance institutions to halt fossil fuel financing ahead of a crucial international climate summit in Glasgow next November. Prince Charles has also called for the urgent reversal of "perverse subsidies" enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry,

Downing Street said Johnson's overseas finance ban will apply to its aid budget, export financing and trade promotion activities.

It has left wiggle room for some "very limited exceptions" in the policy for gas-fired power plants but did not provide further details.

A committee of MPs recently found the UK's support for fossil fuel energy projects was "unacceptably high" and the export finance agency's activities the "elephant in the room undermining the UK's international climate and development targets".

The committee revealed UK Export Finance gave £2.6 billion ($4.56 billion) in support to the energy sector between 2013 and 2018 - 96 per cent of which went to fossil fuel projects.

Johnson has not put a date on when the policy would come into force but said it would be before the COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.

His pledge at the opening of this weekend's climate summit on Sunday morning Australian-time will put pressure on other countries to do the same ahead of the Glasgow summit.

The nearly 80 world leaders listed to speak this weekend were only granted a slot on the condition they came to the summit with significant new announcements.

Morrison had planned to say Australia would no longer use Kyoto carryover credits to meet its 2030 targets but was blocked from speaking at the summit by Britain and its co-hosts France and the UN because the announcement was deemed not ambitious enough.

Johnson last week announced the UK's new goal to cut 1990-level emissions by 68 per cent by 2030, up from the existing target of 57 per cent. Some experts in Britain believe even that is not enough to put the UK on course to achieve its stated aim of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Johnson's new policy will not apply to domestic subsidies for fossil fuels.

Lobby group Oil Change International said Johnson's commitment was a "powerful signal that the era of governments propping up deadly fossil fuels with public money is coming to an end".

"But the devil is in the detail and it is too early to say if the UK's end to fossil fuel finance will set a gold standard for other countries to follow," said senior campaigner Laurie van der Burg.

"That would require an immediate end to all new finance for oil, gas and coal and an end to domestic fossil fuel subsidies estimated at over $US14 billion per year."

Johnson's announcement in January that Britain would not financially support any foreign coal plants or mines was questioned after it was later revealed UK Export Finance had not funded any coal projects since 2002.

A recent European Commission report found domestic and international fossil fuel subsidies in the EU totalled €50 billion ($80 billion) in 2018 after peaking at €53 billion in 2018.

"Fossil fuel subsidies did not decrease substantially in the past decade; in some instances they
even increased," the report said.

Healthy Polar Bears and Thriving Tigers: The Common Climate Tale

Last year, the world applauded Greta Thunberg’s emotional “How Dare You!” speech at the UN summit in New York. The teenager famously said, “Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction.”

The mainstream media’s narrative is similar. Ecosystems are dying. Animals are going extinct. Our evil desire to consume fossil fuels is to blame!

What do you think? Are species going extinct because of manmade global warming? Christians, who honor God as Creator, should care about these matters. But caring by itself isn’t enough. We also need truth, for there is a way that seems right, though its end brings death (Proverbs 14:12).

Take two key species as examples. Polar bears have been climate alarmists’ mascots for years. Tigers are an important species in South Asian jungles.

To the dismay of climate doomsayers, tiger populations are on the rise!

Tigers are a keystone species. The integrity of their ecosystems is crucial to their welfare. Thriving tiger populations are evidence of healthy ecosystems.

So, what do you suppose is up with tigers?

India’s tiger numbers have doubled since 2006. That’s despite the country’s ever-expanding cities, industries, and mines. India counted 2967 tigers in its latest census. That is more than double the number in 2006.

Celebrating International Tiger Day, Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar noted that “the country today has 70 percent of the world’s tiger population.”

Two-thirds of these tigers live in forest zones categorized as tiger reserves. The remaining third is a testament to the safe habitations outside highly protected zones.

Recent surveys affirm the healthy state of Indian forests on which tigers depend. Total forest and tree cover in India increased by 5,188 square km from 2017 to 2019. I witnessed the health of these ecosystems as a field ecologist in the buffer zones of a tiger reserve in the heart of India.

The primary concern of tiger conservationists in India is unlawful encroachment, not climate change. Climate change in the past decade has impacted tiger populations positively.

Tropical forest ecosystems in India are not dying. They remain healthy and are expanding. Tiger numbers benefit.

Polar Bear Population Growth: Unmasked

Polar bears are the mainstream media’s climate doomsday mascot. They used a widely projected image of a starving polar bear to generate sympathy in 2019.

The image first appeared in a video viewed by an estimated 2.5 billion people. It got the most views of any video ever on the National Geographic website.

Scientists accused National Geographic of “being loose with the facts.” Videographer Cristina Mittermeier admitted that there was no evidence that the bear’s condition was due to climate change.

“Perhaps we made a mistake in not telling the full story,” she said, “—that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future and that we didn’t know what had happened to this particular polar bear.”

People get sick, grow weak, and die. So do polar bears.

Still, climate alarmists use polar bears to win public empathy. But if you think polar bear populations are declining, you’ve been misled.

Global polar bear numbers have risen spectacularly in the last sixty years. From around 5,000 in the 1950s, they rose to 8,000–10,000 in the 1970s, 20,000–25,000 by 2005, and an estimated 22,000–31,000 by 2015.

You might think environmentalists would cheer. Think again. They and the mainstream media have remained largely silent.

The polar bear problem in the Nunavut province of Canada is a testament to their growing population. Recently the Nunavut people pressured the Canadian government to allow increased culling. Why? Because their growing numbers threatened Nunavut communities.

In a 2018 report, leading polar bear biologist Susan Crockford wrote:

The people of Nunavut are not seeing starving, desperate bears—quite the opposite. Yet polar bear specialists are saying these bears are causing problems because they don’t have enough sea ice to feed properly. The facts on the ground make their claims look silly, including the abundance of fat bears. Residents are pushing their government for a management policy that makes protection of human life the priority.

It’s a Myth—Don’t Fall for It

Polar bears and tigers are many thousands of miles apart. But they share the same common myth: that climate change is destroying their habitats, and their numbers are dwindling. In reality, their habitats are improving, and their numbers are rising.

It is easy for celebrity climate activists to make sensational claims about species extinction and ecosystem collapse. The mainstream media project their speeches as authoritative. Instead, they are merely activist scare stories.

Climate Change and the U.S. Military — Misguided Priorities Will Harm America

Climate change is an urgent national security threat? Here we go again.

Leaving aside the debate over the causes of climate change — and the pace of that change — promoters of the argument that changes in the global climate are a “security threat” to the U.S. muddle our understanding of the term and jeopardize our ability to confront real security threats to the country.

All sorts of things vie for our attention as they affect our country’s economic, security, moral, and human interests. But lumping everything we think is important into the basket of “national security” dilutes the term, makes it harder to prioritize limited resources (money, time, attention), and distracts the U.S. military.

Directing the Department of Defense to account for the threat of climate change in all planning sets up contradictions wrapped in hypocrisy. We saw this during the Obama administration when funding for the military fell irresponsibly short of the things the military was required to do.

Our military was expected to sustain operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere while simultaneously being warned that they would be derelict in their duties if they did not account for the severe effects of climate change. And yet they were starved of the resources to do both.

According to the Obama administration, and presumably a Biden one too, the implications of climate change include more intense weather events that will be “more frequent and more severe...inflict more damage, heighten humanitarian needs, undermine development investments, adversely impact public health, contribute to ecological, social, and political instability, compromise diplomatic goals, and undermine national security interests.”

Setting attribution aside, this heady list of challenges would seemingly require the military to be more capable of responding to humanitarian crises and various climate-induced conflicts around the world.

Given this backdrop, it would be immoral not to increase defense spending so as to prepare the military to deal with a world riven by more — not fewer — crises. And this in addition to being prepared to prevail in war.

Yet in spite of orders to be prepared for potential conflict with major competitors and to prioritize adapting to the increased security implications of global climate change, there are increasingly strident calls from the political Left to reduce spending on defense by 10 percent or more. What? Do more with less funding and fewer resources?

At present, the U.S. military is too small, too old, and insufficiently ready to handle more than one major conflict in spite of the emphasis placed on a return to great power competition. It is facing extraordinary bills to modernize after 30 years of neglect: $80 billion to replace 50-year old Minuteman III ICBMs, another $80 billion to replace 30-year old strategic bombers, $100 billion to replace aging ballistic missile submarines, mounting costs to replace tanks, amphibious vehicles, artillery systems, and basic support equipment acquired in the 1980s and 1990s.

The U.S. Navy’s fleet of 296 ships average over 20 years old. Meanwhile China, alone, already fields 350 ships and is growing at a rate equivalent to the size of the entire navies of other countries every two years or so. Iran has assembled an arsenal of 3,000 ballistic missiles, and North Korea continues its efforts to expand its inventory of nuclear weapon delivery capabilities.

The U.S. Army and Marine Corps are both trying to solve the challenges of operating against major opponents with substantial military power rather than terrorist groups with little ability to prevent the U.S. from doing what it wants.

In addition, this says nothing about the fact that the cost of ships, tanks, and aircraft needed to survive in modern combat, much less prevail, has grown five times or more above the rate of inflation.

Simply put, the U.S. military cannot do what is being demanded of it without a corresponding increase in funding or a dramatic and dangerous reorientation from its real job: defending the country from military threats. Ordering it to defend the country and take on climate change as a national security threat without giving it the resources to do both does a disservice to the men and women who have dedicated themselves to serve the country in uniform and to the American people who expect their military to do what only it can do.

Let’s get real about “climate change” and how we view it through the lens of national security. No matter the driver, if climate change is a threat, then provide the funding needed to upgrade century-old bases, replace half-century-old aircraft, expand the force beyond the bare minimum needed to defend against a single threat, and ensure our forces can train enough to be competent in their jobs.

Anything less is hypocritical and an insult to the force we supposedly need, value, and respect.

We cannot ignore the hard facts when it comes to renewable energy

Comment from Peta Credlin in Australia

Why are people in authority allowed to get away with obvious untruths about climate change, despite all the factual evidence to the contrary, asks Peta Credlin.

Not only do all the renewable energy advocates claim that wind and solar will produce cheaper power than coal and gas, but they then invariably assert that “all the research” proves it.

Yet everywhere that transitions from fossil fuels to widespread use of wind turbines and solar panels experiences big price hikes and the risk of blackouts.

It’s no coincidence that South Australia, with the highest use of intermittent power sources, has had the highest electricity prices in Australia; and that power prices generally have roughly doubled over the past decade as renewables went from almost none to nearly 30 per cent of total generation.

How it could ever be cheaper to replace 24/7 power with power that’s only on when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing is hard to fathom.

I’m a reluctant conspiracy-detector, but it’s hard not to see one in all the “researchers” eager to “prove” what’s utterly implausible just because that’s what the green-establishment wants people to think.

Now, the lie about renewables being cheaper has yet again been exposed.

Back in 2017, the Northern Territory’s power generator reported to the government that reaching a 50 per cent renewable energy target would push up system costs by up to 30 per cent and that “capital costs will replace fuel costs as the key driver of electricity prices”. When challenged on this leaked report, the NT government said this week that it was “outdated” and didn’t reflect new developments.

Yet when this report was given to the government, the Chief Minister had claimed: “We very much see this as about substitution rather than additional costs … The advice we’re getting … is that an investment in renewables will actually put downward pressure on household prices.”

Despite the Chief Minister’s assurances, the NT’s renewable energy target hasn’t stopped further price rises.

Why are people in authority allowed to get away with obvious untruths on everything to do with climate change? It’s a classic case of wanting the lie to be true so insisting that it is despite all the factual evidence to the contrary.

Expect to hear even louder and more frequent assertions that renewables are cheaper in the run-up to next year’s Glasgow climate conference — but this debate has to include all the facts and science, not just the version that the zealots want to push.




No comments: