Monday, January 17, 2022

Yachts To Be Exempt From EU's Carbon Pricing Plan

According to a new report from Transport & Environment (T&E) titled "Climate Impacts of Exemptions to EU’s Shipping Proposals:

According to the report, in July 2021, the European Commission published a set of proposals to decarbonize the maritime sector. However, what quietly not mentioned, is that the proposed carbon pricing scheme (ETS) and the low GHG fuel standard (FuelEU Maritime) will only apply to ships above 5,000 GT and exclude a number of ship types such as offshore vessels, fishing vessels and.... yachts.

It appears that a size threshold was implemented after the fact precisely the allow yachts to be among the vessels exempt from the regulation. The problem is that by setting the threshold so high, ships accounting for nearly 20% of the EU’s shipping emissions - would be exemplt, double what the Commission originally claimed the exemption would cover.

Or, as T&E puts it, the "EU shipping proposals exempt as much pollution as Denmark's total annual CO2 emmissions."

Again, this is just so Europe's aged oligarchs can invite their 20-year-old Russian mistresses on board their yachts on anchor next to Monte Carlo.

In the report, T&E writes that it has analyzed the current proposals to find that too many heavily emitting ships would be let off the hook. T&E instead "recommends a system which is based on an emissions threshold and not based on size. This would cover more emissions without adding an administrative burden to the industry."

Of course, that will never happen because such a system would no longer exempt yachts. And since the core tenet of the entire Green/ESG farce is to make two sets of rules: one for the 0.001% and another for everyone else, peasants will be told to accept it... and if they dare take their masks off when protesting, they will be send straight to the Australian concentration camps pardon 5-star quarantine facilities.


So much for the myriad claims about going “beyond coal.”

According to a new report from the Rhodium Group, U.S. coal consumption jumped by 17 percent last year compared to 2020 levels. That’s a huge increase, which Rhodium says was “largely driven by a run-up in natural gas prices.” Rather than burn gas, which averaged about $4.93 per million Btu last year — more than two times the price in 2020 — many electricity producers chose to burn coal instead.

The surge in domestic coal use is significant for two reasons. First, it proves again that coal remains an essential fuel for electricity producers both here in the U.S. and around the world. Second, it shows that the Biden administration’s pledge to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035 is little more than wishful thinking.

Hate coal if it makes you happy, but the reality is that power producers have relied on it ever since Thomas Edison used it to fuel the world’s first central power plant in Lower Manhattan in 1882. Indeed, the jump in domestic consumption is part of a surge in global demand for coal, which still accounts for about 36 percent of global electricity generation. Last month, the International Energy Agency reported that “global coal power generation is on course to increase by 9 percent in 2021 to 10,350 terawatt-hours (TWh) — a new all-time high.” The agency also reported that “coal demand may well hit a new all-time high in the next two years.”

The increase in coal use provides yet more evidence for what I call the “Iron Law of Electricity,” which says that “People, businesses and countries will do whatever they have to do to get the electricity they need.” That law was on display in November, at the COP26 summit in Glasgow where India, China and other developing countries rejected a deal that called for a “phase-out” of coal-fired power plants. Instead, the final Glasgow agreement called for countries to “phase down” their use of the carbon-heavy fuel.

While Asian countries account for the biggest share of global coal use — China alone uses more than half the world’s coal — the Iron Law of Electricity also applies to Europe and Japan. During the third quarter of 2021, coal’s share of Germany’s electricity mix increased by 5.5 percent over the same period in 2020. That increase was due, in part, to lower production from the country’s wind-energy sector. France, which usually gets about 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear plants, is also considering burning more coal to replace some of the juice that it was getting from several reactors that have been shut down for repairs. Meanwhile, Japan is planning to build some 21 coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of more than 12,000 megawatts over the next decade or so.

Last week, John Hanekamp, a coal-industry consultant based in St. Louis, told me in a phone interview that global supplies can’t keep pace with demand. He said that domestic power generators are competing for coal with European utilities who are struggling to find enough hydrocarbons to keep the lights on. “There’s a bidding war because there isn’t enough coal to go around,” he said.

In March, the Biden administration pledged to achieve “100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035.” But the rhetoric simply doesn’t match the reality of our electric grid. In 2020, according to BP, domestic coal-fired electricity generation totaled about 844 terawatt-hours, which was nearly two times more than the 475 terawatt-hours that were produced by all of the solar and wind projects in the country. Gas-fired generation totaled some 1,738 terawatt-hours, or more than three times the total of all solar and wind.

The hard reality is that decarbonizing the global electric grid will require finding economically viable — and socially acceptable — substitutes for coal and natural gas. Sure, renewables are politically popular and they are growing. But both wind and solar are facing increasing headwinds because of land-use conflicts. Since 2015, more than 300 local communities from Maine to Hawaii have rejected or restricted wind projects. The backlash against Big Solar is also gaining momentum. Over the summer, Big Solar projects in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Montana were rejected. Among the most recent rejections: In November, regulators in Henry County, Va., rejected two large proposed solar projects.

Speaking of solar, that “clean" energy sector has an embarrassing supply chain issue. Nearly half of the world’s polysilicon, the key ingredient in solar panels, has been coming from Xinjiang province, where the Chinese government has a program of systematic repression and forced labor. Last year, the U.S. State Department declared that China was practicing "genocide and crimes against humanity" against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, including forced labor to produce polysilicon for solar panels.


Unhappy anniversary: 50 years of climate panic


The recent UN climate summit in Glasgow was predictably branded as our “last chance” to tackle the “climate catastrophe” and “save humanity”. Like many others, US climate envoy John Kerry warned us that we have only nine years left to avert most of “catastrophic” global warming.

Almost every climate summit has been branded as the last chance. Setting artificial deadlines to get attention is one of the most common environmental tactics. We have continually been told for the past half-century that time has just about run out. This message is spectacularly wrong and leads to panic and poor policies.

Three years ago, Britain’s Prince Charles announced we had just 18 months left to fix climate change. This wasn’t his first attempt at deadline-setting. Ten years earlier, he told an audience that he “had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world”.

In 2004, a major British newspaper told us that without drastic action, climate change would destroy civilisation by 2020. It stated that major European cities would be sunk beneath rising seas, Britain would be plunged into a “Siberian” climate, and mega-droughts and famines would lead to widespread rioting and nuclear war.

In 1989, the head of the United Nations’ Environment Program declared we had just three years to “win – or lose – the climate struggle”. In 1982, the UN was predicting planetary “devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust” by the year 2000. At the first UN environment summit in Stockholm in 1972, the organiser and later first UN Environment Program director warned that the world had just 10 years to avoid catastrophe.

In 1972, the world was also rocked by the first global environmental scare, the so-called Limits to Growth report. The authors predicted that most natural resources would run out in a few decades while pollution would overpower humanity. At the time, the future was described by Time magazine as a desolate world with a few gaunt survivors tilling freeway centre strips, hoping for a subsistence crop. Life magazine expected “urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution” by the 1980s.

They were all wrong because they overlooked the greatest resource of all: human ingenuity. We don’t just use up resources; we find smarter ways of making resources more available. At the same time, technology solves many of the most persistent pollution problems, as did the catalytic converter. This is why air pollution in rich countries has been declining for decades.

Nonetheless, after 50 years of stunningly incorrect predictions, climate campaigners, journalists and politicians still hawk an immediate apocalypse to great acclaim by ignoring adaptation. Headlines saying sea level rise could drown 187 million people by the end of the century are foolish. They imagine that hundreds of millions of people will remain stationary while the waters lap over them. More seriously, it absurdly assumes that no nation will build any sea defences.

In the real world, ever-wealthier nations will adapt and protect their citizens better, leading to less flooding, while surprisingly spending an ever-lower share of their GDP on flood and protection costs.

Likewise, when activists tell you climate change will make children face twice as much fire, they rely on computer models that only include temperature and ignore humans. Real societies adapt and reduce fire because fires are costly. That is why global fire statistics show less burned area over the past 120 years and why a future with adaptation sees less, not more fire.

These unsubstantiated scares have real-world consequences. An academic study of young people worldwide found that most suffer from “eco-anxiety”. Two-thirds are scared and sad, while almost half say their worries impact their daily lives. It is irresponsible to scare youths when the UN Climate Panel finds that even if we do nothing to mitigate climate change, the impact by the end of the century will be a reduction of an average income increase from 450 per cent to 438 per cent. A problem, but hardly the end of the world.

Moreover, panic is a terrible policy adviser. Activist politicians in the rich world are tinkering around the edges of addressing climate change, showering subsidies over expensive vanity projects such as electric cars, solar and wind, while the UN finds that it can’t identify an actual impact on emissions from the last decade of climate promulgations.

Despite their grandiose statements of saving the world, 78 per cent of rich countries’ energy still comes from fossil fuels. And as the Glasgow climate summit has shown (for the 26th time), developing nations – whose emissions over the rest of this century matter most – cannot afford to similarly spend trillions on ineffective climate policies as they help their populations escape poverty.

Fifty years of panic clearly haven’t solved climate change. We need a smarter approach that doesn’t scare everyone and focuses on realistic solutions such as adaptation and innovation. Adaptation won’t make all of the cost of climate change vanish, but it will reduce it dramatically.

And by funding the innovation needed to eventually make clean energy cheaper than fossil fuels, we can allow everyone – including developing countries – to sustainably go green.


Climate authoritarians and the lessons of history

To their own peril as well as everyone else's, climate alarmists are increasingly embracing authoritarianism.

A rump group of the environmental movement has always been wedded to authoritarianism. Going back to the beginnings of the environmental movement, Progressive-era politicians such as President Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, the first head of the newly created U.S. Forest Service, believed that democracy and markets were both ill-suited to manage natural resources. Progressives believed natural resources should be controlled, developed, and conserved by elite scientific managers and bureaucrats unbeholden to the wishes of the public.

Later, as detailed by Alston Chase in his powerful book In a Dark Wood, many Nazis were at least in part inspired by an expansive vision of environmental purity.

Although few if any progressives were full-on misanthropes, there have always been some of these within the environmental movement, pushing for increasingly extreme actions in defense of the environment and against human use of natural resources. The misanthropic wing of the movement has referred to humanity as "a cancer," "a virus," and "a parasite," with some openly hoping for a killer virus to come along and wipe out most of humanity. Eco-philosopher Arne Naess, who coined the term "deep ecology," said the ideal human population on Earth is 200 million, and he called for policies and personal actions to achieve that goal as soon as possible. Others have estimated the "optimal" human population as 1.5 to two billion people and claimed this justifies population engineering, including both "active" and "passive" means to get there.

Now even the academic literature is embracing climate authoritarianism as the world's allegedly last best hope to avert supposedly apocalyptic climate change.

The Cambridge University Press journal, the American Political Science Review, recently published an article, "Political Legitimacy, Authoritarianism, and Climate Change," which begins by asking, "Is authoritarian power ever legitimate?" The author, Ross Mittiga, answers with a resounding "yes!" Pointing to the restrictions many governments established in response to COVID-19 as the type of emergency justifying authoritarian limits on freedom, the author states, "Climate change poses an even graver threat to public safety. Consequently, I argue, legitimacy may require a similarly authoritarian approach."

Mittiga says climate change is a greater threat than COVID-19 and therefore justifies long-term restrictions on life choices even stricter than those imposed over the past two years. How the public will respond to that might best be judged by the visible street protests to ongoing or newly imposed restrictions in Europe and elsewhere, and the people widely flouting mask mandates, fighting vaccine mandates, and publicly sharing information about adverse vaccine reactions and COVID-19 cases among the fully vaccinated in the United States. This type of pushback presents a problem for Mittiga unless the type of authoritarian solutions he supports are much more like those of North Korea, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, China under Mao, and Russia under Stalin than what the liberal democracies have dared to attempt thus far.

Based on the evidence, I believe that no climate crisis is in the offing, that science shows that the modest warming of the past century and any reasonably expected warming in the coming century have not caused calamity or even worsening weather extremes and are unlikely to do so. But even if I'm wrong, authoritarianism is the worst possible response to the climate crisis.

Climate alarmists praise China, ignoring the fact that it produces more greenhouse gases than every other industrialized economy on Earth combined, and its emissions are growing.

People like Mittiga and others who embrace authoritarianism as a solution to the climate crisis somehow believe they will be the anointed ones wielding power if liberal democracies are displaced by authoritarian governments. I'm sure Robespierre and Trotsky felt the same, but history tells a very different story. China's treatment of its environmental protesters should be a cautionary lesson. Environmentalism doesn't thrive under authoritarian rule.

If climate alarmists help bring down liberal democracies around the globe and replace them with authoritarian rule, they will most likely enjoy a fate similar to that suffered by Ernst Röhm and the Brownshirts when Hitler no longer needed them and perceived them as a threat to his power.

History shows revolutions resulting in dictatorships typically eat their children and those who they overthrew alike, indiscriminately and with equal fervor and self-perceived righteous indignation.

Authoritarianism is bad, regardless of the cause it purportedly serves. Painting evil green does not make it better.




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