Monday, November 20, 2017

Norway shakes oil world by dumping oil and gas investments

This is just typical Leftist silliness.  All it does is impoverish the seller and enable other investors to pick up a bargain

Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund has unveiled plans to dump its entire holding in oil and gas companies in a $37 billion sell-off that was welcomed by campaign groups but put downward pressure on share prices.

The $1 trillion fund, which manages the assets of the oil-rich nation, signalled its intent to prune its exposure to companies including BP and Royal Dutch Shell in a move aimed at making it less vulnerable to a permanent drop in the price of crude.

Norway is western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer, pumping just under 1.8 million barrels per day, or roughly double the UK’s output.


Virginia goes Don Quixote

State will defy Trump, double down on renewables and CO2 reductions – and hurt poor families

Paul Driessen

Democrat Ralph Northam had barely won the Virginia governor’s race when his party announced it would impose a price on greenhouse gases emissions, require a 3% per year reduction in GHG emissions, and develop a cap-and-trade scheme requiring polluters to buy credits for emitting carbon dioxide.

Meanwhile, liberal governors from California, Oregon and Washington showed up at the COP23 climate confab in Bonn, Germany to pledge that their states will remain obligated to the Paris climate treaty, and push ahead with even more stringent emission, electric vehicle, wind, solar and other programs.

Leaving aside the unconstitutional character of states signing onto an international agreement that has been repudiated by President Trump (and the absurdity of trying to blame every slight temperature change and extreme weather event on fossil fuels), there are major practical problems with all of this.

Attempting to abate, control or limit CO2 from electric power facilities has consequences. It means creating “carbon capture and storage” systems that don’t work, are huge energy hogs, drive up electricity prices, and leave us with the massive, unaddressed problem of where to put all the carbon dioxide – depriving crop and habitat plants of this essential miracle nutrient, and risking sudden catastrophic CO2 eruptions from whatever underground storage facilities might actually get approved.

It means forcing the premature shutdown of fully functional coal and gas-fired power plants – with no viable alternatives to replace them. Virginia has two nuclear power plants, and it is unlikely that the current or incoming Democrat governor (or any of their “progressive” supporters) would support building new nuke units, or even new pumped storage systems in the state’s mountainous areas.

The supposed wind and solar alternatives involve massive land use, environmental, ecological, economic, and human health and welfare impacts. Based on my previous rough calculations, using wind power to replace all current US electricity generation (3.5 billion megawatt-hours per year) … and charge batteries for seven windless days of backup power … would require some 14 million 1.8-MW bird-killing turbines, each one 330 to 410 feet tall, across some 210 million acres (twice the size of California). The backup power would require some 700 billion 100-kWh Tesla battery packs (also requiring vast acreage).

The raw materials required to build all these turbines, batteries and transmission lines – would be astronomical; the earth removal, mining, processing, smelting and manufacturing even more so. And this doesn’t even consider what it would take to replace today’s vehicles with electric versions, or (in a truly fantasy world) replacing the energy for foundries, refineries and factories with wind or solar power.

The USA has made virtually all of its mineralized areas off limits to exploration and mining. So this grand transition would make us 100% dependent on foreign suppliers for wind (and solar) energy.

Another net effect would be soaring electricity prices, forcing countless factories and businesses to close their doors, affecting livelihoods and living standards, especially among the poor, minority and blue-collar families that liberal politicians and activists profess to care so deeply about.

Right now, average Virginia families pay $1,500 a year for electricity. At California prices, their annual electricity bills would increase by $875; at German rates, by a whopping additional $2,900 a year!

At its current 8¢ cents per kilowatt-hour, Virginia’s Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital pays about $1.6 million annually for electricity. At California’s or Germany’s business rate (18¢ per kWh), the hospital would have to shell out $3.6 million for electricity. That unsustainable $2 million annual increase in the cost of keeping lights, heat, air conditioning, surgery centers and diagnostic equipment running would result in employee layoffs, reduced services, higher medical bills and declining patient care.

At 8¢ per kWh, the United States can power its homes, hospitals, businesses and industries for $280 billion annually. At German or California business and industry rates (18¢ a kWh), that electricity would cost $630 billion a year. At German family rates (35¢ a kWh), an economy-busting $1.2 trillion!

Equally important, California, Oregon and Washington are uniquely advantaged. Thanks primarily to Works Progress Administration dams, Oregon gets 43% of its electricity from hydroelectric projects; Washington gets 75% from hydro. California not only enjoys such mild climate that 40% of its homes don’t have air conditioning, and a seventh don’t have heating; it imports 25% of its electricity from other states. (And yet California’s electricity rates are the second highest in the Lower 48 States.)

Obviously, not every state can import one-fourth of its electricity from other states. As Margaret Thatcher would say, at some point you run out of other people’s energy. Not every state has or can have hydroelectric (which rabid greens also hate). Not every state has abundant sun or wind – and the best sites would likely be litigated until Hell freezes over. Few states have the topography for pumped storage.

As they demand de-carbonization (and thus de-industrialization) for the entire country, California, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and other “We Are Still In” (the Paris climate treaty) states, cities, businesses and organizations claim they now represent one-half of the US Gross Domestic Product. They also call themselves the Under2 Coalition, claiming they can prevent Earth’s post-1850, post-Little Ice Age, industrial era average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees C (1/2 degree above today’s.

However, amid all their demands and sanctimonious moral preening, these WASI members studiously neglect to mention what IPCC officials have said are the true primary goals of climate policy: replacing capitalism with a new centralized world economic order, and redistributing world wealth and resources.

They likewise ignore the real reason all those developing countries signed the Paris accords … and what all the rancor in Bonn has been about: poor nations were promised hundreds of billions of dollars in Green Climate Fund “adaptation and reparation” money from the very nations they demand must de-carbonize and de-industrialize. They want their loot right now, with no more delays or excuses.

The Paris Climate Treaty would have obligated the United States to pay over $20 billion per year initially – rising to more than $100 billion per year by 2030! So if they love Paris so much, these half-of-US-GDP WASI members should be obligated … and happy … to pay one-half of the USA’s Green Climate Fund obligations: $10 billion in 2017, rising steadily to $50 billion a year by 2030.

In reality, they won’t try, want or be able to meet any of the Paris requirements. It’s all Resistance, hype and holier-than-thou pixie dust. That’s why the WASI acronym is more accurately translated as We Are Still Ideologues – Intransigent, Irresponsible and Insane.

Their “we can opt into Paris” attitude also raises the interesting question of whether communities in those states (especially rural counties that voted for candidate Trump) can opt out of their de-carbonization, cap-and-trade, pseudo-renewable, pseudo-sustainable, unreliable wind and solar energy schemes. Especially if there was no debate and no statewide vote – on issues like those raised in this article – why should those most severely impacted by these schemes not be able to opt out of them?

Net US greenhouse gas emissions declined 11.5% from 2005 to 2015 – because the Obama EPA forced coal-fired power plants to shut down, more switched to natural gas, energy efficiencies increased, and a hyper-regulated US economy used less energy. Indeed, the USA is miles ahead of any other country in reducing its CO2 emissions since 2000. The next closest is the UK, which reduced its emissions by barely a fourth of the US amount. But WASI/Under2 demands would have horrendous adverse repercussions.

Meanwhile, developing countries built hundreds of coal-fired generating units, have 1,600 more under construction or in planning, and are driving millions of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks. They will not give up fossil fuel electricity generation and rely on wind and solar – though they will be happy to sell turbines and panels to WASI members. So all the US, EU and WASI sacrifices will achieve nothing.

WASI members are not just sanctimoniously tilting at windmills. They are demanding that others kowtow to their climate alarmism and imposing real harm on real people. America and the world must not base energy, ecological, health and welfare policies on Don Quixote fantasies.

Via email

Dems compete with Trump at Bonn climate summit

Dueling U.S. delegations are competing for attention at this week’s United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany — the official team and a competing one made up of Democratic officials opposed to President Trump’s decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The annual gathering of nations and environmentalists has heard separate cases about the U.S. interest in that agreement, laying bare the division in the United States between Trump and his energy industry backers and Democrats.

“Whatever the president may say about climate, he cannot stop clean energy,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), one of five U.S. senators who attended the conference last weekend as part of the counter-delegation. “He’s a powerful man, but he’s not a monarch, and we are going to continue the clean energy revolution.”

This 23rd Conference of the Parties, or COP 23, has lower stakes than the meeting two years ago that yielded the landmark Paris climate agreement, which was designed to cut global greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet the meeting still has importance as delegates negotiate a rulebook for how countries will comply with the Paris agreement and prepare to take stock at next year’s conference in Poland of where the world stands in achieving its goals.

The Trump administration’s message to attendees, which is based on an energy agenda that props up coal and other fossil fuel industries, contradicts much of what other leaders said.

At an event Monday, White House advisers promoted the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels equipped with emissions controls as a way to grow electricity access around the world while also trying to cut down on climate change-causing greenhouse gases.

“The significant cuts in emissions envisioned by the framework and by the Paris agreement require advanced technologies, including [carbon capture and sequestration],” George Banks, Trump’s adviser for international energy and the environment, said Monday.

“The math otherwise does not work, no matter how much we want it to.”

Most other speakers at the conference — and the competing U.S. delegation — are focused on cutting emissions, switching to renewable power and mitigating the impacts climate change is already having around the world.

While Trump has suggested the U.S. could stay in the climate accord if the world would renegotiate it, White House officials told reporters before COP 23 that they wouldn’t aim to renegotiate the Paris agreement while there.

Still, Trump officials have negotiated aggressively during the event, with Banks telling reporters that their top goal was preventing easier rules under climate agreement for developing countries. Judith Garber, the United States’ lead climate negotiator, will speak to the conference on Wednesday.

The Democratic senators, governors and environmentalists who travelled to Bonn have aimed to reaffirm the country’s commitments under the Paris deal made by former President Obama.

“The rest of the world’s got to carry the ball while we’re temporarily in America off to the sidelines,” California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said at the conference. “But there’s still California, there’s still New York, Washington, Oregon, all these other places, and there’s still corporations.”

They also went out of their way to diminish the Trump administration's talking points.

“This is a sideshow; it is a blip,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said at an impromptu press conference before Banks’s session on Monday.

“The world is not paying any attention to it, because the world is not going to listen to someone who says that climate change is a hoax. Climate change is a fact. It is just as certain as the laws of gravity. Every single other nation in the world today understands it, and so do our states and so do our people. So this isn’t going to have an impact on the world today.”

Trump’s approach to climate change has been a jarring one for many world leaders, who worked closely with the Obama administration on climate measures during his presidency. In public appearances this week, they focused more on the pro-Paris American delegation.

“I am very encouraged to see all the good side events that have been taking place in the American states’ pavilion, because that reflects what’s happening in the United States at the moment: real climate action on the ground,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s energy and climate commissioner.

“I would like to say that I very much welcome this, because it underlines the importance attached to climate protection in broad swaths of the American society, irrespective of the decision of President Trump to leave the climate agreement of Paris,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a plenary event.

The idea of parallel U.S. delegations is not unprecedented, and was common during the presidency of George W. Bush, when Democrats and environmentalists sought to contrast themselves with Bush’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.

“But I’d say a much starker contrast at this point,” said Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and a veteran of the U.N. climate conferences.

Diringer said State Department negotiators — usually career diplomats who have long represented the nation in climate talks — are still participating in good faith in the talks, though Trump officials sent a far smaller contingent than in the past.

“Both the unofficial and official U.S. presence are generally appreciated,” Diringer said from Bonn.

“People are glad to see the U.S. negotiators still at the table, and they’re very glad to see the presence of senators, governors and others demonstrating the huge momentum for climate action back home.”

Trump’s supporters, meanwhile, are very happy with what the official delegation is doing.

Marc Morano, an outspoken climate change skeptic and head of the website Climate Depot, said the coal event — and the protests and negative reaction to it — served to show how unreasonable Trump’s opponents are.

“I think they’re content to step back and let the states do all the grandstanding. Ultimately, I don’t think the Trump administration, or Trump himself, gives a damn about this conference, one way or another,” said Morano, who is attending the event. “Frankly, as a skeptic, that’s very refreshing.”


Poland Ready For Showdown With EU Over Climate Change As Trump Sends 74,000 Tonnes Of Coal

Poland is on a collision course with EU chiefs over its continued heavy use of fossil fuels, as the country prepares to receive its first shipment of US coal.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło has warned MEPs she will “throw it back at them” if they criticise her nation’s carbon consumption at next month’s EU summit.

And that could set the scene for more stand-offs next year, when Poland hosts the next round of UN climate talks.

The EU is playing a leading role in the Paris climate accord, which aims to radically cut global carbon emissions. But Poland, the EU’s biggest coal burning nation, is at odds with Brussels over the targets.

The ruling Law and Justice party are unapologetically pro-mining, a belief shared by US President Donald Trump, who visited the country in the summer and said: “Whenever you need energy, just give us a call.”

Poland has taken the President – who wants to exit the Paris agreement – at his word. This week The Navios Helios, a vessel carrying a 73,616 tonne coal shipment for Weglokoks from Baltimore, is expected to enter the harbour in Gdansk.

The new trade arrangement is mutually beneficial – Poland has to meet a shortfall left by the failure of national mining giant PGG to achieve its production targets, while US miners are relying on export growth as power utilities at home switch to cheaper, cleaner alternatives.

Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski rejected any suggestion of a fuel crisis due to the problems at PGG, even though smaller traders have often queued for coal in recent weeks.

He told reporters: “A psychosis related to coal shortages has appeared on the market. “I can say that this winter no one will be cold in their homes because of a lack of coal.”

He declined to comment on the US import.

Meanwhile, EU ministers are meeting in Bonn today, where they are expected to tell Poland to “do more” on climate change – particularly by ratifying the Doha amendment, the second stage of the Kyoto Protocol, predecessor of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Ironically, next year’s climate conference will be held in the southern city of Katowice – the centre of the coal-producing Silesia region and PGG’s home.

The timing of Warsaw’s new-found fondness for American coal will be a concern to Brussels and the UN as a whole.

Polish imports of US coal have already leapt more than 500 per cent in the first half of this year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

And in promoting a national coal industry and trying to preserve jobs in traditional heavy industries, Poland has far more in common with President Trump than almost any other EU member.
However, while Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris agreement, Warsaw is staying in.

The government of Silesian-born miner’s daughter Szydlo has opposed EU policies to reduce carbon emissions as they set binding targets, but backs the Paris deal as it did not impose specific obligations on signatories.


Australia slow at adopting electric cars

In the race to adopt electric vehicles, Australia is sputtering along in the slow lane.

Rather than growing, Australian sales of electric cars are actually in decline. In 2016 they represented just 0.02 per cent of new car sales — even lower than in 2013.

Contrast that with Norway, the country with the highest levels of electric car adoption. Almost 30 per cent of new cars sold there in 2016 were electric.

Why are Australian motorists rejecting electric cars while those in other advanced economies are embracing them? As the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) has previously pointed out, high vehicle prices are an obvious barrier.

But that is only part of the answer.

Our current research, in which we used online questionnaires to survey Australian motorists' attitudes to electric vehicles, suggests that a comprehensive network of recharging stations — particularly on popular intercity routes, is essential to encourage drivers to go electric. This seems to be even more important than subsidising the cost of the cars themselves.

Rechargers on highways, in country towns and at service centres need to be fast and convenient, so that motorists are not unduly delayed. Without the right charging infrastructure, there is no foundation to allow Australian motorists to go electric with confidence.

The average Australian motorist drives 36 kilometres per day for all passenger vehicles. This is well within the range of modern fully electric vehicles - more than 150km for the models on sale in Australia — and actually less than Norwegians, who drive more than 40km a day on average.

Norwegian drivers also enjoy the highest proportion of rechargers in the world. But on another criterion the world leader is Estonia. It's credited as the first nation to build a country-wide network, with a recharging station every 50km on major roads, and one in every town with a population of at least 5,000.




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: