Tuesday, June 05, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt: Trump put America first when he withdrew from Paris Accord one year ago

One year ago, on June 1, 2017, President Trump boldly and courageously announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

This was a historic moment that upheld the president’s campaign promise and demonstrated to the world that he puts the American people first. The president’s decision, together with his decisive actions through regulatory reforms and tax relief, is unleashing the American economy.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.9 percent – a low not seen since 2000. Since Election Day, the economy has added 3.3 million new jobs and wages are rising.

The president’s actions rejected the misguided narrative that we must choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy. That is a false choice. And it is inconsistent with America’s environmental track record. We can do both, and we have done both – better than any other nation, in fact.

The president’s actions rejected the misguided narrative that we must choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy. That is a false choice. And it is inconsistent with America’s environmental track record.

From 2000 to 2014, we reduced our carbon dioxide footprint by more than 7 percent. More recently, the Energy Information Administration projects that from 2010 to 2018 total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are falling by nearly 7 percent. In contrast, global emissions are increasing by 10 percent.

We have also made incredible strides improving air quality throughout the nation over the past several decades. Since 1970, total emissions of the six criteria air pollutants regulated under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards established through the Clean Air Act have dropped 73 percent.

These achievements are attributed largely to American innovation, such as highly effective pollution-control equipment, advanced production technologies, and increasingly efficient practices across all sectors of our economy.

It is the genius of the free market, not burdensome government mandates, that has delivered this unrivaled accomplishment.

The previous administration threatened to derail this progress through regulatory overreach. But President Trump’s actions ensure that we will continue to promote America’s energy independence and economic growth, while also protecting the environment.

Under the commitments made by the prior administration, the Paris Agreement was estimated to put at risk as many as 2.7 million American jobs by 2025, according to NERA Economic Consulting.

At the same time, the Paris Agreement imposed no serious emissions reduction obligations on China or India for many years. On top of this, the Paris Agreement would also require the United States to contribute billions of American taxpayer dollars in the coming years, with no clear benefit to hardworking Americans.

President Trump understood that this was a bad deal for the American people.

The president’s actions declared to the world that this administration will put the American people first. The days of Washington prioritizing the interests of other countries over the interests of the American people are over.

Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, the Environmental Protection Agency has refocused on its core responsibilities of protecting human health and the environment.

We are making tremendous progress on these fronts, including working cooperatively with states to improve air quality throughout the country, accelerating the cleanup of contaminated lands in the Superfund program, and incentivizing repairs to the nation’s water infrastructure.

Our booming economy and improved environment are a uniquely American success story that should be recognized, celebrated, and replicated around the world. We owe no apologies to other nations for our environmental stewardship.

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement was one of the earliest indications of his commitment to put America first. From regulatory reforms to tax relief, the president continues to take decisive action on behalf of hardworking Americans. America is stronger today because of President Trump’s actions.


British Offshore Windfarm Will Cost £2.5 Billion In Subsidies

A single offshore wind farm is set to cost £2.5 billion in subsidies over its 20 year life-span, shocking figures reveal.

Newly constructed Rampion wind farm, off the Sussex coast, consists of 116 turbines.

The project’s HQ was opened this week by hard-hat-toting Maria Caulfield MP.

Guido wonders whether she is aware the project is a black hole for bill payer’s money…

According to analysis by the Global Warming Policy Forum, the project will qualify for about £126 million a year in public subsidies over two decades (under legacy arrangements made before the cancellation of the Renewables Obligation).


“The wholesale price of the electricity will only add about another £60 million a year, so roughly two thirds of the annual income of the project will be non-market public support.”

The return on the huge investments involved will mostly come from the public purse, not from selling electricity…

Moreover, an equivalent investment in gas-fired power plants could generate three times as much energy, subsidy-free. And they work all the time, on demand…


BMW, Daimler Struggle As Europe’s CO2 Plans At Risk Of Coming Undone

European plans to tackle vehicle emissions that cause climate change are at risk of coming undone, sending car manufacturers such as Daimler and BMW back to the drawing board to avoid potential fines.

A series of events over the past weeks have highlighted the region’s struggle to contain greenhouse gases and air pollution, wrong-footing automakers including BMW and Volkswagen Group that remain reliant on engines running on diesel.

“It’s safe to say our original premises and plans to meet fleet emissions goals are good for the bin,” said Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler. “We think we can meet them still, but it’s not totally up to us but depends on how the customer decides to act.”

Policies to lower emissions were clouded by the revelation last month by the EU that the amount of carbon dioxide produced by new cars rose last year, reversing at least seven years of steady decline of the greenhouse gas in many countries. A further sign of cracks in the system was the bloc’s decision to resort to suing Germany and five other member states for exceeding air pollution limits.

Finally, in a direct blow to automakers, Hamburg became the first German city to impose driving restrictions on some cars running on diesel — a fuel that produces less CO2 than gasoline but more harmful air pollutants.

If manufacturers fail to comply with emissions rules, they are at risk of projected fines of 4.5 billion euros ($5.3 billion), according to study by PA Consulting.

The root of the European problem over emissions can mostly be traced to Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal that erupted in 2015 and caused consumers to shun vehicles running on the fuel partly because of fears they would be outlawed.

A landmark German court decision in February allowed bans in principle, causing people to give up diesel even faster despite offers from automakers to clean up older models and take back cars in the event of restrictions.

Diesel’s collapse has upended a core plank in the EU’s strategy to lower greenhouse gases: namely to encourage, at least in the short-term, use of the engine technology because it burns hydrocarbons more efficiently than gasoline, thereby cutting carbon emissions.

That policy stemmed from a successful lobbying effort by automakers in Europe for incentives to make diesel cheaper after the 1997 signing of the global Kyoto protocol climate change agreement, which required signatories to commit to cutting CO2. Manufacturers like BMW, VW and Daimler sought to capitalize on their engineering prowess in diesel technology, while other countries, like Japan, backed research into hybrid and electric cars.


New Scientific Evidence Robustly Affirms Scandinavian Temperatures Were 3-4°C Warmer 9000 Years Ago

Because trees may only grow within narrowly-defined temperature ranges and elevations above sea level, perhaps the most reliable means of assessing the air temperatures of past climates is to collect ancient treeline evidence.  In a new paper, Kullman (2018) found tree remnants at mountain sites 600 to 700 meters higher than where the modern treeline ends, strongly implying Early Holocene air temperatures in northern Sweden were 3-4°C warmer than recent decades.

Kullman, 2018:

“The present paper reports results from an extensive project aiming at improved understanding of postglacial subalpine/alpine vegetation, treeline, glacier and climate history in the Scandes of northern Sweden. The main methodology is analyses of mega fossil tree remnants, i.e. trunks, roots and cones, recently exposed at the fringe of receding glaciers and snow/ice patches. This approach has a spatial resolution and accuracy, which exceeds any other option for tree cover reconstruction in high-altitude mountain landscapes.”

“All recovered tree specimens originate from exceptionally high elevations, about 600-700 m atop of modern treeline positions.”
“Conservatively drawing on the latter figure and a summer temperature lapse rate of 0.6 °C per 100 m elevation (Laaksonen 1976), could a priori mean that, summer temperatures were at least 4.2 °C warmer than present around 9500 year before present.

However, glacio-isostatic land uplift by at least 100 m since that time (Möller 1987; Påsse & Anderson 2005) implies that this figure has to be reduced to 3.6 °C higher than present-day levels, i.e. first decades of the 21st century. Evidently, this was the warmth peak of the Holocene, hitherto.”

“This inference concurs with paleoclimatic reconstructions from Europe and Greenland (Korhola et al. 2002; Bigler et al. 2003; Paus 2013; Luoto et al. 2014; Väliranta et al. 2015).”


Retiring more nuclear plants could hurt Mass. climate goals

A reality check: Last year, solar panels and wind turbines generated less than 5 percent of the utility-scale electricity generated in Massachusetts. That’s despite consistent state support for renewable power for the last two decades, and the amazing growth of renewables in windier and sunnier states. Most of the state’s zero-carbon electricity instead comes from nuclear power — specifically, the aging Pilgrim and Seabrook nuclear power plants.

Nuclear’s role in meeting New England’s greenhouse gas goals is underappreciated, but the numbers are sobering: When the 680 megawatt Pilgrim reactor closes next year, it will remove in one day more zero-emission electricity production than all the new windmills and solar panels Massachusetts has added over the last 20 years. That big offshore wind farm that the state wants built in the waters off Southeastern Massachusetts? The $2 billion project could have made inroads against fossil fuels. Instead, those turbines will just be filling, on windy days, the hole that will be left after Pilgrim’s closure.

Massachusetts has anointed itself a leader on tackling climate change. But other states, including Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey, have set the pace when it comes to the politically difficult steps needed to save the nuclear industry, which is still the source of most of the country’s zero-emission electricity. Massachusetts needs to catch up. Pilgrim may be a lost cause, but by adjusting its policies now, the state could help prevent the larger 1,250 megawatt reactor at Seabrook in New Hampshire from meeting the same fate.

The existing support for low-emission sources, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, has shown that it’s too modest to do the job. The multistate cap-and-trade program is designed to reduce emissions by putting a price on carbon dioxide, effectively giving nonemitting sources a competitive advantage. But it wasn’t enough to save Pilgrim, and it hasn’t been enough to stop planned or previous nuclear closures in other member states, including Vermont and New York.

Another way to backstop nuclear is via an expansion of the state’s new clean energy standard, a new policy that requires utilities to obtain a more of their electricity from low-emission sources in Massachusetts or nearby jurisdictions. The utilities would be required to buy credits from low-emission electricity producers. Right now, those sources must have started operating after 2010 to qualify. But the Baker administration is considering pushing the requirement back to 1990, the year that Seabrook opened. That would allow the plant to make money by selling those credits.

That might be a tough sell — partly because of decades of fearmongering about nuclear power, and partly because state officials fear making ratepayers pay for a source that might stay in business anyway. Seabrook’s owners have not indicated any plans to close the plant, and its larger size should make it more economically viable than Pilgrim.

But without intervention, the writing is on the wall for nuclear power. Five nuclear plants have closed over the last few years, hammered by competition from cheap natural gas. More closures are planned. Natural gas is expected to remain at rock-bottom prices for decades. That’s been good for consumers and the environment, since the low prices have also pushed many coal and oil-burning plants out of business, but it does call for a policy solution to help nuclear survive.

To some environmental groups, nothing short of 100 percent renewable power will ever be acceptable. But that’s putting ideology ahead of emissions. If the state were to rule out supporting nuclear — or other low-emission options, like fossil fuel plants with carbon capture, a technology that has already been proven in Massachusetts — that choice would commit the state to an expensive future and a real risk of failure.

Massachusetts doesn’t have favorable onshore wind and sun conditions; offshore wind has more potential, but is years away. Importing ever-increasing amounts of hydropower from Canada is an option, and the state is also pursuing a power line through Maine in a separate procurement, but the northern New England states seem to be running out of patience with Massachusetts’ transmission demands.

So why make the state’s reduction goals harder to reach than they already are? To keep the region’s climate goals achievable, policy makers should ensure that Pilgrim is the last nuclear power plant that New England loses.




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: