Thursday, June 09, 2022

European Union upholds proposed 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel cars

A good opportunity for China if it happens. But it won't. To implement it, agreement from all EU member states would be needed -- and at least some of the Eastern states would object

Representatives from the European Union have rejected pressure from the auto industry and voted to uphold a proposed ban on new internal-combustion engine (ICE) cars from 2035.

An amendment had been presented to the European Parliament which would have required manufacturers to have reduced new-car emissions by 90 per cent by 2035, according to Automotive News Europe, rather than the full 100 per cent originally proposed by the European Commission in 2021.

However, the 100 per cent target was upheld. While the ban has yet to be written into law, many European carmakers have already indicated their intentions to drop ICE vehicles by 2030 or sooner.

Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ford, and Mini are all set to switch to battery power in their European-market models by the end of the decade, with many others brands set to follow in the early 2030s.

Despite the announcements from car companies, lawmakers in the bloc were unsuccessfully lobbied by automotive associations to reduce the 2035 ban on ICE cars to 90 per cent.

This latest vote cements the European Commission’s position ahead of upcoming negotiations with member states before the law is finalised


Deadly Summer Blackouts Inevitable As Renewables Struggle To Replace Reliable Energy

Americans will need to brace for deadly blackouts under a hotter-than-usual summer, warned a major energy non-profit in a sobering report last week.

On Wednesday, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released its annual summer assessment covering June through September with grim predictions of repeated blackouts throughout the country. The entire western United States, along with a majority of the Midwest, Texas, and the western south, face “high” or “elevated” risks of “energy emergencies” brought by severe drought, unreliable solar, and supply chain issues hampering conventional sources.

“We’ve been doing this for close to 30 years,” NERC Director of Reliability Assessment and Performance Analysis John Moura told CBS News. “This is probably one of the grimmest pictures we’ve painted in a while.”

Last week, the summer outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast temperatures above what the agency considers normal compared to the prior 143 years with relatively low precipitation across much of the west and the plains.

Lack of water and higher-than-normal temperatures are expected to stress the nation’s power grid beyond capacity. Low water levels, the NERC emphasizes, will limit plants’ ability to keep cool while directly reducing power generated by hydroelectric dams.

“Energy output from hydro generators throughout most of the Western United States is being affected by widespread drought and below-normal snowpack,” the authors wrote.

Solar panels, on the other hand, will be unable to generate power from the sun once clouded out by smoke from wildfires, seemingly worse every year as a consequence of negligent land management. Critically, Moura told BNN Bloomberg the early retirement of fossil fuel plants shares much of the blame for this year’s vulnerabilities in the nation’s energy infrastructure.

“The pace of our grid transformation is out of sync,” Moura told the paper as President Joe Biden rushes to promote unreliable renewables in the place of reliable, lower-cost coal and natural gas. At the same time, the Biden administration is shutting down domestic energy projects in the form of fossil fuels even as gas prices continue to reach new records daily.

Larry Behrens, the communications director for the energy non-profit Power the Future, blamed the coming blackouts on “the failed green agenda,” highlighting New Mexico as a prime example.

“In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has forced the state to embrace her own ‘mini’ Green New Deal and now the state faces blackouts as reliable power is abandoned while hard-working men and women lose their jobs,” Behrens told The Federalist.

Grisham signed the climate package in 2019 during her first year in office. It mandates state electricity completely carbon-free by 2045. PNM, the state’s largest power provider, warned of outages in February.

“Make no mistake,” Behrens added, “this is all a man-made energy crisis on the part of leaders who worship at the altar of the green agenda while plunging our country into the dark ages.”

California and Texas have already begun to experience periodic blackouts as a consequence of a rushed transition to intermittent power sources by wind and solar. The rolling blackouts in California fueled in part the September recall effort against Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Power outages are deadly episodes, especially during heat waves when air conditioning no longer becomes available to the elderly. Last summer, officials in Washington attributed the deaths of two women in their 60s to overheating as regional energy distributors implemented rolling blackouts due to overwhelming demand amid a heatwave. Legacy outlets wrongly blamed climate change for the high temperatures.


Beware: 100% green energy could destroy the planet

The untold story about “green energy” is that it can’t possibly be scaled up to provide anywhere near the energy to replace fossil fuels. (Unless we are headed back to the stone ages, which is what some of the “de-growth” advocates favor).

Right now, the United States gets 70% of its energy from fossil fuels. To go to zero over the next 20 years would be economically catastrophic and cost tens of millions of jobs. With gas prices at nearly double their price back from when Trump left office and inflation up from 1.5% to 8% in just 15 months, we are already experiencing the economic damage from the green energy crusaders.

But we also have to ask whether green energy is even good for the environment. Some environmentalists are pointing to a little-noticed study by the World Bank showing that moving toward 100% solar, wind, and electric battery energy would be “just as destructive to the planet as fossil fuels.” This was precisely the conclusion of a story in Foreign Policy magazine, hardly a right-wing publication.

According to the Foreign Policy analysis, moving to a “carbon-free” energy future “requires massive amounts of energy, not to mention the extraction of minerals and metals at great environmental and social costs.”

Here are some of the numbers. Going all-in on batteries, solar, and wind would require

Thirty-four million metric tons of copper,

Forty million tons of lead,

Fifty million tons of zinc,

One hundred and sixty-two million tons of aluminum,

Four-point-eight billion tons of iron.

Those tens of millions of windmills, solar panels, and electric batteries for cars and trucks aren’t exactly biodegradable. So, we will have the most prominent energy graveyard with toxic pollutants that will be 100 times larger than any nuclear waste storage. And yet, the Left is worried about plastic straws!

I’m all for mining for America’s bountiful natural resources of copper, lead, magnesium, and precious metals. But, ironically, it’s the greens that want to shut down mines, which is like saying you want food, but you oppose farming. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Then, the land space is needed for the windmills and solar panels. Bloomberg reports that getting to zero carbon by 2050 would require a land area equal to five South Dakotas “to develop enough clean power to run all the electric vehicles, factories, and more.”

In other words, the liberals are calling for a full-scale industrialization of America’s wilderness and landscape.

Now, even many of the most liberal areas of the country are shouting “no” to green energy in their own backyard. Vermonters are rebelling against unsightly solar panels spoiling their views. According to the Bennington Banner, “Vermont’s utility regulator has rejected permits for two 2 MW solar farms proposed in Bennington, pointing to aesthetic concerns and current land conservation measures in the town plan.”

Meanwhile, a town in Wisconsin is suing state regulators to “stop construction” of what would be “the state’s largest solar project,” according to the Wisconsin Journal.

Even blue Massachusetts residents are fighting green energy projects. Off-shore wind farms are delayed off the coast of Cape Cod, where per capita income is nearly the highest in the country, because they don’t want their ocean views spoiled from their beach-front villas.

In other words, real nature lovers are finally starting to awaken to the reality that wind and solar aren’t so green after all. A nuclear plant takes up at most one square mile of land. Wind and solar farms require hundreds of thousands of acres. So, to provide enough electric power to keep Manhattan lit up at night would require paving over nearly the whole state of Connecticut with windmills and solar farms.

The public is starting to ask: How is any of this green? The Green New Deal strategy makes especially no sense given that by increasing our use of clean-burning and reliable natural gas, we are reducing energy prices AND cutting carbon emissions. Add nuclear power to the mix, and we wouldn’t need to start building wind and solar farms in our forests, deserts, and national parks.


Australia: Poor to suffer as the climate wars bite

As Woke South Australian politicians last week declared a ‘climate emergency’, the reality of Australia’s ill-thought-out climate policy is biting families and businesses.

Regulators are warning of a shortage of gas and the possibility of electricity blackouts for no other reason than bad politics.

The Australian reports:

‘Regulators have warned Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania face potential gas shortages while power supplies in NSW and Queensland will be stretched over the next 24 hours, as (Treasurer) Jim Chalmers declared the economy confronted a “perfect storm’’ of energy price spikes.’

Our nation is blessed with some of the world’s most abundant reserves of energy, yet some people may not be able to heat their homes this winter and all of us are paying through the nose.

How did it come to this?

The answer lies in the shutting down of discussion on climate policy. This censorship has been as ruthless and premature as the shutting of coal-fired power stations which have not been replaced with a suitable or stable generating capacity.

Regardless of where one sits in the debate about the impact of small quantities of human-generated CO2 joining the vast array of naturally occurring CO2 in the atmosphere, it is an incontrovertible fact that our energy policies are driving prices through the roof and reliability through the floor.

Meanwhile, China keeps opening new coal-fired power stations, emitting more CO2 every 16 days than Australia’s entire annual contribution.

This will not stop any time soon.

Even our chief scientist said Australia’s contribution could not influence the temperature of the planet, yet politicians are happy for some pensioners to freeze this winter because they can’t afford their rising utility bills.

For sure, the war in Ukraine is having an impact on global prices, but that is driving the United Kingdom and Europe back to cheaper and more reliable fossil fuels while Australia jettisons reliable energy sources without a viable replacement plan.

The LNP’s Matt Canavan was not wrong to observe that Net Zero, as a policy aim in Europe, is dead.

Reality bites.

The UK is re-thinking plans to close coal mines because windmills and solar panels can’t do the job.

At this crucial moment for energy security, Australians from rich suburbs (who are largely insulated from rising electricity and gas prices) have populated our Parliament with un-costed demands to close fossil fuel generating capacity.

There is no consideration of, or debate about, the consequences.

What happens if there’s not enough power after the premature closures? They don’t know. Mumbling something about ‘battery storage’ isn’t going to cut it when the lights go out.

Even the new Nationals leader, David Littleproud, is turning Teal as out-going leader Barnaby Joyce now admits that Net Zero is not a realistic objective.

He wrote on Facebook this week:

‘Climate policy affects how much is in your wallet and this is becoming more and more evident each day. The question is, are you willing to pay the price for the policy?

When you pay for your power, you are paying for a 2050 target, when you pay for your petrol, you are paying for a 2050 target, when you buy groceries, you are paying for a 2050 target. Some people cannot afford the extra cost of a 2050 target and a 2030 target will massively exacerbate this. These people must be heard.

The nation cannot shut down its major exports, such as coal, gas, live cattle and sheep, losing hundreds of billions of export dollars and associated taxes, but still expect to have the same money for health, education, the NDIS, roads, communication, the arts and defence.’

It’s a shame he wasn’t writing this on Facebook when he was cajoling the Nationals Party room to get on board with Net Zero before then Prime Minister jetted off to the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow last year.

Discussions of ‘green’ policy consequences have not formed part of the election discourse. Politicians sadly kowtow to politically correct and Woke orthodoxy rather than telling us the truth – afraid it would lose them the votes of young apocalyptic ideologues.

But these energy shortages and price hikes are our moment of truth in what was a completely avoidable crisis.

We all want to help the environment, but we need a truthful debate about the costs versus the benefits.

To get that, we must put principled and courageous people in our parliaments.




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