By Paul Homewood
Round up Day 1 in Paris from the GWPF. Much grandstanding and pontificating, but little else!
COP21: Daily GWPF Briefing – Day 1 In The Big Brothers House
- The first day of the UN climate conference in Paris saw a change to the tradition of world leaders attending on final day, instead turning up today to sermonise about the dangers of climate change, in a move the organisers hoped would garner momentum for the conference.
- While the day was full of alarmist grand-standing, one of the few policy developments came from the Australian delegation with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull opting out of a key pledge to phase out fuel subsidies, amid concerns about Australia’s diesel fuel rebates.
- The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told developed countries which powered their way to prosperity on fossil fuels that it would be "morally wrong" if they shift the burden of reducing emissions on developing countries like India. "The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise. Anything else would be morally wrong," he wrote in today’s ‘Financial Times’.
- The language of President Xi Jinping emphasised ‘fairness and justice, a clear signal that China wants Western countries to do the heavy lifting when it comes to climate change.
- Xi Jinping has also demanded that the green gravy-train keeps rolling, asking for Western nations to deliver on their commitment in 2009 to provide $100 billion in climate finance to developing nations by 2020, and even more after that.
- According to Professor Stuart Haszeldine of Edinburgh University, Britain will enter the Paris climate change talks this week “with its credentials as a responsible, low-emission power generator in tatters.” Haszeldine believes George Osborne’s last-minute decision to axe the government’s £1bn support for a scheme to capture and bury carbon dioxide emissions from power stations was a final act that utterly undermined British negotiators’ status in Paris. The fact that Britain has some of the strongest commitments to eradicating coal and has some of the most expensive energy prices for energy intensive users in Europe does not seem to cut it with Professor Haszeldine.
- In some of the stranger developments of the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel linked the conference to standing up to terrorism – “Through our presence here today we show we are stronger than the terrorists”, in comments that were symptomatic of the fervour with which alarmists believe the battle against CO2 must be fought.
- David Cameron continued to pedal the ‘97% myth’ – that 97% of scientists believe climate change would have catastrophic impacts on humanity. In his brief speech, he used a discredited statistic to urge action to prevent what he believes will be the disastrous effects of increased carbon dioxide emissions.
- The fervour with which red-green campaigners want to cut emissions can be seen clearly in the words of Bolivian President Evo Morales, who said “Mother Earth is getting close to the end and the capitalist system is partly responsible for that. Capitalism has fostered and introduced and driven forward over the past 200 years the most savage and destructive formula against our species.”
- Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has called for a legaling binding commitment to tackling man-made climate change. A big stumbling block to such a deal could be the US Senate; while Obama hopes the conference will be a “turning point”, any legally binding deal would require the Senate’s approval.
By Paul Homewood
h/t AC Osborn
I sometimes if I have followed Alice down into Wonderland!
The Telegraph reports:
One of Britain’s dozen remaining coal-fired power plants is to be converted to burn wood pellets shipped in from North America, after the European Commission approved a £1bn subsidy contract for the project.
RWE’s Lynemouth power station in Northumberland is due to close by the end of this year under environmental rules, but will now be resurrected as a biomass plant following EU state aid approval for the consumer-funded subsidies.
The 420 megawatt plant, which produces enough electricity to power 450,000 homes, could be up and running again within 18 months, subject to a final investment decision early next year, RWE said.
The decision also boosted Drax, the Yorkshire coal plant that is awaiting state aid approval of a similar subsidy contract for the conversion of one of its units to burn biomass.
Drax power plant, and a cat. Photo: Bloomberg
Drax shares rose almost 13pc on the back of the decision, although the company issued a statement cautioning against assuming it too would be approved.
Under the terms of the subsidy contract, awarded in April 2014, Lynemouth will be paid a fixed price of £105 for every megawatt-hour of biomass-fired power it generates until 2027 – well over double the current market price of power.
The plant is due to burn 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets each year, mainly shipped in from the US and Canada as well as Europe.
The National Audit Office last year warned that the subsidies could be higher than needed because of the way ministers awarded them. It estimated that the subsidies for Lynemouth would be worth £1.1bn in total, although that assumed conversion by the end of this year.
However the EC concluded that in the case of Lynemouth there was “no risk of overcompensation”.
Drax is in the process of converting from coal to biomass and was awarded a similar subsidy contract for the third of its six units, which it went on to convert earlier this year.
If the contract wins state aid approval it would be more lucrative than the current ‘renewables obligation’ subsidy that the unit currently qualifies for.
John Musk, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said it was “difficult not to see a direct read-across to Drax” from the Lynemouth decision but said Drax still expected its contract to be subject to a full state aid investigation which could take six to nine months.
A Drax spokesman said the EC decision was “encouraging” but that the projects had “different underlying technical and economic assumptions”.
The company’s hopes of converting a fourth unit remain in doubt with uncertainty over whether ministers will award any more subsidies for biomass.
Any units that keep burning coal will be forced to shut by 2025, under Government plans.
A DECC spokesman said: “Our priority is providing clean, secure and affordable energy for hardworking families and businesses.
“We are the first country to give an end date to using unabated coal and this decision is another step in the right direction – helping us increase the diversity of our energy mix as we move towards a low carbon future.”
Just look at DECC’s priorities again:
Providing clean, secure and affordable energy
Well, biomass certainly is not “clean”, under any definition of the word. Demand for wood pellets is creating huge environmental problems in America, and their burning here is just as polluting as coal.
As for CO2, biomass will not do anything to reduce actual (as opposed to EU defined ones) of CO2 in the short or even medium term.
And affordable? Lynemouth will receive a guaranteed, and index linked, price of £105/MWh (at 2012 prices) till 2027, more than double the market price.
Secure? Depends on how long the US is willing to see its forests being destroyed.
£1.1bn? And for what?
By Paul Homewood
h/t Dave Ward
I have previously reported on the proposed straw burning plant in Norwich, which has been consistently championed by the UEA. It now appears to be struggling to find investors and to be on the verge of liquidation.
The Norwich Evening News reports:
Developers behind a controversial £370m energy park on the edge of Norwich have admitted they are facing serious problems in finding investors.
However, the board revealed it is working with an insolvency practitioner to “work out the best arrangement” for existing creditors. It is understood steps are being taken which would avoid liquidation.
In a statement, the developers said: “Norwich Powerhouse LLP regrets to announce that the company has faced difficulties securing investment for Generation Park Norwich. Current uncertainty over national support for green energy has meant Generation Park Norwich has become less attractive to private investors.
“The board of NPH is currently working with an insolvency practitioner to work out the best arrangement for creditors.
“Generation Park Norwich remains an excellent vision for the city that would make Norwich an exemplar of green, renewable energy.”
A spokesman said the problems had not been caused by an investor pulling out and there were talks over other possible investment.
Backed by the University of East Anglia, which has put £2.25m into the project, and energy company Eon, which has put in £1.4m, the park is due to include a straw pellet-burning plant.
That would generate electricity for major power users and heat for businesses and houses via a district heating network run by Eon. It is understood Eon is preparing a commercial proposition to ensure the scheme can continue.
An Eon spokesman said: “We believe Generation Park Norwich is a viable renewables project that will add to the region’s energy mix, but the current financial difficulties being faced are a sign of the economic uncertainties affecting this market. We remain committed to continue to provide support and assistance where we can to help develop this project.”
A UEA spokesman said: “The university is disappointed that the Generation Park Norwich project has been facing funding challenges.
“We hope that Norwich Powerhouse will reach an acceptable arrangement with creditors, and that ongoing discussions with potential investors are productive.
“UEA’s financial investment ended more than two years ago after fostering the early stages of development.
“As one of the project’s three founding partners, we are supportive of this process and keen to make our own fair contribution to creditors or to any refinancing plan.”
Along with the energy plant, the development would include 120 new homes, student accommodation, an education centre, a research base, 11 acres of parkland, plus new cycle routes and walkways.
A new bridge would also be built over the river, connecting the site to the nearby Deal Ground.
Supporters say it would be a shot in the arm for the region’s economy and put the city at the forefront of tackling climate change.
But the proposal, with its 90m-tall chimney, has drawn criticism, with concerns over the environmental and visual impact on the surrounding area once the 30-acre development is built.
Campaigners, including from the group Say No To Generation Park have expressed concerns about possible pollution from the plant.
The developers have always said the height of the chimney would mean emissions would be at a very high level, dispersed far away from the city.
Last month Broadland District councillors, who are being consulted on the plan, decided to defer their decision, saying they needed more information on the environmental impact of the plume which will come out of the chimney.
And Norwich City Council, which, along with the Broads Authority, would have to grant planning permission before the scheme could go ahead, has commissioned its own independent expert advice on air quality to help it in determining the planning application.
More than 250 people have objected to the proposal.
My initial thoughts:
1) I wonder why the artist’s impression does not have black smoke coming out of it?
2) Complaints about uncertainty over national support for green energy , are a cop out. There was never any suggestion that the project would be subsidised by government.
3) The UEA have a particular duty to explain how and why they have put at risk £2.25m into the project. The clear impression is that they have put ideology ahead of proper economic judgement.
4) The fundamental problem, that the scheme faces, is the same as the one that affects the biomass plant at St Andrews University. Neither operation is as cost effective as conventional methods using coal or gas.
As an aside, one commenter at the Evening News states:
Company details of Norwich Powerhouse LLP are publicly available & rather interestingly UEA NPH Ltd whose registered address is The Registry at the UEA is listed as a current director & has been since 19 October 2009. So directly, or at arms length via a UEA company, the UEA is clearly currently involved in Norwich Powerhouse LLP at board level.
UEA have questions to answer.
By Paul Homewood
h/t Bill Berry
According to the National Trust, climate change is the "biggest threat" to the land it protects.
As part of their campaign to address these supposed threats, they have published a report, listing some case studies to highlight the problems and show what they have been doing:
Unfortunately this confusion of “climate” and “weather” keeps being repeated.
And the facts?
The storm and consequent flooding at Boscastle were remarkably similar to the ones at Lynmouth in 1952, which led to the loss of 34 lives. Similar storms have also occurred at regular intervals during the 20thC. (See here)
Claims of hotter, drier and stormier summers to come are simply gibberish. And anybody who has been to Boscastle will know that the valley is so steep, and the harbour wide and deep enough, that drainage to the sea is a non-issue.
By Paul Homewood
Vacuous statement of the day from the BBC:-
Many other leaders stressed the need for just such a binding agreement – even President Vladimir Putin.
After he explained how Russia had managed to grow their economy and cut emissions (who knew?), he called for a binding target of 2C in the growth of global temperatures.
Who knew? Well, Matt, anybody who knows how to check the data from CDIAC for a start (which I would have expected to be a pretty basic requirement for the BBC’s Environmental Correspondent).
And I am afraid you have fallen for Putin’s three-card trick there!
Now look very carefully, Matt, and you will see that emissions fell very sharply in Russia in the early 1990’s, which even you probably know was when the old and obsolete Soviet heavy industry was shutting down.
And if you look carefully enough, you will also notice that emissions have been rising since the late 1990’s.
Putin’s pledge, to cut emissions by 25% from 1990 levels, has in effect already happened. Indeed, taking into account all GHG and LULUCF (which Russia insists on including in their Plan), latest figures for 2012 show emissions at 50% of 1990 levels.
Russia’s Plan therefore allows them to substantially increase emissions up to 2030.
No wonder Putin wants a binding agreement!
By Paul Homewood
Last Thursday, the Met Office informed us that Storm Clodagh was unlikely.
Two days later, the Irish Met Office thought otherwise.
All a bit of a mess really.
But did Clodagh end up being a storm, or was it just another gale like Abigail and Barney?
Neil Catto provides the answer.
By Paul Homewood
One thing I think we can expect from Paris is that a lot of claims will be made about how the various INDC’s submitted will have a very real impact on emissions. This will be necessary for western leaders to persuade their electorates to continue down the decarbonisation track.
Developing countries will, of course, support the narrative in order to get their hands on the money pot without actually having to do anything.
Kevin Marshall over at ManicBeancounter picks up on Christina Figueres’ statement to the BBC last month:
The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7C by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs.
The impression is given that we are nearly there, and only have to do a bit more to achieve the 2C target. Kevin shows this to be essentially nonsense in a detailed post here, and offers this summary:
The analysis by the UNFCCC shows that the policy proposals contained within the INDCs will make very little difference to trends in global emissions of greenhouse gases to 2030. In the accompanying literature, the UNFCCC makes no projections of the difference the INDCs will make beyond 2030. The claim that policy will limit forecast temperature rise to the 2.7C by 2100 is claimed by two other organisations, and is only referenced in a table at the very end of a separate technical annex without any discussion or endorsement. One of these, the IEA, achieves the projection by, post 2050, replacing forecasts contingent on the policy impact of the INDCs with an average of modelled RCP emissions pathways. The RCP website explicitly states that they are not forecasts of potential emissions or climate change, whether with or without policy action. It also states that any of the differences between the pathways be directly attributed to policy differences. The IEA thus replaces real emissions forecasts with data that is unrelated to the real world. The other claim, by Climate Action Tracker, has no explicit statement of how the increasing global emissions through to 2030 start tracking downwards post 2030. Contributing factors may include understating the emissions impact of India and China, along with excluding the likely increasing emissions in the coming decades from the poorest nations.
The claim that any agreement reached in Paris based on the INDCs will constrain to global average temperature rise to 2.7C by 2100 through constraining GHG emissions is therefore unsupported by any rigorous forecast of the policy impact in the referenced documents. Such forecasts are based on making a forecast without policy, then modelling the impact policy will make, stating the assumptions. With 40,000 people attending a conference, the UNFCCC could surely have set aside a couple of million dollars to obtain such a forecast from genuine experts.
Kevin also shows this graph of emissions from the UNFCCC, which makes clear the emissions pathway that lies ahead. (The chart is clearer on the link).
The orange pathway is the estimate of what will happen without the INDCs, and the yellow box shows the range with the INDC pledges. The emission savings from the INDCs is of the order of about 2 GtCO2e/yr.
So where does Figueres get her projections from? Quite simply by assuming mammoth emission cuts after 2030. Other than the EU, there is little in any of the INDCs that commits any countries to making cuts in emissions after 2030, and certainly not of any real significance. Most simply waffle on about the need to “do something”.
And, of course, the whole purpose of the INDCs was to make a start by getting countries looking at the immediate period up to 2030, rather than some distant, nebulous future.
There is an almost childlike naivety which assumes the rest of the world is going to step off the cliff in 2031, and rapidly cut emissions. Does anybody seriously expect the Chinese to suddenly shut down all of the coal power stations they are still busy building? Or that India will happily give up all of the benefits brought by economic growth in the next 15 years?
Even if economic growth in China, India and other developing countries is as great as planned, and history tells us that such plans always usually grossly optimistic, standards of living there will still be very low. What government is going to tell its people in 2030, “Sorry chaps, we’re not allowed any more growth because some wally made a pledge 15 years ago”?
And even if some miraculous technology comes along, nobody is going to chuck out existing technology overnight.
As for the third world, their journey to a better future has only just begun.
On top of all this, it is a cert that global population will be much higher in 20 or 30 years time. This alone will put upward pressure on emissions.
The reality is that whatever is agreed at Paris, it will have a negligible effect on emissions between now and 2030.
By Paul Homewood
Reposted from Tallbloke.
It’s a must read.
I would add one further comment to Rog’s.
Their map shows the retreat of MINIMUM Arctic sea ice extent. Has it not occurred to the idiots at the BBC that the ice refreezes in winter?
By Paul Homewood
Last year, we imported 21 TWh of electricity, most from France, the highest on record, and representing 6% of total supply.
We are also in the process of building more interconnectors, as a buffer against the failure of intermittent renewables to supply on demand.
The hope is that we can tap in cheaply to French nuclear power. There is a slight snag with this plan though – France is committed by law to reducing nuclear’s share of generation from 75% to 50% by 2025.
In October 2014, their Parliament voted for this policy, pushed by President Hollande as part of his deal with the Green Party before the 2012 election. However, there was an ulterior motive, which was that the EU Renewables Directive had already forced France to increase the renewable share of the country’s energy mix to 23% by 2020.
Even last year renewables still produced less than 9%, so the target is in effect unachievable. But to get anywhere near it, France has little choice but to shut down perfectly efficient and safe nuclear power plant, and replace with wind and solar farms.
That, of course, is France’s problem. Unfortunately though, if the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining here, it probably won’t be there, or in the rest of NW Europe, either.
If they don’t have any surplus nuclear power to sell us, what will come down the interconnectors?