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Theresa Wants To Lead The Fight Against Climate Change–But Won’t Tell Us How!

May 19, 2017

By Paul Homewood




The Tory manifesto also contains the above statement.

On the face of it, if we have got half way in 27 years, it should not be hard to get the rest of the way in the next 33. But, unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as that!


Read more…

Tories’ Energy Dilemma

May 19, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public




We looked at the Labour manifesto pledge on climate policy the other day.

Above is the key section from the Tory one.

One does not have to be a genius to point out that ensuring UK energy costs are as low as possible is not compatible with meeting our 2050 carbon reduction objective!


As for having the lowest energy costs in Europe, good luck with that one:




The Emissions Intensity Con

May 18, 2017

By Paul Homewood




Jo Nova contrasted some apparently contradictory headlines the other day:


In the last day in the media, India is going to use coal as its backbone energy for the next thirty years, is buying coal mines all around the world, and will double production by 2020 to a massive 1,500 million tons per annum. At the same time India is meetings its climate goals early, and is likely to reduce emissions by 2 – 3 billion tons by 2030.

They can’t all be true:

Coal to be India’s energy mainstay for next 30 years: policy paper

–Economic Times, May 16th

China, India dominate coal ownership as some shun climate risks: report

– Reuters, May 15th

Coal Decline In China & India Likely To Reduce Emissions Growth By 2-3 Billion Tonnes By 2030

– Cleantechnica, May 16th

China, India to Reach Climate Goals Years Early, as U.S. Likely to Fall Far Short

-InsideClimateNews, May 16th

The top two headlines are backed by big numbers: India is the worlds third largest coal producer, and coal powers 60% of India’s energy needs. But the poor investors or readers of industry rags might think India’s coal use is falling. Read the fine print.

Lessons in spin:

It’s all in how an issue is framed. The third headline talks about “reductions” from forecast values, meaning theoretical savings of emissions “that might have been, but weren’t”.

The fourth headline tells us that the two massive coal producing nations are “meeting climate targets early” which just shows how pathetic the climate targets are.

If these countries are a “success” what does failure look like?

We have to teach children (adults) how to filter these contradictions.



The key clause in India’s climate pledge, the INDC submitted for Paris, is this:




And as their plan also stated, emissions intensity has had already dropped by 17% from 2005 levels, when it was written.

As I pointed out at the time, such promises of reducing emissions intensity are meaningless, since that is what naturally happens anyway as economies mature.

And it was not only India which made such commitments. Many other developing countries, not least China, also did the same, rather than agreeing to actual cuts in CO2 emissions.


To see just how far emissions intensity can fall, we only have to look at the UK.


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Coal To Remain India’s Main Energy Source For At Least 30 Years, Govt Confirms

May 18, 2017

By Paul Homewood


From GWPF:



Coal will remain India’s main energy source for the next three decades although its share will gradually fall as the country pushes renewable power generation, according to a government report seen by Reuters.

The country is the world’s third-largest coal producer and the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter. It depends on coal for about three-fifths of its energy needs and aims to double its output to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020.

By 2047, however, coal’s share of India’s energy mix would shrink to 42-48 percent, from about 58 percent in 2015, the report, which has yet to be made public, showed.

“India would like to use its abundant coal reserves as it provides a cheap source of energy and ensures energy security as well,” the report said.


According to the Reuters report, the country is the world’s third-largest coal producer and the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter. It depends on coal for about three-fifths of its energy needs and aims to double its output to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020.


It really is a no-brainer!

India, as with most countries, is desperately keen to reduce its dependency on imported energy. Given that it has huge deposits of coal, it will want to use them.

As a recent report by InfluenceMap, “Who owns the World’s coal”, points out, China and India are sat on more than half of the world’s coal reserves.




Moreover, as the study explains, it is the Indian Government itself that owns the largest chunk of India’s reserves. It will take no action that damages this asset.

Labour’s Promise 60% Low Carbon Energy By 2030

May 17, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Robin Guenier




Robin has pointed out one of the key messages from Labour’s new manifesto which seems to have escaped the attentions of the media.

It comes under the section “Upgrading our economy: Labour’s Industrial Strategy”:






Bear in mind that this is “energy”, and not “electricity” they are talking about. And electricity only accounts for about a quarter of total energy consumption.

Last year zero carbon sources still only accounted for 17% of the UK’s energy, and half of this came from nuclear, which is unlikely to increase by 2030, even if Hinkley Point ever gets built.




There is also a limit to how far we can push the use of biofuels. Despite billions in subsidies, wind and solar still account for less than 2%.

Increasing electricity from renewable sources can only have a marginal effect. To get anywhere the Labour target, there would need to be massive cuts in the use of oil and gas across the industry, transport and domestic sectors.

Naturally, they don’t tell us how they will do this!




Ed Miliband’s Neutering Of OFGEM

May 17, 2017

By Paul Homewood



John Constable explains how Ed Miliband neutered OFGEM’s powers to stand up for consumers’ best interests:



There is likely to be increasing pressure to reform the gas and electricity regulator, Ofgem, which is widely held to have failed in the protection of consumers. This accusation is to a large degree both misguided and unjust. Ofgem is constrained by its Statutory Duties, which were revised by Ed Milliband in 2010 to put climate policy costs beyond criticism. It is this, as much as institutional lassitude, that accounts for it being so ineffective a consumer champion.

In the wake of concern about rising electricity retail prices to domestic households, the Conservative Party has suggested a price cap on Standard Variable Tariffs. It is fair to say that this policy has not been well received by commentators and economists, who with very good reason believe it likely to be counterproductive. Whether the voting public will be persuaded that a price cap is in their long-term interest remains to be seen, but it could well prove popular. – With a maladroit sense of timing that is typical of the hapless energy industry my own electricity and gas supplier has just sent me a letter explaining that due to price rises next year’s annual dual fuel bill is likely to be about 8% higher. Doubtless many other households are receiving similar news, and perhaps thinking positively about Mrs May’s offer to stamp on rip-off tariffs.

One, more sophisticated, reaction to this sort of news is to blame the regulator, Ofgem. If the government needs to wade in to protect consumers, surely the regulator must have failed in its job. This is an understandable conclusion, but to a very significant degree it is unjust to Ofgem, which is itself tightly regulated by the legal definition of its Statutory Duties and powers. These are defined in the Gas Act 1986, the Electricity Act 1989, the Utilities Act 2000, the Competition Act 1998, the Enterprise Act 2002, the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, and, crucially, in amendments to these acts. Perhaps the most important of these amendments occurred in the Energy Act of 2010, which originated under Ed Miliband when he was Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Though a small change, it drew the regulator’s teeth.

The Utilities Act 2000 had described the overarching principal objective for energy regulation as the protection of the interests of existing and future consumers, wherever appropriate by promoting competition (for further details see this DECC analysis). This was a lucid and unconstricting brief. A determined regulator could range far and free in the pursuit of consumer welfare.

The Energy Act of 2010 amended this principal objective by defining “interests” thus in two separate paragraphs (16 (3) 1A and 17 (3) 1A referring to gas and electricity:

Those interests of existing and future consumers are their interests taken as a whole, including—

(a) their interests in the reduction of gas-supply/electricity supply emissions of targeted greenhouse gases; and

(b) their interests in the security of the supply of gas/electricity to them.

This change was of enormous importance, since an increasingly large part of the charges on the consumer were (and still are) the result of policy. In effect, the revision to Ofgem’s principal purpose made them unable to comment on the imposition of cost increases resulting from measures to mitigate climate change. Since these coercive cost increases are invisible to the market and cannot be reduced by competition, there was no means other than the regulator, or the slow and uncertain cycles of electoral democracy, to expose them to criticism.

This is no trivial matter. Policies now account for about 17% of the price to domestic households, in other words about £26/MWh of a total price to household consumers of £154/MWh (see the Committee on Climate Change Energy Prices and Bills). Median annual domestic electricity consumption in the UK is approximately 3.5 MWhs per household, so this amounted to about £91 per household per year, or roughly £2.4 billion a year, assuming 26 million households, a sum that greatly exceeds the £1.5 billion a year rip-off that prompted Mrs May to suggest a price cap.

According to the government’s estimates, in the now discontinued Estimated Impacts, we can see that this problem is set to grow dramatically. In 2020 the domestic price impact will have in all probability doubled, to £52/MWh, or about £180 a year on the electricity bill, a nationwide cost of about £5 billion per year.

Constrained by its remit, as set out by Ed Milibands Energy Act of 2010, Ofgem is powerless to comment on these enormous impositions. In essence, by being compelled to have regard to the interests of future consumers in the light of climate change the regulator has been absorbed by government and, like the Committee on Climate Change, made a mere cog wheel in the policy delivery mechanism. Consequently, and with the sole exception of the National Audit Office, there is no statutory body that has any interest in holding the government to account on climate policy costs, and none that is exclusively focused on the energy sector.

Restoring Ofgem’s Statutory Duties to their earlier free-ranging state could yield enormous benefits for the consumer. Such a reform should also be supported by electricity retailers, who, for all their faults, are carrying the can for climate policy related price increases over which they have no control. By contrast, a ‘reform’ of Ofgem that further weakened an already crippled body would be a disaster for all concerned.

Did Sir David King Lie To Parliamentary Committee?

May 16, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Sir David King


Last month, I looked at the Sir David King’s evidence to Parliament in 2004. This was when he stated:


I will not spend too much time on this, but if we look back in time for the globe we probably have to go back 55 million years before we find carbon dioxide levels as high as we are now at, and, of course, our carbon dioxide levels are still rising. Fifty-five million years ago was a time when there was no ice on the earth; the Antarctic was the most habitable place for mammals, because it was the coolest place, and the rest of the earth was rather inhabitable because it was so hot. It is estimated that it was roughly 1,000 parts per million then, and the important thing is that if we carry on business as usual we will hit 1,000 parts per million around the end of this century. So it seems to me that it is clear on a global and geological scale that climate change is the most serious problem we are faced with this century


In March 2014, he also gave evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, in his then role as the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change.

One of the Committee members, MP Peter Lilley, grilled him about this statement, which King refused to retract.

However, King also made this extraordinary claim:


“The first hurricane to hit so far north in America was Hurricane Sandy”


This is so astonishingly wrong that I am amazed nobody on the Committee pulled him up on it.

For the record, there have been ten other hurricanes to hit New York or further north since records began in 1851:


Year Name State of Landfall Category
1858 New England NY 1
1869 Eastern New England RI 3
1893 Midnight Storm NY 1
1896   RI 1
1938 Great New England NY 3
1954 Carol NY 3
1954 Edna MA 2
1969 Gerda ME 1
1976 Belle NY 1
1991 Bob RI 2
2012 Sandy NY 1


Note that these are the states where landfall occurred. There have been many other hurricanes which have affected northern states, such as Donna in 1960.


Let us be very clear. It is an extremely serious affair to provide false evidence to Parliament. Since King was employed by the Government as their representative, this is doubly true.

He should be forced to return to the Committee, apologise and retract his untrue statement.

Wind Power In China

May 16, 2017

By Paul Homewood




For some reason (?), I get newsletters from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). It is yet another lobby group for renewables.

Today it includes this piece from their China Director (my bold)


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Inside the National Grid’s epic challenge to keep the lights on

May 15, 2017

By Paul Homewood




The Telegraph has an article by Jillian Ambrose, little Emily’s successor, which is ostensibly about the challenges faced by the National Grid.

The beginning summarises the situation quite well:


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Scrapping green subsidies would be a much faster route to cheaper energy bills than price caps

May 14, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Short and to the point – Booker on green subsidies in the Telegraph today:




I would defy anyone unfortunate enough to hear the Today programme at 8.10 last Tuesday morning to have made head or tail of an interview in which our Business Secretary, Greg Clark, droned on for 10 minutes with Justin Webb about the Tories’ promise of a “cap” on energy bills. The essence of this flood of deathly jargon was that, thanks to something called the Competition and Markets Authority, this could save 17 million households a total of £1.4 billion a year.

What Clark and Webb never mentioned, of course, were the figures recently published by the Office for Budget Responsibility, showing the soaring cost of those green subsidies and taxes we all pay for through our energy bills. These are officially projected to more than double by the end of this Parliament, from £7.3 billion last year to £14.7 billion, or from £292 a year for each household to £565.

In other words, even if Theresa May’s “cap” on energy saves £1.4 billion a year, this will be dwarfed by the additional £7.4 billion a year due to be added to our bills under the Climate Change Act. But if you ask any candidates in this make-believe election what they think of those figures, almost certainly they will never have heard of them. If they come to your door, try it.