Policies & Economics
Energy economist Robert Lyman says that a new and legally binding international convention to be negotiated in Paris in December 2015 that forces countries like Canada to soon eliminate most uses of oil, natural gas and coal would impose extraordinary costs and societal changes; arguably, attaining this goal is not feasible in technical, economic or political terms. From 2010 onward 96% of emissions increases will occur in the developing countries, and especially in Asia. Previous conferences floundered on two central issues – who cuts and who pays. A “Green Climate Fund” of $100 billion per year by 2020 was proposed to pay for actions in developing countries to reduce GHG emissions.
The Institute for Energy Research published a report that determined the levelized cost of electricity from existing generation sources. The study shows that on average, electricity from new wind resources is nearly four times more expensive than from existing nuclear and nearly three times more expensive than from existing coal. These are dramatic increases in the cost of generating electricity. The premature closures of existing plants will unavoidably increase electricity rates.
The US Administration’s Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon (IWG) released a report that was a response to public comments of the IWG determination of the social cost of carbon that were solicited by the Office of Management and Budget in November 2013. Of the 140 unique set of comments received, the IWG adopted none. Dr. Pat Michaels of the CATO Institute address why this decision was based on a set of flimsy, internally inconsistent excuses and amounts to a continuation of the IWG’s exclusion of the most relevant science which assures that low, or even negative values of the social cost of carbon (which would imply a net benefit of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels), do not find their way into cost/benefit analyses of proposed federal actions.
Patrick Michaels and Paul Chip Knappenberger submitted these comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 8, 2015. The EPA's report, "The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment", and all other similar ones that have come before, is that the USGCRP simply chooses not to accept the science on human health and climate and instead prefers to forward alarming narratives, many based on science fiction rather than actual science. To best serve the public, this report should be withdrawn. By going forward without a major overhaul, its primary service would be to misinform and mislead the general public and policymakers alike. They write "it is readily obvious that Americans, across all climates, are well-adapted to the prevailing climate. ... for the entire collection of extreme weather impacts, mortality has greatly declined over the course of the past several decades, not only in the U.S., but for the globe in general. ... Mortality during the 2000s was lower than in earlier peak periods by 59%–81% for floods, lightning, tornados, and hurricanes, while mortality rates were 72%–94% lower. ... Americans have actively been moving to warmer climates. And there is every indication that they are continuing to do so."
All the Canadian premiers got together recently to come up with a Canadian Energy Strategy document which . . . curiously . . . does not mention the Alberta oil sands. Excluding a major national resource widely acknowledged to be a driver of at least one third of the Canadian economy from a national energy strategy document has to be a new low in the world of politically correct energy discussions. This was just after Quebec signed a multi-million dollar 10-year deal in support of the height of fossil fuel indulgence, the Formula-1 Montreal (Fossil Fuel) Grand Prix. The oil and gas industry is expected to create roughly 900,000 jobs by 2035, about 126,000 of which will be in provinces outside of Alberta. Quebec manufacturers made about $400 million supplying goods and services to the oil sands in 2009.