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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Extracts - 2019

By: Ian Cameron                 TABLE OF CONTENTS




StatCan Exposes How Worthless “Green” Industries Are

Statistics Canada reported last month that environmental and clean-tech industries accounted for 3.1% of Canada GDP in 2017, about the same as in 2007, despite ten years of pro-green policies and hefty government support. The green economy is even less important for jobs, contributing only 1.6% of total employment. This ignores the job losses resulting from the higher cost of renewable energy. Despite the evidence showing environment and economy work in opposite directions, politicians like federal environment minister Catherine McKenna keep repeating that they don’t.
There are two lessons to be drawn from the tepid growth of Canada’s green sector. It will be a long time, if ever, before it makes a significant contribution to jobs and income in Canada. And in the meantime, even its marginal and largely meaningless existence will be expensive for both taxpayers and electricity customers.

Poll: Trudeau’s Carbon Tax Won’t Motivate Canadians to Switch to More Fuel-efficient Transportation

An Ipsos poll of 2001 Canadians conducted last month suggests a disconnect between Canadians’ acceptance of climate change as a problem and their willingness to potentially incur financial loss to help the government tackle it. Fewer than one in five Canadians said gas prices between $1.00 and $1.25 a litre would prompt them to switch to a more fuel-efficient car or find alternate modes of transportation; it would take a near doubling of gas prices to $2.00-$2.25/litre to make them rethink their vehicular choices. 
The dilemma facing the Trudeau government is that gas prices in that $2.00 to $2.25 per litre range wouldn’t merely convinces Canadians to switch to fuel-efficient transportation, they might also convince many Canadians to vote the Liberals out. Only 19% of respondents chose climate change among the three issues that they said are most likely to influence their voting decisions in this year’s federal election.

US Court Rules Against Young Climate Activists

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a Dec. 26 ruling that granted the DOJ’s petition for interlocutory appeal that decreases the chances of the climate lawsuit going to trial anytime soon. Our Children’s Trust filed the suit against the federal government in 2015 on behalf of 21 youths, aged 11 to 22, arguing their right to a “stable climate system” was being violated. The suit asks the court to order the government to issue laws and regulations to fight global warming. The legal process will continue during 2019.

US Democrats’ Green New Deal

Following the recent midterm elections some Democratic members of Congress, in particular NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are proposing a “green new deal” to decarbonize the US economy. In less than 10 years under this deal: 100% of electricity would come from renewable sources; a national “smart grid”; upgrading of every residential and industrial building for state-of-the art energy efficiency and comfort; decarbonizing manufacturing, agricultural and other industries; decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure; funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases. 
The massive investment required would be funded not only through taxation, but primarily by increasing the money supply via the Federal Reserve and by new public banks to extend credit.

The Greenpeace Business Report

The Heartland Institute has published a report, by an international team of five authors, on Greenpeace’s business model and philosophy. Over the last 20 years Greenpeace’s annual income has risen from $150 million to over $350 million. Greenpeace is a Dutch company with assets of $277 million, of which 64% is in cash or equivalent. It has a highly-centralized structure and requires local (i.e., national) branches to prioritize the organization’s global agenda.
Greenpeace’s modus operandi is to find a catastrophic and urgent campaign issue; choose a villain and a sympathetic victim; choose a simple and plausible solution to the issue while accusing the villain of preventing the solution from being implemented; issue a call to action and get people engaged; control the narrative by using sympathetic media outlets. Education increases knowledge and understanding, which undermines the campaign’s call to action. 

Over 1994-2015 Greenpeace waged campaigns on a variety of issues that have waxed and waned over time with some campaigns (e.g., biodiversity, GM foods, nuclear, peace & disarmament) being discontinued. However, the campaign on man-made climate change continued throughout the study period, though its relative importance has recently declined.

In the words of the Wilderness Society vice president of public policy Rindy O’Brien: Greenpeace has tended to look for ways to publicize problems instead of ways to actually solve them.” 

Furious NGOs Sue French Government over Carbon Tax Retreat

Four NGOs—Oxfam, Greenpeace, Notre Affaire à Tous, and Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme—have initiated legal proceedings saying France has defaulted on its environmental obligations. This is the result of the gilets jaunes protests over the government’s attempted increase in carbon taxes on automotive fuels and its subsequent rescinding of the tax. The initial December 18 filing gives the government two months to respond, after which the organizations can choose to move forward with their lawsuit in administrative court.

Climate Skeptics: The Despised Minority

Paul Krugman, New York Times Columnist and 2008 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, declines to use the word “skeptic.” In November 2018 he published in the Times an opinion piece, The Depravity of Climate Change Denial - Risking civilization for profit, ideology and ego. In his words: “there are almost no good-faith climate-change deniers.”
As Donna Laframboise concludes: “In other contexts, we make a point of treating minorities with courtesy. But it remains open season on people who think humanity has more pressing problems than climate change, who draw different conclusions from the available scientific evidence, who’ve concluded that science is being abused by political operatives, or who’ve noticed that many similar eco-apocalyptic predictions have failed to materialize.”

The World Is Bored with Climate Change

Public interest in “climate change” peaked in March 2007 as Al Gore and “An Inconvenient Truth” basked in the glow of an Academy Award win, but faded away ever since. RealClear Politics surveyed climate change news on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, as well as worldwide news coverage in 65 languages. Also surveyed were Google searches for “climate change” and “global warming.” Coverage peaked in 2009 with the Copenhagen climate conference, in 2015 with the Paris Accord and again in 2017 when President Trump announced US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
RealClear Politics’ conclusion: “Whether this means the world believes the debate about causality and consequences is settled or whether the public has been so inundated with climate messaging that it simply can’t sustain the same level of concern anymore, the end result is that the topic has been slowly fading from the public view.”

Germany’s Green Transition Has Hit a Brick Wall

While Germany has installed enough wind and solar power to theoretically supply the power requirements on any day with sufficient wind and sunshine, both of the latter are frequently lacking. More problematical is that wind turbines and solar panels often overproduce, creating major problems in equalizing production and consumption. Production is often too high to keep the network frequency stable without disconnecting some solar and wind facilities. This leads to major energy losses and forced power exports to neighbouring countries (“load shedding”) at negative prices. In 2017 about half of Germany’s wind power was exported.
Germany can never shut down its thermal power plants as planned. Without them a stable network frequency is impossible. Solar and wind power today covers only 27% of electricity consumption and only 5% of Germany’s total energy needs, while impairing reliability and raising electricity prices to among the highest in the world. Yet the country’s goal still is to get 60% of total energy from renewables by 2050.



Can Wind and Solar Replace Fossil Fuels?

Politicians, such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo, sometimes make announcements like: “The Clean Energy Standard will require 50 percent of New York’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030…” To determine whether that is even possible, it’s worth considering the example of Germany, which has some of the highest electric bills in the world as well as a high proportion of its electric power produced by wind and solar (19%). As the plots in the WUWT article show, the increase in wind and solar between 2011 and 2016 (from 68 to 116 billion kWh) had no effect on fossil fuel use. However, the grid suffered from increasing stability problems, and Germany is now plagued with blackouts.
As advertised by its politicians, Germany gets 19% of its energy from wind and solar. What they do not say is that it also exports 1/3 of that energy out of country, leaving its carbon footprint unchanged since 2011. Some small countries, notably Denmark, have advertised that they get 50% or more of their energy from sun and wind. What they really mean is that they have a large country (in the case of Denmark, Germany) next to them absorbing that power and selling them power when the wind stops blowing and the sun goes down.

Sustainable Fuels Unlikely to Replace Hydrocarbons for Air Travel

Commercial air travel poses a problem for climate change fighters. There is no viable low-carbon substitute for most of today’s air travel. Aircraft CO2 emissions are projected to quadruple by 2050 from 2010 levels. Airlines are counting on what they call Sustainable Aviation Fuel, produced from vegetable oils or biomass, such as soybeans, sugar cane, or algae.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization replacement of traditional aviation fuel from hydrocarbons with SAF would require 170 new large bio refineries to be built every year from 2020 to 2050 at a cost of up to $60 billion per year. But it’s not clear that sustainable aviation fuels will significantly reduce CO2 emissions. When traditional aviation fuel combusts, about three tonnes of carbon dioxide are created from each tonne of fuel. When SAF is burned, about three tonnes of CO2 is also exhausted for each tonne of fuel. Hence, hydrocarbon fuels will remain essential for air travel.

Organic Food Worse for the Climate

A new international study published in Nature finds that organically-farmed food has a greater climate impact than the conventionally-farmed kind. While organic farming has lower direct emissions through use of less fossil fuel, it produces less crops per hectare, which leads to greater indirect CO2 emissions from deforestation. For example, organically-farmed peas in Sweden have a 50% greater impact; for Swedish winter wheat the difference is closer to 70%.
The researchers used a new metric, which they call “Carbon Opportunity Cost”, to evaluate the effect of greater land-use contributing to higher carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This metric takes into account the amount of carbon that is stored in forests, and thus released as carbon dioxide as an effect of deforestation. The study is among the first in the world to make use of this metric.

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