Friday, September 15, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Australian Govt Walks Away From Green Energy Target








World Building New Coal Plants Faster Than It Shuts Them

In this newsletter:

1) Back to Black: Australian Govt Walks Away From Green Energy Targets
Financial Review, 13 September 2017

2) Tony Abbott Fuels Push From Backbench Against Clean Energy Target

The Australian, 12 September 2017 

3) World Building New Coal Plants Faster Than It Shuts Them
The Australian, 13 September 2017 


4) IPCC Scenarios Refuted By Reality: Global Co2 Emissions Intensity Increasing, Not Declining
Felix Pretis and Max Roser, Energy, September 2017 

5) Greens Defeated As Norwegian Voters Snub Anti-Oil Push
Oil & Gas Journal, 12 September 2017

6) Some Himalayan Glaciers Have Been Melting For 400 Years, Scientists Discover
Times of India, 13 September 2017
 
 
 7) 87% Of Himalayan Glaciers Stable Since 2001, Indian Minister Confirms
Times of India, 15 December 2017 

Full details:

1) Back To Black: Australian Govt Walks Away From Green Energy Targets
Financial Review, 13 September 2017 
 
The Clean Energy Target as proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will be overhauled and replaced with a policy that will place much greater emphasis on coal-fired baseload power and possibly a slower transition to renewable energy.
 
At the same time, energy regulators and industry sources suggested there was no need to prolong the life of the Liddell Power Station in NSW and that energy shortfall created by its closure in 2022 could be met by other means.
 
AGL chief executive Andy Vesey told the government this during and after Monday’s meeting in Canberra at which he was pressured to sell Liddell or keep it open, rather than close it in 2022 and replace its generation capacity with gas and clean energy sources.
 
“The best way to address pricing challenges in the market is to increase supply. We’re investing more than anyone else in building new supply to drive down prices and stand ready to invest more when there is certainty on carbon policy,” Mr Vesey said.
 
Labor leader Bill Shorten concurred. “How can the government expect industry to decide on new generators if the government can’t even decide on a Clean Energy Target?” he said on Tuesday.
 
New policy
 
But the government all-but confirmed on Tuesday that it had moved away from plans to implement a CET and will instead unveil a policy which places a heavier emphasis on cheap and reliable power .
 
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said last week’s report by the Australian Energy Market Operator which highlighted an intermediate-term shortfall in baseload power if Liddell closed in 2022 had “reset the debate” and “placed a focus and a premium” on baseload and stability.
 
Mr Turnbull told Parliament “the real challenge to the reliability of the energy system is the failure of the current market system to take into account the importance of having baseload power”.
 
“We need to ensure that the energy market design provides a suitable framework for investment that doesn’t simply get new generation, but gets generation of the right kind,” he said.
 
“Because you have to keep the lights on, and you have to ensure that people can afford to pay to keep the lights on.”
 
Mr Turnbull insisted there could be a policy which kept coal burning longer but still enabled Australia to meet its 2030 emissions reductions targets.
 
Abbott approval
 
The shift was welcomed in the Coalition party room by Tony Abbott. He congratulated Mr Turnbull and warned there should not be a CET bolted on top of the existing Renewable Energy Target.
 
Full post

2) Tony Abbott Fuels Push From Backbench Against Clean Energy Target
The Australian, 12 September 2017

Malcolm Turnbull is facing a backbench push to stop a clean energy target being embraced as government policy, after former prime minister Tony Abbott fired a warning shot on the political risk of adding the new scheme to existing subsidies for renewable power.
 
The Prime Minister yesterday played down the need for the target as he attacked Labor over energy prices and reliability, putting a priority on affordable power rather than cuts to carbon emissions.
 
A solid group has formed within the Coalition party room to oppose a clean energy target out of concern it would push up prices and weaken the security of supply because it would favour renewables over coal or gas generators. The substantial minority is opposed to a clean energy target of any kind and appears unlikely to be satisfied by a scheme that offers small financial incentives for gas-fired power or the most advanced coal-fired power stations.
 
Mr Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg have scaled back talk of a clean energy target while urging power company AGL to keep running its Liddell coal power station beyond its scheduled closure in 2022.
 
In a pointed intervention yesterday, Mr Abbott welcomed the talks with AGL on extending Liddell but warned against adding the clean energy target to the existing renewable energy target, which decrees that 23.5 per cent of electricity comes from renewables by 2020.
 
“If we graft a CET on top of the existing RET, that will be a difficult position to sustain,” Mr Abbott told the party room.
 
He later told The Australian that the nation had enough renewable energy in the system and should build new coal power stations because existing plans, such as the expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme, would not be enough to make up for the closure of the Hazelwood coal power station in Victoria earlier this year.
 
“We are already slated under the RET to effectively double the amount of wind power in three years,” Mr Abbott said. “We would be better off saying no more subsidises for renewables.
 
“The Snowy Hydro 2.0 if it takes place will scarcely replace Hazelwood. Obviously we have to keep Liddell in the system.”
 
Mr Abbott said it was inevitable the government would have to fund new coal.

“The government will have to do it. The same way we are doing Snowy 2.0 we will have to do a new coal-fired power station,” Mr Abbott said.
 
Full story
 
3) World Building New Coal Plants Faster Than It Shuts Them
The Australian, 13 September 2017 

Nations around the world are building coal-fired power plants at a faster rate than those being ­decommissioned. The plants under construction reflect a 10 per cent increase to the total global generation powered by coal.
 
New electricity generated by coal-fired plants will outstrip that which was retired in 2015 and 2016 by a factor of five.
 
With Australia facing a policy crisis over energy security and the winding back of reliance on coal, construction of new coal-fired power plants was increasing in at least 35 countries, according to data analysis supplied to the ­Nationals by the federal parliamentary library. China has 299 new coal generation units under construction, followed by India which is building 132. Australia’s closest neighbour, Indo­nesia, was planning a further 32.
 
Nuclear countries, including Japan and South Africa, were also increasing their exposure to coal-powered investment, with 21 new plants between them. Vietnam was building 34.
 
The data was requested by ­Nationals senator and party whip John Williams, who has argued that the carbon emissions produced by the new plants worldwide would eclipse Australia’s total carbon emission profile.
 
“We don’t have a tent over Australia … emissions are going up around the world because of these generators being built,” ­Senator Williams told The Australian. “We are bowing down to the green agenda which will make no difference to the world’s ­emissions.
 
“It makes no sense. We will de-industrialise Australia and let everything be manufactured overseas with higher emissions.”
 
The parliamentary library paper showed that 321 gigawatts of new generation would come from coal plants under construction globally. In 2015 and 2016, total coal generation retired amounted to 64 gigawatts.
 
Worldwide, the paper showed, there were currently 5973 units of coal-fired power generation. There are often multiple power-generating units within a power station. The number of new units under construction totalled 621.
 
Full story 
 
See also: Forget Paris: 1600 New Coal Power Plants Built Around The World
 
4) IPCC Scenarios Refuted By Reality: Global Co2 Emissions Intensity Increasing, Not Declining
Felix Pretis and Max Roser, Energy, September 2017 
 
New study reveals that global CO2 emissions intensity growth exceeded 37 of all 39 IPCC scenarios – including all 6 main scenarios – over the decade 2000–2010. 
 

Panel b shows observed annual growth rates together with observed decadal growth rates over both decades. Observed decadal growth rates exceed all main scenario projections over the 2000s.
 Source: Pretis & Roser (2017)
 
Abstract
 
The wide spread of projected temperature changes in climate projections does not predominately originate from uncertainty across climate models; instead it is the broad range of different global socio-economic scenarios and the implied energy production that results in high uncertainty about future climate change. It is therefore important to assess the observational tracking of these scenarios. Here we compare these socio-economic scenarios created in both 1992 and 2000 against the recent observational record to investigate the coupling of economic growth and fossil-fuel CO2 emissions. We find that global emission intensity (fossil fuel CO2 emissions per GDP) rose in the first part of the 21st century despite all major climate projections foreseeing a decline. Proposing a method to disaggregate differences between scenarios and observations in global growth rates to country-by-country contributions, we find that the relative discrepancy was driven by unanticipated GDP growth in Asia and Eastern Europe, in particular in Russia and China. The growth of emission intensity over the 2000s highlights the relevance of unforeseen local shifts in projections on a global scale.
 
Introduction
 
The wide spread of projected temperature changes in climate projections does not predominately originate from uncertainty across climate models; instead it is the broad range of different global socio-economic scenarios and the implied energy production that results in high uncertainty about future climate change. While the physical-science basis of models used in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 1990–2013) reports is very much the focus of the debate in climate research, the underlying socio-economic scenarios that determine emissions of greenhouse gases have received comparably less attention.
 
Observations over two decades are now available against which the initial sets of socio-economic scenarios underlying the IPCC reports can be assessed to study the observational tracking. Here we compare these socio-economic scenarios created in both 1992 (IS92 – see Refs.[12,20]) and 2000 (SRES – see Ref.17]) against the recent observational record to investigate the coupling of economic growth and fossil-fuel CO2emissions. We find that global emission intensity (fossil fuel CO2 emissions per GDP) rose in the first part of the 21st century, despite all major climate projections foreseeing a decline. Studying the differences between projections and observations we find that the relative discrepancy was driven by unanticipated GDP growth in wider Asia, particularly in Russia and China. The growth of emission intensity over the 2000s highlights the relevance of unforeseen local shifts in projections on a global scale.
 
Full paper
 
5) Greens Defeated As Norwegian Voters Snub Anti-Oil Push
Oil & Gas Journal, 12 September 2017
 
An election seen partly as a referendum on Norway’s future as an oil-producing country went solidly for the status quo.
 
Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the center-right Conservative Party and her main collation partner, the Progress Party, won 89 seats in Norway’s 169-seat Parliament, defeating a group led by the Labor Party that was projected to win 80 seats.
 
Before the election, weakening of the Labor coalition was thought to have created an opportunity for the Green Party to gain influence. The Greens campaigned to halt oil and gas exploration and to phase out the Norwegian oil industry in 15 years.
 
But the party only retained its single seat, winning an estimated 3.3% of the vote.
 
No Conservative-led Norwegian government has retained power in an election since 1985.
 
The Labor Party was projected to lose 6 of its 55 seats but to remain Norway’s largest single party.
 
Full post
 
6) Some Himalayan Glaciers Have Been Melting For 400 Years, Scientists Discover
Times of India, 13 September 2017
 
Global warming and climate change are serious issues that are drawing the attention of the world. However, the phenomenon of Himalayan glaciers melting is not a recent one. In fact, it has been happening for 400 years.
 
It was during the Little Ice Age, a period of cold conditions from 1645 CE-1715 CE, that Arctic and sub-Arctic glaciers were expanding but Himalayan glaciers were melting.
 
Melting of glaciers is not only caused due to industrialization and global warming but natural factors like oceanic currents and total solar irradiance (TSI), which means total sun energy coming to earth, are equally responsible. Oceanic currents affect monsoon and since glaciers are dependent on monsoon precipitation in the form of snow, any change in it affects glaciers. TSI affects temperature and other climatic factors which affect glaciers.
 
A study by a team of nine scientists from Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences has unfolded the health status and behaviour of Himalayan glaciers over a period of four centuries.
 
The scientists used tree ring data of around 400 years from Himalayan conifers in the glaciated valleys of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir for research.

The study has been published in the prestigious international journal ‘Scientific Reports’ of Nature group.
 
“Glacier melting has been an area of great concern, as glaciers are huge water reservoirs and a source of fresh water. Our study highlights the loss in volume of the Himalayan glaciers and shows that even when European glaciers were expanding, Himalayan glaciers were shrinking,” said senior scientist Parminder S Ranhotra.
 
Ranhotra added that there is no instrument to measure glacier health over such a long period of time and the team used tree rings, a reliable technique to study expansion and melting of Himalayan glaciers centuries ago. The team is the first in the country to use this technique to study loss in volume of glaciers, he added.
 
Lead author of the research Mayank Shekhar said the team conducted research on 13 glaciers. Three of these were in Jammu & Kashmir, six in Himachal Pradesh and four in Uttarakhand.
 
The research shows that every 10 years, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh glaciers were melting at 6% and 5% respectively, while glaciers of J&K were stable.
The reason is that Uttarakhand and Himachal glaciers are dependent on Indian summer monsoon system, governed by oceanic currents and changes in solar energy. On the other hand, glaciers of J&K are dependent on winter precipitation mainly in the form of snowfall, which has lesser impact on glacier volume.
 
“This is a complex subject but the study provides compelling evidence of global significance for understanding the dynamics of past glacier advances and retreats in the context of changing climatic conditions and their drivers in each of the three major sectors of Himalayas,” said BSIP director Sunil Bajpai.
 
Full story
 
7) 87% Of Himalayan Glaciers Stable Since 2001, Indian Minister Confirms
Times of India, 15 December 2017

NEW DELHI: As many as 248 of 2,018 or 12.3% of Himalayan glaciers are “retreating” while 18 are advancing, environment minister, Prakash Javadekar told the Rajya Sabha on Monday in a written reply. The minister’s reply, however, also revealed that a majority or about 86% of glaciers have remaned stable.

The minister said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in collaboration with the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had conducted a study on a part of the glaciated region of Himalayas between 2004 and 2011 which threw up these results.

Full post 

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

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