Monday, October 23, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Scientific Establishment Rocked By New Science Scandal








WHO Cancer Agency Edits Out 'Non-Carcinogenic' Findings

In this newsletter:

1) Scientific Establishment Rocked By New Science Scandal
Reuters, 19 October 2017
 
2) Green Energy Campaigners May Kill The World’s Biggest Science Project
Bloomberg, 20 October 2017


 
3) Europe’s Climate Fiasco: Dutch Will Also Miss 2020 Targets
Reuters, 19 October 2017
 
4) Opposition To Green Agenda Growing In Central And Eastern Europe
Financial Times, 20 October 2017


Full details:

1) Scientific Establishment Rocked By New Science Scandal
Reuters, 19 October 2017

LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s cancer agency dismissed and edited findings from a draft of its review of the weedkiller glyphosate that were at odds with its final conclusion that the chemical probably causes cancer.

Documents seen by Reuters show how a draft of a key section of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) assessment of glyphosate – a report that has prompted international disputes and multi-million-dollar lawsuits – underwent significant changes and deletions before the report was finalised and made public.

IARC, based in Lyon, France, wields huge influence as a semi-autonomous unit of the WHO, the United Nations health agency. It issued a report on its assessment of glyphosate – a key ingredient in Monsanto Corp’s top-selling weedkiller RoundUp – in March 2015. It ranked glyphosate a Group 2a carcinogen, a substance that probably causes cancer in people.

That conclusion was based on its experts’ view that there was “sufficient evidence” glyphosate causes cancer in animals and “limited evidence” it can do so in humans. The Group 2a classification has prompted mass litigation in the United States against Monsanto and could lead to a ban on glyphosate sales across the European Union from the start of next year.

The edits identified by Reuters occurred in the chapter of IARC’s review focusing on animal studies. This chapter was important in IARC’s assessment of glyphosate, since it was in animal studies that IARC decided there was “sufficient” evidence of carcinogenicity.

One effect of the changes to the draft, reviewed by Reuters in a comparison with the published report, was the removal of multiple scientists’ conclusions that their studies had found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals.

In one instance, a fresh statistical analysis was inserted – effectively reversing the original finding of a study being reviewed by IARC.

In another, a sentence in the draft referenced a pathology report ordered by experts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It noted the report “firmly” and “unanimously” agreed that the “compound” – glyphosate – had not caused abnormal growths in the mice being studied. In the final published IARC monograph, this sentence had been deleted.

Reuters found 10 significant changes that were made between the draft chapter on animal studies and the published version of IARC’s glyphosate assessment. In each case, a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one. Reuters was unable to determine who made the changes.

Full story

2) Green Energy Campaigners May Kill The World’s Biggest Science Project
Bloomberg, 20 October 2017

The world’s biggest scientific experiment is on course to become the most expensive source of surplus power. With wind-farm campaigners starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand in Europe stagnating, the future of fusion research looks bleak.

Components of the 20 billion-euro ($24 billion) project are already starting to pile up at a construction site in the south of France, where about 800 scientists plan to test whether they can harness the power that makes stars shine. Assembly of the machine will start in May.

Unlike traditional nuclear plants that split atoms, the so-called ITER reactor will fuse them together at temperatures 10-times hotter than the Sun — 150 million degrees Celsius (270 million Fahrenheit).


Its startling complexity, with more than a million pieces and sponsors in 35 countries, mean questions remain about over whether the reactor will work or if it can deliver electricity at anything like the cost of more traditional forms of clean energy. With wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand stagnating, even the project’s supporters are asking whether ITER will ever make sense.

“I’m dubious,” said Chris Llewellyn Smith, director of energy research at Oxford University who has spoken in favor of the research project. “The cost of wind and solar has come down so rapidly, so the competition has become harder to beat than you could have conceivably imagined a decade ago.”

ITER, short for international thermonuclear experimental reactor, was supposed to offer plentiful power from a zero-pollution source when governments started it in 2006. Now, as wind and solar farms spread, some without the help of subsidies, ITER in Provence is still decades away from proving whether its scientific theories can be put into practice.

In the decades it will take to prove itself, renewables are likely to mushroom, thanks to a 62 percent plunge in the cost of solar panels over the past five years. Wind energy has followed similar trends as turbine sizes surged, boosting the spark coming from each unit. Batteries also are spreading, reducing the need for utilities to maintain a constant “baseload” of supply that ITER would feed to the grid.

“The concept of the need for baseload generation is fading away,” said Paolo Frankl, who heads the renewable power division of the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based institution advising nations on energy. “Technically, you could run a system 100 percent on renewables and even 100 percent just wind and solar.”

Full story

3) Europe’s Climate Fiasco: Dutch Will Also Miss 2020 Targets
Reuters, 19 October 2017

The Netherlands will miss 2020 targets for renewable energy production and greenhouse gas emissions despite new investments in wind power, according to a government review published on Thursday.

Based on current projections, green schemes will produce 12.4 percent of the Dutch energy supply by that year, below a 14-percent target agreed with the European Union, the review said. The projects that are in place will have cut damaging emissions by 23 percent from 1990 levels, missing a 25-percent goal agreed in the Kyoto Protocol, it added.

Full story

4) Opposition To Green Agenda Growing In Central And Eastern Europe
Financial Times, 20 October 2017
Robert Anderson

Further advances towards climate change targets are threatened by political resistance

[…] Rapid growth of generously subsidised renewable projects has left end users, taxpayers or energy companies with steeper bills while private investors have secured lucrative profits.

In the Czech Republic, the government reacted to a “solar boom” by restricting feed-in tariffs and imposing a windfall tax that often hit investors that had just entered the market. The backlash affected all renewables, explaining why wind farms such as JRD’s Vaclavice project have been so rare in recent years. “Renewables were completely discredited,” declared Jan Mladek, former minister and the architect of the Czech government’s energy policy.

“At the end of 2010 the state said ‘we have made a mistake and you will pay for it’,” says Marek Lang, director of JRD’s energy division, who argues that this backlash now endangers even the government’s unambitious 2030 target for renewables.

Similar stories across the region have given renewable energy a bad name and triggered lawsuits and arbitration actions by foreign investors complaining of erratic and retroactive changes in subsidy regimes.

This has enabled politically powerful coal and nuclear lobbies to mount a rearguard action to persuade governments to support their interests. This has met little resistance, as environmental movements are often much weaker than in western Europe and energy pricing is even more sensitive due to lower incomes.

Governments have often seized on controversy over energy prices to shore up electoral support by dismantling subsidy schemes and picking fights with foreign-owned energy companies.

In Poland, the populist rightwing government has defended the country’s coal industry and is hostile to Brussels’ green agenda. It has banned wind turbines from being closer than 1.5km to habitations. With only 13 per cent of consumption from renewables, Poland could even miss its unambitious 2020 target of 15 per cent, and just settle for hitting its 16 per cent target for 2030…

For the past three years the Czech energy group has been buying polluting fossil-fuel power stations from Europe’s big utilities, in the belief that governments will hand out capacity payments to keep them operating as a potential reserve.

The bet is based on an expectation that changing to green energy will take longer than predicted and that conventional power stations will still be required to even out the fluctuations in power produced by wind and sun. The group is now the seventh-largest energy producer in Europe, bigger even than the Czech Republic’s CEZ. It made a net profit of €800m in 2016 on revenues of €4.93bn.

Full story


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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