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COPENHAGEN – Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, wants to be the world’s first CO2-neutral city by 2025. But, as many other well-meaning cities and countries have discovered, cutting CO2 significantly is more difficult than it seems, and may require quite a bit of creative accounting.
More surprisingly, Copenhagen’s politicians have confidently declared that cutting CO2 now will ultimately make the city and its citizens wealthier, with today’s expensive green-energy investments more than paying off when fossil-fuel prices rise. But how can deliberately limiting one’s options improve one’s prospects? These sound more like the arguments of green campaigners – and they are most likely wrong.
The first challenge that Copenhagen faces in reaching its zero-emissions goal is the lack of cost-effective alternatives for some sources of CO2, particularly automobiles. Denmark already provides the world’s largest subsidy to electric cars by exempting them from its marginal 180% car-registration tax. For the most popular electric car, the Nissan Leaf, this exemption is worth $85,000 (€63,000). Yet, just 1,536 of Denmark’s 2.7 million cars are electric.
If there is one thing that distresses me more than any other when it comes to warministas is their naive belief that the so called “alternatives” can be viable as this piece form Bjørn Lomborg argues in the piece that I quote that it needs much more than creative accounting and the pretense of viability .
For those poor followers of the Green religion who still think that the carbon tax and or an ETS is a valid way to approach the “problem” of climate change I offer this snippet from Bjørn Lomborg:
Isn’t this a timely reminder why the Abbott government is so right to abolish the monstrosity that is the Labor/Greens “clean energy ” regime?
- The ‘Sceptical Environmentalist’ says Direct Action no better than carbon tax (abc.net.au)
- Is Bjorn Lomborg right to say fossil fuels are what poor countries need? | Graham Readfearn (theguardian.com)
- Bjørn Lomborg: ‘Typhoon Haiyan Not About Climate Change’ (nationalreview.com)
- Bjorn Yesterday: NY Times Runs Op-Ed Asserting Poor People Need More Carbon Pollution (thinkprogress.org)
- Abbott introduces carbon repeal bill (skynews.com.au)
Ah that environmental equivalent to the hate week that Orwell spoke of in 1984 is almost upon us and like hate week its all about manipulating the feelings of the proles so that the dominate religious ideology can be both strengthened and reinforced. Thus when we are exhorted to turn off our lights for earth hour those of us who do not plunge our homes and business into darkness can paint targets on our foreheads for the faithful to aim at with their condescending scorn.However like a lot of religious mumbo jumbo the underlying assumption about the effectiveness of this act of environmental contrition will be grossly overstated as will the culpability of humanity for the claimed changes in the climate. With that all in mind I found Bjorn Lomborg‘s argument in today’s Oz most compelling:
You don’t have to succumb to the group think about the “virtue” of turning off your lights or worse yet joining in to the immoral stupidity of getting your snout into the Photovoltaic subsidy trough that drives energy costs up for everyone else. There are better ways than these empty gestures to tread lightly on the planet, holiday in this country rather than taking that jet fueled jaunt around the planet, use your appliances and cars until they are worn out instead of replacing them when the warranty runs out. Forgo the pleasures of the fashion industry by only buying new clothes when your old ones are worn out, heck you could even seek a better balance between the need to be clean and the frequency and duration of your showering. All of theses things are going to make more difference to the planet than turning your lights off for one hour, especially if you have, like yours truly, already been using the most efficient LED lights (that use 85% less energy than an incandescent bulb )for quite some time …
Never been a big fan of cake Comrades
- Bjorn Lomborg’s Dirty Little Math (cleantechnica.com)
- The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World (landandlivestock.wordpress.com)
- Earth Hour 2013: March 23, 8:30 PM (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Earth Hour Is a Colossal Waste of Time – And Energy (slate.com)
- In Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bjorn Lomborg urges delay with misleading stats (climatesciencewatch.org)
- Turn off gadgets during Earth Hour (technology.inquirer.net)
- Earth Hour (popalx.wordpress.com)
- My Blog Supports “Earth Hour.” (zedie.wordpress.com)
The thing that must vex the true believers about Bjorn Lomborg is that as a believer in AGW himself the faithful are somewhat restricted in the sort of arguments that they can put against his good sense, good sense like his opinion piece in today’s Oz. Where the whole core of his argument is that no matter what you believe about global warming there is no point in endorsing any measure or policy that will be ineffective in its central aim, namely to mitigate climate change.
I would just love to hear any possible counter argument against this good sense…
Cue JM & Craigy
Despite him recently being acknowledged by the Warminisitas because he reaffirmed a belief in AGW I still respect Bjorn Lomborg because he manages to see beyond the usual faith positions and into the meta reality of our world and he is quite willing to criticise any aspect of the Warminista vision for the future. The Opinion piece in today’s OZ is a very good example of precisely that.
Instead of focusing on climate change, the Climate Commission hyped the benefits that Denmark would experience if it led the shift to green energy. Unfortunately, on inspection these benefits turn out to be illusory.
Being a pioneer is hardly a guarantee of riches. Germany led the world in putting up solar panels, funded by E47 billion ($66bn) in subsidies. The lasting legacy is a massive bill and lots of inefficient solar technology sitting on rooftops throughout a cloudy country, delivering a trivial 0.1 per cent of its total energy supply.
Denmark itself has also already tried being a green-energy innovator; it led the world in embracing wind power. The results are hardly inspiring. Denmark’s wind industry is almost completely dependent on taxpayer subsidies, and Danes pay the highest electricity rates of any industrialised nation. Several studies suggest that claims that one-fifth of Denmark’s electricity demand is met by wind are an exaggeration, in part because much of the power is produced when there is no demand and must be sold to other countries.
The sorry state of wind and solar power shows the massive challenge that we face in trying to make today’s technology competitive and efficient. Direct-current lines need to be constructed to carry solar and wind energy from sunny, windy areas to where most people live. Storage mechanisms need to be invented so that power is not interrupted whenever there is no sunshine or wind.
Proponents of carbon cuts argue that green-energy technologies only seem more expensive because the price of fossil fuels does not reflect the cost of their impact on the climate. But allowing for this would make little difference. The most comprehensive economic meta-study shows that total future climate impacts would justify a tax of around E0.01 per litre of petrol ($0.06 per gallon in the US) an amount dwarfed by the taxes already imposed by most European countries.
Despite the fact changing from fossil fuels to green energy requires a total economic transformation, Denmark’s Climate Commission claimed that the price tag would be next to nothing. The commission reached this conclusion by assuming that the cost of not embracing its recommended policy would be massive.
The Alarmist industry is in trouble, and it is a trouble of their own making because they have so over egged the pudding that what they now have in front of them is in essence an omelette, sadly for their cause there is no way of unscrambling the mess that they have made and even if their dire claims are true they have lost the general public. Oh the deeply religious zealots are still sure but then hell freezing over would make no difference to them because their real agenda is to see humanity so diminished that the inside of a cave would be luxury.
There are some Warministas who I just laugh at because they are entirely off with the fairies when it comes to the sort of solutions that they advocate for the problem of “global warming” (Tim Flanery and Al Gore fall into this category) and then there are people like Bjorn Lomborg who you can respect because they have a good handle on the real politics of the world when it comes to this issue.
As if these reasons were not enough to explain the Chinese government’s opposition to an expensive global carbon deal, economic-impact models show that for at least the rest of this century, China will actually benefit from global warming. Warmer temperatures will boost agricultural production and improve health. While heat-related deaths in summer will increase, this will be more than offset by a significant reduction in cold-related deaths in winter.
In short, China is aggressively protecting the economic growth that is transforming the lives of its citizens, instead of spending a fortune battling a problem that is unlikely to affect it negatively until next century.
Little wonder, then, that Ed Miliband, Britain’s Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, found “impossible resistance” from China to a global carbon mitigation deal.
Trying to force China into line would be impractical and foolhardy. The inescapable but inconvenient truth is that the response to global warming we have pursued for nearly 20 years – ever since the leaders of rich countries first vowed to cut carbon – is simply not going to work.
It is time to recognise the impracticality of trying to force developing countries to agree to make fossil fuel ever more expensive. Instead, we need to make a greater effort to produce cheaper, more widely used green energy. To do this, we must dramatically increase the amount we spend on research and development.
The thing that struck me about this piece was the way that it entirely negates the wishful thinking from so many followers of the Green religion. You know the fantasy that China and India (along with the rest of the so called “developing countries”) can be “encouraged’ to get with the liturgical fundamentals of the Warminista faith. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen even my own regulars assure me that China is moving towards “the truth”. Often this faith position is backed up with talk about the number of solar panels or wind generators that the peoples republic is making… Oh how the faithful see what they want to see.
Its all about adaptation folks! When it comes down to it you can not hope to re-engineer the climate no matter how much you think that you know the mind of Gaia you have to recognise that the lady is not for turning and that the only way to avoid lots of futile effort is to go with the flow and appreciate that change brings opportunity.
To the AGW truthers like our own “PKD” the science is solved and the truth is out there. My, oh my, does he get grumpy when the major flaws in his argument are demonstrated. However a much more sensible approach can be found from people like Bjorn Lomborg who is quite critical of the cap and trade proposals that have been flying around in the lead up to the big AGW gabfest in Copenhagen.
Many countries are now setting ambitious carbon-cutting goals ahead of global negotiations in Copenhagen this December to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Let us imagine that the world ultimately agrees on an ambitious target. Say we decide to reduce CO2 emissions by three-quarters by 2100 while maintaining reasonable growth. Herein lies the technological problem: to meet this goal, non-carbon-based sources of energy would have to be an astounding 2.5 times greater in 2100 than the level of total global energy consumption was in 2000.
I have maintained for some time that no matter what the theory says that the reality is that there is just about zero chance that the political fixes can be made to get up the AGW prescription to the “problem”. Bjorn Lomborg also points out that we just do not have the technology to make alternatives actually work as replacements for fossil fuels.
Politicians will base their decisions on global warming models that simply assume that technological breakthroughs will happen by themselves. This faith is sadly – and dangerously – misplaced.
Green and Galiana examine the state of non-carbon-based energy today – nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, etc – and find that, taken together, alternative energy sources would get us less than halfway towards a path of stable carbon emissions by 2050, and only a tiny fraction of the way toward stabilisation by 2100. We need many, many times more non-carbon-based energy than is currently produced.
Yet the needed technology will not be ready in terms of scalability or stability. In many cases, there is still a need for the most basic research and development. We are not even close to getting this revolution started.
Existing technology is so inefficient that – to take just one example – if we were serious about wind power, we would have to blanket most countries with wind turbines to generate enough energy for everybody, and we would still have the massive problem of storage: we don’t know what to do when the wind doesn’t blow.
Like the religious zealots that they are, most Waministas don’t want to know that their liturgical mantras are actually as useful as titties on a bull . They don’t want to know that the chances of getting the nations of the world to both agree to, and to meet some mythic bench mark on the emissions of CO2 is for all intents and purposes impossible. They are like all millenarian cults utterly immune to the application of good sense.
Even if the likes of PKD were to be right about the planet warming then the answer lies with adaptation to what ever the climate paradigm is rather than pretending that we humans can actually change it.
I love good design and the efficient use of resources, but by the same token I loathe lies and deceptions and when it comes to the hope of a bright new economic future we are being sold a pup by the likes of Al Gore and followers of the his green faith. The reality is simply that the only bright future that exists in the so called “green jobs revolution” will be for the promoters of the schemes and the academics who think up some of the wacky ideas that are floating around about the climate.
Gore is also chairman of a greeninvestment firm called Generation Investment Management, which is a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an international collaboration of businesses and science bodies, and which invests in firms that produce renewable energy and low-carbon technology. So Gore uses one of his multimillion-dollar organisations, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to put pressure on government to promote the low-carbon lifestyle that will furnish one of his other multimillion-dollar organisations, General Investment Management, with booming business.
Gore’s activities provide only a glimpse into the new collusion between greens, businesses and government. So speedily has this network come together that according to one critic of the politics of environmentalism, Bjorn Lomborg, it is not going too far to liken the new green-industrial complex to the military-industrial complex that president Dwight Eisenhower warned of in the 1950s.
Governments across the world are promoting green ideology and economics on the back of the recession. President Barack Obama has spoken of a “green revolution” and spending $US150 billion to create five million “green-collar” jobs. As a result, the race is on among green-leaning businesses to snap up new government contracts and among not-so-green businesses to improve their green-industrial credentials in the hope of reaping government cash.
Yet the international evidence suggests the attempt to create green jobs will hamper economic recovery. Obama cited Spain as a country where green jobs have improved economic matters. In fact, according to a study by a professor of economics at Juan Carlos University in Madrid, for every green job created by the Spanish government in recent years, an average of 2.2 other jobs were destroyed to make way for it. Furthermore, green jobs tend not to be permanent; in Spain, only 1 in 10 green jobs exists for a significant period.
In Britain, green-industrial activists have used their political clout and scientific research, much of it derived from studies that underpin the business-science alliance of the Copenhagen Climate Council, to pressure the government to adopt a green new deal. In response, Gordon Brown announced in April that he would create 400,000 green jobs and a “low-carbon economy”.
Yet his figures don’t add up. The Brown government imagines that by 2015 it will have created 39,600 new jobs in geothermal energy, 74,900 in the development of alternative fuels, 25,300 in solar power and 69,300 in the construction of wind turbines. Yet, as a result of Britain’s debilitating crisis of credit, the renewables industry, in which tens of thousands of new jobs are apparently going to be created, is in a dire state. Five of Britain’s biggest wind-energy projects have been abandoned or put on hold indefinitely and British Petroleum recently cut 620 jobs in its solar-energy division because it wasn’t profitable. As journalist Christopher Booker argues, Brown’s “green revolution” is “babyish make-believe”.