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FUEL FOR THOUGHT 26/4 6 MARCH TO 5 MAY

(All dates refer to 2015 unless stated otherwise)

FACTS AND EVENTS ENERGY AND CARBON FINANCE CLIMATE SCIENCE AND SCIENCE POLITICS ENERGY POLICY AND CLIMATE POLITICS CARBON FUELS AND NUCLEAR GREEN TECHNOLOGY AND FUELS CARBONPHOBIA: BENEFICIARIES AND ENEMIES NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENTS EPILOGUE

FACTS AND EVENTS Context

Netanyahu wants a war against Iran but [the author] thinks an imperfect compromise would be better than a ‘futile war’. He wants Iran to cease all nuclear activities, which would man war He won warm applause from his Republican friends. Obama now ants only one year warning before the building of a bomb. Israel should have asked to become a partner to these talks. (Philip Stephens FT 6 March)

The world faces a growing threat of nuclear conflict. Netanyahu is wrong; the deal with Iran is the best on offer. Russia has started to boast with his nuclear arsenal, after new START negotiations and get back to weapons reduction negotiations, have been abandoned. One third of Russia’s military budget goes to bolstering its nuclear prowess. At global level, the NT has attracted little or no support from weapons states. (The Economist 7 March)

The dismantling of the Ottoman Empire created the festering sore that is today’s Middle East. (Rogan book review, Economist 7 March)

The view now is that trade and globalisation have increased inequality in the US. (L. Summers FT 9 March)

Joseph Nye believes that US world dominance will continue because the EU is too fractured, Japan too old, Russia too corrupt, India too poor, Brazil too unproductive… and China…will keep growing but faces many internal challenges …and is not open towards immigrants. (Time 23March)

Is the USA getting ready for global war? According to the Marshall Institute:

‘Iran views the U.S. and Israel as its principal enemies and over the past three decades Iran has very intentionally created a network of terrorist surrogates able to target U.S. interests and Israel. The terror or militant groups it supports are HAMAS, Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, and

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Iraqi Shia groups. (24 March)

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Jerusalem has become a place of hostility, especially between Muslims and Jews, (The Battle for Jerusalem, Time April 6)

Rulers once sent in the cavalry when they wanted to redraw the map. Now the main battleground is economic…Competing trade regimes are becoming as important as military alliances… ’The grammar of commerce but the logic of

war…Multilateral institutions … are becoming a battleground for geopolitical competition. (Mark Leonard, FT 24 March)

Are we facing a clash between geo-economics and geopolitics? Can a globally integrated economic and financial union survive rising competition between

great powers?

On

present trends, the answer is probably not. ( P. Stephens, FT

27 March)

USA and China are heading for a frosty peace… Things … are going to be tough’. (Martin Wolf FT 1 May)

In April oil price experienced its strongest monthly gain since 2009 leading many to hope that the worst of the oil rout was over. (FT 2/3 May)

For 200 years or so, first Europe and then the US achieved a kind of world dominance that is now slipping into history. [This] should inspire not fear but curiosity. ( M Mazower, FT 14 April)

The World Bank predicted that that India will overtake China’s economic growth rate in 2017. (FT 7 March)

The question is not beating ISIS. It’s what comes afterwards. More than ever, that question needs an answer. (Time 9 March)

In 2015 four big UN conference to save the world: on disasters, on (Japan), on sustainable development goals (MDGS) in New York Sept; in July Addis Ababa raising money for development, selecting projects for funding; and lastly of course, the funder (?) in Paris ‘on tackling climate change’. A climate treaty with teeth is what western diplomats and the Economist seem to desire most but targets are vague but even in climate ‘bickering continues’ so though much is being done already. Will more than words be produced? Diplomatic tourism is certainly involved, funded by tax payers. (Economist 28 March)

Civil War in Middle East has started with Saudi military involvement in Yemen, raising the temperature of a ’simmering cold war between Sunni Arab states and Shia rival Iran. (FT 27 March)

• Without abundant fuel and power, prosperity is impossible: workers cannot amplify their productivity, doctors cannot preserve vaccines etc. Nearly 700 million Africans rely mainly on wood or dung…, and 600 million have no access to electric light. Britain with 60 million people has nearly as much electricity-generating capacity as the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, minus South Africa, with 800 million. (Matt Ridley blog 29 April) jjkarlock@gmail.com>

The 2016 US presidential election is now well under way… but the Californians (and Silicon Valley) are missing. This political passivity seems to relate to angry Hispanics because the Republicans promoted anti-illegal immigration policies.

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The current Democrat is 76 years old. Clinton is unlikely to become a Californian Perhaps Jeb Bush against Hilary Clinton? The new dynasties? (FT 7/8 March)

American officials…are diligently tightening the screws of economic sanction imposed on Iran and anybody trying to trade with it. (Economist 7 March)

The fate of Obama’s immigration overhaul now lies in the hands lawyers, will be part of litigation that could go all the way to the Supreme Courts. A similar fate awaits the Administration’s new EPA mandates that are meant to ‘curb climate change’. These lawsuits are both a symptom and a cause of partisan gridlock in Washington. (Time, 9 March)

47% of US jobs are at high risk of becoming automated in the next 20 years. (R Foroohar, Tim 16 March)

What might happen after such a deal [with Iran], traditional allies of USA are worried, especially Saudi Arabia but also Turkey. Iran is already taking over Iraq, with its power in Arab lands expanding. Obama seems to be aiming at a self-regulating balance of power in the region once Iran is reintegrated. Only Iran may have a clear and inexorable strategy. (D Gardner FT 16 March)

Obama is considering supplying Kiev with arms, supported by Poland, UK and Lithuania, Germany remains opposed. (FT 20 March)

Hacking threats from abroad have been declared ‘a national emergency’ by Obama, with executive orders permitting sanctions on attackers. (FT 2/3 April)

In 2010 the Supreme Court allowed Super-political action committees to raise unlimited amounts of presidential candidates, Mr. Bush wants to expand this Right to Rise further to overcome any restriction on co-ordinating strategy with

the official team supporting candidates

(FT 23 April)

• The Clinton Foundation is received ‘multimillion dollar donations’ from connection with Canadian firm Uranium One later taken over by Russia’s Rosatom giving the Russian ‘control over a significance share of US uranium production and other uranium interests, making ‘Bill and Hilary rich’. (FT 24 April)

Save in the dreams of diehard neoconservatives, the US lacks the resources and political will for ‘generational projects’ to transform the Middle East. (P. Stevens FT 24 April)

Obama faces uphill struggle over his trade deal with East Asia, TPP, especially with his own Party. Many Americans are worried about more jobs migrating to Asia and the Republicans are divided over TPP. Negotiations have missed many deadlines and ‘a whiff of panic’ has entered. Why is China excluded? (Economist 28 March and 25 April)

Democrats are divided over this ‘emotional issue’ (TPP) opposed by the left and lead by Elizabeth Warren. Should Obama be given ‘fast track authority’ to go ahead? (FT 27 April) This authority had still not materialise by early May with few Democrats in Congress in favour. (FT 4 May)

The ECB president will launch the 1.1 bn programme next week hoping to see the gradual recovery of the EU economy with a growth forecast of 1.5% compared to the current 1%. (FT 6 March)

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Rejecting Russia as we are stupidly doing….is throwing Russia into the arms of China. (Marie Le Pen, quoted in FT 6 March)

Juncker (EU presidents called for the creation of a EU army to counter Russia and show ‘we are serious about defending European values.”; and a former EU economic chief ‘slammed his successors in the Commission for repeatedly

failing to punish France for flouting EU deficit limits’. France needs reforms in the labour market and business environments. (FT 9 March)

The weakness of the euro triggers talk of dollar parity, down to 1.10 from 1.40 in early 2014. (FT 10 March)

There was much relief in Ukraine when the IMF approved a bail-out for Ukraine of $17.5 bn, no-more than a ‘a sticking plaster’ and France was granted an extra 2 years from Brussels to get it budget deficit below 3%. But even Germany has at times ignored the Eurozone’s ‘macro-economic imbalance procedure’. (Economist 14 March)

There are signs that Europe’s economy is turning a corner, with a strong dollar making one euro almost equal to the dollar – QE may have averted a prolonged

or we just

it would be wise to

period of dangerous low inflation and weak growth, just as hoped

don’t know the impacts of QE until we collect evidence

keep an open mind. (FT 23 March)

Unemployment in the Eurozone is expected to remain around 10% even after QE of 1.1trillion. (Letter FT 27 March)

QE may be masking the pain of a potential Greek exit, but if one member leaves ‘it shakes the pillars of mutual commitment and economic partnership. Greece’s output is small, 2% of Eurozone GDP but could have systemic consequences. Such an s massive impairments on loans. (E Moore and J Lewin, FT 30 March)

The EU‘s 28 governments find it hard, and sometimes undesirable, to operate common foreign and security policy. [They] should avoid setting itself unrealistic ambitions. (Tony Barber FT 31 March)

The most indebted countries is Europe in terms of euro-denominated debt are Italy and France, followed by Germany. The UK has had a trade deficit for 30 years. A commission has called for a revolution in export culture. (FT 8 April)

Nordic states have stepped up their defence co-operation as a response to Russian military threat in the Baltic Sea region. (FT 11/12 April)

Europe needs to worry about lacking a big digitals platforms. But reining in Google is no solution, claims the Economist. (18 April)

The biggest threat to the future of the EU is not euro-related … (but) would stem from a collapse of the Europe needs the Deutsche Bank as its champion - the others heavy weights are all American. (John Gapper FT 23 April)

EU states cannot agree on what to do with the growing number of refugees [or migrants?] arriving by sea from Northern Africa. (FT 25 April)

Hopes rise for ‘a revival of the eurozone’s economic fortunes with a rise in business loans to credit starved businesses…lending conditions are finally beginning to loosen; but inflation is still well below the ECB’s 2% target. And the Greek issues continues to threaten growth. (FT 30 April)

• Trends stared by the ECB’s QE programme of euro 60bn a month asset

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purchasing sent share prices soaring and the euro tumbling. This reversed in April with equities beginning to experiences losses and the euro raising by 4%. Has Draghi lost his magic touch? (FT 4/5 May)

The EU will need mechanisms for the eurozone to deal with sovereign default, the integration of banking and labour markets, and fiscal policy. Can Britain opt out of all of this? ( W. Munchau, who thinks that Brexit happened in 1991, FT 4 May)

Ukraine warns its debtholder that it cannot pay… the war-ravaged country ‘seeks to stave off default’. Debts are of the order of $15 bn, and its foreign exchange reserves have shrunk to $5.6 bn. (FT 15/16 March)

Oligarch Kolomoisky calls for the state take-over of privatised industrial assets to raise cash for struggling economy Ukraine should not get any money from IMF until ‘illegally’ privatised property was returned to the state. Dispute between the oligarchs are intensifying and the president is not keen to open a ‘Pandora’s box’. (R Olearchy and Guy Chazan, FT 21/22 March)

Ukraine’s president warns the regional governor of one of the oligarch mentioned below) to remove armed men - a pocket army - from the head quarter of the oil company - Ukranafta - over which he is battling to retain control. He has already funded militias opposed to the pro-Russian groups in the East. (FT 24 March)

Ukraine’s finance minister begs for financial support to rebuild the economy; the current $15bn debt restructuring, a part of a $40bn IMF led bail-out, was only a first step. (Olearchyk FT 24 Mar)

Ukraine’s revolution13 months ago was ‘aimed, above all, to overturn the corrupt oligarchic system that had ruled the country for two decades. If the firing of one of the oligarchs –Kolomoisky - ’descents into all-out war between arguably Ukraine’s two most powerful men, it is perilous indeed’. ‘ (Editorial FT 26 March)

Ukraine is struggling to repay debts; investors’ confidence low and some Ukrainian groups now excluded from capital markets. (FT 8 April)

• Yet several months after Russian soldiers appeared in Ukraine’s Donbass region; Putin… continues to deny that his country is at war. A majority of the public believes him.

International efforts to shore up Ukraine’s finances rely on it reaching a dent restructuring agreement with bond holders to bridge a $15bn gap GDP is estimated to have fallen by 15% in first quarter of 2015, Government is working hard to rescue corruption and ‘reform the energy sector’ and opening the gas market to investors. A small group of oligarchs still dominates economic life. (Editorial FT 29 April)

After the surrender, allow Syriza to claim victory at home’ - good advice but will it be heeded? Negotiations can only be successful if both sides can legitimately claim victory. ’(Marcel Fratzscher FT 10 March)

Grexit and what will happen to Greece debated: Greece’s bill to EU might

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include it structural funds (largely paid for by Germany), free military protection and a claim against Greece for fraudulent entry to the single currency. (Letter FT 16 March)

Last year the Greek economy grew for the first time since 2007, and is expected to grow by 2.5% this year, twice the Eurozone average, (D R Cameron, Yale, Letter FT 20 March)

Athens has submitted a new list of reforms estimating that these could raise 6bn this year. It needs 7.2bn. (FT 2/3 April)

Greece is not completely sovereign as ECB limits what it can do; the possibility of Grexit returns. Europe is demanding in a few weeks what previous governments were unable to deliver in a few years. (R. Moghadan of Morgan Stanley FT 8 April)

In Russia, Tsipras bargained against Brussels, with some success. No cash for Greece but joint investment in agro-industry and food production, as well as for a gas pipeline from the Turkish-Greek border, i.e. extending the planned Turkish Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey and via Greece into EU. (FT 9 April)

Greece paid its debt this month, but will exhaust its reserves at end of April; hence perhaps a visit to Putin. Default likely unless more reforms demanded by Brussels made. (FT 8 April)

• Greece is moving ever closer to a debt default, but gold miners are demonstrating against the government for withdrawing a license on environmental grounds. By end of April Athens must pay monthly pensions and public sector salaries; IMF repayment due on 12 May and Eurozone finance ministers meet in Latvia on 24 th April. (FT 18/19 April)

The IMF tells Greece ‘to set aside politics and deliver ‘agreed measures’. These reforms are to unlock 7.2bn. It got until May/June. W. Munchau argues that defaulting on the IMF and ECG is the only route open to Greece …Nobody has ever done this m, but it need not mean Grexit. (FT 20 April)

Athens caves in and ordered local authorities to hand over spare cash, causing serious internal rebellion. (FT 22 April)

Syriza cancels anti-poverty projects but signed a 500 million deal for upgrading maritime patrol aircraft. (FT 23 April)

At a meeting in Riga the Eurozone’s finance chiefs ‘frustration with Greece boiled over as Greece was accused of backtracking. Athens remain desperately short of cash and may default in May. Default by Greece, now expected, need not lead to Grexit. It already defaulted on private sector creditors in 2012; it could also issue ‘scrip’ (instead of euros) but this would require capital control. (Economist 25 April)

Greece could default by mid-May. Will Syriza survive the bail-out talks? (FT 1 May)

If UK left the EU (Brexit) bans and financial services would be most exposed, but preferential trade deals in other economic sectors could be negotiated. (FT 9 March)

• Tony Blair’s imminent departure revealed many business interest His corporate

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roster has included Petro-Saudi, JP Morgan and an Abu Dhabi wealth fund. Palestinians have been scathingly critical of him. (FT 16 March)

In UK the largest fall in capital investment (by state) between 2009 and 2013 were in education, communities and local governments. Schools fell by 55% in real terms and local government and communities by 62%. Government made no clear distinction between capital expenditure and maintaining assets. (FT 18 March)

The Oxford Union is often referred to as ‘the last bastion of free speech in the Western world’. The ethos of the union is that more speech, not less, is the answer. And it seems that, when it comes to tackling pernicious, Islamist ideas, the government is happy to leave the Oxford and Cambridge unions to it. Herein lies the problem. Their exemption from the legislation implies that because their members are, well, a bit posh, they are somehow better equipped to hear and debate with extremist speakers. (Spiked 18 March)

British politics has rarely been so unpredictable. (Economist 20 April)

Number of UK taxpayers with annual incomes over £2m ‘has surged’. The Queen is no longer the wealthiest Brit and even dropped out of the richest 300 for first time UK now has 117 billionaires with combined wealth of ££25 bn. Top dog is a Ukrainian.( FT 27 April)

Even the FT favour growth-promoting borrowing…the argument that the UK economy was in a grossly unsustainable state in 2007 is largely expose rationalisation, what had been missed: the vulnerability of the UK’s financial sector to a global crisis. (M Wolf , FT 29 April)

Finland is also in economic difficulties with 3 years in recession and being the world’s fastest aging country and is unlikely to back a third bailout for Greece. (Economist 18 April)

Germany is angered by Greek war damage claims, asking for more than 160 bn for damage done during 2 WW. (FT 12 March)

US-British tensions grew sharply when Britain agreed to join Chinese led financial institutions in defiance of American wishes, reflecting ‘cold calculations’ that is a British interest in Asian Infrastructure investments. (FT 16 March)

Germany should do its part (and make concession to Greece) in order to rebalance the huge imbalances in the Eurozone…and boost domestic demand. (Letter FT 4 May)

Russian politics has been bereft of guiding ideas’…. adversaries are called ‘fascists’. (A Nekrasov (FT 30 March)

Putin promised to refrain using relations with Greece to divide the EU. For him rapprochement with Greece is mainly about gas. In this, no change since mid- 2000 when Russia pledged to turn Greece into a natural gas hub if it signed up to the now discarded South Stream pipeline. Greece needs to escape default. Dreams of Russian investment ‘will quickly fade’. (Economist 11 April)

Russia lifted its ban on sales of advanced air-defence system to Iran and opposed

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by USA and Israel whose ire was directed more at USA than Russia. Israel’s leaders have recently become quite friendly with Putin. Both Israel and Russia gain from the current arms race between Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran and Iraq. (Economist 18 April)

The Russians accused the USA of deploying military trainers in the combat zone of eastern Ukraine as violence resurges as the renewal of sanctions talks looms in July. The west fears the cutting off of Ukraine’s exports and accused Russia of deploying additional air defence. (FT 24 April)

Russia lost more than20 m citizens [in WW 2]…the number who died in the siege of Leningrad exceeded the total losses of British and US forces combined in the entire war. (FT 4 May)

China’s ‘financial diplomacy’ attracts attention and criticism. Its main creditors are Venezuela ($56.3bn, Russia ($30bn), Ukraine ($18bn) and Ecuador ($5.3bn), Myanmar $20bn and Argentina ($19bn. Some are likely to default. China lend $119bn to Latin American governments since 2005. (FT 18 March)

China’s New Silk Road project linked to the AIIB - Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank -envisages $40bn of investment to build transport infrastructure across Eurasia, the South China Sea (80% of which are claimed by China) and Indian Ocean, with Beijing taking place once held by Venetian bankers. Behind much of this is the failure of the US to permit China and other developing nations a greater role in both World Bank and IMF. Israel has now followed the UK in joining the AIIB, with only Japan remaining @loyal’ to US. (For details see FT 18 March and 7 April; Time 20 April)

• Pirelli is being taken over by the Chinese National Chemical Corporation…China’s brokers, insurers and asset managers are on the hunt for acquisitions overseas. (FT 24 March)

China is seeing its economy – the world’s second largest – slow more and more, raising questions about the growth in global oil demand. Morgan Stanley slashed its price targets for an array of commodities because of slumping Chinese industrial activity. Nickel, iron ore, copper, coking coal, and other metals are likely to see tepid demand as China disappoints. (Oilprice.com 26 March)

China, Japan and South Korea seek to ease tensions as their foreign ministers meet in Seoul. But only Seoul is likely to join the AIIB which is causing alarm in Washington. Might a northern Asian economic bloc excluding the USA be formed? (FT 20 March) Japan was also considering to become a member. (Time 6 April)

IMF warns world’s leading economies of prolonged period of low growth, making debt reduction more difficult. World Bank pledges to work with Chinese led Asian infrastructure bank. (FT 8 April)

In China uncomfortable questions are being asked about the relationship between the military and the Communist party. Technically the flatter controls the former, but Party control needs to reassert itself. While defence expenditure has risen 10-forld, it remains small as percentage of GNP. Power is being projected increasingly in the western Pacific. (FT 9 April)

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China is acting to stimulate its slowing economy, freeing up cash for lending and cutting reserve requirements for banks. The current growth target for 2015 is 7 %. (FT 20 April)

• Chinese property developers can avoid lending restrictions by labelling buildings as ‘green’ or ‘energy efficient; both concepts tend to be loosely defined. (FT 24 April)

278 million migrant workers moved to the cities during last 3 decades, supplying the Chinese economy with cheap labour. This supply is running dry and the population is ageing leading to slower growth, loss of competitiveness and increasing the urgency for reform. (FT 5 May)

New heads for all three national oil companies (CNPC, Cnooc and Sinopec) have been appointed, a major reshuffle as part of the current anti-corruption purge. One new appointee is Wang Yupu, currently head of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. (FT 5 May)

China’s leader think the UK is quaint, broke and insignificant. (Prospect 25 April)

Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore provided the model for the Chinese leadership: a wealthy, docile population controlled by a small elite. (FT Obituary 24 March) His life spanned the last vestiges of colonialism; the advent of affluence; the introduction of democracy, albeit flawed and limited; the spread of globalisation, the decline of Japan and the rise of China; and now, the retreat to nationalism. (Time April 6)

Japanese people have been robbed of their confidence: so far ‘Abenomics’ – massive monetary stimulus - has turned into a squeeze, and structural reforms have not worked. Government calls on businesses to spend their war chests. (FT 30 March)

So far Abenomics has done more for asset prices than it has for the real economy. (Henny Pender FT 8 April)

Japan needs to boost the productivity of a shrinking workforce and remain on track in clearing its debts. It is investing money and effort into curbing Beijing’s influence in the region, and hence supports the ASEAN Abe is determined to revive the third largest economy in the world. (FT 27 March)

Is Yemen ‘Saudis’ Afghanistan’, as Iran hopes? (Economist 4 April which describes the nuclear deal ‘as not yet real.)

Isis militants in Iraq bulldoze lost Assyrian city of Nimrud…a symbol they consider idolatrous. (FT 7/8 March) They are pushing into areas south of Damascus, but lost Tikrit in Iraq.

Stockholm cancelled a military deal with Saudi Arabia after an ‘unusually frank’ diplomatic bust up’ over human rights (sharia law and floggings).The arms and training deal had threatened to tear apart the centre-left coalition The Arab League criticised Sweden. Margot Wallstrom was blocked from addressing it in Cairo. (FT 11 March)

• Yemen is sliding into civil war and Libya is soaring up the Italian domestic agenda with some urging the use of troops to protect vital installations, including

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crucial energy facilities. Even some in London are now questioning their ‘aggressive neutrality’. Libyan oil production has slipped from 1.4 million barrels in 2012 to 0.5 m in mid –March when 2 fields in the west restarted production. London and Washington want ‘reconciliation’, and this means with Islamists. (FT 20 March)

The elected Libyan government is seeking to open an international bank account to control the flow of oil revenues. The move would avoid the Islamist government in Tripoli. (Oilpricecom 7 April)

Rival administrations in Libya are ‘dogged by allegations of corruption and incompetence’ and lack resources. The country’s oil wealth is grossly mismanaged; oil accounts for 90% of total revenues and there are arguments overbuying weapons from France.(FT13 April)

Saudi- led air attacks have failed to halt Houthis rebels in Yemen, further dividing Sunni and Shia in Middle East, but Pakistan refused to join the fight for fear of domestic repercussions. (FT 7 April)

Saudis had requested troops, ship and aircraft to restore power to former president who has fled country in ‘face of rapid advances from the Houthis and their ally Ali Saleh, the former president. (FT 11/12 April)

The American have moved naval forces into the areas saying they were monitoring Iranian vessels that could be providing weapons to the Houthis. (Economist 25 April)

Islamists are also advancing in Kenya because of its appeal to its 2 million Somalis, and beyond, to disgruntled Muslims along the coast. (Economist 11 April)

Afghanistan won a pause in the withdrawal of American forces, America sent more than $1 trillion on this country since 2002. (coal 28 March)

On April 1 the Palestinians officially joined the International Criminal Court in the Hague, opening the door for the prosecution of alleged war crimes in the west Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem by Israel. Israel is not a member of the Court and opposed the ICC. (Time 13 April)

Dubai is hoping for an end to sanction in Iran has triggered a ‘nascent’ gold rush over access to its market, especially in Dubai. Entrepreneurs are gathering. (FT 20 April)

Palestinians militants are preparing for the next Gaza war, aid agencies warn. (FT 24 April)

Iran faces growing pressure over nuclear negotiations as sanctions and lower oil price bite; economists fear the country could fall into a tailspin if nuclear negotiations with the west fail. (FT 6 March)

Even western powers know that any nuclear agreement can happen only thanks to the guidance of the supreme leader’, said a conservative politician. ’The winner of any deal will be the Islamic republic, not reformists who wanted to surrender to western powers and give up the whole nuclear programme.’ (Cited by N. Bozorgmehr FT 7/8 March)

Republican Senators have written to Iran’s leader opposing their own president

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stating that they would undo any agreement. ( Time 23 March) This clouding resumption of talks with Iran. The republicans say they want to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons, threatening more severe sanctions. (FT 16 March)

Iran is celebrating the 64 th anniversary of the nationalisation of its oil resources which ‘sealed Mossadegh’s heroic status. Will Rouhani the current president deliver an interim nuclear agreement? He is ready to be hanged for it…but Iran must sign to save the country.’ (FT 21/22 March)

Negotiations continued and a framework agreement reached … ‘optimism’ gives way to pessimism and exhaustion’ but there are 2 more weeks…. Ad experts have until end of June to ‘flesh out’ an agreed framework, with relief from sanctions imposed on Iran remaining an issue. (FT 2 April)

The nuclear deal with Iran has raised Tehran’s hopes to revive its oil industry, 30m stored barrels could boost exports within weeks. By not cutting production Saudi Arabia ushered in a period of lower prices to force rivals dependent on expensive oil to curb output. The strategy is working. (FT 7 April)

Iran’s relationship with Saudi Arabia descended to a point of crisis. Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war over control of Yemen, but now Iran is stepping up the pressure. The Iranian media is calling for an international boycott of Saudi oil due to the Arab kingdom’s attack on Houthi rebels in Yemen. (Oilpricecom 7 April)

On 14 April a rare bi-partisan victory over the Iran nuclear deal: Congress now has 30 days to review a final accord over Iran (in June), and the right to approve the lifting of sanctions it originally imposed on Iran. (Economist 18 April)

• A growing regional problem in west Africa is blamed on Nigeria, the inability to police its oily creeks in the delta, not to mention Boko Haram. The black- market is flourishing and sabotage of gas pipelines affects neighbours. Nigeria has consistently failed to fulfil its gas supply contract with Ghana, causing it to fall short by as much as a third of power supply every day. Fuel smuggling and gas hold-up affect the whole region which remains the economic engine of west Africa. (Economist 7 March)

The victor of the postpone election, former general Muhammadu Buhari was announced. A peaceful transition to a new rule seems possible but hand-over will not take place until 29 May. The transition is not likely to be smooth. (FT 1 April)

Buhari’s party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) has support in Lagos, but the Niger delta area is still smarting from the toppling of Goodluck (PDP) who was the first leader from a southern oil producing area. The PDP had ruled for 16 years. (FT 13 April)

Brazil’s dream of becoming one of the world’s top five oil producers by 2020 is fading, share price is lowest ever and its Supreme Court will now investigate more than 30 Congressmen and senators over the scandal The break-even point for its famed pre-salt deposits is $ 45, and average extraction costs last year were $32 a barrel. (FT 26 March) Brazil is considered to have the 8 th largest oil and gas deposits, Iran the most followed by Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and then

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Russia, Canada, Qatar and Iraq. (FT 26 March)

The Petrobras scandal widens and deepens - ‘reflecting a bureaucracy out of control’; or weak infrastructure, complex bureaucracy and an irresponsible political elite. (FT26 March)

The Brazilian real has devalued by almost 20% this year. (FT 31 March)

Brazil’s Supreme Court will investigate more than 30 congressmen and senators in relation to Petrobras corruption scandal. Over 1 million people protest. Widespread disrespect for law and order is admitted. Brazil may now be facing its worst recession in a quarter of a century. (FT 16 April) The public is calling for the impeachment of the president Ms Rousseff and she is not likely to win a second term in October. (Economist 25 April)

• Venezuela’s national Statistics Institute has not produced production figures for the state oil corporation, or any poverty data – political manipulation of statistics is alleged, elections are later this year; the severity of the economic and social crisis is allegedly being supressed. (Economist 4 April)

The economy in Venezuela continues sliding by 7% this year. The president rails against the USA and promises to radicalise the revolution. Corruption is rife especially and contraband trade in subsidised gasoline is said to cost the state more than $2bn a year (FT 20 April)

• Venezuela is not expect3ed to default this year despite a 60% chance of doing so, according to market observers. (FT 11 March)

The politics of fear won the day in Israel with an unpopular prime minster securing a third term. Will the USA still veto the recognition of Palestine at the UN? (D. Gardener FT 20 March)

The day Netanyahu spoke in Washington, the Iranian Foreign Minister rejected the 10 year restriction on Iran’s nuclear energy programme. Has bargaining been pushed too far? (J Klein Time 16 March)

Doomed to endless occupation (by Israel) will make young Palestinians more not less violent, (Schama, FT 21/22 Mar)

Finance

One of the worst performing investment groups, Aberdeen, lost £27bn in business since mid-2013 because of downturn in developing markets. Flows are getting worse. (FT 28 April)

China expects a greater economic slowdown than expected, but the Party’s prescriptions seem to be more of the same. (FT 6 March)

The slump in the oil market, together with the wider fall in the general price

level, means that the real return on cash is positive across much of the developed

the meantime there is good news in the here and now…the emerging

markets are struggling in a hostile environment with China slowing, commodity prices falling and the dollar rising strongly. (John Plender Ftfm 9 March)

• With the drop in oil prices, Texans began to ask whether they have done enough to build long-term prosperity; unemployment fell from 9.9% in 2009 to 2.8 last December, thanks to the fracking boom, but this has ended. So far 38% of all job cuts in USA are accounted for by the oil and gas industry. Workforce training

world…

In

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initiatives are spreading. (Digging for the downturn, B Jopson. (FT 7/8 March)

Euro has fallen to a near 12 year low against dollar because of bond buying spree of ECB and expected interest rate rise in USA. (FT 11 March)

Bank of England warns that it would be ‘extremely foolish’ to stimulate monetary policy as oil prices’ fall, unless…. Governments and companies are exploiting historic low financing rates. (FT 11 March)

Advanced countries still have low interest rates [some approaching zero], because they are still in a ‘managed recession’. The malady is deep, it will not end soon. Vigorous monetary stimulus has produced but meagre results indicating how weak these economies are. They are not victims of central bankers, but of ‘contractionary forces in the world economy’ – a glut of savings and a dearth of good investment projects. (Martin Wolf FT 18 March)

Nasdag plans to halve the cost of trading energy with the launch of a new, low cost futures exchange. Energy futures are a rare market where competition does exist, albeit between only two- CME and ICE. (FT 12 March)

Britain’s higher employment rate may have been achieved by little more than a dual labour market which discriminates against the young and inexperienced. Youth unemployment is about 3 times that of the over 25s. (C. Giles FT 12 March)

Eon had a record annual deficit of euro 3.2bn because renewables have squeezed out conventional power earnings….clean power now has favourable access to the grid and while renewables are heavily subsidised low oil prices and fall in rouble have not helped. 45% of conventional power sources owned by RWE were not making money. (FT 12 March)

Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO earned more than £20 million last year, after the oil company poured millions of pounds into his final salary pension pot and footed a UK tax bill on his relocation to the Netherlands His bonus was 80% higher than that of his predecessor: ‘He was not treated differently from other Shell employees, said Shell. (FT 13 March)

Eni, Italian oil major, was first to cut dividends and billions of assets are to be sold. A more robust company is to emerge ‘capable of facing a period of lower oil prices. (FT 14/15 March)

IEA warns that recovery from low oil prices around $45 a barrel is unlikely while stabilising fluctuations are likely. Global demand is forecast for 2015 as 93.5m b/d, and consumption was still growing in 2014. Total US production is not expected to abate until second half of 2015 with output still rising though much less so than in 2014. Losses in Libya and Iraq were offset by higher supplies from Saudi Arabia and Angola. It estimated global demand this year to 93.5m b/d suggesting that demand is still rising. (FT 14/15 March)

First Islamic green bonds expected this year (EF 18 March)

Ineos launches a pro-fracking campaign in NW England having bought exploration rights from IGas. It hopes to spend £138m to drill for shale gas. Drilling permission has been granted in Cheshire and west of Manchester; the gas is to supply the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical complex which supplies 70% of fuels sold in Scotland. (FT 11 March)

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Genel Energy shares are trading at a discount- BUY! It is the largest independent producer of oil and gas in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. An interim deal with Baghdad should facilitate regular export payment to KRG. Genel, though unsuccessful in in Africa it is to recommence work in Somaliland. (FT 14 March)

German equities emerged as the main beneficiaries of the ECB’s quantitative easing programme Drax should continue to benefit from a significantly weaker euro and cheaper monetary policy; lower oil prices were another boon for the market. What will happen in USA? (FT 17 March)

The most deprived areas in England have suffered the most severe public financing cuts, Rowntree Foundation research concluded. (FT 18 March)

The ECB is considering banning Greek lenders from adding to their government debts which could increase discord with creditors and cut Greece off from key source of funding. Merkel hopes for a break through next week. (FT 20 March)

Britain’s economy is growing and unemployment low, but productivity has not improved and remains below continental standards. Structural weakness has not been addressed. (Wolf FT 20 March)

US budgets have become more about theatrics and scoring points than serious efforts to fund government. (FT 20 March)

IMF very badly led (by a non-economist) leaving dispute settlement to politicians and lurching from debacles to debacle, including the Cyprus Bank haircut, renewed securitisation worldwide, two ridiculous IMF programmes in Ukraine, and repeated failures to warn over Greece. (Letter, FT 20 March)

The drop in oil price is showing in more transparent wealth funds and now constitutes a ‘material change’. Norway’s $850 bn oil fund holds 1.3% of world’s equity market capitalisation. The total wealth of all sovereign funds is estimated as $7.1 trillion, with $4.3tn is dependent on revenue streams from oil and gas. Sovereign wealth funds are increasing in number, the oldest started in Texas in 1854. Some outflows may occur, even in Saudi Arabia. (FTfm 23 March)

Concern over climate change, is not reaching board level, complains F&C Investments, a UK fund house and calls for long and robust risk management…. the idea of stranded assets needs to be taken on board by investment consultants. (FTfm 23 March)

The prices of all those commodities (iron ore, copper, coal, oil and gas) have slumped because of oversupply… You cannot abolish boom and bust’. (Interview with CE of BHP Billiton who also object4ed to oil and gas groups using greenhouse arguments as a ‘marketing ploy. (FT 23 March)

The transition to low and no-carbon energy sources will be difficult, but necessary. Walking away by simply selling off assets through divestment will not help. (CEO for the Californian Public Employees’ Retirement System (FT 23 March)

Emerging markets Brazil Turkey, South Africa that used low-cost dollars to finance external debts are now facing serious problems as participants of the largest boom in dollar dominated borrowing since the financial crisis. Financing

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its debt will cost Turkey this year more than half its economic output, Indonesia’s debt is even higher. (FT 24 March)

Economists have downgraded forecasts for the American economy. Investors are shunning transport stocks which are assumed to give the best indication of the underlying economy. (FT 27 March)

UK’s Centrica chief was paid £6.3m a year in bonuses but may get only £3.8 million…. executive pay has become a contentious issues as electricity prices have soared and in 2013 one CEO did no0t take his bonus, conceding that trust with consumers needed to be rebuild. (FT 27 March)

Shell and Taqa (Abu Dhabi) are planning to cut hundreds of jobs in the North Sea, but are resisted by trade unions Capital spending is also being cut and increase borrowing. The equal time-shift rota is one issue, i.e. 2 weeks on and 3 weeks off, and longer hours, rather than 2 on and 3 off. Trade unions are considering action. (FT 27 March)

• A weaker oil price and falling Australian dollar have helped miners (Fortescu Metals and Rio Tinto and BHP) to cut their productions costs. (FT 27 March)

Re AIIB being joined by UK against Foreign Office (and US) advice: ‘…. The US controls the World Bank ‘the most hated development bank in the southern hemisphere and does not want rivals for that valuable franchise. Osborne (UK) should ensure that AIIB’s headquarter comes to UK. HSBC is also moving to Birmingham ‘a nice pagoda in the city centre that will help Chinese bankers fell at home. ‘ (Jonathan Guthrie FT 27 March)

• Average cost of production per barrel for North Sea crude was £4.40 in 2004; in 2014 it was £18.50. (FT 30 March)

US drivers are consuming more petrol thanks to lower fuel prices and a rebounding economy. (FT 31 March)

Australia plans to join AIIB, conditionally, despite US concerns. One issue is its governance and transparency….no one country should control the Bank. (FT 30 March)

Private equity is flowing into Africa after IMF forecast 5.75 % growth there, higher than in the source area of these funds, the Middle east where growth forecast have been slashed to 3.3% after oil prices halved. (FT 31 March)

Oil majors are hoarding their cash flows preparing for a barren period. The problem to replace their oil reserves will only worsen as exploration spending declines. Energy companies have already reported the biggest decrease in oil reserves in six years. They shed more than a bn barrels of reserves last year. Big discoveries have dwindled, it is claimed. (FT 1 April)

Sensitive oil price: Brent jumped up by 3.5% ($57.02) in response to the news that there was a slower than expected build-up in US inventories and a drop in production in previous week. (FT 2 April)

Electoral uncertainties in 7 European countries this year… should be an additional deterrent for investors, particularly for potential buyers in highly regulated sectors such as utilities and media. To see off all the dangers hanging over European Mergers &Acquisitions, the power of the dollar will need to be

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truly Herculean. (P Jenkins FT 13 April)

• France’s refusal to countenance exploiting shale gas deposits will cost it up to 293 billion and 225,000 jobs over the next three decades, according to a confidential government report. The report, which came down in favour of waterless fracking, was leaked to the media yesterday after it had been shelved by President Hollande’s Socialist-led cabinet. (Times 13 April)

The falling oil price has led energy companies stocks on a merry dance, with lower share prices boosting dividend yields Shell is down 17% since the beginning of September, with tit proposed take-over of GBG Group contributing. (P. Skypala FT 14 April)

The CEO of Pirelli Provera sold the firm, fifth largest tyre manufacturer in world to China as part of a 7bn takeover by China National Chemical Corporation (FT April)

Big investors want banks to stop paying bonuses that exclude fines and restructuring costs. (FT 20 April)

The fall in oil price has not curbed fracking as much as expected… there is little sign of a bust in America’s shale business whatever Saudi expectations may have been more than 2/3rds still have a healthy balance sheet, though borrowing for ‘frackers’ has become a little more expensive and the number of oil rigs in America has fallen by half since October but oil production is still growing. The ability to cut costs has been one reason, price of labour , steel and other inputs has fallen There is no sign of investments shifting away from unconventional oil with output globally still rising Barring big geopolitical upsets oil prices are unlikely to rise sharply. (Economist 18 April)

• Average cost of production per barrel for North Sea crude was £4.40 in 2004; in 2014 it was £18.50. (FT 30 March)

Geopolitics and regulations will reverse globalisation of capital markets in next 5 years, with Asia developing financial centres that rival London and New York, PwC predicts. (FT 14 April)

• A surge in the US dollar wiped more than $20bn from first quarter sales of Apple, the US largest company; only some companies disclose enough information for calculating the dollar’s effect on sales. (FT 27 April)

Chad could cancel all or part of its $1 bn debt with help of IMF and World Bank. (FT 28 April)

Politicians are mesmerised by polls, while chief executives are enslaved to the stock price. (E. Luce FT 27 April)

Beijing struggles to recapitalise the provinces after years of unsustainable borrowing and investment; the national economy is now growing gat slowest in six years, but local debt has surged. (FT 29 April)

• Boards should pay more attention to shareholder concerns, say major companies, including Citigroup, Bank of America and GE, while Black Rock, the world’s largest asset manager, does not do so itself ‘at this time’. (FT 29 April)

QE by the ECB has continued to suppress government borrowing costs, but the same cannot be said for corporate debts. In the meantime, the eurozone’s

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experiment with negative interest rates continues. (FT 29 April)

Crude $50.75 Brent 59.32 both up. OIL prices jumped because of civil war in Yemen, with Saudis becoming militarily involved and there are fears about Middle East trade routes. (FT 27 March) By late April oil traders feel outlook is positive with crude oil price stabilising after ‘final lows’. Others expressed caution at FT Global Commodities Summit in Switzerland, with Tony Hayward, of former BP fame, dismissing the idea of the US as a swing producers, claiming that its ‘supply chain was being decimated’. Regulation was driving investors out of Europe into Asia. (FT 28 April)

Hybrid bonds are aback in fashion, especially among utilities. They are securities that offer a robust return given low interest rates and are attractive attracted because they can be easily terminated or transformed into equity. Centrica and Total have been attracted. (FT 2 April)

The UK Guardian Media Group is to sell its fossil fuel investments (£20million out of £800m) because of concern over climate change - part of The Guardian’s ‘Keep it in the Ground’ campaign.’ And as such part of Bill McKibben’s divestment drive in USA. The principal objective of GMG is to influence fund managers. (FT 2 April)

Ukraine’s hope of reaching a compromise hangs in the balance. Negotiations begin in April (FT 2 April) In Kharkis, its second largest city with close economic links to Russia but outside the rebel controlled area, financial insecurity now worries people more than terrorism. (Economist 11 April)

Why did Shell pay such a high price for BG’s assets? Perhaps to mollify shareholders with a fairy tale based on a$90 forecasts to survive in a $60 world. It is hard to see the net values creation for shareholder. (FT Letters 13 April)

$1 trilliolon is being returned to shareholders by US companies as cash is being diverted from investment into buybacks and dividend- because of concern over global economic outlook. (FT 13 April)

• The IMF advises Greece to design economic reforms rather than hope for a grand bargain to unlock 7.2bn. (FT 17 April)

Russia accuses USA of aiding rebels in the North Caucasus where Moscow Is having difficulties with Chechnya and its rulers, as low level fighting continues in Donbas region with the EU warning the Ukraine to implement a ceasefire in full or giving Russia an excuse to renege on the Minsk ceasefire. In the Ukraine, its president ‘tackles oligarchs’ stranglehold on economy. Three are mentioned all with strong links to energy (power generation, natural gas and petrochemicals) and includes Ukraine’s richest man Akhmetov. A former partner of Gazprom is still ‘holed up’ in Vienna challenging US extradition on corruption charges. (FT 27 April)

Big oil vigorously slashes costs, reorganises and refashions relations with suppliers and states, thanks to crash in price of crude… just the therapy the industry needed. We will have to survive at a $60 or even less, said Occidental Petroleum. (- Ed Crooks and C Adams) However, lower commodity prices - cheaper oil and gas, did not make up gains made by increased demand during

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cold period, ‘weighing’ on Centrica, UK’s largest energy supplier. (FT 28 April)

TPP and TTIP are diverging; the latter has become controversial in Europe where opt-out clauses promised by the Commission are liable to challenge at the WTO (say the Americans), while the former is ‘looks like nearing completion’ but is criticised for being ‘anti-Chinese’, using trade as a weapon. Obama would need fast-track authority which he is likely to get from Republican free-traders in Congress and Senate. (FT 29 April; Economist 25 April)

Ukraine has avoided first hurdle in drive to avoid financial collapse. (FT 28 April)

The US recovery has lost momentum, hence interest rate rise in summer unlikely. The rise in the dollar and impacts of oil price drop are blamed. (FT 30 April)

The Church of England joins in what the FT calls ‘the fight to demonise fossil fuels’. It is to sell £12 million in companies active in thermal coal and tar sands. (FT 1 May)

Impact Investment is increasing in popularity (i.e. seeking positive social and environmental impacts) is attracting more investors according to J P Morgan’s social finance team, with energy one area forecast to receive the largest share. (FTfm 4 May)

Almost half of impact capital is deployed in developed markets, which implies that the invisible hand is failing to carry out is self-appointed task of ensuring that what is needed is supplied. (S Grene FTfm 4 May)

The financial crisis has taught us that a credit based financial system is inherently unstable and prone to excess, which has debilitating economic and social consequences. (FTfm 4 May).

The geopolitical landscape is shifting dramatically, away from US leadership and governance and towards a multipolar world marked by rising global insecurity and geopolitical conflict. (S. Subramanian FTfm 4 May)

Nasdq argues that energy markets are a ‘monopoly’ dominated by CME group and Intercontinental Exchange, and has set up its own new energy market challenging reigning two 2 oil and gas future exchanges CME and Intercontinental Exchange. (FT 4 May)

Science

An ultra-luminous quasar has been discovered - SDSS JO100+2802 - that is 420trillion times brighter than our sun; (FT Magazine 7/8 March)

• We have been witnessing a strong recovery in Arctic sea ice volume and thickness in the last three years. (Paul Homewood 14 April)

None of the leading CSIRO scientists, including all climate science research heads, had their contracts renewed. (Eric Worral, EIKE 16 March)

The leader of Boko Haram believes that the world is flat and rain is made by God, but has computers in his office, objecting to western education but not products. (Economist 28 March)

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• Water shortage are threatening in Iran with the $500 million Seymareh dam now completed after 17 years but almost redundant for lack of water; some now think this money should have been invested in renewables. (FT 20 March)

Both satellite data sets released for March show a drop in global temperatures for the second month running. According to both UAH and RSS, current temperatures are now below where they were at the start of last year. By the end of May, I would expect to see the 12-month averages begin to drop. Meanwhile, 1998 and 2010 temperatures remain well above anything seen last year. (Paul Homewood 6 April)

After significant recent loss, there has been a rapid recovery In Arctic Sea Ice Volume Back to 2006 Levels. (Paul Homewood March 23)

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is also a greenhouse gas – watch its fate when Greenpeace becomes interested. (WUWT 8 April)

Roy Spencer reports that, after three years of hard work, UAH have now released the new Version 6.0 temperature dataset. The main result is that the new version reduces the warming trend since 1979 from 0.140C to 0.114C/decade. (WUWT 8 April)

Part of the global ocean conveyor belt that helps regulate climate around the North Atlantic, show no significant slowing over the past 15 years. The data suggest the circulation may have even sped up slightly in the recent past. –(NASA News, 25 March)

Michael Mann, Pennsylvania State’s notorious ClimateGate e-mail figure, received close to $6 million promoting scary scientific conclusions serving government’s goal of control over energy sources, $3.6 million of it from the NSF. The radical Environmental Defense Fund has collected $2.8 million in federal grants since 2008. (R Arnold Heartland 19 April)

For global climatic effects of the Tambora volcanic eruption in 1815, see Economist 11 April. Cooling dried out the planet. The signs of an 1809 eruption of unknown location can be seen in Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets.

Melting Arctic sea ice, a keenly watched measure of global climate change, has “paused”, sharpening debate on whether humans or natural variability are to blame for the earlier decline. (Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 4 April)

An international team of eminent climatologists, physicists and statisticians has been assembled under the chairmanship of Professor Terence Kealey, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham by the GWPF, London. He says: “Many people have found the extent of adjustments to the data surprising. While we believe that the 20th century warming is real, we are concerned by claims that the actual trend is different from – or less certain than – has been suggested.” (Friends of Science 30 April) Albert Jacobs

Whether the scientists’ statements are measured or inflammatory, the media invariably warns that this will plunge Britain and Europe into a new ice age, pictures of the icy shores of Labrador are shown, created film of English

And so the

circus continues year after year. (Richard Seager, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University)

Channel ferries making their way through sea ice are broadcast

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Multi-year ice has been steadily building up for the last few years, and now stands at the highest level since the winter of 2007, before much of it was swept out of the Arctic basin in 2007 and 2008. (Countering scare stories on by BBC about Arctic’s permanent ice cover disappearing. (Paul Homewood 4 May)

Emissions

Diesel fumes are the latest emission threat as ‘carmakers’ fight ‘creeping demonisation’ of diesel fuel. The debate seems to be switching from CO 2 to particulates and nitrogen dioxide. (FT 12 March)

New Delhi has stopped releasing statistics about its air pollution It now has the world’s dirtiest air, according the WHO. Modi is clamping down on anything seen as distracting from India’s international image. (FT 12 March)

India wants to double coal productions within 5 years. (FT 1 April)

Global emissions from fossil fuel combustion, claims IEA, have ground to a halt

‘for the first time in 40 years –interpreted as a sign that efforts to tackle climate change may have been far more effective than thought. (Oilprice.com 13 March)

Global greenhouse gas emissions flattened unexpectedly in 2014, marking the first time in decades that the global economy expanded while carbon emissions

The major reason was China’s ongoing crack down on major polluters

and its impressive effort at reining in the consumption of coal. China’s coal consumption and its overall level of emissions declined in 2014, and OECD countries have to some extent decoupled their economic growth from energy consumption. (Oilprice.com 13 March)

An unnamed IEA scientist said concentrations not emissions need to be capped - all part of the preparation for the Paris Conference. (FT 13 March)

European car manufacturers face billions of fines from the Commission if they fail to comply with CO 2 emissions standards of 90-95 gm per km by 2020-21. Electric cars could achieve this, but so could updated internal combustion engine technology and better aerodynamic. (E Moore FT 24 March)

Russia is the fifth biggest emitter of GHGs in the world, after China, the USA, EU and India, according to WRI. Green groups argue that forests are a false way to meet an emissions target, and that “sinks” are usually invoked to avoid the cost of switching to cleaner energy resources or reducing real carbon pollution. (Paul Homewood 7 April)

• Weather conditions created an air pollution alert in London. The ’toxic mix’ relating to local car emissions and imports was dangerous to health. Air quality in London is among the worst in Europe. Diesel emissions are largely blamed. (FT 10 April)

Smog in Beijing is declining according as planned under its 2013 air pollution control plan, Greenpeace admits but air quality generally remains poor in China and is becoming a political liability. (FT 22 April)

• Two thirds of new cars sold in UK have such low carbon emission ratings that they need not pay tax for the first year UK buys more ‘plug-in cars, heavily subsidised, than any other EU country, but only 15,000 out of 22.5 million are involved. Up to 50,000 premature death in UK are ascribed to air pollution.

did not

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Incentivised scrappage schemes are being discussed London may introduce an ultra-low emission zone in 2020. (FT 28 April)

UK highest court said government must speed up efforts to meet EU air quality standards send ’a shiver through the diesel car industry which claims that diesel engines are cleaner than ever. (FT 30 April)

Policy

Motor fuel in most remote areas in UK will become cheaper with aid of a 5% discount from 31 May. And fuels duty will remain froze, decided the UK government prior to the coming May election. (FTMoney 7 March)

• UK Investors in bioenergy projects will be offered guidance on the environmental and social sustainability of new projects via a new international standard. (ENDS Report 19 March)

Gazprom faces large fine if found guilty of breaking anti-trust and pricing rules by Brussels, The ant-trust action began in 2011, with Gazprom charging some countries much more than others…’incendiary political tension ‘ is reported Gazprom still has a chance to settle but Russia could turn off the tap completely. Exploitative pricing is the legal issue. (FT 16 March)

European car manufacturers face billions of fines from the Commission if fail to comply with C02 emissions standards of 90-95 gm per km by 2020-21. Electric cars could achieve this, but also argues one lobby, updated internal combustion engine technology and better aerodynamic. The ‘challenge’ is great given the growing demand for large cars and limited appetite for electric and hybrid cars. (FT 24 March)

• Protests are mounting in Switzerland against a proposed change in the constitution that would enable government to protect the climate, e.g. increase taxation (Klima- und Stromabgaben). (klima-schwindel.com 28 April).

The publication of formal greenhouse gas reduction commitments by the US and Russia will give a strong boost to upcoming UN climate talks. (ENDS Report 2 April)

DECC rebuffs MPs on fracking and environment: Exploiting shale gas is compatible with meeting carbon budgets and environmental impacts can be handled through the existing regulatory regime, insists DECC. (ENDS Report 2 April)

• A Senate committee voted to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from using ‘secret science’ to back its regulations. (WUWT April)

The UK Budget barely mentions energy efficiency or climate. But MPs from each of the three main parties have supported calls for a new Office of Resource Management. (Paul Homewood 2o April)

• A debate has begun in UK about its slump in productivity. The gap other G7 countries has increased and is felt by Labour ‘its biggest economic challenge.’ High energy costs are not mentioned among the theories put forward, but collapse in the rate of growth of ‘total factor productivity’, as the use of older and worse machines, are. (FT 20 April)

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• A group of European scientists call for a global zero-carbon society by 2050. (Grantham Institute 22 April)

• Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats Demand Lowering German Climate Targets. (Rheinische Post, 1 May 2015)

The Conservative Party won UK elections outright, cheering the financial and energy sectors. (B-C Hull, 8 May) The Conservatives might have won decisively, but the future of the Union is still uncertain. (Peter Riddell, Prospect, 9 May)

Technology

Solar power in US, still dependent on subsidies. (Care, March 2015)

The US Sunlight Solar Farm has 8 million panels spread out in the Californian desert generating energy for about 160,000 homes and taking up 3,800 acres.

a wonder… a first of its kind. And as it turns out, it may also be

its last. However, solar power is now a $15bn business in USA, employing more people than coal mining. In 2011 the price of silicon began to fall rapidly and Chinese subsidized PV panels began flooding the market, but are such large project is ’sustainable asked Time 9 March)

Liquid immersion technology to cool computers is becoming attractive outside the military and may save energy using air conditioning. (FT magazine 7/8 March)

Fuel cell technology, e. by Intelligent Energy, may be the changing face of British manufacturing, with emphasis not on manufacturing but on design and engineering. (Economist 21 March)

The emerging landscape of generative design tools will play an important role in net-zero buildings (From Building Information Modelling and the net zero building, (Energy World March)

China’s Hanergy reports soaring revenues with the share price of its thin film having risen by 1,800 % in 2 years making its owner one of the richest men in China. The panels are made in Chinese factories and reported profits five times those of its nearest rival, US ‘First Solar’, but analysts are now questioning ‘its model and valuation’: will shareholders be able to pay for the purchased equipment? The company employs about 2000 people. (FT 31 March)

RUMM is to cut the energy bill of British business by up to £4bn annually by changing behaviour- described as giving access to the UK’s first ‘low carbon psychologist’. The technology, an invention of the University of South Wales, will provide real time consumption data for its users is selling fixed-fee five year contracts and specialises in heavy industry. Energy management is becoming big business in UK as energy costs are expected to rise. (FT 2 April)

Do not confuse LNG (liquid natural gas) and CNG (compressed NG). I’m not aware of many cars or buses burning LNG but lots both burn CNG. In the US, over 50% of refuse trucks sold in 2014 burned CNG. (Greg Freemyer 23 April)

China promises to end export tariffs on rare earth after losing a case in the WTO. It is has to most of the world’s deposits of these strategic materials. (FT 24 April )

Undoubtedly ‘

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CCS projects currently operating or under construction in the entire world. What will the effect be of low oil price? (Energy World March)

• Tesla is, having had little success with its battery car so far, is now calling itself an ‘energy innovation company and launched a new battery costing $3,500. This is to allow homes and businesses to store energy, e.g. when power costs are lowest. Large market is expected during next decade….it will take a long time before its battery business will produce returns, all still in ‘category of utopian dreams. (FT 2/3 May)

Carbon fuels and nuclear

• On 20 March: Crude $44.13 and Brent $54.02. (FT) On April 17: $55.21 and $63.1, (CO 2 – no price quoted). On 5 May oil prices had risen to Crude $ 59.32 and Brent $ 66.32. On 16 March oil prices fell to a 6 year low in reaction to growing stocks of domestic crude. Number of rigs still declining, but Opec expects full impacts to show only in next few months. Capacity utilisation at Cushing is at 69%. (FT 17 March)

‘Boom era of oil demand is in past’ says - forecast economic growth is slowing everywhere, including China and Brazil and Russia. In spite of wealth transfer to consumer countries, the outlook, according to IEA is getting ‘murkier’ - global oil demand is not expected to recover until 2020. The Saudis remain determined to protect their market share and oppose the marginalisation of the use of oil. In fact OPEC output rose sharply in March led by Saudi Arabia which pumped 10.29mb/d above its recent peak in 2013 of 10.2 mb/d, adding to a supply glut. Yet Brent has rallied by 30% since January. (FT 17 April)

Despite ‘weakening of global energy markets’ the 2015 BP Energy Outlook expects global energy demand to rise by 1.4%, gas helping to squeeze out coal from power generation. An interconnector between France and Spain (HVDC) has been built, including a tunnel through the Pyrenees and will increase the export potential of renewables into Europe. A subsea link between Norway and Germany has yet to be built. (Energy World April)

Deep changes in supply and demand in recent year, with price of Brent halved since June 2014, have created uncertainties as lower oil prices and cuts in capital expenditure are starting to take their toll Production growth may slow down. (FT 16 April)

Glencore is cutting its thermal coal output but the wider response to falling prices has been to raise output to counter falling prices. The thermal coal market is blighted by oversupply but the worst may be over. Strategy may be involved a negotiations with Japan over a large annual supply contract have started. The largest coal producers are Glencore, Anglo-American and Rio Tinto. An Australian bank expects the rally in coal prices to fizzle out. (FT 6 March)

Rockhopper Exploration is back drilling off the Falkland Islands in contested waters. Its partner Premier Oil owns stakes in 4 wells to be drilled; Statoil further delays drilling deep inside the Arctic Circle in the Barents Sea, blaming falling oil price and high operating costs It hopes to develop a new oil hub on Norway’s north costs. This development has been postponed. (FT 7/8 March)

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China and Russia will agree this year to pipe gas from western Siberia China via the @power of Siberia ‘ pipelines , a deal that continue to shift Russia towards China allowing Russia to choose between exporting gas to Asia or Europe. Chinese companies will be allowed to invest directly into the Russian upstream. Overland rail, road and pipe networks are to be part of the New Silk Road economic belt (FT 9 March)

Energy minister’s revelation that Areva and EDF might merge, reduced share price in EDF. (FT 10 March)

Only a couple of the 40 oil tankers originally chartered to store crude offshore have actually been used. It is an expensive strategy and current conditions are not (yet?) attractive enough to encourage large amounts of floating storage, with 16 of UK output of crude. Nevertheless supply exceed demand by about 1.5, barrels a day new tanks are being constructed on land. (FT 10 March)

Whiting, the largest producers of unconventional oil and gas with 163,000 bpd in North Dakota is looking for a buyer if oil prices falls below $50; the money may run out in 18 months. (FT 11 March)

Chevron expects a sharp slowdown in production growth to bring demand and supply into to balance in 2016 ‘moving prices upward.’ This year it hopes to increase its output in Kazakhstan. (FT 11 March)

On 10 March is was reported that the attempt to use super tankers to store crude oil offshore faced difficulties when crude price rose again and with it the differential between Brent crude and crude from shale oil which is not wanted by US refineries. (FT)

Areva ended its strategy of leading high profile new build nuclear projects and will work more closely with EDF. (FT 16 March)

Norway’s oil fund supports ‘proxy access which allows shareholders a formal right to propose r their own director candidates. This focus on governance came after reported its second worst returns in past decade. (FT 14/15 March)

Oil exploration and discoveries near the borders with central Asia during the 1990s are involved, with investigations now ‘picking away at the networks of Mr. Xi’s predecessors. (FT 17 March)

US Shale industry shows remarkable resilience, stepping up activity even if oil price remains below $75less than half of companies are reducing capital

(Total is auctioning part of its most productive

gas field in North Sea. Austrian, Japanese and Kuwait companies seem interested. (FT 16 March)

Ineos, the Swiss chemicals firm based at Grangemouth is spending hundreds of millions on a ‘charm offensive’ to persuade Scots to accept fracking. The company said I would pay 45 of shale gas revenues to landowners and homeowners, and 2% towards community projects. (FT 18 March)

China’s oil company Petrochina has become a target of Beijing’s anti-corruption purge, several senior executives have been ‘claimed’ so far .The second in command is being investigated as a member of a gang. (FT 17 March)

• The Stranded assets report names companies with dirtiest coal stations (EF 18 March)

expenditure in 2015 cf to

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Gulf Keystone Petroleum active in Kurdistan is in trouble, with increased net losses and a search for take-over partners. Delays in promised payments by regional government has

Modi has difficulties in delivering multinationals friendly policy, as shown by new and unexpected tax bill of $1.6bn for Cairn Energy to which it reacted angrily. (FT 18 March)

As UK taxes on oil producer were reduced, ENQuest promised to boost investment and cut productions costs in North Sea. Further development in British waters are planned in spite of ‘impairments’ on two key fields’. (FT 20 Mar)

On March 1 UK government announced tax cuts for the oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea, the petroleum revenue tax will decline from 30 to 20%. Revenue from this sector had already declined by almost one half, to £4,7bn. Drastic cuts in operating costs will also be needed. (Economist 21 March)

As the gap between domestic and internationally traded crude prices widened (to about $5 in mid-March) the campaign by producers against US crude export restrictions grew stronger, competitors abroad getting a higher price. Most US shale oil productions becomes uneconomic if oil price below $40 a barrel. WTI was $46 at the time. Some argued that the export restrictions are ‘helping OPEC to smothers production’. US crude exports have increased since December but mainly to Canada and are still less than 5% of production. (FT 26 March)

Tullow is also involved in a dispute over offshore oil field disputed between Ghana and Ivory Coast, an areas expected to add substantially to its cash flow and profits. Tullow had been down rated because Ghana’s sovereign rating was lowered. The estimated 2 year wait for a decision is likely to wipe off 16% of Goldman Sachs valuation for Tullow. (FT 4 April)

US output of fossil fuels is at an all-time high, yet MLP - master limited partnerships the haulers and storers of energy, a financing structure not an industry - are suffering. Some of their business has become fully exposed to falling prices. (FT 7 April)

US shale oil production seems to have peaked at last. But will the world glut

The higher the oil price rises in short term, the greater the likelihood that

end

discipline among US shale producers breaks down, bringing the oil price down. (FT 18/19 April)

Vitol, the World’s largest independent oil trader thinks crude oil prices have now hit bottom. Commodity traders had been buying cheap crude for storage (contango buying) but price differential with spot market prices has narrowed. All are hoping for lifting of sanction against Iran. (FT 22 April)

Eni has called for cooperation between OPEC, the US and Russia to avoid a repeat of ‘destabilising’ price moves, investment in the industry should be encouraged. Eni’s CEO hoped for a price of about $70 a b for crude. The oil market is particularly vulnerable to swings because of the growth in futures and other financial derivatives. Eni greatest concern is of course Libya, the security of its people and assets there. It is currently keeping the lights on in Tripoli.

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Considering threat from Libya as bad in not worse than that from Ukraine, Eni

as the first energy major to cut its dividend. (Dr. S. Ghouri and Dr. A. Ansari Economist April)

The UK government let it be known that it would not oppose ‘any attempt to

No comment from BP. Exxon is

mentioned as potential buyer; Dudley not keen on a megamerger. (FT 27 April)

South Africa, which has two big coal plants now under construction – each one with a capacity of about 4,800 megawatts. A single plant of this size will consume some 15 million tonnes of coal a year, according to Eskom which is building the plants. (GWPF 27 April)

The Chinese have issued a ‘one belt one road‘ directive aimed at building infrastructure links from China to Europe and the rest of Asia, extending to Nigeria and Zimbabwe for which railway contracts have been signed. It pledged $40bn to an infrastructure plan last year. (FT 29 April)

take over BP - ’seriously weakened’

The sunflower movement in Taiwan is anti-nuclear and the leader of the KMT, the ruling nationalist party says he wants Taiwan to become nuclear free. (Economist 11 April)

Brussels has blocked Hungary’s Euro 12 bn nuclear deal with Russia, a decision that will further inflame tensions between Moscow and the EU. A 1,200 megawatt reactors was to be built at Paks, south of Budapest. Brussels feared that this would further increase Hungary’s energy dependence on Russia. (FT 13 March)

Hungary has agreed to EU demands to diversity its nuclear fuel supply, removing a main obstacle to its Kremlin backed nuclear expansion. (FT 26 March)

Domestic nuclear rivalries in China (CCNC and CGN) are affecting foreign relations as they jostle to promote their own reactors design, e.g. in Argentina, Japan and UK. A third generation design is to appeal to overseas buyers. CGN is hoping to build in Essex, the Bradwell site, while Hinkley Point is in hands of CCNC. There is no single unified design. (L Hornby, FT 28 April)

ENERGY AND CARBON FINANCE

‘The Markets Right Now Are in Flux, and in Trouble’ (Energy Finance 2015

Conference, New York City

Received 16 March)

Trendy renewable ideas such as solar manufacturers or climate change funds have run aground…be careful. (D McDermott, Chelsea Financial Service, Financial Times 4 March)

Oil price has stabilised at around $50 per barrel, well below the level where weaker companies in the sector can stay healthy but private firms and hedge funds have rushed into energy junk bonds. Some companies are not expected to survive for 2 years. (FT 8 April)

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Green Bonds Flourishing but What is Green? The green bond market has grown explosively over past 3 years, from $3.1 bn to $36.9 bn. 18 countries have so far issued them, including assorted entities: supra-nationals, corporates and municipal authorities. But standards need raising; what is green? The raised money, the investor is told, must be spend on projects or investments with a positive environmental impact. What does this mean? Big insurance companies claim that they are already ‘very much aware of their exposure to climate stress, from extreme weather events to droughts and regular flooding. Green bonds suit insurance companies, positive effect should be more than just side effects and communities might be made ‘more resilient’. Investment must be profitable. The World Bank is now working with others ‘to build standards’ for green bonds, but others institutions are not required to follow this lead. There is the matter of transparency which applies to the WB, but which not all investors like. Also, ‘there is no agreement on what counts for greener for the purposes of each case, it’s up to the investor…’ Investors can be helped by an NGO ‘Climate Bonds Initiative that helps the WB with a data bases, certification standards and promoting conversations around these. ‘Green is not black or white…Even among climate scientists there is no agreement, according to Mr Lewin head of responsible investment at Zurich Insurance Company. (Cited in FM 9 March)

Renewables: Sunny Future Predicted by Some

Alex Thursby, CEO of NBAD, writes in the foreword to his report: “Some of the report’s findings may surprise you…. For example, renewable energy technologies are far further advanced than many may believe: solar photovoltaic (PV) and on-shore wind have a track record of successful deployment, and costs have fallen dramatically in the past few years. In many parts of the world, indeed, they are now competitive with hydrocarbon sources. (Oilpricecom March)

Some predicts that by 2020 offshore wind will be cheaper than gas- and coal- fired power (onshore wind already is) and promises that in solar “we will present something totally disruptive in November”. Some people still believe that renewable energy is a costly European (German) hobby.

As Giles Parkinson of the Australian website Reneweconomy reports, just recently one of the biggest banks in the Middle East, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, has come out with a report showing that fossil fuels can no longer compete with solar technologies on price. It also says that the vast bulk of the $US48 trillion needed to meet global power demand over the next two decades will come from renewables.

Don’t Repeat Mistakes The shale genie is now out of the bottle. Even if the current low price drives out some high-cost oil producers—in the North Sea, Canada, Russia, Iran and offshore, as well as in America—shale drillers can step back in whenever the price rebounds. As Mark Hill of Allegro Development Corporation argued, the frackers are currently experiencing their own version of Moore’s law: a rapid fall in the cost and time it takes

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to drill a well, along with a rapid rise in the volume of hydrocarbons they are able to extract. And the shale revolution has yet to go global. When it does, oil and gas in tight rock formations will give the world ample supplies of hydrocarbons for decades, if not centuries. Lurking in the wings for later technological breakthroughs is methane hydrate, a seafloor source of gas that exceeds in quantity all the world’s coal, oil and gas put together. So those who predict the imminent exhaustion of fossil fuels are merely repeating the mistakes of the U.S. presidential commission that opined in 1922 that “already the output of gas has begun to wane. Production of oil cannot long maintain its present rate.” Or President Jimmy Carter when he announced on television in 1977 that “we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.” (Excerpt Matt Ridley /GWPF 14 March)

On the Benefits of Low Oil Price Low oil prices are good for the government, but not so good for the oil majors. Italian oil giant Eni became the first of the oil multinationals to slash its dividend due to low prices and also moved to suspend its share buy-back plan. Eni announced plans to pay 0.8 euros per share rather than the 1.12 euros it paid out in 2014. The move was not taken well by investors – the company’s stock tanked by nearly 5% on the announcement. Still, CEO Claudio Descalzi put on a brave face, claiming that he was “building a more robust Eni capable of facing a period of lower oil prices.” The dividend has long been prioritized by the oil majors, needing to be protected at all

released its monthly oil market report on March 16, in which it argued

costs…

that North American shale will face a contraction later this year. However, the oil cartel also saw some production declines for the month, as Libya, Iraq, and Nigeria continue to struggle with violence and low oil prices. Libya, in particular, is facing a

crisis. Spain raised the prospect of a European Union embargo on Libyan oil if the country’s two political factions did not make headway on peace. Cutting off Libya’s only economic lifeline almost certainly would not bring a swift end to political impasse in Libya, but the EU is clearly becoming impatient with the ongoing violence just across the Mediterranean. (Oilpricecom 19 March)

OPEC

Russia and Low Oil Price Russian President Vladimir Putin re-emerged from a 10-day absence that fuelled many-a-rumour – speculation ranged from a palace coup, to a secret birth of a child, even to some wondering whether the Russian President met an early demise. The Kremlin offered no explanation, but Putin appeared to be just fine. Despite his seemingly good health, the Russian economy continues to buckle under the weight of low oil prices. And that, according to Bloomberg, has Putin increasingly angry at a once close ally: Rosneft head Igor Sechin. Putin is reportedly blaming Sechin for rising debt at the state-owned oil firm, perhaps stemming from the purchase of TNK- BP in 2013. Also, his role in borrowing billions of rubbles that sent the currency plummeting in December 2014 has raised the ire of the Russian President. There are rumours that Sechin could be on his way out, but those reports are unconfirmed. Nevertheless, the fraying of the relationship suggests low oil prices are taking a toll on

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Putin’s inner circle. (Oilpricecom 19 March)

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How the US Shale Revolution Changed the World Oil producers praying for relief from low oil prices might take heart from the lost jobs and idled rigs in the US. But the American strengths that made the boom – entrepreneurial culture, depth of knowledge in oil and gas, innovation and supportive capital markets – are now being deployed to keep it alieve. Recent history suggests it would be rash to bet against them….Consumers enjoying lower fuel prices resulting from the US shale boom should watch out for the turbulence following it its wake. (Ed Crooks Oil Crash, FT Weekend Magazine 25/26 April)

BP and Fridman – Trying to Buy into the North Sea Background: In 2008 BP effectively ceded control of TNK-BP to M. Fridman and AAR (Alfa-Access-Renova when Dudley left Russia and then in 2011 did a share swap and Arctic exploration deal with Rosneft, something AAR tried to stop, the UK High Court later agreed an blocked the BP-Rosneft tie-up; a little later Rosneft did the same deal with ExxonMobil Within month TNK-BP was acquired by Rosneft and Alfa got $14bn in cash BP also did very well out of this, it had earned $19bn in dividends over the life of TNK-BP and came away with $12.5bn in cash and a 20% stake in Rosneft, all for an initial $7.5bn. (G Chazan and J Turnbull, The Alpha Oligarch FT 6 March) Summary: Oligarch and Putin friend Fridman tried to buy Dea from RWE in the North Sea, but was opposed by the UK Government and eventually gave in:

The Economist advises the UK government to ‘be a bit nicer to foreigners wanting to risk their cash in the North Sea’s bracing climate’. Lord Browne, with whom he has a long ‘tussle’ over TNK, described Fridman as a superb negotiator… A bigger worry, says the Economist, should be the future of the North Sea where oilmen are not encouraged. (7 March)

RWE posted a net loss of 2.8bn for 2013 but decided against a split unlike Eon but is slashing costs and selling exploration and production unit Dea, to oligarch Fridman who is opposed by UK government (FT 9 March)

On March 11 RWE is reported to have warned that a power glut will lead to a sharp fall in profits as coal generation was being undercut by subsidised renewables. Fossil fuel power plants were no longer making profits with renewables now account for a quarter of Germany’s power output. Eon is splitting up and RWE is also investing in renewables with an emphasis on wind farm and growth in energy technology such as the ‘Nest thermostat’, selling in UK since 2014. RWE has been cutting jobs and selling Dea to Russian billionaire. (FT 11 March)

Fridman bows to pressure and offers his North Sea gas fields acquired from Dea (RWE) for 5 bn. The fund that owns Dea, L1 Energ run by Lord Browne believes that a legal case (against UK government) is robust but would be expensive…no final decision. (FT 18 March)

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BP is reported to be urging ’policy-makers’ to put a price on carbon. (EF 24 April)

BP is selling a major North Sea asset – a stake in the Central Area Transmission system (gas pipeline) to Astin Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm. ‘as it continues to wind down its exposure in the oil and gas basin that is grappling with the collapse of crude prices but remains ‘committed’ in spite of divestment. Massive restructuring is under way. BP remains one of the biggest investors in the North Sea. (FT 24 April)

Falling Cost of Solar is Solace Even in the Arab world solar power is becoming attractive in spite, it is claimed of plentiful hydrocarbons and heavy subsidies. Experts and investors are said to believe that solar power ‘could become an important contributor’. The main reason given is the 75% drop in the 75% costs solar panels during past 5 years meaning that the cost of solar electricity has halved since 2010. However, the expert quoted is the president of Saudi Arabia’s ACWA ‘one of the region’s biggest renewables developers, part of consortium with the Spanish engineering company TSK which has already made a ‘land-mark’ deal with the Dubai Electricity and Water Company to finance , build and operate a 100 MW PV plant in the emirate. Even with oil is down to $20 a barrel, it is argued, solar power will soon make economic sense in the Arab world. Unsurprisingly, the Middle East Solar Industry Association plans for a 1,8oo MW project worth $2.7 bn by perhaps 2020, with Jordan already planning to obtain 10% of its power from renewables by 202, and Morocco having the most ambitions clean energy target, hopes to increase its solar capacity through CSP, concentrated solar power with a generating capacity of 160MW expected later this year. The Director the International Renewable Energy Agency is also hopeful, believing in growth through public agencies in spite of the fall in the oil price. The political will is there. (S Jenkins. ’Investing in the Arab World Report’ FT 31 March) NB: Youth unemployment in the region is large, for the under 25s it remains at 25%.

Boosting Renewables

This topic dear to The Economist reports that investment in wind and solar power rose by a sixth last year to $270 bn partly because of ‘tax credits’ i.e. subsidies in the rich world. America offers 30% tax credit for solar power. Large installations make more commercial sense than small ones, with half solar investment now made in China because of worries about energy security rather than climate. Also, investor now get more energy per dollar and the cost of battery storage has fallen sharply. (Economist 11 April)

However the outlook for biofuels is less rosy; investment is dwindling and scepticism is growing; some companies are giving up. Several algae-to-fuel ventures in USA are switching to the manufacture of high-value chemicals and only two advanced fuels - turning waste cooking oil and other fats into diesel , and making ethanol from cellulose by enzymatic hydrolysis, are still capable of large-scale production. According to new EU rules recently agreed by EU

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Parliament, the use of first generation biofuels must be ‘capped’ to prevent hurting food supplies. However, there is no shortage of bright ideas, some involving genetic modification, in the biotech research sector. (Economist 18 April)

The question of state support for ethanol (Federal renewable fuels standards - RFS) is no longer a party political issue in US. [American petrol must contain 10% ethanol made mainly from corn, to the delight of the farming lobby, but there has been opposition, especially from Democrats and people worried about global poverty.] Now even some Republicans now call for a 30% ethanol standard for petrol ‘to free the US from dependence on foreign oil’. In 2013 Obama proposed relaxing these standards; now even Mrs Clinton who once voted against RFS, is in favour of keeping the 10% regulations. (Economist 25 April)

Who Benefits from Coal Divestment?

• You’ve got to hand it to Alan Rusbridger: he’s a great contrarian indicator. The editor of The Guardian launched his valedictory campaign to demand divestment from fossil fuels with a wrap-around promotion and the paper’s full moral force. The usually left-wing Guardian was going out of its way to help the plutocrats make money, a job usually reserved for us here at the FT. Investors should have listened, thanked Mr Rusbridger, and done the exact opposite. It turned out he was a perfect contrarian indicator. He picked a six-year bottom in the US benchmark oil price, West Texas Intermediate. He lit a carbon-based bonfire under crude prices: WTI’s now up 30 %, the biggest rally over such a short period since 2009 (and before that, 2002)…If the [fossil fuel] divestment campaign succeeds, the example of tobacco shows the likely effect. As a sector it’s been shunned by many investors for a long, long time, while demand from addicts around the world has held up nicely. As a result, tobacco shares have been the best-performing investment over the past century for those willing to buy in (the same applies to lots of “sin” stocks: a higher cost of capital implies a higher return for those who supply the capital). (James Mackintosh, Financial Times, 27 April)

What may Prince Charles gain from jumping on this bandwagon? The FT is certainly a strong supporter having surveyed the scene in UK, which is imitating developments in USA. Six universities have joined, as have charitable trusts and the British Medical Association. The Church of England still holds shares in Anglo-American, Shell and BP. On opposite page in TF, Total asks for substantial investments in the cleanest fossil fuel, natural gas. (FT 27 April)

The divestment movement gathers pace, according to Chris Flood, with climate change a top priority, and Dutch pensioners now following the Church of England as well as numerous universities, especially in the USA. In California ‘lawmakers’ are considering whether to require two pensions funds to divest from coal-related investments The FTSE launched ex-fossil fuel indices in June 2014 and retail investor focused vehicles are under discussion in US. Women and the young are most likely to divest from coal. (FT 4 May)

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UK Green Energy Promoting Politician Makes Money: Tim Yeo (South Suffolk) Remunerated directorships: AFC Energy; company developing alkaline fuel cell technology. Remuneration to date has included 2.5 million share options. (Updated 21 January 2013) Last: Received payment of £3,350, 14 February 2014. (Registered 13 March 2014)

Remunerated employment, office, profession etc. Adviser to Edulink Consultants; providers of education services in Dubai and Uganda. Address: PO Box 500697, Dubai, UAE. I advise on the running of Victoria University, Kampala, where I am Chair of the University Council, including advice on academic standards, marketing and the development of the curriculum.

Payment of £7,500 on 4 September 2014. Hours: 20 hrs. (Registered 29 September 2014)

Adviser to Meade Hall & Associates, 1 Meade Mews, Causton Street, London SW1P 4EG, a strategic communications consultancy. I advise on matters relating to the construction of new nuclear power stations in Europe. Last Payment of £8,000 on 6 October 2014. Hours: 35 hrs. (Registered 14 October

2014)……

Donor: Waste2Tricity Ltd. Amount of donation (or estimate of the probable value): fares and accommodation at a total of £3,500, of which the air fare was approx. £2,700 Destination of visit: Bangkok. Purpose of visit: fact-finding trip to learn more about the energy from waste sector in Thailand. Registerable shareholdings (a) Anacol Holdings Ltd.; a family investment company; (b) AFC Energy (shares and share options); Eco City Vehicles plc. Shareholding below registerable value in Eco City Vehicles plc; distributes and services London taxis. Miscellaneous: Unremunerated director of ITI Energy Limited; suppliers of gasification equipment. I have not received any financial benefit from this directorship. From Register of Members’ Financial Interests: Part 1 as at 9th March 2015. (Excerpts, Paul Homewood 10 March)

CLIMATE SCIENCE AND SCIENCE POLITICS; Remote Sensing Systems have shown no global warming at all for 220 months, from Dec. 1996 to March 2014. Other research shows that the av. surface temperature of the Earth is only 0.8°C warmer than that recorded in 1900 …which may be down to natural variability. Versus Even if CO 2 emissions remain as they are today, we will still go over the 2°C ‘target’. Uncertainty in our knowledge just means we can’t tell exactly when but it will likely occur between 2040 and 2060. (Foster and Peiser Daily Express 22 April)

There is a greenhouse effect, it is enhanced by additional CO 2 but the sensitivity of the surface temperature to CO 2 is small. There is no need to worry for the climate even if every last tonne of fossil fuel is burned. (William Kininmonth)

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Remember the Hockey Stick? The hockey stick eliminated the Little Ice Age (LIA). It was problematic to their human induced warming hypothesis because it preceded their modern instrumental record and indicated warming was primarily due to emergence from the nadir starting circa 1680. They (IPCC?) wanted an increase but only during the period they could control, namely the instrumental record of approximately 120 years. Jones produced this in the blade of the hockey stick with the claim temperatures increased 0.6°C over this period, which he said was beyond the range of any previous increase and therefore caused by humans. It was as ridiculous as the rest of the hockey stick because the error range on his data was ±0.2°C or ±33%. (Tim Ball 16 March)

Why the Hiatus? Damning Study Challenges CO 2 -Temperature Relationship The ongoing global warming hiatus, per satellite measurements, surprised climatologists because computer climate projections never indicated a short- or long- term reprieve. Scientists anticipated temperatures to move in tandem with steadily increasing levels of CO 2 — which didn’t happen — and nevertheless they insist that it’s only a matter of time before warming re-emerges. That’s what the data reveals. According to NOAA, the data also shows that global carbon dioxide measurements for the last seven days average around 400 parts per million, up from 380 ppm during the same period in 2005. Without question, CO 2 measurements continue to climb, which begs the question: Why haven’t temperatures? A damning new study reinforces what sceptics have long suspected: The relationship between the two isn’t as clear-cut as we’re led to believe. In what would otherwise be labelled a “game changer” outside the mainstream media, The Daily Caller writes, “A study by scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology found that man-made aerosols had a much smaller cooling effect on the atmosphere during the 20th Century than was previously thought. Why is this big news? It means increases in carbon dioxide emissions likely cause less warming than most climate models suggest.” The study is even listed on the American Meteorological Society website. As significant as the finding is, however, expect the study to receive the same conniving response from man-made global warming evangelists as do sceptics offering their viewpoint. (Al Pekarek 3 April)

Salby Brings Good News: CO 2 Emitted because of Rising Temperature? Professor Salby addressed German scientists and, according to EIKE. Used strict methodology supported by observation to show that atmospheric temperature is primarily (80%) responsible for the emission and concentration of CO 2 in the atmosphere. Not the reverse. The remaining 20% are mainly due to atmospheric moisture. Together they act on the biosphere and other sources and sinks of CO 2 . Also CO 2 remains in the atmosphere no longer than 2-7 years. (EIKE 13 March) http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/news-cache/neue-studie-zur-CO 2 -konzentration-

anthropogener-anteil-irgendwo-zwischen-0-und-max-30-vortrag-von-prof-murry-

salby-am-13315-in-essen/

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A Scientific Conclusion And any CO 2 emissions reduction is unlikely to be useful to control climate. From ice core records for our current benign Holocene interglacial it is clear that the previous millennium 1000 – 2000 AD was the coldest in the last 10,000 years, some 3.0°C lower than the Holocene climate optimum, ~9000 years ago. At 10,000 years old our current benign Holocene interglacial is now long in the tooth. That would seem to point to a coming real glaciation either this century, next century or in this millennium. That in combination with the current Dalton minimum solar characteristics means that real cooling as opposed to warming is more than likely to be imminent. Any future cooling is likely to make any warming, whether man-made or not, that occurred in the late 20th century look wholly beneficial but trivial and entirely irrelevant. (Ed Hoskins/essay in WUWT 13 March

Snippets from the Discussion Complaints Roy Clark “….The Earth stopped warming some 18 years ago and is now starting to cool back towards another Little Ice Age. In addition to fraudulent climate models, the process of ‘homogenization’ and averaging used to produce the global climate averages from the weather station data has been used to create additional ‘warming’ in the climate record. At least half of the surface temperature ‘warming’ is a result of fraudulent ‘homogenization’. This is a complete disgrace. The APS [American Physical Society] has been fooled by climate astrology and bribed to abandon the Second Law of Thermodynamics in favour of environmental alchemy. All of the IPCC reports should be rejected and a scientific and criminal fraud investigation conducted into the IPCC. Global warming/climate change/climate disruption is a multi-trillion dollar fraud. (Roy Clark to Climatesceptics 9 April) Comments Stephen Cell: “I would probably be classified by Arthur as “Opinion 2”, that absorption of IR by gases in the atmosphere does increase its temperature above what it would be without those gases (if the atmosphere only contained nitrogen and oxygen, without water vapour or carbon dioxide), but that the incremental effect of human emissions of CO 2 have only a minor incremental effect, and that there are strong negative feedbacks that would prevent runaway warming. There are sound scientific reasons for this “opinion”. First of all, water vapour is a much stronger absorber of IR radiation than CO 2 , over a much wider range of wavelengths, and the concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere is about 10 to 60 times that of CO 2 (depending on temperature and humidity). This means that any absorption of IR radiation by CO 2 is overwhelmed by that of water vapour. The warming effect of water vapour on the atmosphere has been estimated as about 30 C, but since 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by liquid water, there will always be evaporation of water from the oceans, followed by clouds and rain over land, and the average water vapour content of the atmosphere is unlikely to change. Secondly, CO 2 absorbs IR radiation very strongly over a narrow band of wavelengths between about 13 and 17 microns, and is nearly transparent elsewhere in the IR spectrum. At the current concentration of about 400 ppm, as demonstrated by Jim Barrante, over 95% of the available energy in that band of wavelengths is already absorbed within 100 meters of the Earth’s surface, so that if the CO 2 concentration

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were doubled due to human emissions, the additional energy absorbed would be only a few percent of the energy in that band of wavelengths, and less than 0.1% of the energy over the entire IR spectrum (most of which is already absorbed by water vapour). The incremental energy absorption by additional CO 2 is therefore minimal. Thirdly, most of the “AGW protagonists” (Opinion 1) theorize that a warming of the atmosphere would occur at constant relative humidity, and the additional water vapour in the atmosphere would absorb more IR radiation (at wavelengths outside the CO 2 absorption band) and amplify the warming effect of CO 2 . But maintaining constant relative humidity while increasing the air temperature requires evaporation of water into the atmosphere, which requires heat transfer from the air to liquid water. …. his strong negative feedback is probably enough to prevent thermal runaway due to CO 2 emissions alone. Fourthly, the “AGW protagonists” use computer models to predict the future temperature of the atmosphere, and automatically assume that the temperature of the Earth’s water and ice will follow that of the atmosphere, resulting in (according to them) massive melting of ice caps in Antarctica and Greenland, which would flow into oceans and raise sea levels, causing massive flooding of coastal areas. But it is wrong to assume that the temperature of the Earth’s water and ice will automatically follow air temperatures. … About 3,000 times more heat is required to warm 1 cubic meter of water by 1 C than to warm 1 cubic meter of air by 1 C, and about 240,000 times more heat is required to melt ice to 1 cubic meter of water, than to warm 1 cubic meter of air by 1 C. Even if, in an extreme case, the global average temperature of the atmosphere were to increase by 5 C, transferring the heat to oceans and icecaps would

result in a negligible sea level rise. This is borne out by the fact that “Global Climate Models” (GCM) run using 1979 as a starting point “baseline” have over-predicted the actual temperature rise thus far by a factor of 2 to 4. Until the models can be “tuned” or adjusted so that they can accurately simulate the past (1979-2014), there is no

reason to believe that they can accurately predict the

The goal of science is to

observe nature and develop theories that model its behaviour, so that this can be harnessed for the benefit of mankind. But if nature (reality) does not follow a theory designed to instil fear among the general public, the theory needs to be changed. (Steven Zell 8 April) Comments David Burton: Atmospheric CO 2 is like food colouring or ink in a tub of water, with the tub of water sitting outside in the sunshine. In other words, CO 2 in the atmosphere is a dye. It “colours” the atmosphere in non-visible parts of the light spectrum, but it greatly affects the passage and absorption of light at those wavelengths. The reason that additional CO 2 has only a small GHG effect is not because there’s so little of it, it is because there is already so much of it in the atmosphere! For a very in-depth, authoritative treatment of this subject, I recommend Princeton Physicist Will Happer’s UNC lecture about the IR absorption and emission characteristics of CO 2 :

Shaming The Royal Society? “This is far cry from the motto of British Royal Society ‘nullius in verba’ (do not swear by the words of any [master]), adopted when it was founded in 1660. [It has now

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disappeared from its home page.] In the chapter 10 (of his book) on scientific integrity the matter of Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel laureate for the discovery of an important biochemical process, Secretary General of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organization, President of the Royal Society, at the occasion of his election to President of the British Science Association, is examined. Nurse gave an interview (September 2014) with the headline “Climate sceptics should be crushed and buried”. It caused a row among climate sceptics in Britain but Nurse’s attack was somewhat

misunderstood. It did not concern the sceptical scientists as such, but local politicians who give an ear to these sceptics.

I approached this President with a question: “Are you yourself familiar with the

molecular physical theory of the behaviour of gasses which absorb and emit in the IR? Have you any knowledge of meteorology, climatology and the applied modelling in the fields”? He avoided an answer but was kind enough to respond by returning e- mail: “I am afraid that the press reports you have read misrepresented my position. What I said was that one of the dangers facing science was public figures distorting science for political, ideological and religious reasons. When asked by a journalist how they should be dealt with I said that scientists should work with them to explain the science and correct their distortions. When asked if they ignored that repeatedly

I made the point that they should be strongly criticized indicating that, as history has shown, in the end the evidence will bury such distortions. I cannot imagine that you disagree with that position”

I could not, especially not when Nurse continued his explanation with: “I have

criticized those who refuse to accept the evidence and those who overstate the evidence.” …What makes Nurse believe that the current mainstream view for evidence of man-made global warming (AGW) is better than the evidence presented by ‘sceptics’ which throws doubt on the thesis? He confirms in fact that it originated from the consensus culture developed under the guidance of the political movement of the UN panel IPCC. Should we not need to reconsider the value of supposed scientific integrity from that point of view, making sure that also famous scientists who feel inclined to make strong public statements are obliged to give adequate answers to the Aron’s questions, especially when beyond their own expertise in a particular discipline? We cannot expect by definition that well-known scientists will be able to judge thoroughly the quality of the work of colleagues in other disciplines, but anyone should be able with the above questions at hand to recognize when we may suspect serious mistakes in the application of the scientific method as formulated above. The most fundamental error is to mistake the hypothesis for an explanation of a phenomenon which is in essence the basis of scientific criticism on the anthropogenic global warming concept. Scientists who are especially involved in environmental research will certainly argue that care for the environment should also be seen as part of scientific integrity in a wider sense than what is just expressed in rules, procedures and protocols. … Should we dare to assume that scientists who are critical of particular methodologies in the environmental sciences, e.g. the post-normal science approach, show a lack of integrity of any kind? In political disputes about environmental care in which scientists also participate, the complaint can be heard that the neglecting of environmental threats may be due to extreme liberalism that is the

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request for absolute freedom to behave as you like. However, this was not the meaning of the bearing of the liberalism advocated by Bertrand Russell. Russell’s plea for liberalism (in science and education) concerns the basic Socratic advice: Do not be too strongly convinced of your own view. (Arthur Rorsch to Climatesceptics 16 March)

Opinions Differ Greatly Among Sceptics

It may be useful to define the different opinions in the AGW discussion in some more

Opinion 1. AGW protagonists adhere to the view that the earth’s greenhouse effect is caused by radiation processes inside the troposphere. It based on the greenhouse gas theory revived after the Villach conferences 1980, 1985 and in 1989 propagated by the WMO as the exclusive paradigm. The theory includes that there are especially positive feed-back mechanisms active when CO 2 concentration increases. This leads to the assumption that run away effects must be foreseen.

Opinion 2. That of AGW antagonists, also named

greenhouseGAS theory, but are of the opinion that under the pressure of the IPCC indoctrination the effect of the gasses is exaggerated and that possible negative feed back have been neglected.

luke-warmers, who accept the

Opinion 3. That of extreme AGW antagonists, sometimes called slayers, who do not believe at all in the greenhouseGAS theory; who think the gas theory is bluntly nonsense and who base their opinion that any greenhouse effect shown by the troposphere, can be explained in other ways than by IR absorbing and emitting gases. During the disputes over the last decade I think I can recognize an additional

Opinion 4. This is adhered to by many geologists, astronomers, physicists and process engineers, with a view on the effect of IR absorbing and emitting gases in between 2 and 3: They may have an effect but it is not significant and we still lack proof to take a position.

I belong to the group with opinion 4. It seems to me highly unlikely that a minor

component in the atmosphere like CO 2 could have a strong effect on the complex atmospheric system in which many forces, who influence each other mutually, are active. The more I listen to arguments presented by group 1 to 3. I feel inclined to join group 3, despite the fact I feel pretty sure that some of their arguments are poor. To continue to adhere to a greenhouseGAS theory, seems to me to be even more poorly, because of current observations, and especially the way these observations are being interpreted in the light of people’s pet hypothesis. We should continue this discussion by providing answers to three major questions, formulated by Aarons in “Marks of Scientific Literacy,” in Teaching Introductory Physics (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1997), 345-6. http://people.westminstercollege.edu/faculty/pconwell/teaching/mark_of_sci_literacy. pdf

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• Why do we believe?

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(Arthur Rorsch to Climatesceptics discussion group 8 April)

A Message from Fred Singer

‘http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2015/04/14/good-science-prevails-

renowned-scientist-fred-singer-talks-climate-chan is worth reading, and re-reading a

“You’re quire correct; there is indeed a wide variety of scepticism

among scientists, ranging from those who are “lukewarmers” who go along with IPCC except to say warming is no big deal, to those who deny the existence of a greenhouse effect. My position is somewhere in the middle. I accept the theoretical existence of a greenhouse effect. In other words, I recognize carbon dioxide, water vapour, and other gases in the atmosphere can absorb infrared radiation and have a potential effect on climate. On the other hand, I am not convinced these effects really exist to any appreciable extent, so I am definitely not a lukewarmer, but I am not a denier.’

couple of times

A Promise to Lord Monckton

One of the IPCC lead authors in Tasmania interrupted my talk when I showed the full Bode graph and said: “Have you published this?” No, I replied. “But you must,” he said. “This changes everything!” Yes, I said, I rather think it does. If the Bode equation is inappropriate for loop gains >1, then it may also be inappropriate for loop gains <1.

It may – at least in its unmodified form – be the wrong equation altogether. And without it one cannot get away with claiming the absurdly high and unphysical sensitivities the IPCC profits by asking us to believe in.’ (Brief excerpt from Chris Monckton: Where the complex climate models go wrong. (WUWT 16 March)

Rahmsdorf Discredited? The FAZ then writes that, “An independent expert assesses the estimation skeptically”, adding: Climate scientist Martin Visbeck of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel sees Rahmstorf’s interpretation of the results critically: ‘The study’s focus on the sub-polar part of the Atlantic and the spectral analysis are interesting,’ he says. But there are other AMOC assessments that point to a completely other development. The paper does not offer any strong indication of the development of the AMOC during the past fifty years.” When a warmist dismisses another warmist’s science, then you know it’s likely pretty slipshod. (WUWT 24 March)

UK Met Office: The Big Myths That Need To Be Exploded “When searching ancient climate records for parallels with the current situation, scientists point to the handful of instances where the Earth’s temperature shifted quickly because of surges in CO 2 linked to volcanic activity. Such rapid warming events are often linked in the fossil record to mass extinctions. In common with naturally occurring sudden global temperature changes, scientists can explain the warming observed this century only by factoring in the large rise in CO 2 emissions linked to human activity rather than volcanos. The sun is ultimately responsible for warming the Earth, so it seems reasonable that changes in solar activity would

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influence climate. But can changes observed in the sun explain global warming? Scientists don’t think so. The sun’s activity rises and falls roughly on an 11-year cycle, while temperatures have been rising steadily for a century. “If you just look at global average surface temperatures, there is a small effect that you can associate with solar energy,” says Prof. Jo Haigh, an atmospheric physicist at Imperial College London. “But it’s a very small signal that can’t possibly have done more than greenhouse gas.” (Grantham Institute 5 May)

The Arctic is Only Melting IF…. As HH Lamb wrote in 1982:

The cooling of the Arctic since 1950-60 has been most marked in the very same regions which experienced the strongest warming in the earlier decades of the 20thC, namely the central Arctic and northernmost parts of the two great continents remote from the world’s oceans, but also in the Norwegian-East Greenland Sea….A greatly increased flow of the cold East Greenland Current has in several years (especially 1968 and 1969, but also 1965, 1975 and 1979) brought more Arctic sea ice to the coasts of Iceland than for fifty years. In April-May 1968 and 1969, the island was half surrounded by ice, as had not occurred since 1888. Such sea ice years have always been dreaded in Iceland’s history because of the depression of

summer temperatures and the effects on farm production…

The 1960’s also saw

the abandonment of attempts at grain growing in Iceland, which had been resumed in the warmer decades of this century after a lapse of some hundreds of years… To draw any conclusions about Arctic ice or temperatures, using data that begins at the coldest point of the cycle is utterly worthless and grossly misleading. But this is climate “science” we are talking about. (Paul Homewood 15 and 16 April)

Is Global Average Temperature a Meaningful Concept? Abstract Physical, mathematical and observational grounds are employed to show that there is no physically meaningful global temperature for the Earth in the context of the issue of global warming. While it is always possible to construct statistics for any given set of local temperature data, an infinite range of such statistics is mathematically permissible if physical principles provide no explicit basis for choosing among them. Distinct and equally valid statistical rules can and do show opposite trends when applied to the results of computations from physical models and real data in the atmosphere. A given temperature field can be interpreted as both “warming” and “cooling” simultaneously, making the concept of warming in the context of the issue of global warming physically ill-posed. (Christopher Essex, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario, Bjarne Andresen, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen and Ross McKitrick, Department of Economics, University of Guelph Received 19 March)

The Role of Forests?

The existence of polar forests during the Mesozoic and Early Nenozoic era in areas that are now tundra or polar desert unambiguously tells us that conditions

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in the past were once considerably warmer than they are in these regions today mild winters, usually above freezing and possibly up to 5 degrees C. with warm summers reaching 50 degrees are suggested. Was more oxygen in the air? (David Beerling The Emerald Planet, 2007 p.125)

Forestry, agriculture and land-use changes account for nearly 25 %of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the energy sector. New research led by Imperial College London on partially-logged tropical rainforests suggests that these forests are probably emitting more carbon than assumed, because they contain a high proportion of dead wood. (News from the Grantham Institute 5 May)

Shame on UK Royal Society “Five years ago, I was one of 43 Fellows of the Royal Society – the first and arguably still the most prestigious scientific organisation in the world – who wrote to our then- president about its approach to climate change. We warned that the Society was in danger of violating its founding principle, summed up in its famous motto ‘Nullius in verba’ – or ‘don’t take another’s word for it; check it out for yourself’. The reason for our warning was a Society document which stated breezily: ‘If you don’t believe in climate change you are using one of the following [eight] misleading arguments.’ The implication was clear: the Society seemed to be saying there was no longer room for meaningful debate about the claim that the world is warming dangerously because of human activity, because the science behind this was ‘settled’. We hoped we would persuade the Society to rethink this position. That document was revised so that the uncertainty involved in trying to model the climate was admitted. But since then the Society has become more, not less dogmatic – despite the fact that since we sent that letter, it has become evident that there is even more uncertainty than previously thought. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have continued to rise, but since 1998 there has been no statistically significant rise in global temperatures at all. This flies in the face of the confident predictions made by nearly all the climate computer models that the temperature would continue to rise as it did from 1975 to 1998. More than 60 different explanations have been proposed to explain why this ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ has happened, and their sheer number is the clearest evidence that the system that climate scientists are seeking to model, is irreducibly complex. Human-sourced carbon dioxide is at best one of many factors in causing climate change, and humility given this complexity would be the appropriate stance. Yet the Society continues to produce a stream of reports which reveal little sign of this. The latest example is the pre-Christmas booklet A Short Guide to Climate Science. Last year also saw the joint publication with the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, and a report called Resilience. With these documents, the Society has lent its name to claims – such as trends towards increasing more extreme weather and more climate casualties – that simply do not match real- world facts. Both the joint report with the NAS and the Short Guide answer 20 questions on temperatures, sea-level rises and ocean acidification. But a report today by the academic council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which includes several

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Society Fellows and other eminent scientists, states the Society has ‘left out’ parts of the science, so the answers to many of the questions ought to be different. I have personal experience of this selectivity. Last year, at the request of the president, I produced a paper that urged the Society’s council to distance itself from the levels of certainty being expressed about future warming. I said it ought to have, at least, a ‘plan B’ if the pause should last much longer, so calling the models into still more serious question. I got a polite brush-off. The great 20th Century physicist, Richard Feynman, wrote in his autobiography:

‘Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can – if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong – to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it.’ This the Royal Society has failed to do. The reason for this lack of nuance seems to be that policymakers say they want ‘scientific certainty’. As an engineer, I find that amazing: we remain legally liable for what we say professionally, so will always qualify our statements. But the misleading lack of qualification in the statements made by the Royal Society and others is creating policy nonsense. The Climate Change Act requires the UK to cut its CO 2 emissions by 80 % from 1990 levels by 2050 – at mind-boggling cost. Generating electricity from windmills has contributed to electricity prices increasing by twice the level of inflation over the last decade, with further huge rises to fund renewable energy to come. Aluminium production is highly sensitive to energy prices, and most of the UK smelters have closed down – helping us reduce UK emissions, but also exporting jobs. No one describes the consequence: we now import that aluminium from China, leading to CO 2 emissions from shipping it here. Worse, most electricity in China is produced by coal, not gas, as in the UK. We are exacerbating the original global problem of global CO 2 emissions, yet also pointing fingers at the Chinese. We really are leading the world in climate change hypocrisy. The project to ‘solve the climate change problem’ is a modern version of the biblical Tower of Babel. We do not know how much the project will cost, when it will have been completed, nor what success will look like. During my time as a government departmental Chief Scientific Adviser, I was always aware that politicians made the final decision on any issue on the balance of all the evidence. For this reason, civil servants are trained to draw their attention to all the upsides and downsides of taking a particular course of action. Those who fail to provide balance are not giving advice, but lobbying. It is with the deepest regret that I must now state that this is the role which has been adopted by the Royal Society. And when scientists abandon neutral inquiry for lobbying, they jeopardise their purpose and integrity. (Professor Michael Kelly, The Mail On Sunday 14 March 2015) who is the Prince Philip Professor of Technology at Cambridge University and Fellow of the Royal Society;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2995239/Why-Royal-Society-wrong-

climate-change-devastating-critique-world-s-leading-scientific-organisation-one-

Fellows.html

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ENERGY POLICY AND CLIMATE POLITICS

Mr. Obama said last week that he had committed the U.S. to leading the world

in combating the threat of climate change. (Colleen McCain Nelson, The Wall

Street Journal, 27 April 2015)

“Market forces alone, bereft of ethical values, cannot solve the intertwined crises of poverty, exclusion, and the environment.” (Vatican, quoted in Peter Foster: Red-Green Alliance Captures The Vatican, Financial Post, 29 April)

No minister, not even a prime minister, can predict in our uncertain and unstable world what may happen over the next five years. (Shirley Williams, Letters FT 1 May)

A new European electricity interconnector has been inaugurated and finance

agreed with the aim of transmitting at least 10% of power across national frontiers by 2020 as part of the Energy Union. (Energy World April)

Global Policy

Good Riddance Rajendra Pachauri resigned as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today. It was a long time coming. As a journalist who has followed his career for the past five years, writing enough to fill a full-length book, my assessment of 74-year-old Pachauri is a harsh one: He has been a non-stop train wreck. Today, he finally exited the stage. In true Pachauri fashion, his resignation letter is a two-page love letter to himself. You wouldn’t know that recent allegations of sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and uttering threats suggest strongly that he is a longtime sexual predator. You wouldn’t know that this latest scandal has profoundly undermined the credibility of the IPCC in the run-up to the UN climate summit scheduled for Paris in December. Instead, Pachauri talks about all the wonderful things that happened during his 13- year reign. He refers to “priceless assets” and “unmatched contributions.” And to the “close friends and colleagues” who urged him to finish his term rather than quit early. (Neglecting to mention the calls for his resignation issued by the Sunday London Times, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, and the New Scientist over the years.) Pachauri’s letter talks about his “greatest joy” and his “sublime satisfaction.” And about religion: “For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.” http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2015/02/24/rajendra-pachauris-resignation-letter/ 24 Feb) Received from Leigh Palmer 22 March )

Missed Pledges China, Japan, Canada and Australia have missed a UN Deadline to file pledges on cutting emissions prior to Paris meeting in December. Pledges are not expected to keep

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warming below 2C, a limit that governments agreed, should not be breached. The USA, Mexico and EU countries, as well as Russia, Switzerland and Norway have made pledges. The director of the European Climate Foundation’s campaign blamed the non-pledgers for not divesting from ‘increasingly stranded fossil –fuel assents. (FT 1 April)

World Bank/IMF Partners ‘on Climate Action’ Taking a whole page advertisement in the FT (17 April) CEOs from 45 companies with operations in 150 countries,’ in the spirit of the World Economic Forum called upon ‘governments to take bold action at the Paris climate conference (COP21) …. to secure a more prosperous world for all of us….we stand to work together with the international community to help deliver practical climate solution. (Go to medium.com/@climateCEOs. The list of companies includes HSBC, Volvo, Arup, Deutsche Post, Enel, GDF Suez, Iberdrola, Philip Lighting, Pension Danmark, Statkraft, Swiss Re, Unilever, Veola and The Weather Company.

Van Ypersele for Chairman: A Terrible Choice?

• With the resignation of R. Pachauri as Chairman of the IPCC, the vice-Chair since 2008 Jean-Pascal van Ypersele is looking for a promotion. In his campaign for election he is making ritual statements about the IPCC continuing to act in a scientifically rigorous yet policy neutral way. As Donna Laframboise puts it, an entity that is policy neutral doesn’t advocate any particular response to a given situation. Yet Prof. Ypersele’s piece in The Guardian states “humanity knows it must stop ignoring the ‘inconvenient truth’ of climate change,” something at odds with a UN-conducted poll of 7.2 million people ranking a climate change deal last as a concern. Moreover, two years after he first became in IPCC official in 2002, Prof. Ypersele got into bed with Greenpeace by coordinating a report on how climate change might affect his home country of Belgium. As Ms. Laframboise says about the report: “In van Ypersele’s vision of 2044, Belgium is in a state of emergency. It suffers from unbearable heat, drought, and over- flowing morgues. The high-speed train between Paris and Berlin has derailed because the rails have been deformed by extreme heat. The Mediterranean Sea has flooded the Nile Delta, making Egypt a land of refugees.

http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2015/03/16/van-ypersele-a-terrible-choice-for-ipcc-

chairman/ (Friends of Science Extracts - 2015-03-29)

Vatican - New Ally of Green Lobby?

There was no discussion at this week’s Vatican “conference” en route to Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change. What’s to discuss? Anybody who disagrees is an apostate, destined for damnation. The important point is to stop them bringing climate hell to earth. The event – along with an accompanying statement — confirmed that the Vatican has become an arm of the godless United Nations, and an unabashed shill for its murky Sustainable Development Goals. The Vatican’s climate change statement [Climate Change and the Common Good: A Statement Of The Problem And The Demand For

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Transformative Solutions], according to Foster, peddles eco-liberation theology based on the tedious demonization of markets and capitalism……. Godliness is now to be replaced by “deep de-carbonization.” (Peter Foster, Financial Post, 29 April )

• Republican senators view global deal to reduce emissions as executive overreach President Barack Obama and Congress are headed for another power

clash on the international stage, as key Senate Republicans challenge his efforts to forge a global pact on climate change. The White House considers the agreement with nearly 200 nations a historic opportunity to reduce greenhouse- gas emissions world-wide. But some GOP senators view it as executive overreach, and they are quietly considering ways to warn other countries that the president doesn’t speak for them and may not be able to deliver on his promises

to slash emissions…

GOP effort to throw up a roadblock comes as the

president pursues a lasting legacy on climate change through the international accord. It also reignites a debate about balance of powers, with the executive and legislative branches clashing over the limits of the president’s authority The Wall Street Journal, 27 April 2015 Colleen McCain Nelson

Pope Francis is expected to deliver an encyclical letter on climate change, urging

The

the risks to be considered, in June this year. (FT 1 May)

Heartland Message to Vatican On May 3, Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor and “special adviser” to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, wrote a commentary condemning global warming “deniers” that appeared on a Catholic website called Pewsitter. Since he

takes aim specifically at The Heartland Institute, a reply seems to be in order. Sachs wrote about an event convened by Pope Francis on global warming and sustainability at the Vatican in Rome the prior week. Observing that only alarmists and advocates of population control – most notably, Jeffrey Sachs – were on the program, I decided Heartland should send some real scientists and other experts to Rome to provide a different opinion. Our delegation to Rome consisted of the following individuals, all of them willing to travel a great distance on short notice and participate without honoraria:

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

Hal Doiron, former NASA Skylab and Space Shuttle engineer

Richard Keen, Ph.D., meteorology instructor at the University of Colorado

• Christopher Monckton, chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI)

Marc Morano, executive editor and chief correspondent, ClimateDepot.com

• Tom Sheahen, Ph.D., vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Elizabeth Yore, J.D., former general counsel at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Virginia. (Heartland Institute 8 May)

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Financial Times Promotes Global Carbon Price to End the Climate ‘Gamble’

1. Carbon pricing has been called for by one of the world’s biggest traders of agricultural commodities Olam of S’ pore, alleging that because ‘carbon’ is free, we use it indiscriminately. This was announced at the FT Commodities Global Summit where rising populations, water shortages and genetically modified crops (a good thing) were also discussed. Olam gas spend 6 years mapping its own global carbon footprint and stated that half its profit ‘came from the benefits of nature’. Climate change was seen as one of six developmental challenges for global agriculture, the others being food, water, energy security, sustainable economic growth and poverty. (Report from Lausanne, FT 23 April)

2. On Monday 27 the FTfm, s writing as Authority on Global Fund management exposed the ‘climate change gamble’ by castigating and naming corporate schemes taking climate risks,. In fact nearly half the wold’s investors were ‘outed’ by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project. (AODP) which reports an ‘extraordinary’ level of complacency among institutional investors. Only 9 investors received AAA ratings from AODP, which included an Australian Local Government pension fund, KLP Norway and the UKs’ Environment Agency Pension Fund. Behind this study is an associate professor at the Harvard

Business School who threatens investors with the loss of a great deal of money. Also cited with approval is the director of the stranded assets Programme at Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise who is quoted as saying , that ‘climate change and risks associated with other environmental factors are financially material….the evidence is large and growing constantly (The asset owners’) ’

The reported concludes

by quoting a Mr. Poulter the founder of AODP, as noting that belonging to a group calling for divestment from risky investments is not the same as doing a

lot. (M Marriage: ‘Nearly half world’s biggest investors heavily exposed to environmental risks: Climate change ‘gamble’ exposed.’ Not many of those signing are doing a lot, says one observer. (FTfm 27 April)

consultants need to up their game and so do trustees

Creating a Market for the Acts of God? The Reinsurance Sector May Collapse This is the warning for the $575 bn industry to those who hope to protect themselves from earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters, according to Cass Business School. This is warning of banking style meltdown is it continues to make dangerous changes reminiscent of the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis. The World Bank has already issued catastrophe bond, but so far and ‘in general disaster insurance –linked securities have largely been confined to developed countries with investors buying at a record pace. [Will climate change be covered soon? Even if man-made?] (FT 29 April)

Air Pollution – Why Worry When? Increasing prosperity brought better living standards and, ultimately, big moves to clean up both air and water. Only 60 years ago, London was a city of black buildings and recurrent smog, caused mainly by smoke from coal fires. Now, we may worry about particulates from car exhausts, but the air is incomparably cleaner than our parents had to breathe. Problems remain, but we have the resources to do something

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about them. So, another recent headline prompted by the same spike in air pollution read Longer-term thinking ‘needed’ on air pollution. This story makes the point that pollution such as sulphate aerosols or carbon exhaust particulates may be a mixture of locally-generated material and some which is blown in on the wind. It is the particular set of weather conditions which determines whether a really bad day occurs. In prosperous countries, a clean and safe living and working environment is a higher priority than in poorer ones, where people have to cope with conditions Europeans haven’t experienced for many decades. This same transition will happen in China, India, Brazil and other currently low- and middle-income countries. Continued rapid urbanisation will create more pressures, but improved technology and the availability of more resources will more than compensate. So, it is right that we continue to improve air quality in our cities, for the benefit of ourselves and future generations, and economic growth will give us the wherewithal to do so. But in the meantime we are distracted by costly attempts to reduce another form of ‘pollution’, the carbon dioxide emissions which are deemed to be the primary driver of global warming. In truth, the jury is still out on the degree of warming and the impact this may have, but at the same time it’s very clear that CO 2 is also essential for life. (Excerpt: Scientific Alliance 17 April)

USA Policy

Obama’s New Climate Policy On March 5, OFA sent letters to various scientists, and others, over the President’s signature, claiming that the biggest obstacle to fighting climate change (what used to be called global warming) is political. The letter, states the subject is “Stand up for science,” and states that OFA’s web site has identified certain politicians as climate change deniers and urges the recipients to take action. A key point made in the letter is:

“We need to listen to our friends at NASA and the 97 percent of climate scientists who agree that climate change is real, man-made, and happening right now. Now is the time for serious action, not excuses or outright denial.” As of the morning of March 15, Eastern US time, the letter was no longer on the web site of OFA. However, on the web site Master Resource, nuclear engineer James Rust posted a copy similar to the one SEPP had received from another source, including the critical sentences cited above. SEPP reviewed three surveys that contained a phrase similar to “97 percent of climate scientists.” It found significant misrepresentation and/or manipulation by those producing the results, after the surveys. For example, the survey published in Eos was sent to over 10,000 geoscientists, to which over 3,000 responded. Yet, the individuals responsible for the survey emphasized the responses of only 79. Of these, 77 were reported to be convinced that global warming was real threat and man-made. This is not to say that those reporting the results of these surveys, or the editors of the journals publishing the results, intended that they are used for such blatant political purposes, which is secondary. What is of primary concern is that surveys of such low quality are published in scientific journals and that these surveys are being used to

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promote the expansion of central government-powers. (From Ken Haapala, WUWT/ SEPP 15 March)

Interior Secretary Leaves Coal Out of the U.S. Energy-Development Equation SNL’s Christopher Coats is out with a perceptive article that notes what wasn’t said yesterday by Interior Secretary Sally Jewel in a speech on federal energy-development priorities. When Jewel did mention coal in a wide-ranging energy-policy presentation, Coats reports, it was to call for reforms in a federal coal-lease program that grants Powder River Basin coal producers a subsidized advantage. Here’s what Jewel said about that:

“When it comes to reform, we need to improve how we do business as a federal government — plain and simple. Part of that is making sure the American taxpayer is getting a fair return for the use of natural resources on their public land. Coal’s going to continue to be an important part of our energy mix in the future, but that government accountability office and our own inspector general and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle agree that the federal coal lease program needs reform.” Excerpts from the SNL article: “‘We need to ask ourselves, are taxpayers and local communities getting a fair return from these resources?’ How can we make this program more transparent and competitive? How do we manage the program in a way that is more consistent with our climate change objectives?’ (IEEFA.org, March 18)

No Fracking Pollution New environmental safeguards have been announced for feral lands subjected to fracking. The proposed regulations are condemned by oil and gas industry, but government promises a an appropriate balance between health and safety and economic growth of an revolutionary technology that has made big contributions to the recovery, with regulators struggling to keep up The regulations cover well bores, waste water disposal and public disclosure of chemicals used. The US is now the world’s biggest natural gas producers. The Sierra Club is angry, all fossil fuels should be kept under ground. (B Jopson, FT 21/22 March)This move will be closely watched elsewhere.

Diverting Attention from Real World Problems? Earth Day Threats “Climate change is the greatest threat that faces humans today, and as a nation, the

United States must “act before it is too late,” declared President Barack Obama in his

2015 Earth Day Proclamation. Visiting the Everglades today, Obama said, “Climate

change can no longer be denied.” On its 45th anniversary, Earth Day 2015 has gone mainstream. Across the United States people from all walks of life engaged in enthusiastic actions to protect the planet

and voiced dire warnings about the consequences if we fail. U.S. government agencies have entered into four collaborative landscape partnerships - in southwest Florida, Hawaii, Washington and the Great Lakes region - to help build resilience in regions vulnerable to climate change. (News from WASHINGTON, DC, April 22 Earth Day,

2015 (ENS)

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Witch Hunts or Culture Wars? The three Senators sent a letter to CATO demanding information on sources for funding for projects they do not like. CATO’s Patrick Michaels posted the response by John Allison, President and CEO of CATO, which was polite but appropriate. Prior to becoming President of CATO, Allison was President and CEO of BB&T, a bank that did not fall for any of the games played by federal enterprises underwriting mortgage loans for those with poor credit (which was politically fashionable under the Clinton and Bush administrations…. Among other points, Allison cites the op-ed by Richard Lindzen “The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics” which appeared in the Wall Street Journal and was discussed in WUWT. Lindzen is now a distinguished senior fellow at CATO. Perhaps other organizations will respond to these Senators in a similar fashion and point out to the Senators’ abuse of authority. Climate change means many different things to different people. (WUWT 7 March)

Biofuel Politics Wag the Tail: Don’t Mess with RFSs

A governor and his son lobby for ethanol – and expect presidential candidates to

endorse it Talk about the Norfolk terrier tail wagging the Great Dane. If they are to have any

hope of winning their party’s nomination, Republican presidential hopefuls better support ethanol mandates, Hawkeye State politicos told potential candidates at the recent Iowa Agricultural Summit in Des Moines. “Don’t mess with the RFS,”

Republican Governor Branstad warned, referring to Renewable Fuel Standards that require refiners to blend increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline. “It is the Holy Grail, and I will defend it,” said Rep. Steve King, another Iowa Republican. It is vital for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and preventing dangerous climate change and weather extremes, said others. Corn ethanol is big in Iowa, the March 7-8 Ag Summit kicked off the state’s 2016 election debates, big-time GOP donor Bruce Rastetter made his fortune from ethanol and hosted the event, and the first presidential primary will

be held in Iowa. Moreover, Gov. Branstad’s son Eric directs the multi-million-dollar

America’s Renewable Future campaign, which co-sponsored the summit and hopes to

convince increasingly sceptical voters that the federal government must retain the RFS

or even expand it. Failure to back the RFS means sayonara to any White House hopes,

candidates were told…. Some cited national security as a justification. The RFS reduces demand for foreign oil, Jeb Bush asserted. Biofuels are a way for America to

“fuel itself,” said Mike Huckabee. “Every gallon of ethanol … is one less gallon you have to buy from people who hate your guts,” Lindsay Graham added. Others focused

on allegedly unfair competition… Scott Walker recanted his previous opposition and

said someday the ethanol industry won’t need these mandates, but right now it “needs government assistance,” because “we don’t have a free and open marketplace.” Bush and Santorum added that ethanol boosts corn-state economies and creates jobs “in small town and rural America.” Chris Christie said the RFS is “what the law requires” and we need to comply with it. Rick Perry seemed to say it’s time to end federal mandates – and let states pick winners and losers. That’s fine. But now that they have bowed to the biofuel gods, kowtowed to the small cadre of Iowa corn growers, sought the blessings of crony capitalist campaign contributors, and repeated

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the standard deviations from facts about green energy, climate change and national security, perhaps they will pay closer attention to other candidates, and to what’s actually happening in the energy and climate arenas. Presidential hopefuls Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul remained firm in their belief that the RFS should be phased out now. Cruz has joined Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and others in sponsoring bills to abolish the corn ethanol RFS over five years…. Biofuel’s problem is not lack of access or unfair competition. It’s that the world has changed since ethanol subsidies and mandates were enacted in 2005. Back then, people more plausibly believed we were running out of petroleum, and global warming might become a serious problem. But then hydraulic fracturing took off…. Gasoline prices have plunged, making ethanol much less cost-competitive. … The last thing we need is more citizen cash for crony capitalist cellulosic capers. (Excerpt from Governor and his Son lobby for ethanol – and expect presidential candidates to endorse by Paul Driessen, received 14 March)

Judith Curry’s on Lafayette Debates and Congressional Hearing “At the Congressional Hearing that I attended last Wednesday, one of the Congresswomen made opening remarks that said something like ‘Welcome to the Science Committee, the last place on earth where climate change is still debated.’ Let’s face it that seems sort of true. Instead of genuine debate, we have one side shouting ‘denier’, and the other side shouting ‘green alarmist’, and reasonable people trying to have a reasonable discussion about the issue get dismissed with one of these two epithets, which acts to polarize reasonable people. … The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology Hearing on the President’s UN Climate Pledge has now concluded. My testimony can also be downloaded here [House science testimony apr 15 final]. Judith Curry’s verbal testimony The central issue in the scientific debate on climate change is the extent to which the recent (and future) warming is caused by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions versus natural climate variability that are caused by variations from the sun, volcanic eruptions, and large-scale ocean circulations. Recent data and research supports the importance of natural climate variability and calls into question the conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change. This includes:

The slowdown in global warming since 1998

Reduced estimates of the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide

Climate models that are predicting much more warming than has been observed so far in the 21st century While there are substantial uncertainties in our understanding of climate change, it is clear that humans are influencing climate in the direction of warming. However this simple truth is essentially meaningless in itself in terms of alarm, and does not mandate a particular policy response. We have made some questionable choices in defining the problem of climate change and its solution:

The definition of ‘dangerous’ climate change is ambiguous, and hypothesized catastrophic tipping points are regarded as very or extremely unlikely in the 21st century. Efforts to link dangerous impacts of extreme weather events to human-caused

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warming are misleading and unsupported by evidence. Climate change is a ‘wicked problem’ and ill-suited to a ‘command and control’ solution. It has been estimated that the U.S. national commitments to the UN to reduce emissions by 28% will prevent three hundredths of a degree centigrade in warming by 2100. The inadequacies of current policies based on emissions reduction are leaving the real societal consequences of climate change and extreme weather events largely unaddressed, whether caused by humans or natural variability. The wickedness of the climate change problem provides much scope for disagreement among reasonable and intelligent people. Effectively responding to the possible threats from a warmer climate is made very difficult by the deep uncertainties surrounding the risks both from the problem and the proposed solutions. The articulation of a preferred policy option in the early 1990’s by the United Nations has marginalized research on broader issues surrounding climate variability and change and has stifled the development of a broader range of policy options. We need to push the reset button in our deliberations about how we should respond to climate change.” (Slightly shortened, Judith Curry statement of 15 April, posted on April 17, 2015 [Ed.: Best I have read on the subject]

US Policy

Michigan v EPA This case was argued on 25 March concerns regulation of mercury, arsenic and other toxins (not CO 2 ). New regulations would cost $9.6billion, which is not disputed, but the amount of harm done and who should decide, are. The Cato Institute argues against EPA sees, sees new regulations as a Trojan horse aimed at removing regulatory power from states to Washington. The court seems divided along liberal- conservative lines. Should cost-benefits be taken into account before deciding to curb pollution? A decision is expected by summer. (Economist 28 March)

The Battle over Coal Heats Up Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken his campaign to kill EPA clean- air rules nationally, according to the New York Times, which reports that McConnell has made appeals to all 50 state governors. McConnell and his staff are “coordinating with lawyers and lobbying firms to try to ensure that the state plans are tangled up in legal delays,” report Coral Davenport. McConnell is working also to undermining the president’s participation in international climate treaty negotiations this fall in Paris: “The idea is to create uncertainty in the minds of other world leaders as to whether the United States can follow through on its pledges to cut emissions.” Additional excerpts: “‘We’ve seen modern lobbying strategies that become a very large campaign, coordinated with states and localities, but we’ve never seen a Senate majority leader or House speaker in front of it,’” said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington. “‘It’s quite clever. It’s sophisticated and unusual.’” “Mr. McConnell opened his campaign on March 3 with an op-ed article published in The Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky with the headline, ‘States should reject

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Obama mandate for clean-power regulations.’ Mr. McConnell urged governors to refuse to submit climate change compliance plans to the E.P.A.” …“The majority leader is a master tactician,’” said Scott Segal, a lobbyist with the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani and the director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents power companies. “‘He understands the legal vulnerabilities, and he’s acutely aware that not all solutions go through traditional legislative channels.’” (J Flood Inst. For Energy Economics 19 March) NB: The US government’s energy consumption has been lowest since 1975, bulk of decline due to decline in jet fuel consumption by 40% and reduced use ‘by facilities’… Nevertheless the US government remains one of the largest energy consumers in the world with 1 quadrillion Btu.

Delay South for Power Plant Climate Rule House Republicans are preparing a bill that would delay implementation of the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants and let state governors veto compliance plans. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s panel on energy and power, unveiled the draft legislation Monday that he worked on with Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the full committee chairman, and other members. The draft bill would delay the EPA’s rule until all court challenges are over and let governors block any plans to implement the regulation — whether from the state or imposed by the EPA — if they think it would significantly increase electricity rates or harm reliability. (Timothy Cama, The Hill, 23 March)

Hydraulic Fracturing Politics

Republicans on Friday roundly rejected the Obama administration’s rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land and pledged to fight them. The GOP warned that the regulations will hamper the nation’s economic recovery that has been bolstered by the boom in natural gas and oil production, much of which depends on fracking. “America’s energy boom is one of the best things going for our economy, and keeping it going should be one of the federal government’s top priorities,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “Instead, the Obama administration is so eager to appease radical environmentalists that it is regulating a process that is already properly regulated.” (T. Cama, The Hill, 20 March)

The administration’s new rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands will add to the cost of shale oil and gas drilling operations and hamper an industry that’s been front and centre in the economic recovery. Given this president’s allegiance to the environmental lobby, this may be the whole point of the new rules — to stop fossil-fuel development in order to make expensive renewable energy the only alternative. But a new study from the Brookings Institution — hardly conservative in its orientation — suggests the biggest victims of these new rules will be the poorest Americans, who’ll have to pay higher energy costs. (Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily, 24 March/ GWPF 24 March)

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On March 31 U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled a major framework for how the U.S. will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years. The plan is a follow up to the landmark agreement between the U.S. and China to bring down carbon emissions. It is also the official American submission to the United Nations for the climate negotiations set to take place in Paris at the end of the year. The U.S. plans on cutting emissions between 26 and 28 percent by 2025, which is an extension of Obama’s previous goal of a 17 percent reduction by 2020. Nobody has high hopes for Paris, but what matters much more is what each country actually does domestically. Obama has already unleashed the EPA on the electric power sector, and new regulations set to be finalized this summer will champion renewable energy and natural gas at the expense of coal. (OIlpricecom.31 March)

President Barack Obama and Congress are headed for another power clash on the international stage, as key Senate Republicans challenge his efforts to forge a global pact on climate change. The White House considers the agreement with nearly 200 nations a historic opportunity to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions world-wide. But some GOP senators view it as executive overreach, and they are quietly considering ways to warn other countries that the president doesn’t speak for them and may not be able to deliver on his promises to slash emissions. (Colleen McCain Nelson, The Wall Street Journal, 27 April 2015/GWPF 29 April)

The Obama administration’s plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to “proceed with caution” in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be later undone. Republican critics say the administration lacks the political and legal backing to commit the United States to an international agreement. Some observers said that resistance to the administration’s climate policies leaves foreign governments questioning whether Obama’s commitments can last. (Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 1 April)

From a Letter to Senators “Dear Senators Cruz, Inhofe and Rubio: I am writing you as chairs of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and of the Committee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. I am an independent researcher who studies global warming and climate change, and I am probably best known for my articles at the science weblog WattsUpWithThat, where I would be considered an investigative reporter.

I have a few very basic questions for you about climate model-based science. They are:

Why are taxpayers funding climate model-based research when those models are not simulating Earth’s climate?

Why are taxpayers funding climate model-based research when each new generation of climate models provides the same basic answers?

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Redundancy: why are taxpayers funding 5 climate models in the U.S.?

Why aren’t climate models providing the answers we need?

Example: Why didn’t the consensus of regional climate models predict the timing, extent and duration of the Californian drought?” (From Bob Tisdale – Independent Climate Researcher, WUWT 14 April)

EU Policy

The Global Vision: Growth, Competitiveness and Decarbonisation Brussel’s vision for the Paris global climate agreement is revealed in a submission of ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ which merely reaffirm targets set in 2014, i.e. to reduce EU emissions [which ones precisely?] by at least 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. Each nation is expected to submit an INDC before summer. The EU’s final INDC is to be submitted as part of its Energy Union proposal (see below). The EU also put out a communication giving ‘a blueprint for tackling global climate change beyond 2020, warning that the 1.5 0 C target is up for discussion in Paris. The EU says it is seeking a transparent and dynamic legally binding agreement at COP21.

UK CBI sees this goal as ambitious but achievable ‘if the right policies are in place’.

A formal UN negotiating text was agreed in February in an 89 page document.

(Energy World April)

And at Home: The Energy Union - A Grand Centralising Project The Nationalisation of Energy Policies rather than a more logical progress towards

single market has been characteristic, with the Energiewende and its lavish subsidies

as prime example, and UK supporting nuclear while Poland subsidises inefficient coal

mines. Hence the brave attempt of Maros Selcovic to negotiate an Energy Union - the

a ‘grab-bag of policies,

promises and compromises…. a political confection Some ambitions have been lowered, there will be no single European buyer for Russian gas, and no new EU regulator with teeth but government should stop capping prices below cost and instead helping the poor with welfare, More cross border electricity interconnectors are to be built. The most contentious idea is ‘to inject the commission into negotiations between governments and third parties suppliers (to guarantee compliance with EU law) While the mentioning of Russia is avoided Gazprom is meant. At the moment is

can still charge Poland 40% more for gas than Germany, Hungary is opposed, others speak of ‘solidarity’. Climate change goals are ambitions (40% emission cut from 1990 levels) but rests on the shale revolution in America which ‘has turned the transatlantic gap in energy prices into a chasm’ deterring investors and making electricity in Europe on average twice as high as in USA second are the close ties with Russian imports though this weapons is now weaker with increase storage and internal distribution Hence the defensive flavour of the Energy Union A half-baked project comparable to the banking union that only worked once EU ‘close to economic catastrophe’. Even a unified internal market will not lead to energy self- sufficiency, but imports directions may change (good news for Turkmenistan) and a gloomier prospect for Gazprom. But the free flow of energy, like that of people it is

most ambitious plan since the Coal and Steel Community…

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not obvious that Europeans are in the mood for a grand project. (Economist 7 March)

Emissions Trading Repaired?

The EU Parliament has voted for a market stability reserve (MSR) for CO 2 emission ‘to boost weak prices in the EU carbon market’. This is meant to come into force 2019, not 2021 as the Commission had wished, and is to boost the price of carbon allowance to between 17 and 35 per tonne. Member States still have to ratify. ‘Backloaded allowances would be transferred to this reserve rather than put back into market. 300 million unallocated allowances would be ’made available’ [given for free] to break-through industrial innovation projects. This means, according to industry, that the current oversupply of allowances will be eliminated around 2023. This MRS should increase the revenue of member states, not cost them as is likely for East European states who are opposing the scheme. ETS has not been swiftly reformed, complained the European Wind Energy lobby which sees the MRS agreement as suppressing carbon prices and delaying Europe’s efforts to move towards a low carbon energy mix. (Energy World April)

Important reform ‘to revive the moribund carbon prices ‘is expected in Brussels once Poland and other eastern bloc countries had given up their opposition. The Czech Republic broke ranks first making market reform almost certain The ETS trading scheme covers 11,000 factories and companies and is described as the largest cap-and-trade market for C02 in the world, now has a glut of 2bn surplus allowances, but reforms are to push the price up to 40 by 2030, all seen as part of the fight against climate change. German and the UK pushed hardest for the reform wanting a ‘stability reserve’ to be introduced as early as 2017 while Poland relying much on coal wanted to push this back to 20121, but opponents ’failed to keep the line’; ‘The Czechs broke’. They were hoping to trade in concessions elsewhere. Voting in the European Parliament is expected in July. The current carbon price remains around 7.50, recovering slowly. (FT 1 May)

EU RED Tape Creating Energy ‘Zombie Industry’ Thus the heading in FT, citing chief of the Spanish CEO of Abengoa, one of the EU’s largest green power generators, green power suppliers are becoming ‘living dead’ because governments are taking too long to decide what energy mix they want. This is especially true in the biofuel sector where companies do not know whether to struggle on or shut down a decade ago subsidies and other mandates encouraged the biofuels to create in industry worth Euro 15bn, but worries about making fuels form crops and deforestation led to a rethink three years ago. A vote id due in the European Parliament about continuing subsidies to biofuels, but Abengoa has already put ‘plants on hold’ in Germany. A pity, he says ‘from a technological point of view European companies are leading the race for clean energy’. (P Clark FT 13 April)

Polish Troubles

Poland spent 0.09% of GDP on R&D, the lowest of any big EU economy but is the bloc’s top beneficiary with 14 bn. Energy is still state controlled and

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described as ‘inefficient, risk-averse and far less aggressive than global privately held rivals in funding innovation.’ (FT 24 March)

Poland are pushing ahead with building more coal power plants. The energy market information provider ICIS report: More than half of Poland’s new major power generation projects to be built in the next four years will be coal-fired in spite of strict targets imposed by the EU on its member countries, capacity projections show. However, to lessen exposure to volatile European carbon prices, the country is also building more gas-fired generation and new electricity interconnections to open up opportunities for further imports of cheaper power from neighbouring countries. While most traders and analysts polled by ICIS admit Poland is slowly shifting away from its reliance on coal, they were at odds over what impact the new capacity might have on the wholesale electricity market. Some said an increase in supply will push wholesale prices down while others argue any new investment would have to be priced in on the wholesale market so it could be recouped. (Paul Homewood 13 April)

But - EU Member States Reassert Sovereignty over Energy Policy European Union governments have reasserted their authority over their national energy policies, before leaders meet to discuss the bloc’s plans for Energy Union on Thursday (19 March). A more effective, flexible market design is needed that will integrate renewables, according to draft summit conclusions, obtained by EurActiv. Any public energy subsidies at national level must not unbalance the internal market, the text says. But the new design should ensure “the right of Member States to decide their own energy mix is respected,” states the leaked paper, which is dated yesterday

(16 March). In the weeks before the summit, diplomats thrash out a draft agreement, which is subject to change. EU heads of state and government usually agree on a set of political conclusions at the end of each European Council. The reference to national sovereignty, added since the last draft, is significant. Especially as the latest conclusions now stress that national resources can add to energy security. “Energy security can also be increased by having recourse to indigenous measures, as well as safe and sustainable low carbon technologies,” the new conclusions say. Turmes, a Green from Luxembourg, named the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Poland as the biggest culprits among Member States jealously guarding their energy

mix. Poland, whose former premier Donald Tusk is now European Council President,

is keen to protect its coal and investigate fracking. France has an influential nuclear industry. The UK government has agreed to expand its Hinckley nuclear power plant and is keen to look into fracking. It also does not want to be seen as ceding any more powers to Brussels, especially in the run up to May’s national elections. The UK’s relationship with the EU is a major issue in that vote, which could lead to a “Brexit” referendum. “The latest draft looks like a UK/Polish wish list for nuclear and fracking,” Brook Riley, campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said. (EurActiv, 17 March)

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Towards and Energy Union? ‘We have agreed in Europe that we will transition to a low-carbon energy system, the

first stage of which should be reached by 2030. But there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the system should be adapted to make a smooth transition possible. Policymakers and regulators are uncertain about what the rules should be – what they should do to make the transition a success. Energy companies are uncertain about what their roles will be – what they should do to be successful in 2030. Specifically, they will address the following questions:

What kind of regulations are needed to stimulate investment and innovation in generation, distribution, interconnection, efficiency and smart technologies?

• How should renewable energy be integrated into the system without endangering security of supply?

How will the roles of established players evolve: producers, utilities, traders, distributors, system operators, regulators? Who will the new players be?

How to keep the price of energy affordable and competitive for industry and consumers? (From invitation to join the Webinar-debate25 March. (Energy Post 17 March)

No Common Position in Visegrád Group Tensions between Central Europe states Poland Hungary Slovakia and the Czech Republic are rising over energy and how to respond to events in Ukraine. Poland is less dependent on Russian energy than Hungary; Poland is more worried about military security. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are more critical of sanctions against Moscow and in spite of the recent agreement on a common position

on the proposed energy union - that would allow to negotiate gas purchases as a bloc

- key differences remain on plans to integrate Europe’s energy market to which Hungary’s Orban remains opposed. (FT 20 March)

Avoiding Damage from TTSP?

The European Union is being outpaced by the rest of the world on business conditions,

a trend that hampers the economic recovery and limits future growth, according to a

study from employers’ federation BusinessEurope. This is calling for an energy chapter in the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the U.S., and also supports improved interconnections between France and Spain so that Portugal can play a bigger role in liquefied natural gas, or LNG. “We need to come to

a stable situation with Russia, and at the same time we would like to diversify,” Beyrer

said. Overall on energy, “we have much higher political costs in Europe,” he said, citing renewable-energy policies that cause “market distortion” and environmental efforts that are out of sync with global standards. If the rest of the world doesn’t sign

on to the EU’s ambitions for reducing emissions targets, he said it may be time for Europe to “discuss our level of ambition” to avoid economic damage. BusinessEurope is calling for an energy chapter in the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the U.S., and also supports improved interconnections between France and Spain so that Portugal can play a bigger role in liquefied natural gas, or LNG. EU energy prices are twice as high as in the U.S., it’s harder to start new

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companies, and the EU is the only major economy where investment in broadband infrastructure has declined, according to its 2015 Reform Barometer report EU governments have reasserted their authority over their national energy policies, before leaders meet to discuss the bloc’s plans for Energy Union on 19 March …. Environmental campaigners fear this keeps the door open for national governments to frack for natural gas, and mine and use other fossil fuels. (R Christie EurActiv, 17 March)

EU’s Green Energy Debacle Shows Futility of Unilateral Climate Policies ‘… Benny Peiser warns that, from the EU experience, power rates will soar while industries depart. For the last 20 years, Europe has felt a duty to set an example through radical climate policy-making at home. Political leaders were convinced that the development of a low-carbon economy based on renewables would give Europe a competitive advantage. While the EU did manage to reduce CO 2 emissions domestically, this was achieved by shifting energy-intensive industries overseas, where energy and labour are cheap and which are now growing faster than the EU. Of all the unintended consequences of EU climate policy perhaps the most bizarre is the detrimental effect of wind and solar schemes on the price of electricity generated by natural gas. Many gas power plants can no longer operate enough hours to recover their investment. They incur big costs as they have to be switched on and off to back- up renewables.’ (GWPF 14 April)

Supply Security May Dominate Policy Geopolitics continue to dominate the energy world especially with regard to matters of energy supply and security. Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent conflict in the Crimea with its knock-on the effect on Euro-Russian relations. Europe is now seeking possible new suppliers. (Oilprice.com 30 April)

An Invitation to Sustainable Energy Week The EU has a 27% target for renewable energy in 2030. This means, in practice, a target of 45% renewables in the electricity mix. This ‘revolution’ in renewables cannot be left to develop without a blueprint. It has to be a revolution by design to ensure it will be smooth, safe and cost-effective. A thorough analysis of the consequences of a high share of variable generation for the European electricity system is critical to ensure its economic and technical viability. Energy Post, with the kind support of EDF, Europe’s largest utility company, invites you to discuss the latest challenges and possible solutions at an evening debate forming part of the programme of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW). EDF has conducted an in-depth study which analyses what a 60% share of renewable electricity means for the European energy system. Until now, this has only been used inside the company for strategic purposes. To mark this year’s EUSEW forum, EDF has agreed to share its findings to stimulate this crucial debate. (From Energy Post 6 May)

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Historic Deal? In Brussels this week a “historic” deal was reached between the European Parliament and the Member States on the reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The largest carbon trading scheme in the world has been in the doldrums for years. Now it seems it will be revitalised after all. (Energy Post 8 May)

German Policy

On the Brink of an Energy Crisis? Some 39 power plants across Germany “could be decommissioned later this year” which could “jeopardize the security of supply,” precipitating a huge energy crisis in the coming years as more plants are shuttered, according to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries — the country’s main utilities lobby. The reason: the flood of solar and wind energy on the grid has caused wholesale electricity prices to collapse — all while retail rates have skyrocketed. As a result, conventional power plants run fewer hours than originally planned, in many cases acting as backup power only. So the utilities are asking for a bail-out. (Dailycaller.com 13 April) From Ian Cameron <iancameron257@gmail.com> 18 April

Who Pays for the Energiewende? The prospect of the German taxpayer paying to cover nuclear reactor shutdowns is a live one as utilities continue to struggle, according to a government report. As part of the country’s energy transition policy, A. Merkel’s government decided to phase out nuclear power by 2022 but the expense involved in storing the waste and decommissioning the plants may prove beyond power companies. Utility executives say more specifics on plans are needed. “There are still no clear answers to many fundamental questions involving final and intermediate storage, dismantling [reactors] and transporting radioactive waste,” said Frank Mastiaux, chief executive of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, one of Germany’s largest utility companies. “Concrete concepts have long been promised, but there is nothing yet in sight.” That move forced EnBW and Germany’s other big utilities—E.ON SE,RWE AG and a unit of Sweden’s Vattenfall AB—to book billions of euros in write-downs on nuclear assets and increase their provisions for early decommissioning of the facilities. The provisions now total about $40bn (37bn). The cost could ultimately top 50bn. And that money might have to be covered by taxpayers if a power company faces insolvency or some other scenarios, the government report warned. “Based on the current legal situation, there are risks that the financial provisions set aside by the nuclear operating companies aren’t sufficient and therefore it can’t be ruled out that,

in a worst-case scenario, significant costs

fall on the public,” said the report

commissioned by the economy ministry and prepared by lawyers, auditors and tax consultants. Meanwhile storage of nuclear waste is also emerging as a growing problem with the government now aiming to designate a disposal site by 2031, though subsequent geological exploration and construction could delay any opening to about 2050. Until a final disposal site is found, all waste will be stored temporarily. Keeping interim facilities safe is expensive with E.ON recently stating that delays in finding a

could

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disposal site will cost the German nuclear industry $2.82bn ( 2.6bn).One of these days, maybe politicians will consult reality before they embark on their fantasy policies. But there again… (From Paul Homewood 24 March)

Some 50 Power Plants Applied for Decommissioning

The economic viability of some 53% or 39 of the power plants planned for

construction in Europe’s largest economy by 2025, has been called into question,

investors were nervous

because of lacking profitability for coal- and gas-fired power stations because of competing energy supplies from subsidised renewable power, and a tougher carbon emissions regime. Germany, which is due to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, could face supply bottlenecks in the next few years. (Vera Eckert, Reuters, 13 April 2015)

Over 50% of planned new build is now doubtful: every second planned power station faces being abandoned and investments are drying up since even latest type of gas fired power station are no longer profitable. 50 existing power stations could be closed this year. The Energiewende approached a critical turning point: Renewable energy is to become the mainstay of the German

German energy industry association BDEW said

energy mix. (EIKE 13 April)

Climate To be Saved by Germany (Am deutschen Wesen soll das Klima genesen) Critics are upset by the way top politicians, including Steinmeier and Merkel, are trying to persuade the public to support the German suicide attempt on their own industrial infrastructure, politely described as Energiewende. On her visit to Japan Merkel advised the Japanese to rapidly replace nuclear power by solar and wind. (Summarised from Fred F. Mueller, EIKE, 18 April. [The Japanese politely rejected the advice a few weeks later.]

Climate Tax Battles Begin

A serious battle has erupted over the ’Klima-abgabe‘ (climate tax), with Forum

Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft (FÖS) declaring that over 50 scientists are publically supporting Economics Minister Gabriel, urging him to implement the tax immediately and fully. Otherwise the 2020 objective of Germany to be a “Klimaschutz-Vorreiters” – an example to others – were endangered. In any case, this climate tax was no more than the absolute minimum for preventing Germany’s climate objectives from being endangered. However, trade unions and the energy industry remain critical. (Translated and abbreviated from press release 22 April) The German target is a 40% reduction of emissions by 2020; the climate tax is to contribute an additional fall of 22 million t of CO 2 . Carbon trading alone is considered inadequate. (See Der nationale Klimabeitrag – ökonomisch vernünftig und ökologisch notwendig, www.foes.de/pdf/2015-03-FOES-Hintergrundpapier-Klimabeitrag.pdf)

Elektromobilität Should be Subsidised

In order to assist the ’break through‘ to Elektromobilität environment minister

Hendricks has proposed subsidising electric business vehicles (Dienstwagen)) FOS

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agrees but demands that the money should be raised by increasing the cost of ‘climate damaging‘ vehicles This would cost the state nothing but smooth the path towards climate friendly mobility. (FoS press release 24 April)

PIK Having Second Thoughts? Among the CAGW fortresses around the world the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Berlin is the strongest and most outspoken in Europe. So it is news when they announce in a Press Release that natural variability has been underestimated and that we are currently facing a cooling period. (Friends of Science 2O April) Albert Jacobs <afjacobs@telus.net>

UK policy The Office for Budget Responsibility warned ‘Spending on public services is about to plunge at a rate more severe than anything we have yet seen’. (FT 26 March)

Expansion of State Power In a new report Central Planning with Market Features: how renewable subsidies destroyed the UK electricity market, published by the Centre for Policy Studies on 18 March, Rupert Darwall shows that recent energy policy represents the biggest

expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s – and is on course to be the most expensive domestic policy disaster in modern British history. Darwall shows that:

The electricity sector is being transformed into a vast, ramshackle Public Private Partnership, an outcome that promises the worst of both worlds – state control of investment funded by high cost private sector capital, with energy companies being set up as the fall guys to take the rap for higher electricity bills. Post-privatisation gains in productivity are now being reversed as a result of plunging labour productivity. By 2013, three quarters of the productivity gains recorded between 1994 and 2004 had been lost.

Competition between electricity suppliers is an expensive sideshow (which Ofgem estimated cost £730m in 2008) if it does not drive competition between generators and market investment in the most efficient generating technologies.

Government policies aim to hide the full costs of intermittent renewables, which as a result are systematically understated. In addition to their higher plant- level costs, renewables require massive amounts of extra generating capacity to provide cover for intermittent generation when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

Highly subsidised wind and solar capacity flooding the market with near random amounts of zero marginal cost electricity wrecks the economics of conventional power stations. It is therefore impossible to integrate large amounts of intermittent renewables into a private sector system and still expect it to function as such. As a result, the State has stepped in with a patchwork of interventions to support prices. Because revenues are dependent on continued government interventions,

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private investors end up having to price and manage political risk, imparting a further upwards twist to electricity bills. Without renewables, the UK market would require 22GW of new capacity to replace old coal and nuclear. With renewables, 50GW is required, i.e. 28GW more to deal with the intermittency problem. Then there are extra grid costs to connect both remote onshore wind farms (£8 billion) and even more costly offshore capacity (£15 billion) – a near trebling of grid costs. No British government has yet to produce an analysis demonstrating renewables are the most efficient way of cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Neither has any government published any value-for-money analysis to justify the use of high cost private sector capital against a public sector comparator using the State’s balance sheet. Including

capacity to cover for intermittency and extra grid infrastructure, the annualised capital cost of renewables is approximately £9 billion. Against this needs to be set the saved fuel costs of generating electricity from conventional power stations. For gas, this would be around £3 billion a year at current wholesale prices, implying an annual net cost of renewables of around £6 billion a year. (Energy Live News 19 March)

http://www.energylivenews.com/2015/03/19/e-on-withdraws-gas-power-plant-from-

grid/ NB: Wind turbines are currently supplying just 0.3% of UK electricity demand. Coal, gas and nuclear are contributing 84.2%, and the French are helping out with 6.1%. (Paul Homewood 5 April)

Decline of Coal?? One third of Britain’s electricity was provided by the coal-fired power sector over the

last six months, despite the loss of 5 GW of coal plants over the last two years. In the October 2014 to end of March 2015 period, coal provided 33 % of total power generation, compared to gas at 25% and nuclear at 18 %. Paul Verrill, director of energy data specialists EnAppSys, told Power Engineering International: “Coal-fired power stations continued to provide the bulk of power generation for the GB electricity market during winter 2014-15. The total power mix for the period is:

Coal:

12,768MW;

33 %

Gas:

9,577MW;

25 %

Nuclear:

6,926MW;

18 %

Wind:

4,459MW;

11 %

Interconnectors:

2,186MW;

6 %

Biomass:

1,810MW;

5 %

Hydro:

987MW;

3 %

Solar:

215MW;

1 %

Talk of closures is interesting. I recently asked DECC, under FOI, to provide a list of

power plants either due or expected to close by 2025. They have told me that they may claim exemption under “Commercial Interests”, though they are still considering. Note also the wonderful contribution made by solar! The actual figure is 0.55%! (Paul Homewood 30 April)

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The UK Offshore Wind Sector This growing development along British Coasts, with The Crown Estate as a major ‘actor’ - as the ‘manage of the UK seabed’ and source of much technical advice, should interest Energy policy people. Since 2015 the Energy Institute and the Crown Estate have supported the work of the G9 Offshore Health and Safety Association ‘to pull together and share their collection of offshore wind resources. (Energy World March)

THE SUN CLOUDING OVER OR THE WIND DROPPING UK renewable energy producers are facing a tougher time Government-set tariffs are becoming more sophisticated , producers are having to bid for the right to produce, with the lowest cost bidder winning, perhaps prices have fallen too low. Solar was not expected to bid below 120 per megawatt hour, but did. UK wholesale price for next winter is estimated at about £45 but even offshore wind traded at lower than expected. Given competition with conventional power, if replaced be renewables, means that in competition only the cheapest conventional source will survive…, as has happened in Germany where CO 2 emissions have increased because of higher coal use and despite a 25 % renewable capacity. (FT Lex 17 March)

UK Response to EU Energy Efficiency Directive – a Boon for Bureaucracy and Energy Professionals This Directive requires all member states to introduce a programme of regular energy audits for large organisations. The UK governments response is ESOS, the energy savings opportunity scheme, intend to meet the 20% reduction in primary energy demand by 2020 demanded by the EU. The UK considers a large organisation to have more than 1250 employees, or a specified turnover and balance sheet. Total energy demand will have to be reported by 5 December 2015 covering: buildings, industrial processes and transport and identify cost effective energy savings opportunities. And submit a formal notification to the Environment Agency confirming that they have met the requirement of ESOS in each compliance period, participants bear legal responsibility for compliance and penalties up to £50,000 can be imposed. A register of Professional Energy Consultants and Chartered Energy Managers is available from the Energy Institute which offers its help to companies ‘to make the most of the energy efficiency measures identified ‘. (Energy World March 2015)

Winter Gas Prices Likely to Rise Centrica announced that UK’s storage capacity for cut would reduce sharply for six months. Its only so-called long-range storage facility below the North Sea and representing 72% of existing UK storage capacity was affect5ed by ‘integrity’ problems, implying drop of 29% in capacity. The Rough gas field lies off the Yorkshire coast and has been used for storage since 1985. Gas is injected into the wells in summer for use in winter if needed. Gas flows from Continent and Norway could be increased if needed, but risk higher prices. The UK can store the equivalent for only 19 days compared to 97 days on continent. (FT 28 March)

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Closure of Power Stations Hard on the news that the Longannet coal fired power station will close next year, there is another blow to the UK’s energy security. E.ON have announced that they are withdrawing their 900MW gas power station from the UK grid. Energy Live News report: ‘E.ON has announced its Killingholme CCGT plant will no longer contribute to grid capacity. The gas power station on the banks of the Humber estuary has 900MW of Transmission Entry Capacity (TEC) which will now no longer be available

to National Grid. E.ON has also said the power station is at serious risk of permanent closure, subject to the outcome of an ongoing tender for National Grid’s Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR) service.’ E.ON UK Chief Executive, Tony Cocker, said:

reality, however, is that the market conditions for gas-fired power stations are

extremely difficult and without support from the SBR contract, permanent closure is a real and present risk to Killingholme. Over the last few years we have invested billions in the UK’s energy infrastructure but there is no doubt that the challenging operational environment continues to provide uncertainty and risk that must be addressed.” Killingholme, which was entered into the recent UK Capacity Market Auction but was unsuccessful, is a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine comprising two 450MW modules. Approximately 50 people in total are employed at the North Lincolnshire site. E.ON have not ruled out redundancy as a possibility if the SBR tender is unsuccessful. Gas power stations are finding it difficult to compete against subsidised renewables and cheap coal, and not only in the UK. Intermittent operation simply does not cover costs, without a guarantee of payment for back up capacity under the Capacity Market Mechanism. The dilemma is that as coal power stations and old nuclear are removed from the mix in the next 5 to 10 years, and as wind power capacity rapidly expands, the need for dozens of new gas fired power stations becomes ever more pressing. What chance is there of these being built when existing ones, with their capital costs already paid for, can’t afford to stay operational? As one commenter on the website puts it:

Heaven help us all! (Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That 27 March)

“…

The

Deindustrialisation? Three years ago, Britain’s last major aluminium smelter, Lynemouth, was closed. This followed the closure of the Anglesey plant in 2009. An industry, that used to boast of production figures of 300,000 tonnes a year, is now reduced to the tiny Lochaber plant, rated at 43000 tonnes. The reasons for these closures was well documented at the time, and the major one was high energy costs, largely due to UK climate policies The independent think tank, Civitas, published this report at the time: (The Demise Of The UK Aluminium Industry by Paul Homewood 20 April)

Confusion, Contradiction or Just Party Politics?

Low-carbon economy is at heart of Labour’s energy strategy: A greener, low- carbon economy based on a decarbonised energy sector, with major structural changes to energy, transport and other national infrastructure priorities dominate Labour’s 2015 manifesto

New offshore regulator to be funded by oil and gas firms: The new Oil and Gas Authority will be funded by the same companies it regulates through a system of fees and levies, DECC has confirmed. (ENDS weekly 16 April)

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UK Professional Energy Policy Debates 2015 2 June - UK North Sea: policy and strategies for economic recovery: The North Sea

oil and gas industry faces a challenging time. The decline in profitability of the sector has been exacerbated by the near-50% drop in oil price, making the sector a difficult operating environment. The establishment of the Oil and Gas Authority and the recent reform of the fiscal regime announced in the Budget are steps in the right direction but it is essential that the industry tackles costs and improves profitability in order to continue to attract investment. Policy makers and companies must work together to maintain operations and competitiveness and this debate will discuss challenges, policy and solutions needed for economic recovery of the North Sea.

13 October - The new government’s energy policy: The next government faces

critical energy and environment issues irrespective of the General Election outcome.

Businesses and investors will need to know what is going to happen to decarbonisation policies, how the next government plans to accelerate the transition to low-carbon economy, and what role the UK intends to play at the COP21 summit.

15 December - UN Climate Change Conference COP21: where next for energy

policy? Conventional energy resources continue to account for more than 80% of the world’s energy supply and they come with an environmental penalty that cannot be ignored. COP21 should be a decisive step in the negotiation of the future international post-2020 agreement, including both developed and developing countries. Held a few days after the COP21 meeting, the debate will discuss