Britain Sides With Eastern Europe On Non-Binding Renewables Target

wind tower-axBritain and Germany will line up on opposite sides of a European Union green energy debate starting next month on how to meet agreed renewable fuel targets for the next decade. The 28 member states agreed climate and energy goals last October, but to make it easier to get a deal, the decision went only as far as a framework. So far, the 2030 renewable goal is binding only at EU-wide level and the challenge is to ensure it is met as the bloc as a whole cannot be fined for infringement. Germany, which is pushing through its Energiewende, or shift from nuclear to green energy, wants binding laws. In the opposite camp, Britain aligned with the Czech Republic in a joint paper urging a “light-touch and non-legislative” approach. –Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 19 August 2015

It is to be hoped that with the Lib Dems gone, this decisive move on fracking will be followed by a more rational energy policy overall. As things stand, Britain remains committed to unilateral carbon reduction targets, which were arrived at without any thought for the cost to the economy. In the end, these cuts to carbon emissions achieve nothing but to shift emissions from British industries to ones based abroad. Faced with the prospect of losing much of our manufacturing industry to Asia, where energy taxes are lower, George Osborne has allowed some compensation to energy-intensive industry but the government has failed to tackle the underlying problem: the Climate Change Act. If Amber Rudd is minded to address this issue, as well as the fracking problem, she should go on to become one of this government’s high-achievers. It is right that the government should have a clean energy policy. But it will ultimately achieve nothing if it isn’t also an affordable energy policy. –Editorial, The Spectator 22 August 2015

It is becoming a trend in the journal Science – that of publishing articles stating that there is no ‘hiatus’ in annual average global surface temperature. The latest such article is written by Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Behind the article is an obvious question unaddressed by it. The post-late 90s “hiatus” is due to natural climatic variability, it says. It seems that this hitherto “underappreciated” effect has kept global annual average surface temperatures below what they would have been if the planetary warming of the 90s had continued. But what if that warming was the natural climatic variability, which presumably can cause temperatures to increase as well as decrease. Didn’t somebody raise that very point in the Climategate emails? –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 14 August 2015

West Virginia-based Patriot Coal Corp., which is in bankruptcy, plans to sell environmentalists their coal mines, according to an announcement by Patriot on Monday morning. Clarke, one of the region’s best-known environmentalists, plans to help save an overheating planet by selling electric utilities coal that’s been bundled with carbon credits, which would be an industry first, he said. He’s going to mine coal, the usual fuel for electricity generation, and bundle each shipment with an exclusive feature: a prepaid vehicle to sequester the carbon dioxide that burning coal for electricity emits. Trees, which he intends to plant by the thousands, are that vehicle. —The Roanoke News, 17 August 2015

Billionaire investor George Soros, who has demonized fossil fuels for years through his think tanks and political contributions, seems to have warmed up to Big Coal now that stocks are dirt cheap. The left-wing hedge fund legend has raised eyebrows with major purchases of stock in two large coal companies, firms his critics say he helped bring to their knees. While buying low is the hallmark of any shrewd investor, buying coal goes against the political and environmental ideology Soros has long espoused. Soros, whose Climate Policy Initiative think tank recently urged the world to stop using fossil fuels in general and coal in particular, snapped up 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and half a million shares of Arch Coal, giving him significant stakes in what’s left of the U.S. coal industry. The trades would have cost Soros a lot more six years ago, when Peabody, which trades under the symbol BTU, was at about $90 a share. Under the Obama administration, which has punished the coal industry with costly mandates and regulation, Peabody shares have fallen to around $1. –Malia Zimmerman, Fox News, 19 August 2015