The meeting of EU leaders in Bratislava (Slovakia) on Friday ended without any agreement on how to proceed with the Paris climate deal. Despite claims by French President Francois Hollande that “all members of the EU are ready to ratify [the Paris deal] as fast as possible,” the Bratislava declaration of the 27 EU leaders ignored to mention the controversial issue altogether. The EU’s inability to agree a joint statement on how to deal with the Paris agreement does not come as a surprise. Poland has made ratification conditional on EU assurances on investments in new coal-fired power plants. The Polish government repeated its position on Friday, saying that it was ready to support ratification at the EU level if it wins unanimous support for its conditions from the bloc’s environment ministers. In other words, as soon as possible sounds like the usual diplomatic lingo for not very soon. —Global Warming Policy Forum, 17 September 2016
The UK government has, after some delays, given approval to Hinkley C nuclear power station. However, and in spite of subsidies intended to offset risks arising from renewables policy, it is still not clear that the project can actually make money. Scandalous though the subsidy for Hinkley genuinely is, the truth is that it may not be remotely sufficient to make this power station viable in the policy-distorted market that is already a reality and is set to get worse. –John Constable, Global Warming Policy Forum, 19 September 2016
China is struggling to pay billions of yuan in subsidies to renewable power generators following a rapid expansion of capacity, a planning agency official said this week. Zhi Yuqiang, deputy director responsible for price regulation at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said developers face a possible shortfall of 60 billion yuan ($9 billion) in subsidy payments this year owed to them by the government. “Construction costs have definitely fallen because of the fall in module prices, but who can afford to build if you never get the subsidy payments?” said Maggie Ma, chief financial officer of Renesola, a solar manufacturer and project developer. –Kathy Chen, Reuters, 14 September 2016
Five years after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the urgency to go green in Japan has faded. The drive toward ambitious targets for the use of renewable fuels has been slowed by resistance from utilities and concerns about the costs of renewable-energy projects at a time of cheap fossil-fuel imports, as well as the projects’ safety and environmental impact. Before the Fukushima accident, resource-poor Japan depended on nuclear plants for about 30% of its power. Now, with nearly all of the 50-odd nuclear plants in the country still shut down in the wake of the accident, the country gets 1% of its energy from nuclear power. Cheap coal and natural gas, nearly all imported, have filled the void, together comprising more than 75% of Japan’s energy needs in the year ended in March, compared with 54% before the accident. –Mayumi Negish, The Wall Street Journal, 14 September 2016
The ability to make accurate predictions is a hallmark of good science. Conversely, making false predictions implies either that a statement is not based on science, or that it is based on bad science. So why is it that we continue to believe environmental doom-mongers, even though history has proven them wrong time and time again? Oh, wait. It turns out we don’t believe them. Almost 10-million voters in a huge United Nations poll have ranked climate action dead last out of 16 concerns. Those are the fruits of constant, shrill, exaggerated alarmism. Get proven wrong by history often enough, and four out of five ordinary people will stop believing you. –Ivo Vegter, Daily Maverick, 19 September 201
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