Higher gas prices are rationing consumption by electricity generators, especially owners of combined-cycle plants that operate as baseload and consume large volumes of fuel. Power producers paid an average price of $3.36 per million British thermal units for gas in March 2017 up from just $2.23 in March 2016. Coal costs have actually fallen to just $2.08 per million British thermal units compared with an average of $2.18 in the same month last year. The shift in relative prices has spurred a modest shift in power generation away from natural gas and back towards coal. Coal-fired power plants saw a sharp increase in capacity utilisation, running at an average of 45 percent of their full capacity, up from just 36 percent in the same month last year. —Reuters, 5 June 2017
Two days after the decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the conservative wing of the ruling Christian Democratic Party (CDU) is demanding a radical change in Germany’s climate policy. A statement submitted to the ARD Capital Studio, the “Berliner Kreis (Berlin Circle)”, which includes numerous federal and communal politicians of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), calls for an end to “moral blackmail” by climate research and a “farewell to unilateral German CO2 targets.” –Arnd Henze, Die Tagesschau, 3 June 2017
Just four months after President Trump gave the Dakota Access pipeline the green light, oil is flowing through the controversial piece of oil infrastructure. The Dakota Access is an important piece of pipeline infrastructure that will help alleviate bottlenecks in America’s oil supply chain. The U.S. has the world’s largest network of pipelines, but much of our new oil production (courtesy of the shale boom) is underserved by existing pipes. Dakota Access will help producers get their product to market in a safer, cheaper manner. —The American Interest, 4 June 2017
In the early 1990s, my friend Owen Harries made a startling observation: that the collapse of Soviet Communism would mean the “collapse of the West”. The West, he explained in Foreign Affairs, has been and would remain a culture defined by representative democracy, the rule of law, the market economy and so on. But a common civilisation is one thing; political unity is another. It has taken a quarter century, but Harries’ prediction has come true. This time the West really is divided, probably irrevocably. This is not just because of Donald Trump’s boorish behaviour. It is also because of broad historical forces, as Harries set out in his landmark essay. –Tom Switzer, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 2017
By withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement President Trump has put the burden of proof on those private investors and nation states that believe renewable energy is economically beneficial. Far from being a disaster, this is a step towards a reasonable and spontaneously attractive climate change policy. –John Constable, GWPF Energy, 4 June 2017
When you tell people once too often that the missing extra heat is hiding in the ocean, they will switch over to watch Game of Thrones, where the dialogue is less ridiculous and all the threats come true. The proponents of man-made climate catastrophe asked us for so many leaps of faith that they were bound to run out of credibility in the end. Now that they finally seem to be doing so, it could be a good time for those of us who have never been convinced by all those urgent warnings to start warning each other that we might be making a comparably senseless tactical error if we expect the elastic cause of the catastrophists, and all of its exponents, to go away in a hurry. –Clive James, The Australian, 4 June 2017
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