A Warning To The Pope: Rising Green Energy Taxes To Hit Poorest Hardest

cartoon gas billRising green levies on energy bills risk causing a public backlash that will undermine efforts to tackle climate change, a leading left-wing think tank has warned. Subsidies to fund green electricity projects such as wind and solar farms are paid for through levies on consumer energy bills. Joss Garman, associate director of the IPPR think tank, said: “The government’s plan to hike up green levies on energy bills risks causing a public backlash against action to address climate change, especially because they hit the poorest households hardest.” –Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 17 June 2015

Government policies intended to reduce carbon dioxide are directly harming the poor in both the developing and developed world, according to a report released by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). Energy sources that are not based on fossil fuels are making both power and food more expensive, the report argues. While the affluent remain relatively unaffected, the poor are bearing the brunt of rising prices. The report, entitled Climate Policy and the Poor, was the written by Professor Anthony Kelly, who died on Tuesday. Kelly, who was widely regarded as the father of composite materials in the UK, points to two major ways government policy is harming the poor in the UK and overseas. –Guy Bentley, City A.M. 6 June 2014

On the eve of a forthcoming encyclical by Pope Francis on the environment and climate change, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that U.S. Catholics’ views on global warming are broadly reflective of American public opinion writ large. About seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics (71%) believe the planet is getting warmer. Nearly half of Catholic adults (47%) attribute global warming to human causes, and a similar share (48%) view it as a very serious problem. However, analysis of the survey findings shows that political party identification and race/ethnicity are much better predictors of environmental attitudes than are religious identity or observance. —Pew Research Center, 16 June 2015

Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change should not be treated as official Catholic doctrine binding on all Catholics, but rather a personal position of the Pope, according to Father James Grant, Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. “Many will see the Pope’s encyclical as the official position of the Church on the area of climate change. This is simply not the case,” says Father James. “In Catholic doctrine, it is completely acceptable for Catholics to disagree with the opinions of the Pope in an encyclical. So while the encyclical will hold significant weight in the Catholic community, there is nothing new in the debate regarding encyclicals. Catholics can feel safe in being sceptical about the Pope’s opinions,” says Father James. —Institute of Public Affairs, 16 June 2015

Europe’s car manufacturers and European Union officials are locked on opposing sides as the carmakers would gladly see lax emissions rules as opposed to the governments which want greenhouse emission to go down as fast as possible. The automakers believe even tighter CO2 rules would definitely impact their global competitiveness. –Aurel Niculescu, Inauto News, 16 June 2015

Fracking offers Scotland the chance of a secure energy supply no more harmful to the environment than conventional gas production, according to a new study. The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s advice paper on “options for Scotland’s gas future” finds that “onshore production of unconventional gas” — or fracking — could offer the country security of supply without “significant risk” to health, wellbeing or safety. “The areas of health, wellbeing and safety surrounding an onshore industry do not appear to present significant risks. Domestic production onshore could improve energy security, create jobs and ensure Scotland takes responsibility for its energy consumption.” –Mike Wade, The Times,17 June 2015

Seventeen years ago ‚ÄìJune 11, 1998 ‚ÄìMitchell Energy performed the first modern frack job on a natural-gas well in Texas and unleashed the U.S. energy boom. Whether hydraulic fracturing is a force for good or evil remains one of the most divisive questions in America today. Prof Michael E. Porter says the energy boom is “perhaps the single largest opportunity to improve the trajectory of the U.S. economy.” But, he warns, Americans could fritter away this competitive advantage if they are not careful. This potential advantage could be lost because public support for fracking is weakening. “Further development is increasingly threatened,” the report warns. –Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, 11 June 2015

The latest round of UN climate talks have made slow progress on refining a negotiating text for the Paris summit in December, the focal point for efforts to agree curbs on greenhouse gas emissions in developed and developing countries. Despite two weeks of talks at an interim meeting in the German city of Bonn, most of the contradictory proposals that littered the previous 90-page document remain. Familiar disputes blocked progress at the mainly technical meeting in Bonn, which was being held around 500km away from this week’s G7 summit in Bavaria. But in Bonn rich nations failed to give greater clarity on how rich economies will deploy US$100 billion of climate finance a year from 2020. —John McGarrity, India Climate Dialogue, 17 June 2015