Archive | Climate Change, Carbon Taxes and ENGOs

Report Debunking Trump’s Coal Plan Is Under Review, Administration Says – by Jennifer A. Dlouhy (Bloomberg News – October 15, 2018)

The Trump administration is pushing back against assertions it buried a study that undermines its efforts to prop up coal and nuclear power plants.

The analysis, which was initially ordered up by the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy last fall and completed earlier this year, is still moving through an internal review process, spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said.

“It is premature and irresponsible to criticize and jump to politically motivated conclusions about a report that has not yet been finalized or released,” Hynes said by email. The study disputes a key Trump administration argument for preventing the closures of more coal and nuclear power plants: that those facilities are critical in ensuring the nation’s electric grid is resilient because they store their fuel on site. Continue Reading →

The UN climate-change panel that cried wolf too often – by Rex Murphy (National Post – October 13, 2018)

You can’t set multiple deadlines for Doomsday. It’s a kind of one-off by nature. Do it too often and people cease to take notice or even care

Everybody loves the Apocalypse. The idea of the end of the world, the more imminent the better, has always had enthusiastic popular support.

For as long as we’ve enjoyed life on this delightful Earth there has been a morose and righteous sect of one sort or another telling us the lease was nearly up, the doomsday bailiff coming any minute now to shut things down forever. And whether from the abrasive thrill of the message, or the melodrama of the scenario, people have lapped it up.

Indeed there is a whole category of philosophy devoted to that time when the world in flame and fire renders itself into ash, when time stands still, life evaporates into eternity and all is dead and cold. It is impressively called eschatology — the study of The Four Last Things. Continue Reading →

Even if carbon taxes are implemented, are electric cars really the best way to go? – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – October 15, 2018)

A transportation revolution is in the making and bets worth hundreds of billions of dollars are being placed. Who might the winner be? Will it be the Tesla-style electric car, the Toyota-style hybrid or the hydrogen car?

Will personal transportation of the Uber ilk, possibly in self-driving form, replace public transportation as we know it? Might the gasoline engine surprise us all and endure for another 20 years, or even a century?

It’s impossible to know, but we do know the game changed more than a little this week when the United Nations published a frightening report that said the planet is warming at a far faster rate than the climate-change scientists had suspected. Continue Reading →

Glencore Emerging A Big Winner From Coal Consolidation – Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – October 12, 2018)

Tim Treadgold has been writing about the mining and oil industries for more than 40 years.

The inconvenient truth of coal prices which refuse to fall as demanded by environmental activists and some investors and governments is proving to be a rather convenient fact for one of the world’s biggest mining and commodity trading companies, Glencore.

While other big miners have been selling coal assets Glencore has been buying and if recent indications are correct it now controls enough of the seaborne coal market to have a noticeable effect on price.

An example cited in a research report published this week was how Glencore was able to delay settlement in annual coal-price negotiations with Japanese buyers in order to win a higher price. Continue Reading →

How clean energy demand could fuel conflict in Congo – by Irina Ivanova (CBS News – October 9, 2018)

If there were ever a time to mass-produce solar energy, it’s right now, according to the U.N. To stave off the most catastrophic effects of global warming, the world needs to rapidly shift away from fossil fuels and into large-scale solar, wind and energy storage, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said this week.

But if the clean-energy boom isn’t managed carefully, it could fuel mineral conflicts in developing countries. That’s according to a recent report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, which urges governments and corporations to source minerals responsibly to avoid “grievances, tensions and conflict.”

Solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars and batteries are all high-tech devices, and like other technology, they rely on tiny amounts of rare minerals to work. Continue Reading →

Climate politics heating up after the UN releases bombshell report on global warming – by Alex Ballingall (Toronto Star – October 10, 2018)

OTTAWA—The politics of climate change just got hotter. On Sunday night, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dropped a bombshell report.

If humanity is to avoid the catastrophic extremes of global warming — widespread extinctions and species loss; an Arctic without sea ice; the disappearance of coral reefs; mass displacement from rising oceans and extreme weather — then governments around the world need to ramp up their efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, the report concludes.

Citing evidence from more than 6,000 scientific references, the report’s 91 authors outline the path to limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100 — the target set under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Global greenhouse gases will need to fall by about 45 per cent below 2010 levels within the next 12 years, and then reach “net zero” by 2050, the report says. Continue Reading →

War on coal is heating up, but China is still the key – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – October 9, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – Coal-fired power has to end by 2050 to save the planet. That seemingly simple but bold sentiment is likely to set much of the political, social and economic agenda for the coming decades, but in the end it will come down to what China does.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report on Monday that “unprecedented” changes will have to take place to limit the rise in the Earth’s temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), warning of devastating weather events and species loss if the target is exceeded.

In order to achieve the goal, the IPCC said coal burning would have to drop to between zero and 2 percent by 2050, while even natural gas, coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS), would have to decline to 8 percent of electricity generation by the middle of this century. Continue Reading →

Trudeau stands alone as Canada — and the world — abandons green energy – by Lawrence Solomon (Financial Post – September 28, 2018)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s repeal of the Green Energy Act and balks by premiers of other Canadian provinces at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate agenda aren’t rearguard moves by Donald Trump wannabes. They are part of a worldwide trend rejecting renewables, rejecting climate change alarmism, and embracing coal and other fossil fuels.

Renewables and the high electricity rates they ushered in drove individuals into energy poverty and led industry to flee, putting the lie to the claim that wind and solar are the fuels of the future. Wind and solar, rather, have become the fossils of the energy industry; oil, gas and coal remain the fuels of the future.

China was once the poster boy of the renewable energy industry — just a few months ago Bloomberg stated, “China’s investment in renewables is leaving the rest of the world in its wake” thanks to its subsidy-driven growth. Continue Reading →

Globe editorial: The problem isn’t the pipeline, it’s the way it was approved (Globe and Mail – August 31, 2018)

The Federal Court of Appeal decision quashing cabinet’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a huge political setback for the Trudeau government. That it comes on the heels of the government’s reckless decision to buy the existing pipeline for $4.5-billion only complicates matters.

But it would be a mistake to conclude that Ottawa cannot salvage this snake-bitten project. With the proper response, Canada could end up with both a much-needed pipeline expansion and a clearer set of rules for approving projects of this kind.

At the moment, that probably looks like a long shot. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spent a lot of political capital on Trans Mountain and has little to show for it. Continue Reading →

Trudeau said he’d solve pipeline stalemate problem. It’s become a political disaster – by John Ivison (National Post – August 31, 2018)

The decision slaps a large sign on Canada’s resource industry that reads: Closed for Business

The Federal Court of Appeal has spoken clearly for the southern resident killer whales of the Salish Sea, for the First Nations that live along the Pacific Coast and for the environmental activists who run the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby.

The court’s decision to quash the federal cabinet’s construction permits for the Trans Mountain pipeline will be hailed by professional objectors everywhere.

Justice Eleanor Dawson, who wrote the decision, and her colleagues, justices Yves de Montigny and Judith Woods, can take comfort from the fact that their jurisdiction did not extend to considering the thousands of jobs across the country that have been imperilled by the decision — not to mention the deleterious impact it will have on national unity. Continue Reading →

The pessimists have it right, assassins are gunning for Trans Mountain – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – August 31, 2018)

With every court challenge, political stunt, blockade and act of sabotage, the odds have been stacked ever higher against the pipeline happening

After narrowly missing an assassination of Margaret Thatcher by bombing her hotel room in Brighton in 1984, the IRA reminded everyone the odds were still on its side. “Remember we only have to be lucky once,” the terrorists warned the then British prime minister. “You will have to be lucky always.”

That in a nutshell has long been the strategy of those fighting against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. With every court challenge, political stunt, blockade and act of sabotage, the odds have been stacked ever higher against the pipeline happening. Its builders and their political backers might win a few rounds.

But eventually something would stop them. Maybe Thursday’s federal appeals court decision overturning the National Energy Board’s approval of Trans Mountain is that something. Maybe not. But the project will face many more assassination attempts. And it will have to be lucky enough to survive every one. Continue Reading →

Carbon taxes fail to satisfy the smell test for voters. What went wrong? – by Jack Mintz (Financial Post – August 8, 2018)

Why are carbon taxes so unpopular? According to the latest World Bank report on carbon pricing, 23 countries have carbon taxes (another dozen jurisdictions have only emission trading systems like the one recently dropped by Ontario).

At least two jurisdictions— Australia and Washington State – have disbanded carbon tax proposals in recent years. Another carbon tax will see its death if Alberta’s Conservative party leader, Jason Kenney, has his way in 2019.

In contrast, 176 countries have targets for renewable energy and/or energy efficiency and 110 jurisdictions have feed-in tariffs. With relatively so few countries using carbon taxes, a new paper published in WIREs Climate Change asks why this is the case — a question to which Canadian politicians should also pay attention this coming election year. Continue Reading →

Ford’s Ontario is only ‘closed for business’ to businesses hosing Ontario – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – August 3, 2018)

They used to say that when you find yourself in a hole you should stop digging, but there’s a new law of holes being written just for Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Elected recently to pull his province out of the fiscal crater it’s in after 15 years of Liberal rule, Ford is now being scolded for easing up on the spadework.

Ford is accused of sending a message that Ontario is “closed for business” because he’s cancelling government renewable-energy contracts and carbon-permit programs that businesses had invested in. But the alternative is not cancelling them, which would mean sinking Ontario further into the muck of the last government’s punishingly expensive climate-control agenda.

And if tearing up contracts for new wind farms and cancelling carbon permits leaves businesses nervous about making deals with government, so be it. Let them focus instead on building actual wealth in the private sector. Continue Reading →

Ottawa looks to soften carbon tax impact as battle with Ontario looms – by Alex Ballingall (Toronto Star – August 2, 2018)

OTTAWA—The Trudeau government is scaling back its carbon tax plan over concerns about competitiveness, a move being hailed by Ontario’s environment minister as a welcome “climb-down” and decried by environmentalists as putting short-term economic interests ahead of the health of the planet.

Under the new plan, which Environment and Climate Change Canada quietly published online last Friday, Ottawa will deliver higher rebates to heavy emitters as part of a strategy to keep them competitive and to discourage them from relocating to places where regulations are less expensive.

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Ottawa will tax companies $20 for every tonne of greenhouse gas they emit, a levy that will ramp up to $50 per tonne in 2022. Continue Reading →

Ottawa to dramatically scale back carbon tax on competitiveness concerns – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – August 1, 2018)

The federal government will drastically reduce the scope of its planned carbon tax to address competitiveness concerns as it prepares to replace Ontario’s cap-and-trade system with its own levy.

After a closed-door meeting with industry officials last week, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued new guidelines that lower the percentage of emissions on which large polluters will have to pay the carbon tax and offer bigger breaks for energy-intensive companies that face tough international competition. The guidelines will be imposed on every province that doesn’t meet the federal standard for carbon pricing.

Companies will try to pass along any costs of the carbon tax to consumers, but industry leaders say they may have to absorb it in competitive markets. The reduced tax means businesses will have fewer costs to pass along, face less competitive pressure and likely produce higher emissions. Continue Reading →