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US usurps EU's role of climate fool

In the Wall Street Journal, Benny Peiser explains (£) that the outcome of Paris appears to be that the EU has allowed itself leeway to move in a more rational direction on climate energy policy, while the USA is going in precisely the opposite direction.

The toothless nature of the Paris agreement finally allows EU member states to abandon unilateral decarbonization policies that have damaged Europe’s economies and its international competitiveness. Under such circumstances, the unconditional climate policies of President Obama would be left out in the cold. The U.S. administration has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 26%-28% by 2025, no matter what China, India and the rest of the world do in coming decades.


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Reader Comments (98)

Not surprising really since the Rulers of the EU in Germany are now building coal-fired generators to replace their nuclear plants!

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

The rest of Europe and certainly Poland may take a more relaxed view and start considering the impact on the economy of their CO2 policies. Not so here in UK with our Government, Parliament and opposition. No chance they will disband the Climate Change Act. It will be the USA and UK as the laughingstock of the rest of the World. These two countries have also provided the majority of CAGW "scientists" and there is no end to their endeavors. Only a US government headed by a skeptic President with Congress majorities will have the power to stop EPA and remove funding from universities and scientists producing "imaginary" but skewed climate output. Once the funding is re-directed towards actual science it will be amazing what will surface in the journals hailing natural climate change and predicting how natural forces will form the future of the Earth. Not that it will necessarily be better science, but at least we will not then be forced back to a stone age existence and concede all power to China.

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

Not the USA. Obama and the Insane Left. Obama is the First African Dictator President, and under him the US is being run as a third-world pretend-state. Come to think of it, I'm surprised he is not routinely drawn in cartoons in a Napoleon outfit, demanding his way or the highway. Only that would capture his real insanity.

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

Not necessarily in the UK. We could simply phase out coal and dash for gas. That would cut CO2 by 45 %. This has always been an option but Miliband must have thought that was too easy.

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

International competitiveness , now that is a loaded term in a world dominated by mercantile actors.

The future fate of the US looks very much like what is happening to Australia currently.
That is new LNG facilities drive up the cost of domestic gas.
Electricity prices rise.
Domestic economic activity declines so therefore no need for extra coal capacity and therefore Australian co2 emission decreases.
However co2 emission increases both at sea during transit and at the LNG destination consumer.
The latest nat gas consumption decreases in Australia is extraordinary.
A September 40.5 % decrease in consumption relative to last year.
Its the hot news in the OECD energy sphere.

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

I agree with JP. The obvious thing in the UK would be for the Government to repeal the Climate Change Act 2008, or as a minimum, the SoS could change the targets therein. But it won't happen with the current set of idiots in the House of Commons. Alternatively, the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/E should be ignored or we get out of the EU. But it won't happen with the current set of idiots in the House of Commons. In other words, we are all doomed to become citizens of a third world country with an unaffordable and unreliable electricity supply and no industry.

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

[snip O/T]

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Harry D-H:

I'm surprised he is not routinely drawn in cartoons in a Napoleon outfit, demanding his way or the highway
That being the case, the highway that comes to mind is the one Napoleon found when leaving Moscow.

Dec 22, 2015 at 10:57 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

JP and PB: I'm not so pessimistic. Osborne is quite anti green levies and even Cameron has recently shown signs that reality is creeping in. Fingers crossed.

Dec 22, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

I'm pretty sure the Paris charade means nothing whatsoever beyond that Hollande wanted to divert attention from his devastation of the French economy and a bunch of freeloaders got a nice trip to Paris. Pledges of money to the developing world will not be honoured as per usual and a promise to limit a temperature rise of 2 degrees that only exists in a computer model will eventually be met by adjusting the computer model. India, Russia, China and the US will continue business as usual. The only question is how much damage to the worldwide economy can these British and European faux-green Marxists cause before being turfed out.

Dec 22, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

If you really hate your own country with a deep and abiding passion, then taking the lead in that sort of craziness is well worth a shot.

Dec 22, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Perhaps in 80 years time Europeans will be climbing on to unsafe boats in a desperate bid to get to Africa for a warmer, better life, to avoid the cold and famine in Europe.

Dec 22, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Ivor Ward 11:38, that is assuming the African States would be stupid enough to welcome a bunch of idiotic Europeans who had destroyed the world economy, based on unsubstantiated quasi-religious beliefs.

Dec 22, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Regarding the Climate Change Act (an insuperably stupid title, but appropriately so), people seem to have fallen into the delusion of imagining that a law, once made, is immutable. If that were so, we'd still have the death sentence for shop-lifting. Gordon Brown solemnly imposed "by law" economic dictats, which, supposedly, all British governments were to follow to the crack of doom. Constitutionally, no British Parliament may create a law that binds its successor. (I'm not going to bet my house on the idea that anyone had the wit to write that bit into the rules for Holyrood.)

On the face of things, the government could repeal the CCA. Apart from the fact that it lacks, in any case, the will, however, it would, as other commenters have noted already, struggle to get a repeal (if that's the right noun) through Parliament and especially through the liblab-packed Lords, never mind the Commons.

More to the point, I suspect, is that the CCA is the inscribing into stone of a bit of arrogant fatuity by one A.L.Blair, during a bowsy, droosy night in Brussels, when he signed away the whole of Britain's effective energy generation capacity.

Any Act passed in Westminster can be repealed - unless it comes attached to a promise made to the eurocracy.

Dec 22, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

No need to scrap the CCA , just amend the target to something nearer to sanity, as the wording of the Act allows it.
Zero springs to mind but that's a bit unlikely.

Quote: 'the Climate Change Act allows for a carbon budget level to be amended if it appears to Government that there have been significant changes affecting the basis on which the previous decision was made.'

See this paragraph: '7. The Climate Change Act is structured to provide a degree of flexibility' etc.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldbrew

"Quote: 'the Climate Change Act allows for a carbon budget level to be amended if it appears to Government that there have been significant changes affecting the basis on which the previous decision was made.'"

Does that fact that it was all based upon scientific bollocks, count?

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Alan the Brit,

Does that fact that it was all based upon scientific bollocks, count?

That is not a significant change. It has been obviously bollocks since the Tropical Hotspot didn't turn up.

But Paris agreeing that China and India can do what they want is a significant change. That could be used to remove the pointless restrictions ion our economy.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

The best scenario for part reprisal of the UK's CC Act nonsense comes via a 'leave' vote in the EU referendum. It would simultaneously depose both Cameron and Osborne and allow a completely new PM to step in, relatively untainted by the policies of their previous bosses. (I was just following orders, Guv' etc)

The new PM could then take whatever new position was required. Two birds with one stone, eh? Sounds good.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Obama has always been a useless virtue-signaller.
Thank goodness he will not be POTUS for much longer!

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

The best way to amend the UK Climate Change Act may be to keep the percentage cuts (they were sort of based on "fair share", i.e. have some sort of justification), but to change the 2050 date, which was plucked out of thin air with no scientific basis. No doubt there would be Green Mayhem if the target date was changed to 2070, but the climate would not notice the difference.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky


Replace scientific bollocks with theoretical science extrapolated without adequate verification standards and you now have a law that by definition should be amended.

A wet finger in the air was what it was based on. And even that is a stretch.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

The CCA is being gently nibbled away at, and so far only the BBC and Guardian have squawked in protest. The UK electorate has not really squawked at all, which is really annoying the BBC and Guardian.

Any attempt to euthanase the CCA would cause political splits that Cameron does not need as a destraction in the run up to an EU referendum. Without the EU, where are failed UK politicians (of all parties) going to find a combined salary and expenses package, easily in excess of £200,000 pa, for doing almost nothing, but agree with fellow Eurocrats? Plus the fringe benefits for lobbying and backhanders can be worth a little bit more.

In tennis, the lobbed backhand, with spin is a useful defensive shot. In politics, the Lobbied Backhander, with self-interested spin, is a highly offensive gesture, that normally goes unnoticed.

Dec 22, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

UK energy trends publication out today. (Covering Q3)
It makes interesting reading.
Both UK oil and gas production up substantially.

The April fools carbon price floor has appeared to have done further significant damage to both UK coal production (now closing shop) and consumption.
Geopolitical goals also perhaps significant with Russia no longer the top supplier of remaining imported coal.

What stands out amongst all the clutter is finance capital historic goal, to increase costs at all costs .
To choose capital intensive extraction and distribution above local and perhaps more labour intensive activity.
God knows - Oz LNG ships may travel as far as the UK soon.
Boil off / real waste concerns is not a problem for a capitalist.
Once he can maintain concentration then nothing else matters.

Dec 22, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

'The U.S. administration has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 26%-28% by 2025'

The administration will be gone in January, 2017. Pledges for 2025 are silly.

Dec 22, 2015 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Anglo-Saxons always have problems realising that things emanating from the EU are really just there as advice. You're not actually supposed to believe that they have to be obeyed when it is personally inconvenient, especially if your name is Germany or France. Before the common currency, even the big countries ignored the convergence criteria when it suited, knowing they could easily dodge the bullet. Setting that example is why they ended up with Greece, and more to come.

The reason why the US played hardball about converting the "shall" word to a "should" word in Paris, is that they take their lawyers more seriously.

Dec 22, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I'm pretty sure POTUS and his crew are well disposed to the BBC / Guardian's operations in the USofA - who augment and seek to lead the US domestic climate + sustainability nuttery by framing the debate where they can.

It seems the nature of those who espouse "progressive" politics/ideology that they do the "choir in the echo chamber" thing more than other political groups...

There is a tradition of Brit meddling in US domestic politics - FDR's final campaign being an outstanding example - no doubt from what I've seen of BBC US coverage that they see themselves as the heirs to Sir William Stephenson and BSC and the thwarted warmista alarmists from Brussels have just bunged the BeeB another £20 million for influence peddling favours.....

Dec 22, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Registered Commentertomo

I think the Dork is on to the right line.

We currently generate 36 % of our electricity form coal, 27 % from gas. Emissions of CO2 from coal generation are 906 tons CO2/GWh (what's not to like) and 390 tons CO2/GWh from gas generation.. Convert that coal share to gas and you cut generation emissions by 46 %. You don't need to change the Climate Act.

And Amber Rudd succeeds in her targets to
(a) secure the energy supply,
(b) cut costs, and
(c) lower emissions.
The green idiots won't like it, but the rest of us will. And it avoids a head-on political clash, unless, of course, the BBC and Guardian's stance gains any sort of leverage on Jo Public.

Dec 22, 2015 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

You still have home heating (already 80% gas) and transport emissions to deal with. And did you miss the "domestic economic activity declines" to cause the reduction. A recent paper said the reduction in emissions in the US was more due to industrial decline rather than shale gas. He was likely wrong on his numbers as anti-shale warmists usually are but the potential problem is acute. already routinely counts the UK emissions reduction from industrial decline as 'efficiency'.

Dec 22, 2015 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

You appear to agree with me for the wrong reasons.
I do not believe the UK has what is seen as classic national goals.
Its objectives orbit the needs of finance capital.
I.e. to maintain scarcity via the increase of capex and general distribution costs using the propaganda of climate change as the vehicle of choice.
I follow Bellocs definition of capitalism - its reason for being is concentration and not rational production / consumption.

Anyhow nat gas consumption is the UK electricity sector is down another 11% ~in Q3.
Balanced by increased flaring and on site consumption in the energy sector.

We have been left with all the costs of industrialization and none of its benefits.
We would have far better lifestyles as direct coal (fireplace) peasant hobbits drinking cheap ale all day.
The scouring has run its course and yet the wizards will not stop.

Dec 22, 2015 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

The global warming debate seems to centre on the generation of electricity which is only ~ 10% of global energy use. The upshot is that there will be a large shift from coal generation to oil and gas at huge benefit to the oil industry.

"Obama leaves coal with nowhere to go

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is remarkable, and not just because it gives the United States some global credibility on climate change. The real brilliance is that the proposal — which would cut carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels over the next 10 years — backs the opposition into a corner with no credibility.

Dec 22, 2015 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Sorry to appear a bit jumped up but I have a partially geographic understanding of the distribution system that some may lack.
I like to compare ancient roads to more modern post 1600~ examples.
This can tell you a hell of a lot.
Nick Crane covered some of this ground indirectly via his BBC mapping series.

When usury first became firmly established in the south of Ireland the new roads constructed had basically one overriding objective , to get the stuff out and not to link communities .
The stuff back then was food and this was at that time a major energy product for both manual and horse labour.
But the energy lost in transmission was great.
No longer could Paddy Sven and Norman trade directly as he had always done (the sea was at his doorstep) but Paddy especially had to travel 100miles ~ with a donkey load of butter to reach Cork.
The older lines of communication such as this more direct route to the sea from the interior of Kerry vanished into the bog.

To this day this is the most direct trail but is unknown to tourist hillwakers following the Butter road now known as the Kerry way hiking trail.

If you can somehow get your head around the dynamics of usury then the reason for the waste becomes clear in ones little head.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Current admin wont be around then, the only action is the ability to get large chunks of Govt financing and award it to friends and family in "green type" contracts, similar to what has been done but just in a larger way. Might even justify a cap and trade program which can be used to reward companies that make large political donations. Swiss bank accounts are filling.
The GW story is also good because it takes the narrative away from things that arent getting done, general incompetence and corruption.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterScott

The 'progressives' - proceed to march us all back to pre Industrial Revolution days: is to be our penance. Unless, someone gets very real some political bod apprises him/herself of the actualite...... and very soon but even then, I fear greatly that, the damage is too far gone.

Mike Jackson strikes the chord and is totally correct, there are many people who have hold of or, at the very least have considerable influence over, those who hold the levers of power. Whether it is named the green blob - call it what you will, the green Marxists are dead set on reducing the nation to an agrarian backwater fit only for dropping down the league table of nations into something akin to Pakistan, where having the lights on is an unexpected boon and a rare to unusual occurrence, unless one has ownership of a trusty diesel generator.

hooting at ghosts, soon enough it's Lights oot! and UK FUBAR.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.


Nailed it, the future for America is about to change.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:24 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

I would have to disagree with you.
This appears not the objective.
A agrarian society typically uses local supply chains and at most trades for luxury goods.
Just because a country has outsourced its industry does not make it preindustrial again
If it uses Industrial products then it is industrial , end of.
What we are observing is a further scaling up of industrial capitalism with the UK becoming the green belt of London.
It is in fact a suburban society which wishes to become rural - a impossibility.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork


The goals I quoted were stated very firmly by Amber Rudd at the very start of her first appearance before the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. She has since repeated them several times. Let's see if she sticks to them before our cynicism sets in.

My 'analysis' was explicitly stated for electricity generation.

Dec 22, 2015 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Those voting for Amber Rudd saving the bacon forgot that DC/GO and AR had an opportunity to help the UK steel industry a short while ago by simply providing it with power without any environmental penalties. They failed. They don't understand industry and manufacturing because none of them (and include Milliband and his ilk) have ever held down a real job. I have worked in heavy industry most of my life and visited machine shops, foundries and steel mills up and down the country. It irks me to see them disappear one by one due mostly to ignorant politicians. It even amazes me that the German politicians will allow it to happen to their industry. No industry, no positive balance of payment ever. UK could do with one for a change. So as to concentrate on gas only without even knowing if we are sitting on recoverable reserves of any quantity is silly. When we know they are there then perhaps a phased transfer would be OK.
Lord Monckton had a hilarious bit on WUWT on how he defeated Scargill and had this to say about modern coal power plants "What a tragic paradox it is, now that coal-fired power using pelletized, fluidized-bed and high-temperature combustion with filtering and fly-ash trapping is the cleanest source of energy per megawatt-hour delivered, that the men who made that great, life-saving revolution possible are now cast on to the tailings-heap of history by the totalitarian foolishness of the soi-disant “greens”
Don't know anything about this technology, but if he is right Drax and the other threatened plants should be given access to the grid in sufficient volume to make it economic and never mind EU as there is now no legal lever to impose penalties after Paris 2015. (Amend the CCA as provided for as well).

Dec 22, 2015 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

I had a shock watching BBC Wales news at 6.30pm yesterday (21/12). After a couple of reports on the plight of the Welsh steel industry, presenter Jamie Owen was interviewing Jo Stevens - Labour MP for Cardiff Central. At one point he said:-

"I mean a big chunk of this problem is the cost - the high cost - of energy and the last Labour government must take it's fair share of the blame for visiting on industry in the UK this high energy tariff. That's fair isn't it?"

This is as close to criticizing the climate change act as I have ever seen on the beeb. I hope he isn't made an un-person.
(Needless to say Jo Stevens did not answer the question; she blathered about the need for the government to have a policy to mitigate the problems caused by ...)

[I have recorded the episode on Sky+ but have not seen it on iPlayer. Can any-one tell me if I can legally upload from Sky+ ?]

Dec 22, 2015 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterauralay

The U.K. buying gas from Russia, Nuclear power from France and Coal fired Electricity from Germany.

There won't be another series of Downton Abbey so we have nothing to sell back to them.

Dec 22, 2015 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Auralay: Don't think cyou can UNload a saved prog from SKY+ let alone upload it. One thing will be the format of the file and the file ext SKY uses. (But, I could be wrong....)

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield


Wait till the steam preservation railways have to close down because they don't have any money to convert their steam engines from Coal to Gas.

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Jamspid LOL !

I want to emphasise again that the USA's apparent zest for cutting carbon emissions will be at the expense of coal.

Could Paris climate talks spell the end for coal?

US coal on the way out?

Plans to cut back on coal are unlikely to be ratcheted up just because of COP21, Sikorski said, but nonetheless, coal has been steadily losing its share of international energy provision.

While it still accounts for 35 percent of energy generation globally, it has lost 9 percentage points of market share since 2009, according to Goldman Sachs. Further declines, to around 33 percent of market share, are expected by the end of 2018, analysts at the bank predict.

That is because many aging coal-fired power plants face accelerated retirement due to tightening emission regulations and growing competitive pressures from cheap gas and rapidly growing renewable sources.

No country has felt this more keenly than the U.S., where a combination of low world market prices and weak export demand has had significant adverse consequences for the coal industry. The U.S. largest four coal companies lost over 90 percent of their market capitalization in 2015, Goldman Sachs said on Monday.

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Uk electricity generation down - 6% in Q3 (8,322ttoe)

It very clear diffuse renewables can only produce a larger % of a declining total production of electricity.

The albeit previously rump coke and blast furnace now effectively no more.
Coke (46 Ttoe) down 46.3 %
Blast furnace (485 Ttoe) down 22.5 %

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Jamspid, the Green Blob won't allow steam trains to be powered by gas, in case a polar bear dies.

Steam Preservation Socities will have to take papier mache moulds of the steam engines, and mount them on electric trolleys powered by rechargeable batteries. For a pretence of added surrealism, they will have a car hi fi system playing soundtracks of real locomotives, though plans for fake smoke produced from dry ice had to be withdrawn when the Green Blob realised what dry ice was.

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Drove past the Fenwick Moor today, site of the largest Wind-farm in the UK, not a blade was turning due to moderately high winds. No yellow weather warnings from the Met just a bit too blowy for the poor things or maybe someone did not want the electricity.

Just an example of the madness of the current policies.

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Why not?
It's effectively free energy without the costs.
Given the austerity in France it must off load it's costs via electricity exports.
UK net electricity exports now at a record high (up 8.5 % quarter on quarter to 5.9thw)
Even elec imports from that energy giant that is Ireland was up.......
It's the Sterling deficit / Euro surplus dynamic.

The Eurozone is the UKs modern India.

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Correction: uk imports at record high

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

6pm radio 4 news tonite - 'Half Scotland's electricity comes from renewables' - is this true?

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Constable

The big question in my little head.
Was the conversion of Drax from coal to biomass a desperate bid to save the French nuclear industry?

If you remember during the last big downturn of 2009 the UK actually exported electricity to France in 2009Q4 and 2010Q1
This was the last period that the UK had a large coal / elec industry that became cheap when the global trade system broke down last.

Now global trade has collapsed again
Coal is cheap, yet Uk generation is down 6% quarter on quarter...
Go figure.

Dec 22, 2015 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Scottish renewables 38% of 2014 total, up from 32% in 2013.
The latest energy trends publication has a special feature on the sub national electricity sector.
Again it rained much more in 2014.
Scottish Hydro power up 15%
Also conventional power declines give renewables a bigger slice of the ever smaller cake.

The latest headline grabbing figure is that total uk electricity generation is down 6% in Q3 2015 vs Q3 2014.

The UK is now in the business of outsourcing industry - mainly to euroland.
This is good for UK citizens in the main.
Domestic residential energy consumption has increased substantially in 2015 relative to its catastrophic decline in 2014.
This is a proxy for final real consumption.
Industry is a cost baby.
If you can offload those costs then well......

Dec 22, 2015 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

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