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THE CLIMATE SCARE STRENGTHENS

The climate scare is alive and well across the developed world. Here are samples of what governments are doing.

Ontario, Canada

Premier Dalton McGuinty’s $7 billion wind turbine project is based on the 2009 Green Energy Act which has, as its primary driver, “fighting” climate change. Industrial-scale wind turbines in Ontario have risen from 10 in 2003 to 700 today and hundreds more are to be erected in the next couple of years. Electricity prices are forecast to rise 46% in the next five years. This is about four times the rate of inflation and is caused mainly because of the installation of wind turbines across the province. The Act, coupled with the continuing coal phase out in the province, was the single biggest action taken to reduce CO2 emissions in North America in the past five years.

British Columbia

The province’s “carbon” tax went up 20% on July 1, 2012.

Quebec

On January 1, 2013, Québec is to become the first Canadian province to fully implement a CO2 cap and trade program. Like BC, Quebec already has a “carbon tax” on gasoline.

Canada

The Canadian government continues to introduce strict CO2 regulations on a sector by sector across the country at costs estimated to be in the billions of dollars. So far, coal-fired electric power stations, biofuels, automobiles, light trucks, heavy vehicles and, as of June 4, 2012, aviation, are being targeted. Other sectors such as non-coal energy, steel and cement will follow soon in early 2013, the government has indicated. In May 2012 Canada's climate change ambassador assured climate negotiators in Germany that the Government plans to introduce draft climate change regulations for the oil and gas sector by 2013.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has capitulated, stating on their Webpage, “Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, like carbon dioxide, entering the earth's atmosphere…. Climate change is a global issue that requires global solutions.” Both statements are misleading. Nevertheless, CAPP promotes “carbon” capture and storage (CCS) asserting “CCS is a part of the greenhouse gas solution. The Federal and Provincial governments will invest approximately $3 billion to help in making Canada a global leader in CCS technology. Industry and government are cooperating to demonstrate the commercial and technical viability of CCS in Canada.”

Government and industry are afraid to contest climate campaigners about the need to reduce GHG emissions and so projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada are delayed or cancelled

United States

In the United States the EPA is forging ahead with CO2 regulations despite (and indeed, because of) Congress’s unwillingness to legislate CO2 controls. This effectively ends the construction of new coal-fired power stations since no easily accessible technology can bring their emissions under the EPA limit. Natural gas, which barely escapes the EPA restrictions, are likely to be targeted next as environmental activist groups are pressuring the EPA to impose even more severe limits that would substantially increase costs or completely prohibit the extraction of natural gas from shale formations.

White House aids said in April 2011 that they would recommend that President Obama veto any legislation stripping the EPA of its power to regulate CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Besides the EPA’s tough GHG regulations being imposed across the country (also see here), California’s tough AB-32 “Cap and Trade” regulations are now coming into effect.

In all, twenty-nine American states and the District of Columbia now have cap-and-trade programs and/or renewable energy mandates.

Although only 40% of the U.S. public believe that climate change is primarily driven by human activities, 53% “favor new environmental regulations to place stricter limits on carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.” This, despite the fact that 55% recognize that the new rules will drive up energy costs (see here).

Consequently, President Obama is closely following the “climate policy by stealth” approach. Witness the tack he took in his January 25, 2011 State of the Union address as well as that delivered on January 25, 2012 in which he said:

    • “there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean [read: low CO2] energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted. Well, tonight, I will. I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -– with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”

Read about the Navy’s use of biofuels here. This is indirect climate policy in contrast to the confrontational approach of the EPA. 

European Union

The EU is a leader in climate policy. One example is the EU law that, on January 1, 2012, brought all aircraft operators who fly into, out of, or within Europe into the Emissions Trading System (ETS) now in place across the continent. Swiss banking giant UBS showed that the ETS has cost Europeans $287 billion for "almost zero impact" on cutting CO2 emissions.

Note: Despite an European Court of Justice ruling in the law’s favour, opposition from many parties across the world—government and industry—is very strong (e.g., see here, here and here (24/09/12)).

Australia

Australia’s economically devastating “Clean” Energy Act “carbon” tax started on July 1, 2012, despite strong public opposition.

International

Canada, the U.S., Japan and virtually all other developed nations (and many national organizations – e.g., see here) continue to push to make a Durban-style U.N. climate agreement legally binding world-wide. Unnoticed by most is the fact that there is an out-clause for developing countries—GHG restrictions would apply only to developed nations under a treaty based on the Durban formula.

Strong action on climate change and low carbon energy sources is also being seen in South Africa, Ireland, as well as in Mexico and the Republic of Korea (which, in April 2012, passed comprehensive climate legislation, providing the foundation for future “market-based” mechanisms).

In the second quarter of 2012, new investments totaling $59.6 billion was pumped into the global renewable energy sector, a jump of 24% over the first quarter of 2012.

Also of concern is the worldwide expansion of heavily funded ”carbon” sequestration.

Sub-national governments

Forty of the world’s largest cities are members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, committed to “taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles has set the statewide GHG emissions limit for 2020 required by their Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 at 25% below 1990 levels, the maximum authorized by the Act.

Tokyo’s cap and trade system runs until 2014.

As Steve Howard, previously CEO of The Climate Group (UK) explained in "Convenient Action : Gujarat's [India] Response To Challenges Of Climate Change", it is at the local level where most GHG reductions can take place since state and municipal officials are closer to the people than are national leaders and so can bring about major change more quickly.

Corporations are also following main stream media on the climate scare

We have seen the emergence of strong pro-GHG control advocacy from businesses, many of which see windfall profits to be made from the scare (recent studies show that most climate finance comes from private investment). Besides the support of financial and insurance institutions, as well as “low carbon” energy providers, the push for corporations to take the lead in GHG reduction is increasing.  Note the Carbon War Room, founded by billionaire Sir Richard Branson, among others. They explain their goals as follows: “It is time to reinvent our economic systems – it is time to act – it is time to implement solutions. We can no longer afford to be intimidated by the scope and magnitude of the climate crisis. It is essential that our most talented and driven individuals come together to win this war.”

Bank of America just announced that, effective January 1, 2013, it “will contribute $50 billion over the next 10 years to address climate change.” By that date, the bank will have spent $20 billion over the past six years on the issue. They are focused primarily on activities that supposedly “stop climate change”.

The massive momentum behind the movement is also demonstrated by the 11% growth in 2011 of the “carbon market” to $176 billion and the fact that transaction volumes reached a new high of 10.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Ref: State and Trends of The Carbon Market in 2012, The World Bank). As Professor Fred Singer explains, “that makes it about the same value as total global wheat production—which supplies about 20% of the calories consumed by the 7 billion people on planet Earth.”

Driven largely by the climate scare, massive financial support is now being directed into the deployment of impractical and expensive “low carbon” energy sources.