Britain Follows Paris Climate Deal With Cuts To Green Subsidies

GWPF | 17 Dec 2015

After Paris, Britain Goes All Out For Shale

 

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Britain cut more renewable energy subsidies on Thursday, putting jobs at risk and drawing criticism for losing credibility in tackling climate change, a week after the landmark deal in Paris. Britain’s Conservative government has been reining in spending on all renewables subsidies since it took power in May, saying the cost of technology has come down sharply and subsidies should reflect that. Thursday’s cuts came a day after it allowed the use of fracking to extract shale gas below national parks and protected areas and as it is expected to announce the winners of new onshore oil and gas licenses. —Reuters, 17 December 2015

1) Britain Follows Paris Climate Deal With Cuts To Green Subsidies – Reuters, 17 December 2015

2) After Paris, Britain Goes All Out For Shale – Reuters, 17 December 2015

3) Greenland May Seek UN Climate Deal Opt-Out – Bloomberg, 14 December 2015

4) Green Activists Hugely Disappointed About Paris Climate Deal – Global Warming Policy Forum, 17 December 2015

5) Japan, South Korea Stick To Coal Policies Despite Paris Climate Deal – Japan Times, 16 December 2015

6) India Says Paris Climate Deal Won’t Affect Plans To Double Coal Output – The Guardian, 14 December 2015

7) After Paris, Shale Drillers Are Now Free to Export U.S. Oil Into Global Glut – Bloomberg, 17 December 2015

8) Green Tax Breaks Seal U.S. Oil Export Deal For Many DemocratsReuters, 16 December 2015

MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of the use of fracking to extract shale gas under national parks, weakening a decision against fracking in national parks made earlier this year and giving shale gas explorers access to more resources. Britain is estimated to have substantial amounts of gas trapped in underground shale rocks and Prime Minister Cameron has pledged to go all-out to extract these reserves, to help offset declining North Sea oil and gas output. MPs, who supported the rule change with a slim 37-vote margin, decided to loosen this rule on Wednesday by allowing shale gas explorers to undertake fracking at least 1,200 metres below the surface in national parks. —Reuters, 17 December 2015

The ink hasn’t yet dried on the UN climate accord and one of the territories most at risk from global warning is already demanding an opt-out. “We still have the option of making a territorial opt-out to COP21,” Kim Kielsen, the prime minister of Greenland, said during a visit to Copenhagen on Monday. “We have an emissions quota of 650,000 tonnes of CO2, which is the same as a single coal-fired power plant in Denmark, or a minor Danish city.” –Peter Levring, Bloomberg, 14 December 2015

India still plans to double coal output by 2020 and rely on the resource for decades afterwards, a senior official said on Monday, days after rich and poor countries agreed in Paris to curb carbon emissions that cause global warming. “The environment is non-negotiable and we are extremely careful about it,” Anil Swarup, the top bureaucrat in the coal ministry, told Reuters. “(But) our dependence on coal will continue. There are no other alternatives available.” —The Guardian, 14 December 2015

Less than a week since signing the global climate deal in Paris, Japan and South Korea are pressing ahead with plans to open scores of new coal-fired power plants, casting doubt on the strength of their commitment to cutting CO2 emissions. Even as many of the world’s rich nations seek to phase out the use of coal, Asia’s two most developed economies are burning more than ever and plan to add at least 60 new coal-fired power plants over the next 10 years. —Japan Times, 16 December 2015

A new paper forecasts that overall winter sea ice extent will remain steady in the near future. This research underlines the significance of satellite data showing that Arctic sea ice extent now is broadly similar to that reported a decade ago. Climate scientists at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found that changes in the North Atlantic ocean circulation could allow overall winter sea ice extent to remain steady in the near future, with continued loss in some regions balanced by possible growth in others, including in the Barents Sea. —Reporting Climate Science, 11 December 2015

1) Britain Follows Paris Climate Deal With Cuts To Green Subsidies
Reuters, 17 December 2015

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Britain cut more renewable energy subsidies on Thursday, putting jobs at risk and drawing criticism for losing credibility in tackling climate change, a week after the landmark deal in Paris.


Britain’s Conservative government has been reining in spending on all renewables subsidies since it took power in May, saying the cost of technology has come down sharply and subsidies should reflect that.

Thursday’s cuts came a day after it allowed the use of fracking to extract shale gas below national parks and protected areas and as it is expected to announce the winners of new onshore oil and gas licenses.

“Ministers happily take credit for being climate champions on an international stage while flagrantly undermining the renewable industry here at home,” said Green MP Caroline Lucas….

Britain has cut the tariff for domestic-scale solar up to 10 kilowatts in capacity, such as rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, to 4.39 pence per kilowatt hour.

Under the old tariffs, solar power up to 4 kilowatts in capacity was paid at 12.47 pence per kilowatt hour and for 4-50 kilowatts it was 11.30 pence.

Full story

2) After Paris, Britain Goes All Out For Shale
Reuters, 17 December 2015

MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of the use of fracking to extract shale gas under national parks, weakening a decision against fracking in national parks made earlier this year and giving shale gas explorers access to more resources.

Britain is estimated to have substantial amounts of gas trapped in underground shale rocks and Prime Minister Cameron has pledged to go all-out to extract these reserves, to help offset declining North Sea oil and gas output.

But the use of fracking, a process whereby water, sand and chemicals are injected to open up the shale rocks and release the trapped gas is opposed by environmental campaigners.

Britain imposed a ban on fracking inside national parks in January under the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, in a concession to the Labour Party which had called for tighter controls to be written into law.

MPs, who supported the rule change with a slim 37-vote margin, decided to loosen this rule on Wednesday by allowing shale gas explorers to undertake fracking at least 1,200 metres below the surface in national parks.

The vote, which was held without a parliamentary debate, did not change a policy that bans fracking inside national parks.

Shale gas drillers will now be allowed to drill horizontally into deposits situated underneath national parks but shale gas wellheads must be located outside the protected zones.

Full story

3) Greenland May Seek UN Climate Deal Opt-Out
Bloomberg, 14 December 2015

Peter Levring

The ink hasn’t yet dried on the UN climate accord and one of the territories most at risk from global warning is already demanding an opt-out.

“We still have the option of making a territorial opt-out to COP21,” Kim Kielsen, the prime minister of Greenland, said during a visit to Copenhagen on Monday. “We have an emissions quota of 650,000 tonnes of CO2, which is the same as a single coal-fired power plant in Denmark, or a minor Danish city.”

Kielsen oversees a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. With a size roughly that of Mexico and a population that’s smaller than the Cayman Islands’, Greenland is the least densely populated country in the world. More than 22,000 people live in the capital Nuuk, while the remaining 34,000 are dispersed over an area of 2.2 million square kilometers.

As a result, the most common way for locals to traverse its icy expanses is via highly polluting planes.

“We want to solve that issue as we have considerably larger geographical distances to cover,” Kielsen said after a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen and their colleague from the Faroe Islands, another autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.

Full story

4) Green Activists Hugely Disappointed About Paris Climate Deal
Global Warming Policy Forum, 17 December 2015

James Hansen calls Paris talks ‘a fraud’

Mere mention of the Paris climate talks is enough to make James Hansen grumpy. The former Nasa scientist, considered the father of global awareness of climate change, is a soft-spoken, almost diffident Iowan. But when he talks about the gathering of nearly 200 nations, his demeanour changes.

“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

The talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, have spent much time and energy on two major issues: whether the world should aim to contain the temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels, and how much funding should be doled out by wealthy countries to developing nations that risk being swamped by rising seas and bashed by escalating extreme weather events.

But, according to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions are taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.

George Monbiot: Grand promises of Paris climate deal undermined by squalid retrenchments

By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.

Inside the narrow frame within which the talks have taken place, the draft agreement at the UN climate talks in Paris is a great success. The relief and self-congratulation with which the final text was greeted, acknowledges the failure at Copenhagen six years ago, where the negotiations ran wildly over time before collapsing. The Paris agreement is still awaiting formal adoption, but its aspirational limit of 1.5C of global warming, after the rejection of this demand for so many years, can be seen within this frame as a resounding victory. In this respect and others, the final text is stronger than most people anticipated.

Outside the frame it looks like something else. I doubt any of the negotiators believe that there will be no more than 1.5C of global warming as a result of these talks. As the preamble to the agreement acknowledges, even 2C, in view of the weak promises governments brought to Paris, is wildly ambitious. Though negotiated by some nations in good faith, the real outcomes are likely to commit us to levels of climate breakdown that will be dangerous to all and lethal to some. Our governments talk of not burdening future generations with debt. But they have just agreed to burden our successors with a far more dangerous legacy: the carbon dioxide produced by the continued burning of fossil fuels, and the long-running impacts this will exert on the global climate.

Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben Knock Paris Climate Deal

Two of the world’s foremost advocates for action against climate change have let it be known they are largely unimpressed with the COP21 agreement in Paris.

Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, characterize the deal as too little too late. Still, both famous journalist-activists mark COP21 as a potential catalyst for heightened activism to pressure the world’s governments to do more to forestall a greenhouse-gas fueled catastrophe.

5) Japan, South Korea Stick To Coal Policies Despite Paris Climate Deal
Japan Times, 16 December 2015

Less than a week since signing the global climate deal in Paris, Japan and South Korea are pressing ahead with plans to open scores of new coal-fired power plants, casting doubt on the strength of their commitment to cutting CO2 emissions.

Even as many of the world’s rich nations seek to phase out the use of coal, Asia’s two most developed economies are burning more than ever and plan to add at least 60 new coal-fired power plants over the next 10 years.

Officials at both countries’ energy ministries said those plans have not changed.
Japan, in particular, has been criticized for its lack of ambition — its 18 percent target for emissions cuts from 1990 to 2030 is less than half of Europe’s — and questions have been raised about its ability to deliver, since the target relies on atomic energy, which is very unpopular after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Full story

6) India Says Paris Climate Deal Won’t Affect Plans To Double Coal Output
The Guardian, 14 December 2015

India still plans to double coal output by 2020 and rely on the resource for decades afterwards, a senior official said on Monday, days after rich and poor countries agreed in Paris to curb carbon emissions that cause global warming.

India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, is dependent on coal for about two-thirds of its energy needs and has pledged to mine more of the fuel to power its resource-hungry economy while also promising to increase clean energy generation.

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