Friday, January 25, 2013

Climate Policy as Collateral Damage as Britain Considers Exit from EU: Industry Warns EU Climate Laws Are Squashing Economic Recovery

Fears are growing in Brussels that climate policy could become a political football in any referendum on EU membership, following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s declaration of intent to hold an in/out poll. Climate change policy could be “one of the victims” of the disruption accompanying a UK withdrawal from Europe. –EurActiv, 24 January 2013

Taken as a whole, Europe’s share of world output is projected to fall by almost a third in the next two decades. This is the competitiveness challenge – and much of our weakness in meeting it is self-inflicted… The biggest danger to the European Union comes not from those who advocate change, but from those who denounce new thinking as heresy. In its long history Europe has experience of heretics who turned out to have a point. –David Cameron, London 23 January 2013

Europe’s heavy industries claim to be unfairly hit by rising energy prices caused by the EU’s climate policies.  A particular concern of energy-intensive industries like steel and chemicals is that EU policies on climate and energy have seen electricity suppliers passing on price increases to them. Energy prices rose 28% between 2003 and 2011. The European Steel Association, Eurofer, estimates the total cost to the steel industry of the ETS at between €11 billion to €15 billion.  –Jeremy Fleming, EurActiv, 22 January 2013

Japan is likely to abandon an ambitious pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, the top government spokesman said on Thursday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s business-friendly Liberal Democratic Party ousted the Democratic Party in December elections after pledging to review the emissions cut target in light of the post-Fukushima switch to fossil fuels. –AFP, 24 January 2013

Statistically there has been no change in the average annual temperature of the globe since 1997 meaning that the standstill is now 16 years. The latest five-year average of Hadcrut3 and Hadcrut4 data shows a decline for the first time. Can anyone now have any doubt that the recent warming standstill is a real event of crucial climatic importance? –David Whitehouse, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 24 January 2013

Scientists analysing ancient ice samples say that the Greenland ice sheet withstood temperatures much higher than today’s for many thousands of years during a period of global warming more than 120,000 years ago, losing just a quarter of its mass. The Greenland ice was exposed to much greater heat for many thousands of years and lost only a quarter of its mass, so the models are evidently wrong and another IPCC doom warning has been consigned to the dustbin of history. –Lewis Page, The Register, 24 January 2013

In an unfolding plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable-energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families. The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming that huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. –Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post, 23 January 2012

Reports of the extinction of millions of species on Earth have been greatly exaggerated, a team of scientists has said. In the past scientists have warned that up to five per cent of species are at risk of dying-out as a result of climate change, deforestation and development. But a new analysis by the University of New Zealand found that this figure was five times greater than reality because the number of animals living in the wild in the first place had been over estimated. This meant that conservationists assumed that rates of decline were much faster, as they were starting from a higher point. –Louise Gray, The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2013

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