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Benny Peiser: The UK & Europe are destroying their own economies with green policies… without reducing CO2 emissions


The Scottish Daily Express, 20 December 2022 

Americans are being warned not to follow the ‘green energy disaster’ of the UK and Europe – with Scotland at the forefront – that has led to soaring bills this winter and devastated the industrial base

Dr Benny Peiser at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC 

A British think tank director has warned Americans that they must avoid Europe’s “green energy disaster” by imposing unilateral climate policies.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of Net Zero Watch, said the rest of the world was not following the EU and the UK’s lead and therefore CO2 emissions were simply being “exported”.

Addressing the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, he said:

“And the rest of the world will definitely not follow Europe’s green experiment which is going so badly. No one wants to do what the Europeans are doing, because they can see the damage we are doing to ourselves.

“Unless – and this is the whole point – unless you can come up with an energy policy that is attractive to other countries, in particular to poorer countries, they will not follow your lead.

“And that’s the real problem: In Europe, we are degrading our own economies and degrading our nations, in the name of saving the planet without doing anything about CO2 emissions because we are just shifting them abroad, we’re just exporting them.

“That is at the core of all these 27 COPs we’ve seen over the last 30 years. It’s always the same outcome. The developing world, China, India, are not going to risk their own economies, the well-being of their people, their energy security, their national security. We’re doing it and we’re paying the price for it.

“And this is the biggest warning to Americans: If you want to avoid your energy bills going up fourfold, don’t do what we are doing.”

‘Biggest wealth transfer from poor to rich in history’

Although some dismiss him and his think tank as climate change deniers, Dr Peiser’s opinion are considered at the highest levels – especially in the USA.

In December 2013, he gave evidence to a US Senate Committee on energy policy and described how the EU had attempted to set an example with “radical policy making”.

Dr. Benny Peiser testimony at the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

He said: “As a result, European governments have advanced the most expensive forms of energy at the expense of the least expensive forms of energy.”

He added: “Even though Europe has managed to reduce CO2 emissions domestically, this has only happened because it has shifted energy intensive industries and their emissions overseas to nations where there are no similar emission limits, where energy and labour is cheap and which are now growing much faster than the EU.

“As a result Europe’s manufacturers are rapidly losing ground to international competition. The EU’s unilateral climate policies pose an existential threat to Europe’s industrial base and this threat is real.”

Dr Peiser went on to describe to the Committee how ordinary families and small and medium sized businesses the hardest were being asked to pay for wind turbines and solar panels “in what is undoubtedly one of the biggest wealth transfers from poor to rich in modern European history”.

In his warning from almost a decade ago – which carries even greater weight during the current energy crisis – he said: “This winter millions of poor families will have to choose between heating and eating and many can no longer afford to pay so the utilities are cutting off their power.”

8) Scientists thought CO2 emissions had peaked. They were wrong
The Washington Post, 5 December 2022

Near the end of 2020, as the covid-19 pandemic continued to rage, a few climate scientists and energy experts made a prediction. They estimated that emissions from fossil fuels — which had just plummeted thanks to the global pandemic — might never again reach the heights of 2019. Perhaps, they speculated, after over a century of ever more carbon dioxide flowing into the atmosphere, the world had finally reached “peak” emissions.

They were wrong.

According to a report released last month by the Global Carbon Project, carbon emissions from fossil fuels in 2022 are expected to reach 37.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the highest ever recorded. That means that despite the continued fallout from the coronavirus pandemic — which caused emissions to drop by over 5 percent in 2020 — CO2 emissions are back and stronger than ever.

Scientists have reacted with dismay. For years before the pandemic, emissions appeared to be leveling off — sparking hope that the world was finally reaching the moment when emissions would start to come down. Then in 2020, “Covid came, there was a huge drop in emissions — and I guess we got a little overexcited,” said Glen Peters, a climate scientist at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo.

Here’s why researchers were wrong about emissions peaking — and what it means for the future — in three charts:

1. History repeats itself

For the past century, carbon emissions have only ever fallen in one circumstance: crisis. When the 2008-2009 global financial crisis rocked the world’s economic system, carbon emissions dropped by 1.4 percent. When the oil crises of 1973 and 1979 destabilized economies and caused people to wait in long lines for gasoline, emissions — previously on a steep upward climb — sputtered to a halt. And when the coronavirus pandemic locked billions of people indoors, the CO2 spilling into the atmosphere dropped by 5.2 percent — a record only matched by the aftermath of World War II.

Economic crisis, of course, is not the way that nations want to cut their carbon emissions. And in all of these historical examples, the temporary drop in emissions didn’t last long. After the financial crisis, emissions rebounded, growing by approximately 1.65 billion tons in a single year.

In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, some experts thought the world would take a different tack. Countries vowed to “build back better” and inject clean energy spending into their stimulus packages. But the result was not as green as might have been hoped. According to one analysis, only 6 percent of the stimulus money spent by G-20 nations went to areas that could cut emissions. And as people returned to flying, driving and making stuff, emissions bounced back.

2. Coal, coal, coal

For most of this century, the story of climate change has also been a story of coal. Coal is the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, releasing 820 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions for every gigawatt of electricity produced. (Solar power, in contrast, releases about five metric tons for every gigawatt of electricity produced.)

Before the pandemic, coal looked set for a long decline — which was part of why scientists and experts thought emissions might have reached their peak. But in the past couple of years, coal has made a resurgence. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised natural gas prices around the world, causing some European countries to lean more heavily on coal to keep energy prices low.

Thanks to China’s continued pandemic lockdowns, the world’s largest economy hasn’t accelerated its coal use quite as much as it could have — but India’s use of the world’s dirtiest fuel has skyrocketed. India’s coal use is set to increase by 5 percent in 2022, on top of a 15 percent increase the year before. All of that means that in the past two years, emissions from burning coal have increased by almost a gigaton.

3. Developed versus developing countries

Part of the issue is that, while developed countries have seen their emissions decline over the past decades, that decline hasn’t happened nearly fast enough to counterbalance the growth in emissions from developing countries. China’s emissions have skyrocketed over the past 20 years, as the country has developed and lifted millions out of poverty. (Despite its high overall emissions, though, China still has lower per capita carbon emissions than the United States.) India’s emissions are growing more slowly, but still growing.

Full story