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Europe faces the chill as Biden freezes new LNG export permits

Net Zero Samizdat

28 January 2024

6) Global coal exports and power generation hit new highs in 2023 (LNG anyone?)
Reuters, 18 January 2024

7) Europe faces the chill as Biden freezes new LNG export permits
Bloomberg, 26 January 2024

8) Biden and the TikTok Anti-LNG Crusade
The Wall Street Journal, 27 January 2024

9) Reminder: Europe needs to exploit its fossil fuel resources or face second world status
Net Zero Watch, October 2022

10) More revelations emerge of how the Climate Change Committee dupes Parliament into voting for Net Zero measures
Chris Morrison, The Daily Sceptic, 27 January 2024

11) Energy bills set to soar as report finds almost all major studies on Net Zero grossly underestimate cost
The Daily Sceptic, 27 January 2024

6) Global coal exports and power generation hit new highs in 2023 Reuters, 18 January 2024

LITTLETON, Colorado, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Worldwide electricity generation from coal hit record highs in 2023, while thermal coal exports surpassed 1 billion metric tons for the first time as coal’s use in power systems continues to grow despite widespread efforts to cut back on fossil fuels.

Coal-fired electricity generation was 8,295 terawatt hours (TWh) through October, up 1% from the same period in 2022 and the highest on record, according to environmental think tank Ember.

Total thermal coal exports were 1.004 billion metric tons for the whole year, up by 62.5 million tons or 6.6% from 2022, ship-tracking data from Kpler shows.

Emissions from coal-fired electricity generation also hit new highs through October 2023, topping 7.85 billion tons of carbon dioxide and equivalent gases, around 66.7 million tons more than during the same period in 2022, according to Ember.

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7) Europe faces the chill as Biden freezes new LNG export permits
Bloomberg, 26 January 2024

European companies hoping to buy US liquefied natural gas from major planned projects may just get left out in the cold.

The Biden administration on Friday imposed a moratorium on approving new licenses to export LNG from the US while it scrutinizes impact on climate, the economy and national security. The freeze could stall projects beyond 2027 that had lined up European customers such as Germany’s EnBW or Securing Energy for Europe GmbH.

“We are clearly entering an uncomfortable period for new US projects,” said Jean-Christian Heintz, independent LNG consultant. “First because of the Biden move, second because of the upcoming election and all its uncertainties.”

Full story

8) Biden and the TikTok Anti-LNG Crusade
The Wall Street Journal, 27 January 2024

His ‘pause’ on export permits may be his most destructive climate act—damaging to the economy at home and U.S. influence abroad.

Americans received a preview of a second Biden term on Friday when the President halted permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. Climate politics has become the tail wagging this Administration’s economic, national security and foreign policy. President Biden isn’t running for re-election. Climate lobbyist Bill McKibben and his TikTok army are.

“This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time,” Mr. Biden said. “We will heed the calls of young people and frontline communities who are using their voices to demand action from those with the power to act.” Didn’t he campaign in 2020 by promising to be the adult in the room?

Now he’s letting TikTokers dictate U.S. policy. Press reports say Biden adviser John Podesta pushed for the “pause”—which tees up an outright ban—after TikTokers and Mr. McKibben made stopping LNG exports a cause celebre. Mr. Biden’s advisers at the White House even met with a TikTok climate “influencer.” The Administration hopes its climate gesture will boost the President’s flagging political support among young people.

Who cares about the real-world impact, or the signal to allies and adversaries that the U.S. isn’t a reliable partner? Europe and Asia should plan to import their gas from Qatar, Russia or even Iran. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin now know they can exploit the Administration’s climate obsession to undermine U.S. interests.

During the pause, the Energy Department will conduct an environmental and economic review of LNG exports. “Today, we have an evolving understanding of the market need for LNG, the long-term supply of LNG, and the perilous impacts of methane on our planet” and “pollution from new export facilities,” the White House statement says.

Mr. Biden’s views sure have evolved. As Vice President, he boasted about the benefits of U.S. LNG exports. “The United States is now a net [gas] exporter,” he proclaimed at the 2016 CAF conference. “There are even greater opportunities to supply the energy needs of our partners in Latin America and around the world.”

He was right. Global demand for natural gas is expected to increase 46% by 2050 as countries industrialize and shift from coal. Most developing Asian economies still rely on coal for power, including India (71%), Indonesia (59%), Vietnam (57%) and the Philippines (55%). Global coal exports and power generation last year hit a record.

China was the biggest coal importer, followed by India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Demand for LNG has outstripped supply especially as Europe tries to wean itself from Russian gas. A Bangladesh energy official complained last year that Asian countries couldn’t buy gas because of skyrocketing prices. Instead, they burned coal. How will this be good for the climate?

The climate lobby also doesn’t care that some 2.3 billion people in the world still cook with open fires or stoves that burn heavily-polluting wood, coal, biomass or kerosene. Developing countries want and need gas to escape poverty, which is another reason demand for LNG is expected to exceed supply for decades.

Hence, Russia, Iran and Qatar are expanding their export capacities. By the way, Russia last year supplied Europe with almost as much gas as the U.S. The White House says its pause won’t jeopardize supply to Europe, but energy officials across the pond disagree. Germany accounted for a third or more of the contracted capacity of a large planned Gulf Coast LNG project.

Nobody in the White House seems to understand that countries sign long-term contracts years in advance so they can plan their energy infrastructure and needs. They won’t build new gas plants or import terminals without supply locked in—or they will turn to more reliable sources. Russia now looks like a more reliable energy source than the U.S.

Much of the supply from LNG projects in the works is slated for Asia. They would strengthen U.S. relationships and influence in the region to counter China. Xi Jinping no doubt is elated by the Administration’s pause, which will do more damage to U.S. strategic interests than blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.

Full editorial

9) Reminder: Europe needs to exploit its fossil fuel resources or face second world status
Net Zero Watch, October 2022

As Europe faces its worst energy crisis in living memory, Net Zero Watch has warned ministers and MPs in London and Brussels that they have a choice between exploiting Europe’s untouched fossil fuel resources or inevitable relegation of the continent to second world status.

It is matter of real concern that most MPs and ministers still oppose drilling for gas and oil in European waters and the North Sea, and even more importantly, still reject shale gas exploration, blocking a vital energy resource for Europe’s and the UK’s future.

Europe’s fossil fuel resources are the subject of a new paper published today by Net Zero Watch. The paper surveys the scale of resources and concludes that they are large enough to make a significant difference to both price and energy security, opening up the path to a more secure future.

Europe’s energy resources are far from trivial, with coal reserves amounting to nearly 13% of the global total, sufficient to support current levels of production for nearly 300 years.

European Fossil Fuels: Resources and Proven Reserves (pdf)

10) More revelations emerge of how the Climate Change Committee dupes Parliament into voting for Net Zero measures
Chris Morrison, The Daily Sceptic, 27 January 2024

Having been caught using just one high wind year to persuade British parliamentarians to donkey-nod through an insane rush to Net Zero in 2019, interest is growing in some of the other stunts pulled by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) to promote the green collectivist agenda.

In 2020, the CCC used a supposed finding of the Citizen Climate Assembly to promote to Parliament the idea – found in its Sixth Carbon Budget – that meat and dairy consumption should be cut by up to 40%. In fact only a third of the 108-strong assembly discussed the matter, and only 10 people expressed priority support for such severe reductions in the diet. The assembly was largely curated by the CCC, while £200,000 of funding for the event organiser was supplied by the European Climate Foundation, a green activist operation drawing heavy financial support from Extinction Rebellion funder Sir Christopher Hohn.

The CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget identified the drastic legal pathways the U.K. Government must follow to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide during the years 2033 to 2037. Everything must go it seems in the unreal world of Net Zero, despite the fact that human activity – and survival – depends on exploiting the Earth’s natural resources. “The experience of the U.K. Climate Assembly shows that if people understand what is needed and why, if they have options and can be involved in the decision-making process, they will support the transition to Net Zero,” states the CCC.

The investigative journalist Ben Pile broke the meat story and wondered at the time how just 10 individuals can be used to somehow represent the wishes of 66 million people. Needless to say, poodle media took the bone with Roger Harrabin of the BBC writing that members thought politicians should encourage people to eat up to 40% less meat.

The assembly was set up by a number of Parliamentary committees to include 108 members of the public invited for six weekend sessions around the time of the first Covid lockdown in 2020. Three were held in Birmingham and three by Zoom. The Chief Executive of the CCC, Chris Stark, was one of the four main organisers and one of the four ‘Expert Leads’. The leads chose the speakers who addressed the gathering. What transpired, of course, was 12 days of relentless eco propagandising. Just 35 members of the Assembly discussed the ‘what we eat’ issue and, noted Pile, listened to one speaker who said the following:

“We know that red and processed meat is associated with a number of health conditions so it’s linked to heart disease, it’s linked to strokes, it’s linked to particular types of cancer like bowel cancer, it is also linked to diabetes. Whereas on the other hand, eating fruit and vegetables is linked to prevention of all these conditions, so the more fruit and vegetables you eat, you are less likely to suffer from those diseases.”

Alas, when it came to a vote on eight options, only 29% of the group, or 10 members, chose eating less meat as a priority. In fact it was the second least popular option.

Mike Thompson was the Chief Economist of the CCC and the lead author of its Sixth Carbon Budget. He put a slightly different spin on the ball:

“The Climate Change Assembly said it would be happy with a 20-40% reduction in meat consumption. We’ve looked really carefully at the Climate Assembly recommendations and actually we were quite engaged in the process as well. If you take the time to guide people through this, to explain why the changes are needed, to explain the sorts of things that need to happen, they’re really supportive of action, and actually we were really surprised how supportive they were of late of the things we were thinking of already.”

Quite what planet people like Thompson operate on is not clear, but a good case can be made that extreme eco activists like him, indeed anyone associated with the Climate Change Committee, should not be allowed anywhere near the machinery of public policy and Government. The agenda of Net Zero, with its capacity to wreak havoc on economic and social lifestyles, is far too important to be left to public sector extremists and lazy Parliamentarians content to follow a Net Zero narrated plan. The push to 100% Net Zero was rushed through with barely an hour’s debate in the House of Commons in 2019, with MPs relying on advice from the CCC that there would be just seven days a year when wind turbines produced less than 10% of their potential electricity output. This of course helped play down the enormous cost of storage required for intermittent wind and solar power. Net Zero Watch has noted not seven, but 30 such days in 2020, 33 in 2019 and 56 in 2018.

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11) Energy bills set to soar as report finds almost all major studies on Net Zero grossly underestimate cost
The Daily Sceptic, 27 January 2024

Energy bills are set to soar as almost all major studies on Net Zero contain serious modelling errors that grossly underestimate the cost, a new report from Net Zero Watch reveals.

The report, which presents a new model of the 2050 electricity system that corrects these errors, shows that official studies have suppressed the apparent cost of Net Zero still further by using extreme speculations about the costs and efficiencies of all the equipment required in the 2050 grid.

According to Andrew Montford, the Director of Net Zero Watch:

“The Royal Society, for example, assumes that the cost of almost everything will halve, and the efficiency of almost everything will soar. It’s not impossible, but it is imprudent to assume that it will happen. If you correct the modelling errors, and use known costs and efficiencies rather than speculation about what might be available in 2050, you get a very different picture of the future.”

The report warns that with current technology, the cost of a Net Zero grid would approach £8,000 per household per year. Montford adds:

“The costs may come down somewhat, but policymakers need to be told what it would cost if they don’t. The numbers are staggering. The failure to explain the extreme nature of the underlying assumptions is culpable.”

Net Zero Watch is calling for the Royal Society to withdraw its recent “misleading” report on electricity storage.

The Net Zero Watch report can be downloaded here.