Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trillion-Dollar Green Trough

In the National Post, columnist Peter Foster regrets missing the Globe Foundation's Vancouver conference on business and the environment (second link below). According to Mr. Foster, it is "the greatest show on Earth (or at least in North America) for green policy wonks, eco consultants, aggressively growth-oriented NGOs and corporate rent seekers (all delegates carbon-neutralized)." He notes that absent from the agenda are whether climate science was sound and whether the Kyoto commitments made any sense. After a 10-year boom the alternative energy industry is foundering because governments are all subsidizing the same dead-end techniques.

Mr. Foster devotes most of his column to panning a new report by the IMF (third link below) that describes a $100 billion/year "Green Fund" for developing countries that was promised in the Copenhagen Accord. The IMF study proposes that the fund issue $1 trillion in bonds over 30 years, underpinned by $120 billion of equity endowment. In addition the fund's annual disbursements would be supported by $60 billion in carbon taxes and expanded carbon-trading schemes in developed countries (see diagram on page 10 of the IMF report.)

London Science Museum to Rename Climate Exhibition
Due to the wave of public skepticism in recent months, the 100-year-old London Science Museum will revise its new climate science gallery. Rather than scaring visitors with apocalyptic predictions of rising sea levels, the museum's exhibit will be honest about conflicting views on the scale of possible changes to the climate.

Cap-and-Trade Loses its Standing as Energy Policy of Choice
In The New York Times, John Broder reports how cap-and-trade, the policy of choice for tackling climate change a year ago, has fallen out of favour in Washington. President Obama's current budget omits all mention of the subject, and two of the Senators (Kerry and Graham) preparing the new climate change bill have disavowed it. Mr. Broder believes that cap-and-trade's demise was caused by the weak economy, the Wall Street meltdown, determined industry opposition and its own complexity.

Two other Senators (Cantwell, D-Washington and Collins, R-Maine) are proposing "cap and dividend" legislation, under which licenses to pollute would be auctioned to producers and wholesalers of fossil fuels, with three-quarters of the revenue being returned to consumers in monthly cheques.

NASA Study Finds Atlantic "Conveyor Belt" Not Slowing
Using a new monitoring technique involving satellite and the Argo array of buoys, NASA measurements of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (which includes the Gulf Stream) show no significant slowing over the past 15 years. The latest climate models relied on in IPCC assessment reports predict that this circulation will slow down as greenhouse gases warm the planet and melting ice adds freshwater to the ocean.

Rajendra Pachauri: IPCC Will Adopt Neutral Advisory Role
The Chairman of the IPCC, in an interview with The Times, said that the IPCC will stop making statements demanding new taxes and other radical policies for cutting emissions. He also apologized for the organization's handling of complaints about errors in its report. In future the IPCC will focus on presenting the science of climate change, rather than advocating policies. Also, Dr. Pachauri wants more power over the IPCC secretariat and an extra $1 million/year to fund its work, on top of the $5 million it gets now.

Germans Lose Fear of Climate Change
Leading German magazine Spiegal conducted a survey about climate change. It found that in the fall of 2006 62% were afraid of it; now the figure is 42%. Also the German Leibniz association calls for the IPCC's Rajendra Pachauri to step down. The first link below is to the original article in German, the second is a Google translation.,1518,685946,00.html

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