CCNet – 10 October 2012
The Climate Policy Network
'Soviet-Style’ Wind Farm Subsidies To Face The Axe
“Soviet-style” green subsidies for wind farms must be scrapped because turbines are blighting local communities, the new Environment Secretary said on Tuesday. Owen Paterson, who took on the role last month, said wind developers should “stand on their own two feet” instead of asking for money from the state. He said green technologies such as wind farms might actually have a worse impact than climate change, because they are causing “public insurrection”. --Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 10 October 2012
So long as I am the Energy minister, the high-flown theories of cognitive bourgeoisie left academics will not over-ride the interests of ordinary people who need fuel for heat, light, and transport – energy policies, you might say, for the many not the few. --John Hayes, Minister of State for Energy, 9 October 2012
The Coalition is putting an end to the "never-ending gravy train of green subsidies" in a bid to bring down energy bills, the climate change minister has said. Mr Barker promised the Coalition would "cut subsidy where we can and put value for money at the heart of our policies". --Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 10 October 2012
Senior Tories are at odds over the environment amid fears that climate change sceptics in the government are seeking to slow the pace of the introduction of renewable energy. The contrasting messages from the two ministers highlighted sharp divisions within the government over climate change in the wake of the recent cabinet reshuffle. Owen Paterson has been praised by the former chancellor Lord Lawson of Blaby, who is a sceptic. --Nicholas Watt, The Guardian, 10 October 2012
What should Prime Minister David Cameron say about the environment and the green economy at the Conservative Party conference this afternoon? Given the shale gas mania that appears to have afflicted many of his Party colleagues, green business leaders might take a complete silence from the Prime Minister on environmental issues as a perverse sort of victory. --James Murray, Business Green 10 October 2012
No new carbon dioxide emissions reductions targets for 2030 will be announced until after the next EU parliamentary elections in 2014, the EU’s top climate civil servant has said. The announcement, which runs counter to soundings from Brussels insiders, could flag climate and energy battle lines for the next parliament, after a bruising round of squabbles over carbon prices in the Emissions Trading System (ETS). --EurActiv, 8 October 2012
Insulation does not always reduce heating energy demand in residential buildings. Its application can in fact increase the consumption of oil and gas. This is the result of a number of studies. The results raise the question whether the Federal Government’s green energy transition may fail in its objectives. Particularly explosive is a recently rediscovered study by the IBP Institute for Building Physics of the Fraunhofer Institute. Based on an detailed comparative analysis, scientists at the research institute in Stuttgart established in 1985 that, given average winter temperatures of minus four degrees Celsius, the use of insulating does not reduce heating energy consumption; compared to house with solid walls it rather pushes up energy consumption. --Die Welt, 8 October 2012
The new and improved global temperature database, Hadcrut4, has been updated at last. Previously it had been complete to 2010. When I first looked at Hadcrut4 I was aware that when the 2011 data was included it would almost certainly show a reduction in global temperature, and hence alter the tone of the implications that were inferred after its debut. I anticipate this trend to continue when the annual data for 2012 is complete making the global temperature standstill 16-years long. --David Whitehouse, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 October 2012
1) ‘Soviet-Style’ Wind Farm Subsidies To Face The Axe - The Daily Telegraph, 10 October 2012
2) Britain’s Environment Minister Says Yes To Shale Gas, No To Wind Farms - The Spectator, 10 October 2012
3) Green Campaign Fails: No New EU Carbon Targets Until 2015 At Earliest - EurActiv, 8 October 2012
4) Another Green Fail: Home Insulation Can Drive Up Energy Consumption - Die Welt, 8 October 2012
5) David Whitehouse: An Updated Hadcrut4 – And Some Surprises - The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 October 2012
1) ‘Soviet-Style’ Wind Farm Subsidies To Face The Axe
The Daily Telegraph, 10 October 2012
“Soviet-style” green subsidies for wind farms must be scrapped because turbines are blighting local communities, the new Environment Secretary said on Tuesday.
Owen Paterson, who took on the role last month, said wind developers should “stand on their own two feet” instead of asking for money from the state.
He said green technologies such as wind farms might actually have a worse impact than climate change, because they are causing “public insurrection”.
“There are significant impacts on the rural economy and the rural environment, all of which probably weren’t intended when these things were thought up,” he told an event at the Conservative Party conference. “It is not very green to be blighting the economy in one area.”
Mr Paterson said he would write to the Department of Energy with his view on ending green subsidies as part of a Government review of support for renewable energy.
“If you start having subsidies you end up with a Soviet-style system, where politicians make decisions that might actually be better made by the market,” he added.
Mr Paterson said he believes humans are contributing to climate change but “some of the steps we are taking might actually cause more damage than the original problems itself”.
His comments came as Greg Barker, the climate change minister, promised that the Government was dealing with the “never-ending gravy train of green subsidies” to bring down energy bills.
The Conservative minister insisted the party was “not abandoning its green pledges” or “scaling back” its commitment to tackling climate change.
But he acknowledged the green industry needed to “tighten their belts, do more for less and make subsidies go further” to get a better deal for the taxpayer. Mr Barker promised that the Coalition would “cut subsidy where we can and put value for money at the heart of our policies”.
The Government is facing mounting criticism for sending out mixed messages on energy policy and climate change. Some companies are concerned after David Cameron appointed two ministers who are critical of wind farms, cut subsidies for renewable energy and unveiled a tax break for the gas industry.
The insulation industry also claims that the Coalition’s decision to end grants for green home improvements will lead to 16,000 job losses before a new regime comes in next year.
Seven power firms this week threatened to leave Britain over fears they will not get enough Government support to invest in low-carbon technologies like nuclear and wind farms.
After weeks of division on green issues, Conservative sources said there is a new push within the party to “get back on the same page”.
Conservatives are split between pro-green modernisers, those worried about the cost of subsidies and back-bench MPs angry about the blight of wind farms in their constituencies.
The senior source said there would be a drive re-invent the Conservatives’ green agenda as a pro-business policy that will help boost growth and create jobs.
The Department of Energy is led by Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, who won a battle against George Osborne to stop deep cuts to green subsidies this year. In return, the Chancellor introduced tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, including new measures to help controversial “shale” extraction.
On Tuesday night, Mr Paterson described shale gas as a “God-given” windfall that would help Britain solve its energy problems.
2) Britain’s Environment Minister Says Yes To Shale Gas, No To Wind Farms
The Spectator, 10 October 2012
‘We will only improve the environment if we improve the economy.’ Owen Paterson demonstrated the government’s new environmental mantra at a Policy Exchange fringe event this evening, discussing how we can build a sustainable green economy. The new Environment Secretary said that he will only pursue technologies that will make a positive contribution to the economy:
‘We should not be frightened of major projects brought in to improve the economy, because by improving the economy, we generate the funds to improve the environment. And if we are imaginative we can also bring the two together. The two are, empathically, not mutual exclusive.
‘It’s got to be sustainable…which means it has to minimise waste, use resources in the most efficient manner or someone else will do it better than us’
Despite stating that power production was really a matter for the Department of Energy, Paterson took a swipe at the subsidies handed out at a national level for sustainable energy production, highlighting his own battle with wind farms:
‘I’m very clear that there are significant impacts on the rural economy and rural environment from some renewable technologies. You have to be careful with politicians choosing technologies to steer people by subsidy.
‘It is very much horses for courses; politicians don’t blunder in and steer certain technologies. Most of these technologies are now mature and should stand on their own two feet’
But the Environment Secretary was very keen to extoll the virtues of shale gas:
‘…the extraordinary second windfall, which is completely God-given, that this country has got is shale gas. Shale gas has completely transformed the energy economy of the United States. It has massively reduced the carbon output…it buys you time. They pretty rapidly brought in shale gas, with a massively beneficial impact.
‘What worries me at the moment is that we are under pressure to close down old coal plants but I think what we want is as wide a variety of sources as possible.
‘I wouldn’t want to be dependent on any one technology. I do think we should not be frightened of shale gas and not be alarmed, of which a lot of is exaggerated.’
Paterson’s comments clash vividly with what the Energy Secretary said at the Lib Dem conference two weeks ago. Although both ministers are keen to stress the vital future of green technologies, Davey appears to believe it has to be good for the environment, while Paterson believes it has to be good financially. Expect to see this battle develop further between the coalition partners.
3) Green Campaign Fails: No New EU Carbon Targets Until 2015 At Earliest
EurActiv, 8 October 2012
No new carbon dioxide emissions reductions targets for 2030 will be announced until after the next EU parliamentary elections in 2014, the EU’s top climate civil servant has said.
“Let’s get real: We won’t be able to do everything by 2014 like we did on the climate and energy package in 2009,” Jos Delbeke, the European Commission’s director general for climate told a conference in Brussels on 5 October.
“The time is not there,” he added. “We will have to be clear on 2030 early in the next Commission period, and that means 2015 or 2016.”
The announcement, which runs counter to soundings from Brussels insiders, could flag climate and energy battle lines for the next parliament, after a bruising round of squabbles over carbon prices in the Emissions Trading System (ETS).
The Commission’s attempts to insert a short legal amendment to the ETS clarifying how it would “backload” or stagger the numbers of allowances issued at auction provoked a reaction from “some business quarters” that was “out of proportion”, Delbeke said.
“When I see what a limited proposal of a one-lime amendment provokes in terms of emotions, then I’m losing hope that by 2014 we could come forward with a comprehensive climate and energy package,” he explained.
The amendment is scheduled to be debated in the European Parliament’s environment committee on 19 February 2013, a timetable Delbeke said he was “not thrilled about”.
Meanwhile, the Commission’s proposal setting out how many allowances it wants to withhold from auction is due to be published by November.
Delbeke’s 2030 announcement came in response to a surprise call from Eurelectric, the electricity industry association, for a coherent EU package linking a 2030 emissions target with post-2020 renewables policy, and an interim ‘backload’ proposal.
“This process should be substantially completed during the current EU mandate, before summer 2014,” Hans ten Berge, Eurelectric’s secretary-general had said.
Long-term targets and investor certainty were the Eurelectric chief’s priority but, significantly, he also called for a “meaningful” backload proposal.
On 1 October, Europe’s employers association, BusinessEurope, sent a letter to all MEP’s asking them to reject the EU’s backloading plan.
BusinessEurope Director Philippe de Buck said that staggering the numbers of allowances auctioned over several years would cause “greater uncertainty, and could have major repercussions for European business, which is already under strain from the economic crisis.”
Clash of the titans
While Europe’s electricity sector is committed to the EU’s decarbonisation instruments, its energy intensive industries fear the cost implications, so pitting two economic titans against each other.
The European Commission’s attempts to balance between differing interests – of industries, member states, NGOs, and its own climate goals for 2020 – have sometimes seen its departments apparently lining up with opposing stakeholders.
A week before EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced her planned carbon market fix, the energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, called for a risk-taking new industrial policy that embraced offshore oil and gas.
Despite the ETS, the US economy is currently moving away from coal much faster than Europe’s because of low gas prices that the ‘shale gas revolution’ has brought in its wake.
Europe, though, is actually experiencing a “golden age of coal” because the US oversupply has been exported at bargain basement prices, according to experts at the International Energy Agency.
4) Another Green Fail: Home Insulation Can Drive Up Energy Consumption
Die Welt, 8 October 2012
Several German studies show that insulated homes consume more rather than less energy. These findings are especially significant because the German Federal Government plans to further tighten energy saving regulations.
Insulation does not always reduce heating energy demand in residential buildings. Its application can in fact increase the consumption of oil and gas. This is the result of a number of studies. The results raise the question whether the Federal Government’s green energy transition may fail in its objectives.
Particularly explosive is a recently rediscovered study by the IBP Institute for Building Physics of the Fraunhofer Institute. Based on an detailed comparative analysis, scientists at the research institute in Stuttgart established in 1985 that, given average winter temperatures of minus four degrees Celsius, the use of insulating does not reduce heating energy consumption; compared to house with solid walls it rather pushes up energy consumption.
Vanished study resurfaces after three decades
“The expensive facade insulation is useless and even leads to rising heating costs,” says architect Konrad Fischer. The insulation critic from Hochstadt am Main has found the Fraunhofer paper again which was lost for decades.
According to the study, the fact that insulating materials do not meet the expectations placed upon them it is due to a simple physical law: massive walls can retain solar warmth and radiate the heat into the interior spaces until late in the evening, even in winter. With insulated houses, however, this is not possible because of the thick plastic insulation covering the outer walls. As a result, “the interior is at no time supplied with heat”, the researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute already recognised 27 years ago.
Heating energy consumption of uninsulated houses overestimated
Another study completed this year by the University of Cambridge questions the mathematical models used in Germany to calculate the theoretical energy requirements for heating.
Architects at the British university have meticulously compared the results of theoretical modelling of how much energy is required for heating, the so-called energy value, with the actual heating energy consumption of 3,400 houses in Germany. The result: In older buildings with little or no insulation the actual consumption of gas or oil was 30 to 40 percent lower than model estimates.
According to their theoretical models, energy consultants had calculated an average consumption of 225 kilowatts per square meter per year in real estate, the actual consumption, however, was only 150 kilowatts. On the other hand, a majority of new low-energy buildings had higher consumption levels than calculated. “The result of the study suggests that the models are based on false assumptions”, says Cambridge scientist Minna Sunnika-Blank.
The results of the studies are explosive because the Federal Government wants to tighten the energy saving regulations (EnEV) further. From 2014, new buildings should be built in a way that their calculated heating consumption is reduced by 12.5 percent.
From 2016, the theoretical heat energy requirement for new residential buildings should be further reduced by the same percentage. This would mean that even more insulation would be used than hitherto.
The EnEV reform is welcomed by insulation manufacturers. They are convinced by the quality of their materials – both for new construction and for renovating existing buildings. “Most of the energy is lost through the outside walls of a house; if you insulate here, you save up to 50 percent of heating costs,” says Wolfgang Setzler, director of the Association of thermal insulation systems.
“Good home insulation may provide home owners with long-term care and cost certainty,” says Christian Bruch, manager of the overall insulation industry association (GDI).
Construction of new homes will be much more expensive
The real estate industry on the other hand rejects the EnEV reform vehemently because it would increase the costs of constructing new homes and apartment buildings significantly. It appears doubtful if these additional costs would be offset by savings in heating energy. Only one thing is sure, says Gerold Happ, manager of the Home Owners Association: “For families, it would be even harder to realise the dream of their own home.”
With the tightening of EnEV, the Federal Government also wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide, which is produced during the burning of fossil fuels, is suspected of warming the climate. “The Fraunhofer study disproves, however, the claim that you could reduce heating energy by increasing insulation, compared with uninsulated concrete structures”, says architect Fischer.
In addition, insulation would be produced in extensive melting processes, which require massive amounts of electricity. “With their EnEV goals, the Federal Government ultimately foils their own energy savings targets”, says Fischer.
Results of studies hidden by the government
Before the EnEV is exacerbated, “all the scientific results should first be brought together and evaluated”, says Axel Gedaschko, president of the Federal Association of German housing and real estate companies (GdW), whose 3,000 member companies manage approximately six million apartments. “The findings must then be included in the overall package of the green energy transition.”
The results of the 27 years-old Fraunhofer study are supported by two subsequent studies of other institutes. The results of these studies, however, have been hidden so far by the Federal Government. The Hamburg GEWOS Institute compared the energy consumption of multi-family dwellings with a massive brick wall and those with additional external insulation, which were built between 1984 and 1992.
The result was summarized by the GEWOS researchers: apartment buildings with an uninsulated, solid wall have “a lower annual fuel consumption than the buildings with additional insulation at the exterior wall.”
Massive walls store warmth from the sun
A long-term study of heating energy consumption by Jens Fehrenberg, Professor of Building Construction at the University of Applied Sciences in Hildesheim, comparing an insulated apartment building and an uninsulated one with solid brick walls had the same results: the insulated house heating led to higher energy consumption.
According to Fehrenberg, the reason for this result is that bricks retain solar heat and radiate it partly into the interiors and thus prevent thermal heat loss. “With an additional exterior insulation, this effect is lost.”
Translation Philipp Mueller
5) David Whitehouse: An Updated Hadcrut4 – And Some Surprises
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 October 2012
The new and improved global temperature database, Hadcrut4, has been updated at last. Previously it had been complete to 2010. Hadcrut4 is a combination of Crutem4 and Hadsst3 – land and ocean data – that includes better sampling of the Arctic – the most rapidly warming region on Earth. When Hadcrut4 first came out, it ended in 2010: that was the warmest year in the dataset. This was used in trend analysis to imply a recent temperature increase.
When I first looked at Hadcrut4 I was aware that when the 2011 data was included it would almost certainly show a reduction in global temperature, and hence alter the tone of the implications that were inferred after its debut. Looking at the differences between Hadcrut4 and Hadcrut3, whose data was up to date, I estimated that Hadcrut4 for 2011 would be 0.400. This attracted some criticism. It is pleasing to note therefore that in the updated Hadcrut4 dataset 2011 has a temperature anomaly of 0.399!
The inclusion of the official data for 2011 does not change the statistics of the Hadcrut4 database as I determined – in the last decade or so it is warmer and flatter than the previous database, Hadcrut3. The recent temperature standstill is very evident. There is no statistical case to be made for a global temperature increase in the past 15 years.
Some still say this is cherry picking the data. But it is not cherry picking to look at the temperature of the recent warm spell, post-1980, and note the features evident in the data, such as El Nino, La Nina, volcanic dips and the post-1997 standstill. Perhaps the best way to deduce the length of the recent standstill is to start at the latest data and go back, year-by-year, until the hypothesis of constant temperature is violated. This leads one to 1997.
I anticipate this trend to continue when the annual data for 2012 is complete making the global temperature standstill 16-years long.
The Decline of 1998
A close inspection of the latest Hadcrut4 data shows some differences from the dataset that was first released in March of this year.
In the initial data set 1998 was the warmest year (though not statistically so) along with 2010 (0.53) closely followed by 2005 with 0.52. Now however, 2010 has been increased to 0.540, 2005 to 0.534 and 1998 reduced to 0.523. In fact every year in the top ten warmest years has been adjusted to some degree or other. Compared to Hadcrut3 2010 has increased by 0.07, 2005 by 0.06 and 1998 decreased by 0.006.
None of these adjustments are, considering the errors of measurement, statistically significant, but they do affect the ranking of years, which is important if the associated errors are not considered, as is often the case in the media.
The overall conclusion is that global temperature datasets are fluid and change from month to month, and this must be taken into account in any analysis. It would be nice to have explanations for such changes.