The Global Warming Policy Foundation

CCNet –  10 May 2012
The Climate Policy Network



European Parliament Cancels Rio+20 Participation

Developing Nations Push Back Green Agenda


 

The European Parliament has cancelled plans to send a delegation to the UN's Rio+20 summit on sustainable development taking place in June, saying the costs are too prohibitive. “The huge increase in the estimated cost of attending the summit is simply not justifiable, especially at a time when many Europeans are faced with economic hardship,” said Matthias Groote, the chairman of the environment committee. --Dave Keating, European Voice, 9 May 2012
 

 
During the Ri+20 negotiations the G77 group has been the main force behind the push-back. Many within the group are concerned that the “green economy” is merely a ploy by northern countries to jump start their own troubled economies through technology and service transfers that the south would require in order to participate in the “green economy”. For the G77 poverty eradication has proven more important than the green economy. Implicit within the G77′s arguments during negotiations is their belief that job growth and development, which are essential for poverty eradication, are more important than the environmental policies that the UN is championing. --Timothy Herrmann, Turtle Bay and Beyond, 7 May 2012
 
 

Households will be made to pay for wind farms and nuclear power stations under a new Energy Bill that will force up electricity bills by around £200 a year. The new laws revealed in the Queen's Speech will bring in a raft of costly subsidies to help energy companies pay for “green” electricity. British households will have to cover the cost of the subsidies through their energy bills over the next 20 years. Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, accused the Government of making “an energy bill with nothing to help people struggling to make ends meet”. Businesses are also concerned that rising electricity bills could make the recession worse by forcing them to move abroad. --Rowena Mason , The Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2012
 
 
 
 
The Global Warming Policy Foundation warns that the government's overarching aim to reduce the economic burden on British families and UK businesses is threatened by the significant costs of its planned electricity market proposals. At the heart of the Queen’s Speech was a government promise to introduce policies that aim to help families and businesses. But this is seriously undermined by its commitment to introduce an Energy Bill that will significantly increase the cost of electricity. "These green energy measures will be both economically damaging and very unpopular when their cost becomes apparent in rising energy bills," said Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. --The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 May 2012
 
 
 
 
Badly designed policies like the Carbon Price Floor, the Green Deal and the smart meter rollout could cost the consumer billions, it is imperative that this is not allowed to happen with electricity market reform. People tell us rising energy costs are their biggest financial worry so the Government should also take the opportunity to reform energy tariffs and make them simple and fair.  --Richard Lloyd, Executive director, Which?, 9 May 2012
 
 

US Senator Jeff Bingaman (Democrat, N.M.) introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, which identifies natural gas and nuclear — along with renewable energy sources — as being “clean.” If that definition holds, then groups such as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and lots of others will be in the rather uncomfortable position of having to oppose Bingaman’s measure even though those very same groups regularly tout the need for more clean energy. --Robert Bryce, National Review, 9 May 2012 

 
Deep-pocketed environmental groups are collecting millions of dollars from the federal agencies they regularly sue under a little-known federal law, and the government is not even keeping track of the payouts, according to two new studies. --Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News, 8 May 2012
 
 
 
1) European Parliament Cancels Rio+20 Participation - European Voice, 9 May 2012

2 ) G77 Pushes Back At Rio+20: Poverty Eradication More Important Than Green Economy - Turtle Bay and Beyond, 7 May 2012

3) Ed Miliband Attacks UK Energy Bill That Will Send Bills Soaring - The Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2012

4) Green Energy Bill Threatens To Undermine Economic Recovery - The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 May 2012

5) Robert Bryce: Green Campaigners Oppose ‘Clean Energy’ - National Review, 9 May 2012

6) Environmental Groups Collecting Millions From Government Agencies They Sue, Studies Show - Fox News, 8 May 2012
 
 

1) European Parliament Cancels Rio+20 Participation
European Voice, 9 May 2012

Dave Keating

The European Parliament has cancelled plans to send a delegation to the UN's Rio+20 summit on sustainable development taking place in June, saying the costs are too prohibitive.

The Parliament had planned to send 11 MEPs. But yesterday the political group co-ordinators on the environment committee decided that hotel costs, of up to €800 a night, were too exorbitant. A delegation from the European Commission will attend, led by Janez Potocnik, the European commissioner for the environment.

“The huge increase in the estimated cost of attending the summit is simply not justifiable, especially at a time when many Europeans are faced with economic hardship,” said Matthias Groote, the chairman of the environment committee.

“The Brazilian government should have taken action to avoid hotels abusing their position. That's also part of the responsibility of hosting such a large conference,” said Dutch Liberal MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, who was to lead the delegation.

Expectations for the summit, which is being held on the 20 year anniversary of the Earth Summit that led to the establishment of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, have been marked down in recent months. Negotiations for a draft conclusion for the summit have progressed slowly.

Talks in New York last week that were intended to be the last before the summit were inconclusive, prompting another round to be scheduled. Disagreements remain between developing and developed countries over whether the text should call for “common but differentiated responsibilities” for the two.

Switzerland publicly complained about Brazil's handling of the summit at the end of last week's talks, saying in a press release that the host country lacked a strong vision and that the process was chaotic.
 


2 ) G77 Pushes Back At Rio+20: Poverty Eradication More Important Than Green Economy
Turtle Bay and Beyond, 7 May 2012

Timothy Herrmann

Straight from the UN News Service last Friday, May 5th:

Representatives from governments negotiating the outcome document for the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) today agreed to add five more days of deliberations to bridge differences that have kept them from making further progress in negotiations.

The extended negotiations will begin the 29th of May and last for five days, ending June the 2nd. Formal negotiations will pick up again in Rio on the 13th of June.

The document is now over 100 pages long and is  “is a far cry from the ‘focused political document’ called for by the General Assembly,” according to Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang.

Controversy surrounds the current text and is getting in the way of producing a streamlined text that all countries will be able to agree upon at the final conference in Rio to be held in June. According to UN news:

Countries have voiced concern over accountability and implementation of the commitments made, as well as over the theme of the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty, with some developing countries asserting that a green economy approach should not lead to green protectionism or limit growth and poverty eradication.

During negotiations C-FAM has observed that the G77 group is the main force behind the push-back mentioned above. Many within the group are concerned that the “green economy” is merely a ploy by northern countries to jump start their own troubled economies through technology and service transfers that the south would require in order to participate in the “green economy”.

By forcing developing countries to sign on to the Rio +20 document and the green economy, many developing countries believe that they are signing up to spend money on technologies and reforms they can’t afford and that would serve to increase jobs in the north while ignoring the problem of poverty and job growth in their own countries.

For the G77 poverty eradication has proven more important than the green economy and they have fought consistently for language emphasizing poverty eradication in conjunction with sustainable development throughout negotiations. Implicit within the G77′s arguments during negotiations is their belief that job growth and development, which are essential for poverty eradication, are more important than the environmental polices that the UN is championing and that would place sustainable development as tantamount to economic growth.

The investment required for developing countries to make their economic development policies more “green” while still creating the growth they need to bring their countries out of poverty is impossible without northern investment. During negotiations, however, northern countries within the EU as well as countries like the US and Canada have been unwilling to make any commitments to such investments. This has led to the G77 refusing to commit to the green economy and chastising the north for trying to have their cake and eat it too.

Even though more than 120 Heads of State have registered to attend Rio+20 along with another 50,000 atendees according to some estimates, it is unlikely that fan fare alone will be enough to produce a document with enough political will for any serious implementation. The North-South divide over the proper course for development simply remains to wide.
 



3) Ed Miliband Attacks UK Energy Bill That Will Send Bills Soaring
The Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2012

Rowena Mason

Households will be made to pay for wind farms and nuclear power stations under a new Energy Bill that will force up electricity bills by around £200 a year. The new laws revealed in the Queen's Speech will bring in a raft of costly subsidies to help energy companies pay for “green” electricity.

British households will have to cover the cost of the subsidies through their energy bills over the next 20 years.

The Government said the main point of the new Energy Bill is to make electricity “secure, affordable and low-carbon”.

It will hand millions of pounds per year to energy companies in a subsidy called “capacity payments” simply for keeping their power stations open to back up wind farms.

Another subsidy called “contracts for difference” will artificially raise the price of electricity to make it worthwhile for companies to build nuclear power stations.

A third measure, known as the “emissions performance standard” will ban companies from building the most polluting coal stations.

Government estimates suggest the new subsidies will put an extra £205 a year on the average household electricity bill over the next 15 years.

It has predicted domestic electricity figures will rise from £477 per year to £682 per year by 2026.

The independent Committee on Climate Change says bills are likely to rise by £200 by the end of this decade, with half of this due to current green policies.

Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, accused the Government of making “an energy bill with nothing to help people struggling to make ends meet”.

Businesses are also concerned that rising electricity bills could make the recession worse by forcing them to move abroad.

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said more must be done to reduce energy bills.

“Whilst we accept there is a need to stimulate investment in a new a generation of nuclear power stations and renewable energy infrastructure, small businesses have been subject to a remorseless increase in energy costs,” he said.

“It is essential that the reform of the electricity markets is accompanied by strong safeguards for consumers and measures to increase competition and break the dominance of the big six energy companies.”

Full story


 

4) GWPF: Green Energy Bill Threatens To Undermine Economic Recovery
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 May 2012

London 10 May: The Global Warming Policy Foundation warns that the government's overarching aim to reduce the economic burden on British families and UK businesses is threatened by the significant costs of its planned electricity market proposals.

At the heart of the Queen’s Speech was a government promise to introduce policies that aim to help families and businesses. But this is seriously undermined by its commitment to introduce an Energy Bill that will significantly increase the cost of electricity.

Most energy analysts agree that these proposals will hike up energy costs for both households and businesses, while injecting more than £100 billions into areas of green energy generation, such as wind power, that are inherently unreliable.

The latest forecast by Credit Suisse estimates that power prices in the UK will increase by more than 60% by 2020 if these measures are introduced.

At a time where many people are already facing economic hardship, the government's energy bill will have a significant and growing adverse impact on both business costs and living standards.

"These green energy measures will be both economically damaging and very unpopular when their cost becomes apparent in rising energy bills," said Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
 
 

5) Robert Bryce: Green Campaigners Oppose ‘Clean Energy’
National Review, 9 May 2012

US Senator Jeff Bingaman (Democrat, N.M.) introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, which identifies natural gas and nuclear — along with renewable energy sources — as being “clean.” If that definition holds, then groups such as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and lots of others will be in the rather uncomfortable position of having to oppose Bingaman’s measure even though those very same groups regularly tout the need for more clean energy.

‘Clean energy” is the political darling of the moment. President Obama has made the promotion of clean energy one of the centerpieces of his administration and his reelection effort. The Democratic National Committee claims that “clean energy” investments are “helping pave the way to a more sustainable future, creating new jobs and entire industries here in America.” Last month, the Center for American Progress, a leftist think tank, released a report that touted the need to build a clean-energy economy.

On Sunday, an editorial in the New York Times extolled the benefits of renewable energy and declared that the “clean energy industry” was “one of the few sectors to add jobs” during the recession.
It’s readily apparent that the left is rallying behind the notion of “clean energy.” But what, exactly, is it? Ah, now there’s the rub.

In March, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D, N.M.) introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, which identifies natural gas and nuclear — along with renewable energy sources — as being “clean.” If that definition holds, then groups such as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and lots of others will be in the rather uncomfortable position of having to oppose Bingaman’s measure even though those very same groups regularly tout the need for more clean energy.

Proving why this is so takes only a modicum of research. The Sierra Club claims that the “gas industry is dirty, dangerous, and running amok.” It continues, saying, “The closer we look at natural gas, the dirtier it appears. . . . If we can’t protect our health and treasured landscapes from the damages caused by the natural gas industry, then we should not drill for natural gas.”

That’s a remarkable set of statements from the Sierra Club, particularly given that the group received nearly $26 million in donations from the gas industry between 2007 and 2010, most of it from Chesapeake Energy’s now-embattled CEO, Aubrey McClendon. During many of those years, the Sierra Club supported natural gas because, as Michael Brune, the group’s executive director, put it, the group’s leaders believed at the time that this fuel could “play a necessary role in helping us reach the clean energy future our children deserve.” But in February of this year, the Sierra Club changed its direction on natural gas and Brune declared that the “only safe, smart, and responsible” way to address America’s energy needs is to look beyond coal, oil, and natural gas and to focus on “sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal.”

As for nuclear, forget it. Since 1974, the club has opposed “the licensing, construction and operation of new nuclear reactors utilizing the fission process.” The group says that it will continue its opposition, pending “development of adequate national and global policies to curb energy over-use and unnecessary economic growth.”

Bill McKibben, perhaps the best-known environmental activist in America, also dislikes natural gas. The founder of 350.org and a leader of the movement to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, McKibben recently said that natural gas is “just a rickety pier stretching further out into the fossil fuel lake.”

A similar stance is evident at Greenpeace, which says that natural gas is “a fossil fuel, with some of the same damning negatives as coal and oil . . . The extraction of natural gas — especially via fracking — is incredibly harmful to the environment and people’s health.” The group says it is opposed to hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. “fracking”) because the process is “wreaking havoc on communities all over the country, as well as on our climate.”

Nuclear energy is “an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity,” Greenpeace maintains. “The only solution is to halt the expansion of all nuclear power, and [to force] the shutdown of existing plants.” It also says, “There is no place for dangerous expensive nuclear power in meeting future energy demand or in helping to avert catastrophic climate change.”

Despite the fact that abundant supplies of low-cost natural gas are helping the U.S. decarbonize more rapidly than the European Union, Joe Romm, a leading blogger for the Center for American Progress, has repeatedly slammed natural gas. On March 1, the same day that Senator Bingaman introduced his bill, Romm wrote that natural gas was a “bridge fuel to nowhere.” In January, Romm was even clearer about his antipathy toward the fuel, writing, “We don’t want new gas plants to displace new renewables, like solar and wind, which are going to be some of the biggest, sustainable job creating industries of the century.”

Romm, like many others on the Left, is also reflexively anti-nuclear. And given his belief in the dangers posed by carbon dioxide emissions, that opposition is remarkable. After all, if you are anti–carbon dioxide and anti-nuclear, you are pro-blackout. Nevertheless, the Center for American Progress, in its recent report on “clean energy,” ignores nuclear altogether.

Full story

 
 
6) Environmental Groups Collecting Millions From Government Agencies They Sue, Studies Show
Fox News, 8 May 2012

Joshua Rhett Miller

Deep-pocketed environmental groups are collecting millions of dollars from the federal agencies they regularly sue under a little-known federal law, and the government is not even keeping track of the payouts, according to two new studies.

Under the Equal Access to Justice Act, or EAJA — which was signed into law by President Carter in 1980 to help the little guy stand up to federal agencies — litigants with modest means who successfully show government agencies wronged them can get their legal fees back from the taxpayer.

But the act also covers 501(c)(3) nonprofits, including environmental groups that aggressively sue the feds to enforce land-use laws, the Clean Water and Clean Air acts and laws protecting endangered species. Their lawyers are getting reimbursed at rates as high as $750 an hour, sources tell FoxNews.com.

“It was intended for helping our nation's veterans, seniors and small business owners, but environmental groups have hijacked the so-called Equal Access to Justice Act and abused it to fund their own agenda,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told FoxNews.com. “Then you have small businesses and the American taxpayers left to foot the bill.”

Environmental groups, however, argue that the act is an important tool in their efforts to protect the public's interest in conservation, fighting pollution and ensuring the federal government follows its own rules.

“Litigation is not a moneymaker, and the litigation is being done to make a difference and make the world a better place,” Erik Molvar, executive director of the Wyoming-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, told FoxNews.com.

The exact taxpayer cost of the Equal Access to Justice Act remains unclear. The General Accounting Office, or GAO, tracked 525 legal fee reimbursements that totaled $44.4 million from 2001 through 2010, but found that only 10 of 75 agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior could provide data on cases and attorney fee reimbursements.

“As a result, there was no way to readily determine who made claims, the total amount each department paid or awarded in attorney fees, who received the payments or statutes under which the cases were brought for the claims [for fiscal years 2000 through 2010],” the GAO report reads.

Barrasso fears that is only the tip of the iceberg.

“You’re talking about millions and millions of dollars,” Barrasso said. “There is a pressing need for more accountability and transparency. Even the government doesn’t know how much it's paying out — it’s disturbing.”

A recent Notre Dame Journal of Legislation article said the law had a noble purpose once, but has produced an “incalculable waste of taxpayer money.”

“It is among the most wide-reaching statutes in the U.S. Code, and what it attempts to do is as complex in execution as it is simple in concept: to aid those who would otherwise be truly hurt by fighting the government when it acts without justification,” wrote Lowell Baier, author of the article and president of the Boone and Crockett Club, a Montana-based conservationist group. “But it is clear that EAJA is in need of reform.”

Critics say the act needs to be reformed in order to serve its original purpose. Baier calls for limiting it to small businesses and individuals and withholding or at least limiting payments where plaintiffs prevail on “process instead of substance.”

In May, Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., jointly introduced the Government Litigation Savings Act to reform the Equal Access to Justice Act. If passed, the bill would cap reimbursements at $200 per hour. It would also limit repetitive lawsuits and require full accounting of payments authorized by the Equal Access law, the GAO report found.

“Obviously it’s a David and Goliath situation when a senior citizen, small business or veteran takes on the federal government,” Lummis told FoxNews.com. “When money is being spent trying to practice the equivalent of defensive medicine, the money is not going to the environment — it’s just going to lawyers. And that was never the intent of those dollars.”

Full story

 
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