Wednesday, December 16, 2015

COP21 Is a Big, Fat Fraud.

Yes, they said they'd educe carbon emissions and opted to get the target for maximum global warming to "well under 2 degrees Celsius." Except the pledges brought to the table beforehand would bring us about 2.7 C. Plus the phrase "Fossil Fuels" is nowhere to be found in the Paris agreement
Good grief... 21 years of treaties and negotiations have all been stepping around the main problem: the production of fossil fuels. And as I said in the last post, we can't afford to wait for peak oil, peak coal and peak natural gas to work their charms on Business As Usual and reduce its emissions.

Look at this graph provided by the BP Statistical Energy Review of 2015:

Notice how fossil fuels and nuclear outrank hydro and renewables by 9-to-1 in the amount of energy produced? And this is worldwide!

From The Real News: 'Fossil Fuels' Nowhere to be Found in the Paris Agreement:
The Guardian reported that James Hansen, former lead scientist at NASA, said that the Paris climate agreement is all BS. He says as long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be burned. If we follow this agreement, we'll have 2 degrees Celsius warming target, and then try to do a little better every five years. It's just worthless words. There is no action, just promises, he says. Further, our next guest, scientist at Pace University Chris Williams, the author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis just wrote about the Paris outcomes. And he says despite the self-congratulatory statements from world leaders praising themselves for single-handedly saving the world from climate catastrophe, the reality is that they have set the planet on course to burn....
[Professor Williams says,] "[D]espite the fact that they've reduced, you know, how much we can go up by and stay safe down to 1.5 degrees, all the pledges that have come in, all of which are now voluntary, so there's no enforcement mechanism, actually put us on track for 3 degrees or more of warming. So--and there's no real mechanism for financing. They're expanding the role with the market, cap and trade, including offsets, all of which we know don't work. And there's no mention of the phrase 'fossil fuels' anywhere in the agreement. And we know that 80 percent of the fossil fuels that we already know exist in reserves have to stay under the ground....
"So what we need to be talking about is how come we're not closing down, first of all, exploration for more fossil fuels, which is not happening? Secondly, the most polluting fossil fuels in use at the moment, which is coal. Why we're not ending those, and transferring the trillions of dollars that are subsidized to produce more of these things, more of this energy source, why are we not transferring that to developing nations so that they can skip the whole generation of dirty energy and move on to clean alternatives? The alternatives are out there.
"Well, there is a mechanism for saying, well, we need to review this every five years, because maybe we're not on track for where we need to go. And we already know that we're not on track. They know that they're not on track. But basically we also know that the sooner we take action the easier and the cheaper and the more effective all of our solutions will be. So by delaying things for another five years, and not saying we're even starting things until 2020, and whatever we do there is no enforcement mechanism. It's all completely voluntary.
"So what should we be doing? Well, first of all, ending all the subsidies to fossil fuel production to incentivize that. According to the IMF that's several trillion dollars. Trillion dollars. And yet they're fighting over handing $100 billion a year to developing countries to help them. So the first and most obvious thing would be to end subsidies to produce fossil fuels. That would immediately alter the price of fossil fuels disadvantageously and improve the cost-effectiveness of solar and wind, and wind is already cost-competitive with most forms of fossil fuel production, even with the subsidies."

And yes, James Hansen really calls the COP21 talks "bullshit".

From The Guardian: James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks 'a fraud':
Mere mention of the Paris climate talks is enough to make James Hansen grumpy. The former Nasa scientist, considered the father of global awareness of climate change, is a soft-spoken, almost diffident Iowan. But when he talks about the gathering of nearly 200 nations, his demeanour changes.

“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
The talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, have spent much time and energy on two major issues: whether the world should aim to contain the temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels, and how much funding should be doled out by wealthy countries to developing nations that risk being swamped by rising seas and bashed by escalating extreme weather events.
But, according to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions are taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.

And yet right now there is such an oversupply of oil that the prices there are swooning. I'm not sure how competitive renewables (solar, wind) are with the low, low prices the economic and oil market experts expect to see in the next several years.  And renewables competing with fossil fuels these days is rather like catching a falling knife.

From the UK Guardian: How Low Can Oil Prices Go?:
Not only did US prices fall under $40 this week but so did the global benchmark Brent crude oil prices, for the first time since February 2009. The global supply glut of about 1.5m barrels per day is the driving factor behind the lower oil prices, with much of that overproduction because of Opec’s opening the spigots. [Jay Hatfield atr Infrastructure Capital Advisors] said there’s another factor behind the new drop in oil prices: warm weather. “The fact that you can almost go swimming in New York City right now is horrible. Absolutely horrible [for heating oil demand]. To me, that’s the straw that is breaking the camel’s back. We’re ground zero for fuel oil demand,” he said.
The El Niño weather phenomenon can bring milder winter weather to the northern part of the US, and that’s been seen in places like New York and Chicago, where December temperatures are above normal, reducing heating demand. If Opec’s disorganization continues and temperatures stay mild, that could add further pressure to prices, he said. “I thought prices would have stabilized in the $40 to $50 area, but … now it could be $35 to $40,” he said. A few factors could influence oil, such as next week’s Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting, where the Fed may raise interest rates for the first time in seven years. That could give the dollar another boost, and Kessens said the greenback’s strength has hit oil since it is dollar denominated.
Next week is the last full trading week of 2015, so there could be some book squaring as investment managers close up accounts before the holidays when trade volume dwindles. Daniel Pavilonis, senior commodity broker with RJO Futures, said the next target for prices is likely the 2008 low. “I see prices going lower. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an uptick from here next week, maybe to the $40s, but then see a sharp decline, a sell-off below $35. There’s so much supply out there. I think [prices are] going to be lower than people will perceive,” he said.
Taking out a level that’s held for so long could be jarring and may have a snowball effect, he said. On the other hand, there is likely to be some opportunistic buying simply because prices are so low. Pavilonis didn’t rule out a dip under $30 a barrel, but just how far prices may go is hard to determine. “It’s hard to call a bottom. It’s like catching a falling knife. Just let the knife fall to the side and pick it up later so you don’t get hurt,” he said.

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