Amid the waves of indignation that swept the world in the aftermath of Trump’s announcement on Thursday, another theme has emerged: politicians and executives within America and elsewhere have said they would continue their efforts to cut emissions. Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, tweeted that the company was “committed to fight climate change and we will never waver”. The iPhone maker last month opened its vast “spaceship” campus in Cupertino, California, which Cook has said will be the greenest building in the world. It was not only the tech giants. Chevron, Nike, General Electric and Goldman Sachs all publicly criticised Trump’s decision. Even ExxonMobil, which for years provided funding to climate sceptic pressure groups and politicians, has argued for staying in the Paris agreement. Last month Exxon shareholders, including the Church of England, approved a resolution requiring the oil giant to publish annual reports on how climate change would affect its business. “I don’t think [Trump’s decision] will make much difference, certainly not for us,” said a European oil executive. The states of California, Washington and New York, which have a combined GDP bigger than Germany’s, proclaimed that they planned to honour the Paris requirements. Jerry Brown, the governor of California, called Trump’s decision “insane”. He was not the only politician to use the occasion to grandstand, especially in Europe. The European Union has rejected Trump’s offer to renegotiate the climate agreement and vowed instead to bypass Washington and work with US business leaders and state governors to keep to the accord’s commitments.
Times 4th June 2017 read more »
Making the American way of life less dirty and wasteful seems an uncontroversial goal, and reducing the fossil fuel consumption of cars, lorries and buildings is the obvious way to go. We should therefore all live in solar-heated apartments near our solar-heated workplaces, recycling all waste products and covering longer distances in electric cars, preferably the safer, driverless variety. Paris asks inland Americans to make sacrifices for coastal Americans. Funnily enough, people in middle America don’t worry much about rising sea levels; they do worry about job losses caused by environmental regulations. Most Americans think global warming is happening (though only 40% think it will harm them). But the states with below-average concern about climate change are the states that voted for Trump. Meanwhile, California and the other liberal st rongholds can go ahead and stick to the Paris agreement if they so choose. I predict they will and that US emissions will continue to fall. Finally, to those who continue credulously to applaud Angela Merkel’s anti-Trump grandstanding, have a think about that increasingly close relationship between Berlin and Beijing. Good luck, Angela, with your pivot to Asia in search of more “reliable” partners. Good luck, Volkswagen – yes, the company that fiddled its engine emissions data – with your new electric car partnership with the state-run Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group. My money’s still on Tesla. President Trump has been much mocked for a sleepy, late-night tweet that introduced to the world the word “covfefe”. I have a message to his virtue-signalling critics. As you press on with your Paris commitments, watch out for flying eggs. And wake up and smell the covfefe. Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford
Times 4th June 2017 read more »
US states accounting for almost 30 per cent of national gross domestic product have pledged to meet the country’s commitments for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris climate agreement, in defiance of President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that he intends to withdraw from the accord. California, New York, Washington and five other states have said they are committed to cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels, which was the reduction proposed for the US by Barack Obama in the Paris agreement. The coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, also pledged to meet or exceed the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation envisaged under the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which Mr Trump has promised to scrap.
FT 3rd June 2017 read more »
City leaders of 102 cities across the U.S. have announced they are adopting the Paris Climate Agreement in defiance of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the historic accord.
Political Dig 2nd June 2017 read more »
The gas barons had figured that their generators would be complementary, rather than competitive, with intermittent renewables. In recent years, though, in states such as California and Texas, renewables generation has been crushing the power markets on which the gas generators depend. In Texas, tax credit-supported wind generation can be economic even in hours when power prices are negative, ie you have to pay the grid manager to take your energy. In California, ratepayers who install rooftop solar panels receive “net metering”, which means they receive retail power rates for their intermittent production. In effect, during the hours their panels work, the cost of maintaining the transmission and distribution grid, along with the back-up capacity of hydro, nuclear and fossil-fuel plants, is borne by ratepayers who do not have rooftop solar. This did not matter when rooftop solar was just a cute green gadget. Now solar generation in California can lead to rapid swings in net load of up to 16,000MW, or about one-third of the total demand in the state, which is about equal to that of the UK grid. Much of the rooftop and “utility scale” solar generation occurs in the middle of the day, which creates the so-called duck curve, or cat’s ears of net requirements for the grid operator. This means that the very time in the middle of the day when the gas generators were supposed to make money is a time when they are idle, just spinning away without any revenue but with the same requirements for debt service. So they are going broke. As the renewables and gas plant owners fight over generation market share, the distribution utilities and even electricity storage developers are gaining power, so to speak. Because balancing the variations in power load is an increasingly demanding task, state regulators are more willing to allocate revenue to those who can manage the process.
FT 3rd June 2017 read more »