China has coal to burn
PRESIDENT Xi Jinping’s absence from COP26 speaks volumes about China’s attitude to the West’s climate agenda. The country’s continued ramping up of coal power speaks much more.
To the end of September this year, China’s thermal power generation (nearly all coal) has increased by 11.9 per cent from the same period a year ago. Despite new wind and solar capacity coming on stream, new thermal power generation exceeds that of renewables by a factor of 4 to 1.
China Electricity Generation
Put simply, intermittent wind and solar power are not capable of replacing reliable fossil fuels. The Chinese understand that full well, and have no intention of abandoning fossil fuels any time soon. Far from accelerating investment in renewables, new wind and solar capacity is coming on stream this year at only half the rate of last year, following the withdrawal of subsidies.
Meanwhile, thermal power capacity has already grown by 2.5 per cent so far this year, with another 32GW added. This is twice as much as we have shut down in the last decade. And China has another 95 coal power stations under construction
President Xi may make all sorts of promises about peaking emissions, reducing carbon intensity and carbon neutrality in 2060. The harsh reality, however, is that without fossil fuels, which provide 84 per cent of the country’s energy, China would be back in the Dark Ages.
If Xi does not appreciate this, there are many on his Politburo who do and they will quickly send him off to re-education camp if he stands in their way.
‘Our World Under Threat’ – Latest BBC fake news
The BBC’s Environment Department has long been little more than the broadcasting arm of Greenpeace. Two years ago Justin Rowlatt was added to the bloated team as ‘Chief Environment Correspondent’. He joined Roger Harrabin, ‘Energy and Environment Analyst’, the absurd Matt McGrath, ‘Environment Correspondent’, and 11 other ‘journalists’. Quite why the BBC needs such an army of highly paid staff is a mystery.
Rowlatt quickly adapted to the job. In June this year, for instance, he made the patently false claim that the UK’s offshore wind industry is now ‘virtually subsidy-free’. He conveniently ignored the fact that over £4billion in subsidies was paid to offshore wind farms last year, with similar amounts guaranteed every year in future, until well after he has retired with a nice fat pension, no doubt.
Roger Harrabin would have been proud.
At the beginning of COP26 last week, Rowlatt interviewed Boris Johnson about the proposed new coal mine in Cumbria. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/11/01/look-bit-weaselly-bbc-reporter-hits-boris-johnson-coal-mine/ I use the term ‘interview’ loosely, as Rowlatt ranted and gesticulated wildly, calling the PM ‘weaselly’, simply because of his own hostility to all things coal. The fact that the mine would supply UK steelmakers with coking coal, which currently has to be shipped half way around the world, never seemed to cross his mind.
Last week, Rowlatt presented a full-length Panorama on BBC 1, called ‘Wild Weather: Our World Under Threat’. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000q5zz/panorama-britains-wild-weather As you may have guessed from the title, it was a load of rubbish from start to finish.
Rowlatt began with this claim: ‘The world is getting warmer and our weather is getting ever more unpredictable and dangerous. The death toll is rising around the world.’
In fact the opposite is true. The official data shows that the number of deaths from natural disasters, such as drought, extreme weather, floods, storms and wildfire, has declined in leaps and bounds since 1900 and now stand at historically low levels. But when did the BBC ever care about facts?
The programme looked back on five cherry-picked weather disasters this year, claiming without any evidence that these were all made worse or somehow induced by climate change. In reality, none of the events were unprecedented, and the data does not support the claim that such freak events are getting more common.
This of course is standard This of course is standard BBC fare, the thinly disguised climate propaganda to which we have long been accustomed.
Pay up or the climate gets it!
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, turned up in Glasgow last week to tell us what his country is going to do to save the planet. In short, his offer was underwhelming, to say the least!
He promised that India would reach Net Zero by 2070, by which time most of the climate scientists say we will all have burnt to a crisp. Modi offered no plan of how they would achieve this target and no timetable for any emission cuts. As with similar promises by other countries, his pledge is not binding and is worthless.
He did promise that India would build more wind and solar farms, but as these currently provide only 3 per cent of India’s energy, this will make little difference overall.
He also promised to cut emissions by 3 per cent by 2030, according to translations of his speech in Hindi. However, the text published by his own office confirms this is not an actual cut, but a cut in projected emissions. In other words, emissions won’t increase by quite as much as they would have done otherwise! Naturally Modi makes mention of what the actual emissions will be, but we can safely assume they will be much higher than now.
There is, of course, a catch to all of this – the bill. Modi has demanded $1trillion from rich countries in return for his promised action. When does he want it? As the Krays might have said, ‘At the earliest!’
Meanwhile India shows no sign of cutting back on coal consumption. Last year another 5GW of new coal power generation was installed, and there are a further 102 units, totalling 56GW, under construction, which will increase coal power capacity by a quarter.
Fossil fuels supply 90 per cent of India’s energy consumption, and there is no chance that this will change significantly any time soon.
Supply crunch looms for EV batteries
As pressure mounts worldwide to switch from petrol/diesel cars to electric, a supply crunch is rapidly looming for metals such as cobalt and lithium which are an essential component of the batteries.
Already this year, prices for lithium have tripled, with big rises for cobalt and nickel. Market analysts believe that they could triple again in the next few years, with production unable to keep pace with demand. All of this means, of course, that the price of electric cars will rise, if you can actually get one.
Demand for lithium carbonate equivalent is estimated at 300,000 tons this year and is expected to rise to 2.8million tons by 2028.
China already controls much of the world market for both lithium and cobalt, as well as the battery manufacture itself. In the last twelve months, it has acquired another 6.4million tons of lithium reserves and resources in a buying spree which stretches from Africa to South America.
Electric cars are sold as ‘clean, green and eco-friendly’. However, the mining and refining of the raw materials is far from that. Two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, for instance, is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where child labourers are forced to work under horrific conditions. Much lithium comes from the Atacama Desert in Chile, where the mining is creating huge environmental problems. Western countries, of course, want to keep away from these messy problems, and would rather farm them out to other countries.
We have already seen this year what happens when Europe places too much reliance on Russia for its energy supplies.
China has one objective – to be the world’s leading superpowerChina has one objective, to be the world’s leading superpower, a goal it is well on its way to achieving. To put our whole economy at its mercy is a frightening prospect.