Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump Ends Obama Block On Keystone XL And Dakota Access Pipelines

‘Green Champion’ China Is Building Europe’s New Coal Power Plants
 



President Donald Trump has quickly moved to reverse another of Barack Obama’s signature policies, backing two multibillion-dollar oil pipeline projects that became test cases for Washington’s commitment to addressing climate change. Mr Trump said the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would help to meet his campaign promise of producing new blue-collar jobs at home, insisting that any portions built in the US would have to use domestically produced steel. “We will build our own pipes, like we used to in the old days,” the president said in the Oval Office as he signed presidential memoranda to advance construction on both projects. --Financial Times, 25 January 2017
 
A Chinese company began work on Monday on a $715 million (£573 million) expansion of a Serbian coal mine and a new power plant, part of a wave of investment in new coal-fired plants in the Balkans that is at odds with EU policy of reducing coal use. China Machinery and Engineering Corp's project to expand Kostolac, Serbia's second biggest coal mine, and build a new 350 megawatt (MW) unit at a nearby power plant is the first new electricity capacity built in Serbia in nearly 30 years. --Maja Zuvela, Reuters, 23 January 2017

 
 
 
Planned coal power plants in south-eastern Europe; source Bankwatch
 
We’ve long thought the debates over both pipelines were pretty silly, particularly the arguments about safety and CO2 emissions. Pipelines are much less prone to spills than shipment by rail and truck, which are the alternatives. Meanwhile, the argument that the pipelines increase CO2 emissions ignore that the oil will be pumped regardless of whether it gets shipped by pipeline to the U.S. or by some other method or to some other destination. But the bottom line is that Keystone XL and DAPL never had much relationship with environmental health and safety. So while this is a big embarrassment for greens, it’s not actually that big of a deal for the climate they claim to care so much about protecting. --The American Interest, 24 January 2017
 
Air pollution in London passed levels in Beijing this week, figures have shown, with popular wood burning stoves blamed for exacerbating the problem. On Monday London mayor Sadiq Khan issued the highest air pollution alert in London for the first time, and said on Tuesday that the capital’s ‘filthy air’ is now a ‘health crisis.’ Although nitrogen dioxide levels in London rose higher than China in 2014, it is believed to be the first time particulate readings have exceeded those in the far east.  Temperatures have fallen below zero overnight over the last few days, meaning householders are burning more fuel to keep warm. --Sarah Knapton, The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2017
 
In response to the London smog alert, the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) is calling on the UK government to abolish all support for diesel engines and wood-burners which are posing a growing threat to the health of urban populations. Unusually high amount of domestic wood burning, some of which are subsidised under the Renewable Heat Incentive, has been partly blamed for the latest smog alarm, according to the GWPF. Wood-burning has been advocated and incentives by the Government as a policy to decarbonise the residential sector and has been increasing rapidly in recent years, largely due to a combination of green subsidies and climate campaigning. As a result, there has been a deterioration of air quality in many cities which has contributed to the current smog hazard in London, the environmental group claims. --BioEnergy Insight, 25 January 2017
 
For all these reasons, resistance to the Energiewende has already been surfacing in Germany, although not in the federal parliament, nor in the government. Across the country, no fewer than 800 citizens’ initiatives have been filed against further expansion of wind energy facilities. This movement is well organised, well informed, capable of handling conflict and, in due course, taking on the Bundestag. As they have begun to grasp the fundamental problem of the volatility of wind and solar energy, the mood of the citizens has ceased to be complacent. The urban elites’ dreams of sustainable power production by wind and biogas have been realised at the cost of the loss of the homeland of the rural population. -- Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, Global Warming Policy Foundation, January 2017

 

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