Climate News of the Week Roundup: Who Created the Misleading “Warming Pause” Narrative?

This week’s roundup features a discussion of how the faux warming pause narrative came into being, German Christian Democrats citing estimates of costs of climate inaction as costs of climate action, the IPCC being accused of being conservative on sea level rise, India’s solar programme restarting, the arrival of unsubsidised solar, how Danish utilities turned an efficiency obligation into an opportunity, the benefits of public transport, talks to expand the US’s first carbon market, the EU having already achieved its 2020 emission target, and more.

Who created the global warming “pause”? Chris Mooney delves into how the thoroughly misleading narrative that there’s been a global warming “pause” came to be generated and gain traction. Essentially, the usual cherry picking of data by climate contrarians, aided by journalists looking to make headlines and some inept handling of the issue by climate scientists.

Contorting numbers. Der Klima-Lügendektor reports (in German) on how the business caucus of Germany’s Christian Democrats used a study on climate costs rather creatively. A study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) had concluded that the cost of climate INaction might amount to cumulatively 800 billion by 2050. The Christian Democrats turned this into a statement claiming that the cost of climate action would amount to 800 billion.

IPCC “conservative” on sea level rise. The IPCC projections are bad enough but some experts say things could get much worse. IRIN reports that while the IPCC now estimates that see level could rise by between 28cm and 98 cm by 2100, some experts think 1-3m is the more likely order of magnitude. Even the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2012 produced a worst-case scenario of 2m.

India Invites National Solar Bids After 2-Year Gap. Bloomberg reports that India has launched its first solar auction since 2011, inviting bids for in total 750MW.

U.K. Plans to Increase Solar Power Eight-Fold by 2020. The headline may be a bit misleading since it’s not clear whether it’s indeed the entire government, but according to Bloomberg UK energy minister Greg Barker wants to multiply the existing solar capacity eight-fold to 20GW by 2020.

Queensland reaches 100MW of unsubsidised solar. Giles Parkinson reports that Queensland’s network operator Energex has reached 100MW of rooftop solar PV installations that are not subsidised.

How Denmark turned an efficiency obligation into opportunity. Dan Haugen reports on how Denmark managed to get traditional utilities behind its mandatory programme to improve energy efficiency.

The Benefits Of Public Transport + Infographic. CleanTechnica highlights a very interesting infographic produced for Kansas City to highlight the various economic, social and environmental benefits of public transport.

Memo to sceptics of a low-carbon world – ‘it’s happening’. The Guardian has for the second time put together a gallery of carbon cutting actions all over the world, arguing that, “Humanity has the ability to tackle climate change – it just lacks the inclination. Alongside a fear of the consequences of inaction must come an optimistic sense that “doing it low-carbon” is not just possible but often better; and far from treading a lonely path, we are part of a global community taking practical action.”

First US carbon market in membership talks with five states. PointCarbon reports (subscription required) that five more US states may join the North-Eastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative if the upcoming federal programme to establish performance standards for power plants  gives credit to RGGI states.

Climate and energy targets – EU largely on track but mixed picture across Member States. The European Environment Agency published its annual report on the EU’s climate policy progress. According to the EEA, EU emissions fell 1% in 2012 and are in total now 18% below 1990 levels, so the 2020 climate target is almost achieved 8 years early. The 2020 target thus only amounts to keeping emissions stable. None of the EU member states is on track to meet all three of the EU’s targets on emissions, renewables and efficiency, but there’s also none that’s not on track for at least one of them.

EU climate policy outpaced by emissions reductions. Sandbag took the EEA’s data and added its own data on the use of offsets in the EU ETS. Which amounted to 500 million tonnes in 2012, so the EU actually achieved emission reductions of 27% below 1990 levels last year.

Empirics of energy competitiveness. One reason why the EU has been unable to reform its ETS is fear of competitive disadvantages. Georg Zachmann argues that the loss of competitiveness because of elevated energy costs is concentrated in a limited number of sectors. The cost of subsidising energy-intensive companies might actually be greater than the benefits if the cost of these measures is borne by other parts of the economy.

Hedegaard: More 2030 climate targets would be ‘wise’. EurActiv reports that EU climate commissioner Hedegaard has come out in favour of having more than only an emission reduction target for 2030. “During the economic crisis we had more than one target and that has helped us a lot. Imagine if we had only had a CO2 target and the ETS (Emissions Trading System) during this crisis. Would Europe have continued to have such a strong focus on energy efficiency and renewables? I don’t believe it.”

Campaign against fossil fuels growing, says study. Damian Carrington reports on an Oxford University study saying that the fossil fuel divestment campaign is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign. The study also says that the reputational threat from stigmatisation poses a far more far-reaching threat than the direct investment impact.

The Viability of Germany’s Energiewende: Mark Jacobson Answers 3 Questions. Loukia Papadopoulos put three questions to the director of the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford University. In his view reliability of supply is not an issue. “Ensuring the reliability of the grid is merely an optimization problem. If fossil generators are used to fill in gaps, it is only because the current grid is inefficient and the health and climate impacts of fossils are not reflected in the costs of these fuels.”

German renewables surcharge unofficially announced. Craig Morris reports that next year’s increase of Germany’s renewables surcharge will increase retail electricity rates by 5%. He also notes that the costs of heating oil&gas are set to rise by up to 18%, and households anyway spend much more on heating than on electricity, but somehow discussions of energy poverty are almost always exclusively about electricity.

 

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