Fog in the Atlantic, America Isolated

From the BBC:

Leaders of 19 nations at the G20 summit in Germany have renewed their pledge to implement the Paris deal on climate change, despite the US pulling out.

Deadlock over the issue had held up the last day of talks in Hamburg but a final agreement was eventually reached.

It acknowledges President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement without undermining the commitment of other countries.

Okay.

In her closing news conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she still deplored Mr Trump’s position on the Paris accord but she was “gratified” the other 19 nations opposed its renegotiation.

And French President Emmanuel Macron also remained hopeful of persuading Mr Trump to change his mind, saying: “I never despair of convincing him because I think it’s my duty.”

One of the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with Trump is thinking it is all about him. This is understandable given Trump thinks everything is about him and so did his predecessor. But even Trump would probably acknowledge that on this issue, and several others, he is simply representing the interests of the people who elected him. That is his job after all, but Merkel, Macron, and the rest don’t seem to understand this: they talk of changing Trump’s mind as if he’s decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement just for the fun of it, instead of it being something he was specifically elected to do. I genuinely doubt they realise that the commitments they’re demanding must first be approved by the senate. The way Macron has kicked off his presidential career, he probably thinks everyone at the G20 can do anything they like, as if they’re medieval kings.

Of course, this is the problem with politicians today, they think they’re leaders of the people rather than mere representatives (a distinction which the Samizdata commenters weighed in on recently). I don’t recall anyone specifically asking the British or French electorates whether they wanted to sign up to this crap, the ruling elites simply agreed among each other that it would happen, and took silence from the masses as consent. Of course, this was only possible because the costs of the agreement are hidden and fall mainly on the United States anyway: as the world’s biggest producer of goods and services, an effective tax on economic activity will hit them the hardest. It’s easy to bully citizens into signing up to something if you hide or lie about the costs, just look at the Olympics. And it’s easier to get people to take a hit if somebody else is getting fucked over twice as hard.

With the USA being the elephant in the room without whose cooperation the whole exercise is pointless, politicians should have spent time and effort finding a solution Americans could accept. Instead, as with the Kyoto Protocol a generation earlier, they didn’t bother and now talk of America being isolated. This is the equivalent of Spanish football clubs forming a league without Real Madrid and Barcelona and claiming the two giants clubs are isolated. Or it’s like world cricket trying to pass reforms without the Indians on board, the folly of which took the blazered idiots in English cricket a long time to learn.

Of course, I think this was quite deliberate. These agreements are set up precisely so the USA will reject them, giving everyone else an excuse to drag their feet or explain why none of these expensive policies has made any difference. And if they do sign up, the Americans hobble their economy and hand over piles of cash. It’s a win-win except for Americans, which is why they keep rejecting it. Little wonder Trump cleared off early and got his daughter to take over.

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22 thoughts on “Fog in the Atlantic, America Isolated

  1. ‘Little wonder Trump cleared off early and got his daughter to take over.’

    I look forward to feminists everywhere rounding on their left-wing friends to demand they stop calling it a gross snub, because a woman is worth just as much as a…

    *tap tap*

    Ladies…?

    Is this thing on?

  2. It was a shit deal for the USA. It must be nice for the USA citizens to finally have a leader who considers their interests paramount.

  3. Worldwide there are 1600 coal fired power plants planned or under construction which will increase current coal fired power capacity by 43%. So, political leaders that allow power prices to go through the roof or reduce living standards better be careful if they want to keep their mandate.

    In Australia, we have the absurd situation of South Australia now having the highest electrical power costs in the world, yet we are one of the largest exporters of gas, coal and uranium. So, they demolish a perfectly good coal fired plant, decommission another one, then get complete blackouts throughout the state and pay an awful lot more for what they do get. Now we have Elon Musk down there to personally launch the building of the biggest battery in the world to fix it.

    Even if AGW was real, even if Australia stuck to it’s Paris targets, the rises in greenhouse gases from India and China alone would be orders of magnitude greater than Australia’s hence rendering any local reductions on the planet negligible. Yet for some reason the people and business owners are expected to put up with blackouts and paying the highest prices in the world, all for some political ideologue, for how long remains to be seen.

    “The United States may also be back in the game. On Thursday, Mr. Trump said he wanted to lift Obama-era restrictions on American financing for overseas coal projects as part of an energy policy focused on exports.”

    “We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal,” he said. “We will be dominant. We will export American energy all over the world, all around the globe.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/01/climate/china-energy-companies-coal-plants-climate-change.html?smid=tw-share

  4. With fracked oil and gas replacing coal in the US she may anyway be meeting the arbitrary standards set in the agreement. Wouldn’t that be richly funny?

  5. Pingback: Samizdata quote of the day « Samizdata

  6. If I recall correctly, the U.S. wound up meeting or exceeding the Kyoto Protocol goals anyway. I’m not sure that occurred for many countries that signed up for the thing. (too lazy to look it up)

  7. Trump may be mad, selfish, sefl aggrandising, narcisitic, stupid, etc.
    As we are constantly told by the media.

    But compared to merkel and mocron he’s an intellectual giant.
    This pair of clowns are baxk yard basket ball players who think they’re the All Blacks or the Brazil soccer team or something.

  8. Bardon: The UK will be heading that way too as the pernicious Climate Change Act bites increasingly hard. We’re already close to the limits of generating capacity for the winter peaks, and we seem to import French (and Dutch) power pretty much all the time now whereas it used to be a two-way thing.

  9. “In Australia, we have the absurd situation of South Australia now having the highest electrical power costs in the world, yet we are one of the largest exporters of gas, coal and uranium.”

    The glorious thing about this being that we can now observe the ultimate outcome of a drive for renewable energy in a western economy from a safe distance as SA destroy’s it’s economy. Given Musk’s battery is the solution, I’m sure it will work out just wonderfully.

    Just on a side note, what’s an easy way to short Tesla and perhaps the SA economy? I might combine that with a long position on coal mining too….

  10. Howard Roark

    “If I recall correctly, the U.S. wound up meeting or exceeding the Kyoto Protocol goals anyway.”

    Correct, but you must understand no one is interested in the actual outcomes of these things, they are only interested in the symbolism of submitting to the ritual. It is very much a religious undertaking.

  11. @Bardon,

    Exactly. Either the anti-coal brigade have never heard of Pareto or they have and are being deliberately mendacious.

    By the way. Musk’s big battery won’t solve the problem; it’s capacity will be for only an hour or so of the State’s power demands. If there’s no wind at night, the lights will still go out.

  12. This is the big South Australian coal mine that I visited a while ago: bloody impressive. As you read down the entry you learn that it’s been closed.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leigh_Creek

    The power stations that it supplied have been closed too. WKPD: “Electricity was generated at the Playford B (240 MW) and Northern power stations (520 MW) from brown coal mined at Leigh Creek, 250 km to the north. The only coal-fired electricity generating plants in South Australia, in 2009 they produced 33% of the state’s electricity … Alinta Energy announced the permanent closure of both Northern and Playford B in early 2016.”

    Utter madness.

  13. Some more numbers here, the Paris manifesto cannot be achieved without a fall in the standards of living. Noted they are slightly smaller than those quoted earlier but are still incredible.

    “The cost of building a 1000 megawatt ultra-supercritical power station today is equivalent to the annual $3 billion subsidy received by renewables in Australia in 2015-16. The numbers here are extraordinary:

    • There are 1015 supercritical and ultra-supercritical power units in the world, with a further 1231 planned or under construction.

    • Ultra-supercritical plants in China, Denmark, Germany and Japan are already achieving efficiencies of up to 47.8 per cent.

    • Asia is building 88 per cent of the world’s new coal-fired power stations in the next five years, with 69 per cent of those supercritical or ultra-supercritical.

    • Japan built the world’s first ultra-supercritical unit in 1993. It has ninety-five coal-fired stations and plans to build another forty-five with supercritical technology in the next ten to fifteen years.

    • China has 579 HELE units, with another 575 planned or being built.

    There are 1015 supercritical and ultra-supercritical power units in the world, with a further 1231 planned or under construction.

    • Ultra-supercritical plants in China, Denmark, Germany and Japan are already achieving efficiencies of up to 47.8 per cent.

    • Asia is building 88 per cent of the world’s new coal-fired power stations in the next five years, with 69 per cent of those supercritical or ultra-supercritical.

    • Japan built the world’s first ultra-supercritical unit in 1993. It has ninety-five coal-fired stations and plans to build another forty-five with supercritical technology in the next ten to fifteen years.

    • China has 579 HELE units, with another 575 planned or being built.”

    http://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2017/06/looming-disaster-energy-security/

  14. “The numbers here are extraordinary:”

    You miss one of the extraordinary number;

    The US has exactly one ultra-supercritical power station and has no plans for any more.

  15. All of the above commentary cheers me immensely.

    Mainly due to having a chunk of my portfolio in uranium mining shares. Look at the charts; uranium hit bottom years ago.

  16. @David M, That would be the other 400 missing ones!

    I drove past a small insignificant street side protest on the way to work this morning, they were made up of overweight and upper middle class Bogan type women that were protesting against the proposed new Adani coal mine in Central Queensland which is all quite fine in our democracy. I got to admit though that I find it quite hard to sympathise with the vociferous members of the proletariat when they are obese, it just doesn’t seem right.

  17. @TNA well done with the investment.

    Given your exposure to Adelaide and some of its more unsavoury features maybe you can suggest a SA short selling strategy to David Moore?

  18. @dearieme, I see that there is still hope for the Leigh Creek coal resource with the advancement of the underground coal gasification (UCG) investment that has been made there. I also think that UCG has tremendous potential in Australia and I see this one is outside of the Artesian Basin which is a major positive. The investors are brave as “they” don’t like UCG down here, see Linc Energy and Cougar Energy painful demise, I know for a fact that the state shutdown of Cougar Energy was a complete stitch up and maybe Linc did indeed fail to report on some issues, but they don’t like it. I was on the Linc plant in Chinchilla a few times.

    Coincidentally Leigh Creek Energy (ASX:LCK) announced today that it had awarded the contracts for the manufacture of the trial system process skids, so they are certainly moving forward, I wish them all the best and will keep this one on my radar.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1-4gYzT8Ek

  19. I look forward to feminists everywhere rounding on their left-wing friends to demand they stop calling it a gross snub, because a woman is worth just as much as a…

    Oh yes. I’m looking forward to reading Laurie Penny’s article on Ivanka Trump back to her next time she whinges about famous women being subject to misogynistic abuse.

  20. “underground coal gasification (UCG)” has been talked about since before I was a lad. Even longer than fusion reactors, and they always remain forty years away.

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