Blowout Week 150

This week’s Blowout is inevitably dominated by the unexpected election of Donald Trump to the US presidency. To the supporters of climate change action and a global shift to renewable energy this is an absolute worst-case scenario. To climate change skeptics and energy realists it represents light at the end of the tunnel. Here we summarize early reactions, setting the scene with Trump’s official policy statement:

Website of President-elect Donald J. Trump:  Trump’s “energy independence” policy

America will unleash an energy revolution that will transform us into a net energy exporter, leading to the creation of millions of new jobs, while protecting the country’s most valuable resources – our clean air, clean water, and natural habitats.

Rather than continuing the current path to undermine and block America’s fossil fuel producers, the Trump Administration will encourage the production of these resources by opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands and waters. We will streamline the permitting process for all energy projects, including the billions of dollars in projects held up by President Obama, and rescind the job-destroying executive actions under his Administration. We will end the war on coal, and rescind the coal mining lease moratorium, the excessive Interior Department stream rule, and conduct a top-down review of all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama Administration. We will eliminate the highly invasive “Waters of the US” rule, and scrap the $5 trillion dollar Obama-Clinton Climate Action Plan and the Clean Power Plan and prevent these unilateral plans from increasing monthly electric bills by double-digits without any measurable effect on Earth’s climate. Energy is the lifeblood of modern society. It is the industry that fuels all other industries. We will lift the restrictions on American energy, and allow this wealth to pour into our communities. The Trump Administration is firmly committed to conserving our wonderful natural resources and beautiful natural habitats. America’s environmental agenda will be guided by true specialists in conservation, not those with radical political agendas. We will refocus the EPA on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water for all Americans. It will be a future of conservation, of prosperity, and of great success.

More below on reactions to the Trump triumph at the polls, including dismay on the part of the greens and the climate science establishment, warnings from foreign governments (except Russia, which likes Trump), predicted impacts on the energy industry, the possible demise of the Paris Climate Accord, a remarkably upbeat Al Gore and a classic example from the Independent of a projection gone awry. Following Trump we have an abbreviated mix of stories, including a $6 billion gas deal in Iran, CCS in the UAE, Scotland and Brexit, the French nuclear crunch, NatGrid says no blackouts this winter and Ed Davey falls foul of the Freedom of Information Act.

Forbes:  President Trump Will Make America’s Energy Sector Great Again

With control of the White House and Congress, President Obama’s coal-killing Clean Power Plan is likely history. The EPA will be declawed. The U.S. will not ratify the Paris climate accord. And there will be no chance of a federal carbon tax or cap-and-trade regime. That’s good news for coal miners (like Foresight Energy, up 24% today) and owners of coal-fired power plants. Bad news for environmental zealots. “On day one, he will commence by undoing the onerous regulations placed on every industry in the past eight years,” said billionaire oilman Harold Hamm in a statement to Forbes after the election. “We can now look forward to a reliable supply of affordable energy.” Expect American oil and gas production to surge. We will see an abrupt end to the Bureau of Land Management’s efforts to grab authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. On the campaign trail Trump had expressed his support for the Keystone XL pipeline, and today TransCanada announced its determination to reapply for its permits and build the thing (TransCanada closed up 2.40% on the day). Trump will also likely push through the North Dakota Access Pipeline; its sponsor, Energy Transfer, was up 16%. The recent outages on the Colonial pipeline underscore the need for America to invest in more pipeline infrastructure. A Trump bump for oil, gas and coal could mean fewer dollars flowing into renewables and nuclear. Though candidate Trump spoke about the need for America to build more nuclear power plants, nothing will change the fact that without a cost of carbon neither nuclear nor renewable can compete with natural gas.

Scientific American:  Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition

Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign. Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, the sources said. His participation in the EPA transition signals that the Trump team is looking to drastically reshape the climate policies the agency has pursued under the Obama administration. Ebell is known for his prolific writings that question what he calls climate change “alarmism.” He’s also chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group of nonprofits that “question global warming alarmism and oppose energy-rationing policies.” In a biography submitted when he testified before Congress, he listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in a Greenpeace “Field Guide to Climate Criminals,” dubbed a “misleader” on global warming by Rolling Stone and was the subject of a motion to censure in the British House of Commons after Ebell criticized the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser for his views on global warming. More recently, Ebell has called the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan for greenhouse gases illegal and said that Obama joining the Paris climate treaty “is clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the Senate’s authority.” He told Vanity Fair in 2007, “There has been a little bit of warming … but it’s been very modest and well within the range for natural variability, and whether it’s caused by human beings or not, it’s nothing to worry about.”

Guardian:  Trump presidency a ‘disaster for the planet’, warn climate scientists

“A Trump presidency might be game over for the climate,” said Michael Mann, a prominent climate researcher. “It might make it impossible to stabilize planetary warming below dangerous levels.” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, added: “This is an unmitigated disaster for the planet.” “Millions of Americans voted for a coal-loving climate denier willing to condemn people around the globe to poverty, famine and death from climate change,” said Benjamin Schreiber, climate director at Friends of the Earth US. “It seems undeniable that the United States will become a rogue state on climate change.” “As president, Donald Trump will pretend climate change does not exist,” said Prof Tom Lyon of the University of Michigan’s business school. “This is an increasingly untenable position, even for committed climate skeptics.” “This could be devastating for our climate and our future,” admitted Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “But Trump must choose wisely or we guarantee him the hardest fight of his political life. If he tries to go backwards on climate change he’ll run headlong into an organized mass of people who will fight him in the courts, in Congress and on the streets.”

Los Angeles Times:  Will the Paris climate accord and other environmental pacts survive a Trump presidency?

The extraordinary speed at which the Paris accord was enacted into law was driven in part by concerns among world leaders that Trump, if elected, could prevent the U.S. from participating. On Wednesday, at this year’s United Nations climate conference, in Marrakech, Morocco, world leaders woke to news of Trump’s victory and vowed both to work with the new president and hold his administration accountable. After congratulating Trump, Salaheddine Mezouar, the president of the conference, said all parties to the agreement “have the shared responsibility to continue the great progress achieved to date.” Mezouar said that he was “convinced that all parties will respect their commitments and stay the course in this collective effort” and that his office would work “in a spirit of inclusiveness and determination, particularly with the new American administration.” A Trump administration may not be able to formally withdraw from the accord. But because the accord includes no legally binding emissions goals, only the commitment to pursue them and regularly consider strengthening them, Trump could simply choose to ignore it . “There’s not much the international community can do about it other than shame and bad will in global diplomacy,” Bordoff said. “And I’m not sure how much that administration would care about that.”

Guardian:  Trump victory may embolden other nations to obstruct Paris climate deal

Concerns are mounting that Donald Trump’s victory could embolden some fossil fuel-rich countries to try unpicking the historic Paris climate agreement, which came into force last week. Saudi Arabia has tried to obstruct informal meetings at the UN climate summit in Marrakech this week, and worries are rife that states which have not yet ratified the agreement could seek to slow action on carbon emissions. Some NGOs said that the potential ending of the US-China alliance that pushed through a deal in Paris has already spurred Saudi Arabia to step up disruptive efforts in talks. Safa al-Jayoussi, Climate Action Network’s Arab world co-coordinator, said that officials from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other states had expressed relief at Trump’s victory because of his support for fossil fuels in his 100 days plan. “Those countries trying to put obstacles in the way of Paris can now take advantage of the political instability caused by Trump’s election,” she said. “I think that some states which signed the Paris agreement because of all the international pressure will now use the US election as an excuse to put obstacles in the way of a transparent agreement. They are doing that in informal meetings.”

Swissinfo:  Trump’s climate plan “catastrophic”, says France’s Royal

Donald Trump’s plan to drop out of world cooperation on slowing climate change would be “absolutely catastrophic” and weaken the United States, France’s environment minister said on Friday. But Segolene Royal, defending a 2015 Paris climate agreement she helped construct, told Reuters she believed the U.S. president-elect might switch track once he takes office. Trump has called global warming a hoax, wants to cancel the Paris Agreement and halt all U.S. funding of U.N. global warming programmes. “If such decisions are taken it would be absolutely catastrophic,” said Royal, a Socialist. “I dare to believe that such things are campaign promises to please a certain electorate which has not understood that global warming is a reality,” she said at a Nov. 7-18 meeting of 200 nations in Marrakesh, Morocco, on actions to limit warming.

Reuters:  Trump win opens way for China to take climate leadership role

The election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump as president is likely to end the U.S. leadership role in the international fight against global warming and may lead to the emergence of a new and unlikely champion: China. China worked closely with the administration of outgoing President Barack Obama to build momentum ahead of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The partnership of the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters helped get nearly 200 countries to support the pact at the historic meet in France’s capital. Beijing is poised to cash in on the goodwill it could earn by taking on leadership in dealing with what for many other governments is one of the most urgent issues on their agenda. “Proactively taking action against climate change will improve China’s international image and allow it to occupy the moral high ground,” Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and a senior Chinese climate talks negotiator, told Reuters. Zou said that if Trump abandons efforts to implement the Paris agreement, “China’s influence and voice are likely to increase in global climate governance, which will then spill over into other areas of global governance and increase China’s global standing, power and leadership.” Chen Zhihua, a representative of the Chinese delegation and official in the climate change division of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s economic planning agency, said Chinese and other countries’ efforts will not change if the United States withdraws from the agreement.

Financial Times:  China warns Trump against abandoning climate change deal

China has warned Donald Trump that he will be defying the wishes of the entire planet if he acts on his vow to back away from the Paris climate agreement after he becomes US president next January. In a sign of how far the world has shifted in recognising the need to tackle global warming, Beijing — once seen as an obstructive force in UN climate talks — is now leading the push for progress by responding to fears that Mr Trump would pull the US out of the landmark accord. “It is global society’s will that all want to co-operate to combat climate change,” a senior Beijing negotiator said in Marrakesh on Friday, at the first round of UN talks since the Paris deal was sealed last December. The Chinese negotiators added that “any movement by the new US government” would not affect their transition towards becoming a greener economy. India also joined in the warnings, saying Mr Trump’s appointment would force countries to reassess an accord hailed as an end to the fossil fuel era. “Everyone will rethink how this whole process is going to unfold,” India’s chief negotiator, Ravi Prasad, told the Financial Times. Recalling the way support for the earlier Kyoto protocol climate treaty crumbled after it was abandoned by another Republican president, George W Bush, Mr Prasad said he feared the Paris accord could suffer “a contagious disease that spreads” if the US withdrew.

Guardian:  Turnbull signals Australia won’t follow Trump’s lead on Paris climate agreement

Malcolm Turnbull has signalled Australia will not seek to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement even if the US president-elect, Donald Trump, follows through on his threat to cancel the emissions reductions commitments made by Barack Obama last December. Turnbull on Thursday confirmed Australia had ratified the Paris agreement despite domestic opposition from the One Nation party, a critical Senate bloc for the government, and persistent climate change scepticism roiling within Coalition ranks. After Trump’s victory, and ahead of Turnbull’s confirmation of the government’s intentions with ratification on Thursday morning, the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly, took to Facebook to declare the Paris agreement was now “cactus.” Kelly shared a clip of Trump saying he would cancel the Paris agreement at an oil and gas conference in North Dakota in May.

Independent:  Juncker says US-EU relationship at risk after election

In a series of blunt and forthright remarks on the shock winner of the US elections, Mr Juncker accused the new President-elect of ignorance and said he must be taught “what Europe is and how it works”. Speaking to students at a conference in Luxembourg, the EU Commission President said: “The election of Trump poses the risk of upsetting intercontinental relations in their foundation and in their structure.” “We will need to teach the president-elect what Europe is and how it works,” he said, adding that Americans usually had no interest in Europe. “I think we will waste two years before Mr Trump tours the world he does not know.” It comes after Mr Juncker had raised doubts on Thursday about Mr Trump’s views on global trade, climate policy and Western security.

RT:  Russia is ready to restore relations with US

Russia is ready and looks forward to restoring bilateral relations with the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, commenting on the news of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. We heard [Trump’s] campaign rhetoric while still a candidate for the US presidency, which was focused on restoring the relations between Russia and the United States,” President Putin said, speaking at the presentation ceremony of foreign ambassadors’ letters of credentials in Moscow. “We understand and are aware that it will be a difficult path in the light of the degradation in which, unfortunately, the relationship between Russia and the US are at the moment,” he added. Earlier today, in a message to Donald Trump the Russian President expressed confidence that the dialogue between Moscow and Washington, in keeping with each other’s views, meets the interests of both Russia and the US. The Russian leader noted in the message that he hopes to address some “burning issues that are currently on the international agenda, and search for effective responses to the challenges of the global security,” RIA Novosti reported. On top of it, Putin has expressed confidence that “building a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington, based on principles of equality, mutual respect and each other’s positions, meets the interests of the peoples of our countries and of the entire international community.”

Cheknews Canada:  Trudeau and Trump climate change clash expected

Prime Minister Trudeau is promising to work with Donald Trump — but expect a major clash when it comes to climate change. “We know that putting a price on carbon pollution is a way to improve our response to economic challenges, to create good jobs going forward and to show leadership that, quite frankly, the entire world is looking for,” Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters on Friday when questioned about how he would work with Trump. Trump claims climate change is a hoax and has threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement. It’s feared his controversial election win will cause a profound reversal in American environmental policies. “There are going to be some real challenges going forward and one of them is clean technology and climate change,” says Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. It has the federal opposition renewing calls to halt Canada’s planned carbon tax. “It’s complete insanity that we would kneecap our own economy and put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage with a carbon tax across this country when we know that the Americans would never do that,” says interim conservative leader Rona Ambrose.”

Los Angeles Times:  Gerry Brown warns Trump that California won’t back down on climate change

Brown’s comments come one day after legislative leaders vowed to “lead the resistance” to possible changes led by the president-elect and Republican leaders in Congress. Though the governor struck a more conciliatory tone, his statement ended with a promise to defend the state’s existing policy choices. “We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time — devastating climate change,” he said. Brown was sharply critical of Trump during the presidential campaign season on the issue of climate change, taking aim at statements in which the businessman said he’s “not a big believer” in the phenomenon. In August, Brown vowed to “vanquish” climate change skeptics. “Bring it on,” Brown said at the time. “We’ll have more battles, and more victories.”

Reuters:  After Trump and Brexit, populist tsunami threatens European mainstream

Back in May, when Donald’s Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election seemed the remotest of possibilities, a senior European official took to Twitter before a G7 summit in Tokyo to warn of a “horror scenario”. Imagine, mused the official, if instead of Barack Obama, Francois Hollande, David Cameron and Matteo Renzi, next year’s meeting of the club of rich nations included Trump, Marine Le Pen, Boris Johnson and Beppe Grillo. A month after Martin Selmayr, the head of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet made the comment, Britain shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union. Cameron stepped down as prime minister and Johnson – the former London mayor who helped swing Britons behind Brexit – became foreign minister. Now, with Trump’s triumph over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, the populist tsunami that seemed outlandish a few months ago is becoming reality, and the consequences for Europe’s own political landscape are potentially huge. In 2017, voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany – and possibly in Italy and Britain too – will vote in elections that could be colored by the triumphs of Trump and Brexit, and the toxic politics that drove those campaigns. “Politics will never be the same,” said Geert Wilders of the far-right Dutch Freedom Party. “What happened in America can happen in Europe and the Netherlands as well.” French National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen was similarly ebullient. “Today the United States, tomorrow France,” Le Pen, the father of the party’s leader Marine Le Pen, tweeted.

Fortune:  OPEC’s job of trying to prop up oil prices has just got much harder

With Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidential election, the 14-country oil-producing cartel may have to battle a sourer outlook for the global economy and weaker demand for crude. It also faces the prospect of increased U.S. oil output—a major bugbear for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries—given Trump’s pledge to open all federal land and waters for fossil fuel exploration. OPEC’s internal dynamic could change, with Trump promising to tighten policies on Iran just as oil companies begin slowly to return to the Islamic Republic. “Buckle up your seatbelts for a more turbulent and uncertain global economy that is ahead,” Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. oil historian Daniel Yergin, vice-chairman of the IHS Markit think tank, told Reuters.

Arabian Business:  OPEC may increase production following Trump win

Republican candidate Donald Trump winning the US election may force OPEC to increase crude production to maintain its market share, according to S&P Global Platts. “Trump winning the election will put pressure back on OPEC to maintain its market share strategy because the US shale production may rise under this leadership,” Dave Ernsberger, global head of energy, S&P Global Platts, told Arabian Business on Wednesday. Asked if oil prices will slide, Ernsberger said the market will face a dichotomy of rising Shale production and growing geopolitical concern. “Trump win could mean lower oil prices because he is very pro-US production. The expectation will be that US [shale] production will rise faster under his leadership rather than under Clinton administration,” he said, speaking before Trump was declared US President-elect today.

Forbes:  Oil And Gas Industry Buoyed By Trump Election

After nearly two years of depressed commodity prices and a host of regulations and activist opposition, the U.S. oil and gas industry is hopeful a Donald Trump administration can help reignite growth in the sector, said industry sources. The 45th president will likely remove regulatory impediments imposed by the Obama administration that have stymied oil and gas drilling and infrastructure buildout, said Frank Murphy, managing director, RW Baird. One area of likely change is the opening up of more federal lands to drilling activities, said Murphy. A Trump administration is also added insurance against a general ban on fracking, said a midstream investor. Trump’s election will put more emphasis on expanding U.S. oil and gas production, an industry banker said. The banker did not see Trump as being particularly helpful in the big-ticket offshore drilling projects. Yet the Trump administration could positively impact bonding in the offshore oil and gas sector, an industry lawyer said. The amount and type of bonding companies need to operate in the arena was set to rise under Obama administration efforts and a Trump administration could change that.

Advisor Canada:  Trump’s OPEC snub a potential win for Canadian crude

Canada provided about 43% of the nine million barrels per day of oil imported by the United States last year, versus about 36% by OPEC, says Tim Pickering, founder and chief investment officer of Auspice Capital. “Trump has talked about the end of energy imports from hostile OPEC nations,” Pickering said. “If it were to occur that they reduce the import of oil from Middle Eastern nations, for example, that could be bullish for oil and that could be bullish for Canada, in my opinion.” In his America First Energy Plan, Trump says the U.S. should “become, and stay, totally independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests.” Calgary oilpatch observers said any increase in Canadian oil exports will require more pipeline capacity, which makes Trump’s promise to reopen the approval process for the Keystone XL oil pipeline a potential win. But Trump’s insistence that the U.S. be given a greater financial benefit from the pipeline could still derail the project.

Washington Post:  Iran nuclear deal could collapse under Trump

The future of the historic nuclear agreement with Iran is in the air with the prospect that a Donald Trump administration could take steps that would cause Iran to abandon its commitments, experts said Wednesday. Some characterized Trump’s election as a death knell for the deal, which was reached in 2014 and put into effect in January. It imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear program and its ability to build atomic weapons for at least 10 years in exchange for lifting most international sanctions. Though it has been applauded by allies that negotiated alongside the United States — Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union — the agreement has been heavily criticized in Congress. Republican lawmakers in particular say it has rewarded Iran for taking U.S. citizens prisoner and enabled the country’s aggression in regional conflicts in Syria and Yemen. “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran,” Trump said in a speech to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC during the campaign. He later said he would try to renegotiate the agreement and increase U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Huffington Post:  Oil Stocks Soar After Donald Trump Victory, But Coal Is The Real Winner

Shares of U.S. oil and gas companies spiked Wednesday after Donald Trump won the presidency, but the biggest winner seems to be the ailing coal industry.Oil giants BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil made modest gains of less than 1 percent. But stock in bankrupt Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately owned coal company, skyrocketed over 47 percent. Trump vowed in May to revitalize a coal industry that had all but collapsed amid a series of ill-timed bets on Chinese demand and competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. Like Peabody, Arch Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal have filed for bankruptcy in recent months. The president-elect, who has denounced scientific evidence of climate change as a “hoax,” said he plans to scrap President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, his signature effort to combat global warming. The plan, stalled since February by court challenges, would have empowered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force utility companies to slash emissions. “Let me tell you: The miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which was so great to me last week and Ohio and all over, they’re going to start to work again, believe me,” Trump said at a rally earlier this year. “You’re going to be proud again to be miners.”

News Observer:  Trump wants a coal comeback. It probably won’t happen

Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to bring back jobs to struggling coal communities, and laid-off miners contributed to his presidential victory. But the reality is more complicated. Trump can roll back regulations developed by the Obama administration to curb carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and to protect streams from the impacts of coal mining. He’ll be able to appoint regulators who are more friendly to the industry, and he’ll have a Republican Congress more than willing to enact laws that are favorable to coal. He can’t, however, easily change the market forces that have contributed to coal’s collapse, primarily competition from cheaper natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing. While Trump supports coal, he also supports its chief competitor. Plus, Trump’s protectionist talk on trade could potentially hurt the biggest bright spot for the coal industry: exports of metallurgical coal, the kind that’s used to make steel. “I don’t think there’s a lot of coal miners who’ve been laid off who dusted off their resume on Wednesday morning,” said Nick Carter, interim president of the Kentucky Coal Association.

Bloomberg:  Trump’s Win ‘A Disaster’ for Plunging Renewable Energy Sector

Donald Trump’s surprise election victory turned into a bad day for clean energy investors. U.S. solar panel-maker SunPower Corp. had its worst decline in three months on Wednesday, dropping 14 percent to the lowest since the beginning of 2013. Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s biggest turbine supplier, fell 8.5 percent in Copenhagen. The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index slid by the most in more than four months. Investors are concerned that once in office, Trump will weaken demand for renewable energy by turning away from President Barack Obama’s shift to a cleaner economy and pulling out of a global climate-change pact. Obama’s “Clean Power Plan would have been a strong growth-driver,” Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., said in a research note Wednesday. “We expect a significant overhang on solar stocks due to negative sentiment trades and oversupply in the industry.” China’s solar manufacturers were not immune from the election shock waves. Shangrao, China-based JinkoSolar Holding Co. plunged as much as 12 percent. Guelph, Ontario-based Canadian Solar Inc., which manufactures modules in China, fell as much as 23 percent. “It’s a disaster,” Rhone Resch, former chief executive officer of the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association, said in an interview. “We’ll need to educate Trump that solar energy is a business and not a political issue.”

Utility Dive:  A paradigm shift in the power sector?

For the past few years — particularly since Obama’s reelection — the narrative for the future of the U.S. power sector was clear: Utilities would have to decarbonize their power plant portfolios quickly, first turning to natural gas as a bridge from coal and then ultimately to a greater reliance on renewables, energy efficiency and advanced technologies like storage. The Clean Power Plan underpins much of this narrative, pushing the states with the most coal power to shift to cleaner sources in the coming decades. Through those rules, the Obama administration sought to show the world the U.S. was serious about combating climate change and provide a stable policymaking environment for utilities to make investments. With the world’s largest economy committed to decarbonization, over 190 nations signed a landmark climate accord in Paris last year to limit global climate change to 2 degrees Centigrade this century. For the first time, it appeared a new climate consensus was forming — that U.S. and global policymakers not only accepted the realities of global warming, but were seeking to craft international efforts to stop it. Now, that consensus may be gone. Trump has said he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris accord and openly disavows the concept of human-caused climate change, once calling it a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government. How Trump’s election affects other nations’ decarbonization plans remains to be seen, but his disavowal of climate policy creates deep uncertainty for the (US) power sector.

Daily Caller:  Al Gore Holds Out Hope Trump Will Help Fight Global Warming

Former Vice President Al Gore told his followers Wednesday that he is hopeful a Donald Trump presidency will consider environmentalists’ concerns about global warming. “Last night President-elect Trump said he wanted to be a president for all Americans. In that spirit, I hope that he will work with the overwhelming majority of us who believe that the climate crisis is the greatest threat we face as a nation,” Gore wrote on the website Climate Reality. He also floated the idea that Trump may surprise his legion of climate change warriors — “there is reason to believe that it is not naive or Pollyannaish to hope for more than what we fear.” “Your decision in the ballot box will decide the future of the climate balance here on Earth,” Gore told Clinton supporters in Colorado prior to Clinton’s Election Day defeat. And now, Gore is considering hedging his bets since Trump is set to take the Oval Office.

Independent:  Here’s the mathematical reason why it’s impossible for Trump to become President

If Clinton wins all the states that the Democratic Party historically wins, then she only needs to win Florida, or Ohio, or Virginia. Any one of these states will give her enough Electoral College votes to put her above the required 270. Similarly, if Clinton wins both Colorado and Nevada, then she will win. In other words, Clinton does not need to win Florida or Ohio. On the other hand, Trump needs to win every traditional Republican state, as well as Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, plus one other. If Trump does not at least all three of the big swing states, then he has no mathematical chance at winning a majority in the Electoral College. Not only must Trump win every state that Mitt Romney and John McCain won before him, but he must win states that they were not able to win.

Al Jazeera:  Japan, India sign agreement on civil nuclear power

Japan has signed a controversial deal to sell civil nuclear power equipment and technology to India, despite resistance from campaigners, as the two countries seek to boost business and security ties. The pact, signed on Friday in Tokyo by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi , marked the first time Japan agreed to such a deal with a country that is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Abe and Modi insisted the agreement will contribute to peaceful use of clean energy. “This agreement sets a legal framework to assure that India acts responsibly for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” Abe said, adding that it gets India to effectively participate in the non-proliferation treaty framework. “It is also in line with Japan’s position to promote non-proliferation to create a world without nuclear weapons.” Abe’s pro-business government seeks to export nuclear power plants to counter shrinking sales at home since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, and has discussed similar deals with Vietnam and Turkey. Modi praised the signing as “a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership” that will help India to “combat the challenge of climate change”.

Wall Street Journal:  Iran to Sign $6 Billion Gas-Field Deal With Total, CNPC

Iran plans to sign a preliminary $6 billion deal with France’s Total SA on Tuesday to help develop an offshore gas field, an agreement that would mark the first Western energy investment there since international sanctions were lifted this year. Under the deal, Total, China National Petroleum Corp. and Iran’s state-owned Petropars would develop part of a giant gas field in the Persian Gulf known as South Pars, a press official at Iran’s oil ministry said. It wasn’t clear how much of the $6 billion investment would come from Total, or how the deal would be structured for Total to steer clear of U.S. restrictions still in effect. The deal is a draft that still must be completed over the next six months, the Iranian oil-ministry official said, but it gives Total and CNPC a head start over competitors. Total and CNPC both signed deals years ago to develop the South Pars project before sanctions forced them to pull out in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

BBC:  Scottish government seeks to intervene in Brexit case

The High Court ruled last week that MPs must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU. The UK government immediately said it would appeal to the Supreme Court, with a hearing due next month. The Lord Advocate, Scotland’s most senior law officer, will now apply to be heard in the case. He is expected to argue that the consent of the Scottish Parliament should also be sought before Article 50 is triggered. Confirming that it would seek to intervene, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she believed Scotland should be treated as an “equal partner” in the United Kingdom. If the Supreme Court was to allow the Scottish government’s intervention and ruled against the UK government, it could mean there would have to be a vote on Article 50 in Holyrood as well as in Westminster. Ms Sturgeon stressed that she was not attempting to veto the process of England and Wales leaving the EU. But she said the “democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the national parliament of Scotland cannot be brushed aside as if they do not matter”. Scotland voted to remain in the EU by 62% to 38% in June’s referendum, while the UK as a whole voted by 52% to 48% to leave.

Inquirer: UAE to host region’s first carbon capture plant

The Middle East’s first factory to suck carbon dioxide out of the air has begun operating in the United Arab Emirates, developers and a minister said Saturday. The plant — said to be the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa — is to capture up to 800,000 tons of CO2 a year, the Carbon Capture Company Al Reyadah said. It will capture CO2 emissions from major steel producer Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) in Abu Dhabi, before injecting the gas into the emirate’s oilfields to boost production there, it said. “Once it’s ready in terms of CO2 emissions, it will be like taking 170,000 cars off the streets,” UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said. The minister said the project had been under study “for a very long time” and cost around 450 million dirhams ($120 million).Similar projects to capture CO2 are under way in other countries including in Saudi Arabia.

ICIS:  French nuclear crunch causes European CCGT gas demand surge

Demand for gas in power generation at many key European gas hubs surged in October, in response to nuclear supply problems in France and favourable clean spark spreads. This was a key factor in pushing Day-ahead contracts at many European gas hubs around 40% higher month on month. Combined consumption by gas-fired power plants in Italy, Britain, France, Belgium and Spain averaged 194 million cubic metres (mcm) per day between 1-29 October, according to grid operator data. This is a 76% increase from the October 2015 and October 2014 averages of 110mcm/day and 108mcm/day. With uncertainty over France’s nuclear power generation set to continue through the winter, demand for gas-fired generation should continue to play a key role in setting European gas hub prices. The French Nuclear Safety Authority has said that four reactors will be taken offline between mid-December and mid-January, meaning nuclear availability will be restricted during a key demand period. A fifth reactor has already been taken offline. The supply crunch has impacted not only France, but neighbouring markets, and caused gas-fired generation in surrounding countries to ramp up in order to fill the supply gap.

Energy Live News:  National Grid confident power system is ready for winter

That’s the view of the Director of UK System Operator Cordi O’Hara, who spoke to ELN at the Energy Live 2016 conference last week. She said: “This year we’ve bought 3.5GW of supplement balancing reserve. That’s generation we hold for our own use at the time of a system stress event. “We’ve done a lot of modelling and that has let us to buying 3.5GW, which is the equivalent to 6.6% overall margin. That is a slight increase from last year and I’m confident we’ve got the tools to manage the system.” Ms O’Hara also spoke about the progress the grid operator’s Power Responsive scheme is making towards encouraging businesses to change how and when they use electricity by giving them a reward. She said demand side response is attracting more firms as they are seeing the benefits it brings. She added: “Now that we look at how technologies are enabling demand side response to be done seamlessly so it doesn’t hurt businesses, doesn’t hurt the end consumer. If you look at the way you can automate refrigeration, air conditioning and the way we can create new products to really incentivise load that can genuinely move up and down during the day, I think we’ve made a lot more progress in traction, there’s still a lot to do. There’s a lot to do still in terms of education, engagement.”

Renewable Energy Magazine:  UK Government sets out plans to increase Britain’s clean energy infrastructure

The Government will set out further details for the next Contracts for Difference auction where companies will compete for the first £290 million worth of contracts for renewable electricity projects. The second Contracts for Difference auction will result in enough renewable electricity to power around one million homes and reduce carbon emissions by around 2.5 million tonnes per year from 2021/22 onwards. It will also allow developers of innovative renewable technologies to deliver the best deal for bill payers. For example, the maximum price for offshore wind projects is now 25 percent lower than was set for the last auction, and a competitive auction could bring that price down further. The proposals also include details of the next steps to phase out electricity generation from unabated coal-fired power stations within the next decade. This long-term plan will provide confidence to investors that the UK is open to investors in new, cleaner energy capacity, building a diverse energy system giving Britain greater security of supply. This will include record investments in renewable technology. However, it also includes gas and new nuclear power investment, which many in the UK have criticised. “We’re sending a clear signal that Britain is one of the best places in the world to invest in clean, flexible energy as we continue to upgrade our energy infrastructure” said Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.

Telegraph:  Government rejects Sir Ed Davey’s request for energy report he ordered

As Energy Secretary, he was a target for journalists wielding the Freedom of Information Act. Now, after being ousted from Parliament in the May 2015 general election, Sir Ed Davey has been forced to resort to using the transparency legislation himself – in an attempt to read a report he commissioned. But, in a dark twist, civil servants who just 18 months ago worked for him have rejected his FoI request asking them to publish a study on the true costs of different electricity sources. The former Lib Dem cabinet member has accused the Government of “an abuse of power” after it rejected his request to publish the Frontier Economics study. The report was submitted to ministers by the consultancy at the start of this year. Responding to Sir Ed’s request, the Government acknowledged a public interest in publishing the report but said it would do so “in due course” when it could provide “sufficient context”.
“The excuse for this delay is clearly self-serving nonsense,” Sir Ed said. “It’s an independent report that can stand alone without any spin from Conservative ministers.” After the Tories took control of the energy department, sources briefed that the study might show that the true cost of dealing with intermittent wind and solar was higher than thought. But renewable supporters believe it will show the opposite. Two sources with knowledge of the report, however, suggested its findings may not be as significant as either side may have hoped. One claimed it would be a “damp squib”.

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31 Responses to Blowout Week 150

  1. Euan Mearns says:

    Trump on energy:

    Energy is the lifeblood of modern society. It is the industry that fuels all other industries.


    • Willem Post says:


      Energy is as omni-present as money.
      Increase the cost of money and you get a recession or slower economic growth.
      Increase the cost of energy and you get a recession of slower economic growth.

      If it were not for China and India rapidly growing, over 7%/y, (both have hardly started RE efforts), the world economy would be at annual growth of about 1.5%.

      Once those two ramp up their RE and it becomes 20 to 30 percent of all energy (excluding hydro), their growth will slow as well.

      From what growth would assets be shifted to RE, if future world growth is little and world population is increasing?

      At present about 78% of all world energy consumption is from fossils.

      That has not changed for at least 6 years, and is likely to remain so for the next 8 years of Trump presidency.

      • Simon cove says:

        As I understand it, and I don’t as well as many on this blog… All energy is getting harder to come by. A hundred years ago one could use a barrel of oil and get 100 barrels back. Solar is 1:2-10 return depending on what you read and wind 1:19 (without storage). Current fossil fuels maybe around 1:25 -the easy stuff has been drilled. High altitude wind around 1:300 and it might be coming – check out kite gen and euan has written about this elsewhere and yes of course nuclear. Even US tracking is not that great as the wells need moving much more often than traditional oil which of course takes energy. In human history, I suspect that the growth rates of the 100 years perhaps are an anomaly as opposed to ‘normal’? Until new tech turns up, it might be slow growth for a long time!

    • Nice soundbite. It is the decisions afterwards that make the impact.

  2. Javier says:


    Once more thank you for your weekly dose of energy and climate news.

    Neither I nor anybody else knows if Trump presidency is going to be a catastrophe for the planet’s climate (I doubt it), but it is clear that it could turn into a catastrophe for some climate scientists. Is this a case of a group lobbying for personal interest disguised as public interest?

    I find it hilarious that China talks about leading the World in the fight against climate change. They have done nothing and they have pledged to continue doing nothing for decades. If I didn’t know already that the whole climate change catastrophism was a joke this would convince me.


    • donb says:

      China sees this as an opportunity to replace the US in a world leadership role. They would do it for that reason alone.

      • It doesn't add up... says:

        They would demand that at lest the rest of the West shut down their economies in favour of China’s. Not sure how that works if the US manages to restore its competitiveness, and everyone can see it. Nor if some of the more dubious activity by climate “scientists” gets exposed, removing the intellectual underpinning. I offer two quotes from Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness fo Crowds:

        Every age has its peculiar folly: Some scheme, project, or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the force of imitation.

        Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

  3. 1saveenergy says:

    Best comment in US elections
    •…WARNING…• put your coffee down first

  4. interesting that in the Trump energy plan..
    the favourite solution to all problems is not mentioned

    nuclear power..

    why (perhaps the material is required to make america stronger than ever?)

  5. Jan Ebenholtz says:

    About Trumps climate change hoax:
    Any comments based on science please.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Direct measurements of sea ice thickness are sporadic and incomplete across the Arctic, so scientists have developed estimates of sea ice age and tracked their evolution from 1984 to the present.

      Which should be read as….

      Historic data for Arctic sea ice thickness does not exist, so scientists made some data up taking care to ensure that the synthetic data fitted with and supported their models.

      Which is why these scientists and thousands like them are heading for social security. Measures should be put in place to ensure they never work again.

      • Very well put and thank you for this week’s post.

      • Jan Ebenholtz says:

        Well I was hoping for a more credible explanation then this. What has the thickness of the ice to do with it? What is shown is that old ice is dissappearing and more surface is open a longer time for sunradiation to warm the sea. What about the US submarines did they not measure the icethickness during the cold war? Do you beleive that NASA put men on the moon or do you think that is a hoax Trump did or do?
        Some beleive the earth is flat and the spacestation is a hoax. It is diffiult to understand that in other ways so intelligent people can have these opinions. The green movement did not invent GHG theory they just using it for there purposes. I also think there ideas to replace all traditionally energy sources with REs is utterly irresponsible but this do not prevent me to see that the ice is shrinking.
        The only energysource that can prevent this is advanced modular nuclear.
        It seems the Chinese will be first with this with the HTR-PM. They will be rapidly deployed at around 2018 to replace coalfired plants. They seem to be tired of coughing up there lungs. It is egal to me why they do it just as long they do it.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Well I was hoping for a more credible explanation then this. What has the thickness of the ice to do with it?

          Well the article you link to is all about sea ice thickness so you tell me. I’m not going to get excited about retreating Arctic sea ice over the last 50 years. Show me a chart of Arctic sea ice over the last 1000 years, 10,000 years and one million years and then I can draw judgement on what the data of the last 50 years means.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          this do not prevent me to see that the ice is shrinking.

          Do you have some idea that the sea ice area / extent should never change?

          • A C Osborn says:

            Jan, unless you have some superhuman abilities you cannot “see” the Arctic Sea Ice disappearing, you can only see what NASA want you to see.
            I will leave it at that.

            I note you do not mention the massive increases in Antarctic sea ice over the same period.

          • Greg Kaan says:

            Greenland too from all reports

    • Javier says:

      Jan Ebenholtz,

      Based on science:
      Arctic sea ice has a very strong correlation with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).
      Miles et al., 2014
      It has been proposed that this correlation is due to a climatic signal that travels the planet with a periodicity of about 60 years. This is the “Stadium Wave” hypothesis that is based on actual data, not models.
      Wyatt and Curry, 2014

      Past 30 years of Arctic sea ice reduction took place during the downside phase (positive) of AMO. As AMO is changing phase data indicates that Arctic sea ice bottomed in 2007 and is and will be on a recovery path for the next decades.
      Evidence that multidecadal Arctic sea ice has turned the corner

      So it is very possible that during Donald Trump term(s) Arctic sea ice will experiment no reduction at all.

      Would you like that?

    • Phil Chapman says:

      Some of us old troglodytes still prefer actual science based on actual observations to social engineering masquerading as science, using invented data. Silly us.

    • Jan,

      1. as Euan already said, the time series about sea ice extent is rather short, and making longer term conclusions from it is – imho – early and “dangerous” for your future forecasting record …

      2. there are however some informations about extent … I have been researching and looking – for other subjects – at early 20th century newspaper clippings … e.g. this one in Dutch

      3. as said in 1., there are few data … the graphics you encounter usually start in 1978 or later … as does your reference … there are however earlier data … the FAR, chapter 7 is to be found e.g. here … ..; have a look at page 30 of the PDF, 227 of the chapter … the figure at the top of the right hand column … it contains a graphic about arctice sea ice extent … apparently the data are from NOAA and start before 1975 … as you can see, 1973 or 1975 had very low sea-ice, and the anomaly went from -1*10E6 to +1*10E6 in a few years … those were years with 2 “elfstedentochten” one year after the other …

      why do all NASA related time series start on or after 1978, when they have the data for at least a few years before ? …

      surely it isn’t to hide the incline ?

  6. Douglas Brodie says:

    For decades we the people have had the politically-contrived consensus on alleged man-made global warming rammed down our throats by our self-serving politicians, supported by supranational organisations like the UN and EU, green quangos and big business. All attempts by ordinary people to question the establishment stance on so-called “climate change” have been fobbed off with politically correct and blatantly untrue assertions and mantras.

    All of a sudden we have the happy prospect of the President of the United States about to take up the role of the small boy in the fairy-tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to point out that the “climate change” movement is not wearing a suit of fine clothes but is actually stark naked. Finally the voice of ordinary people will have to be listened to by our politicians, instead of being scorned.

    Christopher Booker celebrates the coming long overdue return to common sense on this issue, on which he has campaigned tirelessly for many years, see

  7. Alistair Buckoke says:


    On a different subject from the above, I have a friend who is a marine scientist, one of whose research specialisms is ocean acidification. He is particularly interested in the Post by David Ellard, and like some of the commentators, would like to know if the author plans to publish a peer-reviewed paper in a journal. His complaint is that there is not enough detail on the blog to fully check through Ellard’s workings, so he cannot assess the thesis fully.

    Do you know if there are plans in this direction? Is there any contact means that my friend could use?

  8. Simon cove says:

    Is this the same Christopher Booker who questions evolution? I am no experrt and certainly George Monbiot makes mistakes but I’d be surprised if all his views are incorrect

    • Greg Kaan says:

      Monbiot’s reluctant acceptance of the need for nuclear power shows that he is capable of analysis and revision of his position.

      No one is totally right nor totally wrong in their views and that includes both Booker and Monbiot.

  9. Simon cove says:

    Quite, but monbiot’s criticism of Booker ref evolution is damning. If Booker did criticise/question evolution in the way Monbiot alleges, Booker blatantly does not do his homework (ie check out the evidence) before letting fly on his word processor….

    • Greg Kaan says:

      One could also read that Monbiot is attacking Booker on a side issue to distract from Booker’s main criticism of the IPCC and it’s findings.

  10. Greg Kaan says:

    I’m not sure where a random question truly belongs so I’ll place it here…

    For the Oil Drummers, do you see the upcoming independent assessment of Saudi oil reserves (for the Aramco IP slated for 2018) as being significant? I was surprised to see this is a secret as I had assumed that the current assessments were being done by Western geological surveyors so that the information would be publicly available

    Would anyone be willing to make a prediction on what the findings will be?

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