Blowout Week 63

This week’s somewhat abbreviated Blowout focuses on CO2 emissions and emissions targets, leading off with this encouraging article:

IEA:  Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014

Data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicate that global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn. Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year. The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth – including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy – are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. “This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, recently named to take over from Maria van der Hoeven as the next IEA Executive Director.

More below the fold, including expanded coal use in India and Japan, solar eclipse to wreak havoc with the German grid, OPEC’s latest pronouncements, 100% renewables planned for Hawaii, Mitsubishi to commercialize solar power from space, more oil jobs predicted in UK, a California solar farm that floats on sewage and how not even the dead are safe from the ravages of climate change.

Climate News Network:  Serious doubts over Europe’s GHG reduction target

The 28 countries of the European Union (EU) have set themselves a collective target of cutting emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases (GHGs) by between 80% and 95% by 2050, but a major report just released says there’s little hope of achieving that goal. Every five years, the European Environment Agency (EEA) produces a comprehensive study, and the latest says projected declines in GHG emissions are not nearly enough to reach the long-term target of decarbonising most of Europe’s economy by mid-century. The report says there has been considerable progress in recent years on reducing Europe’s GHG emissions to 19.2% below 1990 levels. while, at the same time, gross domestic product across the EU has increased by 45%. EU per capita emissions fell from 11.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 1990 to 9 tonnes in 2012. The trouble is that this progress is very unlikely to be maintained over the long term unless the entire EU economy is revamped and there are very substantial investments in renewables.

Newsweek:  UK Falling ‘Woefully’ Behind On Renewable Energy Target

Recently released EU statistics revealed that renewable energy made up 5.1% of the UK’s total gross energy consumption in 2013, an increase of just 4% since 2004, and without a dramatic increase in renewable energy, the figures suggest that the UK is unlikely to meet its 2020 renewable energy target of 15%. Only Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands had smaller proportions of renewable energy than Britain. Sweden was found to be the most renewable-friendly EU member state, with over half of its energy coming from renewable sources. Baroness Jenny Jones, a Green Party politician in the UK and a member of the House of Lords, says the figures are unsurprising given the current government’s energy policy. “The UK’s share of energy from renewables is woeful, but not altogether surprising given the prime minister’s and the mayor of London’s enthusiasm for fracking and a new generation of nuclear,” says Baroness Jones.

BusinessGreen:  UK energy system ‘sailing close to the wind’, Peers warn

While the blackouts predicted by some commentators did not transpire, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will say the UK “sailed too close to the wind” by letting the gap between generation capacity and demand shrink to its lowest level in years. National Grid was forced to procure extra capacity to raise the margin from 4.1 per cent to 6.1 per cent to guard against shortages, using expensive measures that led to a heavy reliance on fossil fuel generation. In a new report, the peers say taking steps “at short notice, at considerable cost, and in a way which conflicts with the decarbonisation agenda” is not acceptable given the UK economy’s almost total dependence on electricity. “Such is our increasing reliance on electricity, any blackouts have the potential to bring our communications and vital services to a grinding halt,” said committee chair Lord Selborne in a statement.

RE News:  Hawaii aims for 100% renewable energy by 2040

Earlier this month, committees in the Hawaii House and Senate both unanimously recommended bills that would raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from the current target of 70 percent by 2030 to the ultimate goal of 100 percent by 2040. Hawaii has had an RPS since 2001, and right now the state gets just over 21 percent of its power from renewable sources — a 12 percent increase in just six years. “Even our utility is saying we can hit 65 percent by 2030, so 100 percent is definitely doable,” Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), sponsor of the Senate bill, SB 2181, and chair of Hawaii’s Energy and Environment Committee, told ThinkProgress. “This is huge for our state’s future. Each year, we spend $3 to $5 billion importing fossil fuels to power our economy. Our electricity bills are roughly three times the national average.”

Washington Times:  The coming climate court

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recently circulated an email breathlessly titled, “Governments on Track to Reaching Paris 2015 Universal Climate Agreement — Negotiating Text Officially Published.” This text agreed to for negotiation by the (US) federal government includes a remarkable proposal. Buried deep inside, it proposes an “International Climate Justice Tribunal in order to oversee, control and sanction the fulfilment of and compliance with the obligations of Annex I and Annex II Parties under this agreement and the [1992 UNFCCC climate treaty].” Translated, this means that even if the Obama administration refuses to call the Paris agreement a treaty, as it already telegraphed its position: A new climate court would hold us to its terms — even the terms of a prior, “voluntary” agreement.

Oil Price:  OPEC Boasts About Pain In U.S. Shale

OPEC’s Secretary-General Abdallah Salem el-Badri spoke at the Middle East Oil and Gas Conference in Bahrain on March 7, in which he highlighted the growing cracks in the U.S. shale industry. His comments echoed confidence in OPEC’s strategy of undermining its main competitor. Without explicitly saying so, he emphasized that OPEC will successfully force some shale production out of the market as private companies pullback on investment … as el-Badri noted, low prices are indeed putting a strain on the industry. Significantly lower revenues for oil and gas exploration companies have sparked a wave of credit downgrades, which along with new bond offerings, are contributing to an unsettling level of “junk” bonds. Junk bonds in the energy sector have reached $247 billion, or 17.5%, the highest share for any industry. The growing level of debt with poor credit ratings is beginning to concern big banks, which warn that defaults are most likely just around the corner.

Market Watch:  U.S. weekly rig count down 67

Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of U.S. rigs actively drilling for oil and natural gas as of March 13 fell 67 rigs to 1,125. The rig count is down 684 from the same time last year. The number of oil rigs fell 56 to 866.

BBC:  UK to create 8,000 oil and gas jobs

UK oil and gas companies expect to create thousands of jobs over the next two years despite the dramatic slide in oil prices. A Bank of Scotland oil and gas report found that 39% of respondents said the price falls had affected investment. However, when the estimates of net job gains and losses were collated, 8,000 roles are set to be created. “Fears that the current oil price slump may cost as many as 35,000 jobs in the UK oil and gas industry, widely reported in the media, may well be greatly overdone,” the report stated.

WSJ:  Japan Continues to Re-Embrace Coal

Japan is continuing to re-embrace coal to make up for its lack of nuclear energy, with plans for another power station released Thursday bringing the number of new coal-fired plants announced this year to seven. Utilities in Japan are eager to take advantage of coal’s relative cheapness to give them a competitive edge at a time when other countries are seeking to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by moving away from a fuel source seen as dirty. The liberalization of Japan’s power industry by 2020 will pit power companies against each other as rivals for the first time. In addition, with a relaxation of restrictions on coal power and no new emissions targets on the horizon, utilities are increasingly seeing coal as an important part of their business plans. Kansai Electric Power Co. and Marubeni Corp. informed Akita prefecture on Thursday of their plans to build a new, 1.3-gigawatt coal-fired power station in the northern prefecture of Japan, the two companies said. If all seven projects including the plant in Akita materialize, they will increase the nation’s coal-power generation by up to 7.26 gigawatts by around 2025.

Reuters:  India aims for big coal output boost next fiscal year

India is aiming to produce 700 million tonnes of coal in the next fiscal year, the country’s coal secretary said, in what would be its biggest annual growth in output as it auctions off mines and state giant Coal India boosts production. The country’s coal output has been growing far slower than demand over the past few years because of Coal India’s inability to expand its mines. Delays in getting environmental approvals, a lack of transport facilities and the company’s inherent efficiencies are some of the reasons for the shortfall.

Thinkprogress:  California solar farm floats on treated sewage

For one California electricity provider, investing in regular solar arrays that are installed on the ground or a roof isn’t enough — the company, instead, is setting its sights on solar that floats. Sonoma Clean Power in California’s wine country has announced that it will be building the largest floating solar array in the U.S., a project that’s scheduled to be completed in 2016 and will create enough energy to power 3,000 houses. The array will span six wastewater ponds filled with treated sewage. That location was strategic for vineyard-rich Sonoma County, said Cordel Stillman, deputy chief engineer at the county’s Water Agency, which oversees the wastewater ponds. “We know it’s hard to get big solar projects in Sonoma County. You get pushbacks on aesthetics and the taking of agricultural land,” Stillman told the Press Democrat. “We took a look and said ‘Where else can we put solar?’” The solar arrays are another source of revenue for the Sonoma County Water Agency. Pristine Sun, the developer in charge of the project, is leasing the ponds from the agency for $30,000 a year.

Deutsche Welle:   Mitsubishi to beam down solar power from outer space

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) announced on Friday that it had wirelessly powered LED lights by transmitting a 10-kilowatt microwave through the air to a receiver 500 meters away. “We believe we demonstrated the possibility of commercializing wireless power transmission through our experiment,” Mitsubishi said in a statement on Friday. The breakthrough marks a significant, if small, step towards one day tapping into the biggest source of clean, sustainable energy in our solar system – the sun, but unhindered by the weather or time of day. The Japanese engineering giant says it plans to do just that by sending solar cell-covered satellites into orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Suspended in space, the cosmic power-generation plants will convert the harnessed energy into microwaves and beam it down to so-called rectenna receiving stations on the ground. A rectenna is a special antenna that can convert microwave energy into electricity. In a 2011 report, MHI estimated this would generate the same electricity output as a 400-megawatt thermal plant – or enough to serve more than 150,000 homes during peak hours. The price? The same as publicly supplied power, according to its calculations. Mitsubishi says it aims to commercialize its Space Solar Power System (SSPS) by 2030.

Mashable:  Upcoming solar eclipse to wreak havoc on Germany’s solar power output

The partial solar eclipse slated to take place throughout Europe on March 20 may delight skywatchers, but it’s presenting a significant headache for the operators of Germany’s electricity grid. The country is a world leader in solar energy, boasting a huge edge over the U.S. in installed solar power generation. When the eclipse occurs between about 9:30 a.m. and 12 p.m., local time, on the 20th, electric utilities in Germany will have to contend with rapid swings in energy production. First, there will be a steep drop-off in generation, followed by a sudden spike. These fluctuations, and how utilities choose to cope with them, provide a preview of what utilities in the U.S. and other nations face, as renewable energy production soars in coming decades, according to an analysis from Opower, a software company that uses data to help utilities improve the customer experience.

Washington Post:  Global warming might be real, but the Democrats’ solutions are not

BP recently published its annual Energy Outlook report, which, as the company describes it, outlines a “view of the likely path of global energy markets to 2035…[and] highlights the challenge of delivering energy supplies which are sustainable, secure and affordable.” The bottom line in the report is that taking into account the trajectory of global demand for energy, predicted population growth and our current energy mix, by 2035 we won’t be anywhere near where the global warming alarmists tell us we must be with regard to CO2 emissions. In other words, the gratuitously misguided, punitive efforts that liberals are taking today and that they have planned for the next couple of decades will do nothing to “stop global warming” and prevent the environmental near-apocalypse they are always railing about. Republicans are continually ridiculed for denying the science of climate change, but Democrats are denying the science that proves the actions and costs they are imposing on us are doing nothing to solve the problem they say is so clear and present. You can’t use science to support your idea of what the problem is and then deny science when it says your solutions won’t work.

WSJ:  Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really)

In 2013, about 87% of the energy that the world consumed came from fossil fuels, a figure that—remarkably—was unchanged from 10 years before. Over this period, the overall volume of fossil-fuel consumption has increased dramatically, but with an encouraging environmental trend: a diminishing amount of carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of energy produced. The biggest contribution to decarbonizing the energy system has been the switch from high-carbon coal to lower-carbon gas in electricity generation. On a global level, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar have contributed hardly at all to the drop in carbon emissions, and their modest growth has merely made up for a decline in the fortunes of zero-carbon nuclear energy. The argument that fossil fuels will soon run out is dead, at least for a while. The collapse of the price of oil over the past six months is the result of abundance: an inevitable consequence of the high oil prices of recent years, which stimulated innovation in hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, seismology and information technology. The U.S.—the country with the oldest and most developed hydrocarbon fields—has found itself once again, surprisingly, at the top of the energy-producing league, rivaling Saudi Arabia in oil and Russia in gas.

Christian Science Monitor:  Climate change is destroying Chilean mummies, say scientists

The famous Chinchorro mummies, which have remained preserved in Chile for more than 7,000 years, are now under threat from increased levels of moisture. Humid air is allowing bacteria to grow, causing the mummies’ skin “to go black and become gelatinous,” said Ralph Mitchell, a professor emeritus of applied biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who examined the rotting mummies. The rapid deterioration began within the past 10 years, and has affected some of the 120 mummies that are housed at the University of Tarapacá’s archeological museum in the northern port city of Arica, the researchers said.

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42 Responses to Blowout Week 63

  1. Sam Taylor says:

    Ah, yes, the WSJ article is the rational optimist (oxymoron if ever there was one) spinning his usual misguided tripe. Worthy successor to Julian Simon if ever there was one.

    He could at least think about externality pricing, and depletion dynamics. But no, far too optimistic for that.

    • JerryC says:

      In the end, though, Julian Simon won every single one of his bets with gloomy old Paul Erlich, did he not?

      You might want to rethink your prior assumption that optimism is irrational and gloom and doom pessimism is rational. I don’t think past experience supports it.

      • You might want to rethink your prior assumption that optimism is irrational and gloom and doom pessimism is rational. I don’t think past experience supports it

        Evolution holds optimists in check. They keep getting eaten by lions or going down with the unsinkable Titanic while the realists watch from the tree tops and life boats. ; )

      • Sam Taylor says:

        He won one bet, and if you were to have re run that bet over most other ten year periods then Ehrlich would have won. Simon made a bad bet and got lucky, but history doesn’t work like that.

        Optimism is a bias, and therefore isn’t rational.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Optimism is a bias, and therefore isn’t rational.


          I thought Matt Ridley’s piece in the WSJ was in the main excellent. I know you will disagree with much of it more than I do, but such is the nature of diversity and controversy. He, IMO, hit many of the key issues in this complex debate in a balanced and measured way. But I do disagree with him on FF and shale. I know he reads these pages, and so if you want to influence his views on these matters, its best to do it in a courteous, informative and engaging manner.

        • JerryC says:

          Neither optimism nor pessimism, as a general outlook, is rational. Everyone has their biases and I don’t view it as a problem for Ridley to state his up front.

          I also find it interesting that the gloomiest environmentalists tend to be extremely optimistic with regard to the practicality and efficwcy of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Quite the conundrum, eh? 🙂

          • Sam Taylor says:

            I do wish you’d stop insinuating that I hold views that I don’t. I’m familiar with the energy literature on wind and solar, and am more than aware of their litany of shortcomings. I’m just also aware of the consequences of resource depletion and the freshly astonishing environmental damage we’re wreaking upon our home planet.

            Being gloomy is pretty much the only rational response, I’d say.

        • manicbeancounter says:

          Optimism might be a bias, but is entirely rational. Many of the greatest achievements, whether in business, science, academia, or the prehistoric hunter come as a result of a dogged optimism that despite repeated failures one will eventually succeed. In business this includes Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and James Dyson. In pharmaceuticals, many researchers spend all their lives testing compounds, with just a few getting the block-busters that fund their work.

    • Marek Garbicz says:

      Of course, he could mention externalities. Sure. But symptomatically … fossil fuel opponents admire discussions about external costs of coal, gas and oil, but always ignore externalities of green energy. They are never ready to discuss about its full costs.
      Depletion? Pretty soon we will celebrate 60th birthday of “Peak-Oil” concept. Do you really think it is an urgent case to cope with?

    • I used to enjoy Ridley’s books when he documented the work of scientists. He should have stuck to that formula. His own opinions, garbled by the silver spoon in his mouth, are are as unoriginal as they are unenlightening.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Matt Ridley is an enigma. A heritable Lord with a PhD who has taken a very keen interest in the linked subjects of climate change and energy and from an angle not of what is best for him but what may be in the best interests of the British people. I find him to be generally very well informed, and balanced. OK so someone is about to dig up something from the past that “proves this to be wrong”.

        His WSJ article hits the points of whales, forests, FF, economics, prosperity, nuclear power, public and Green opinion etc. What specifically do you not agree with? If you are a Greeny wanting to go back to small pox, high infant mortality and lowering of life expectancy then go throw your computer in the trash and get on with it. Otherwise you have to acknowledge the difficulty and complexity of our current situation. Its easy to advocate a fix for a small minority that the vast majority have no will or ability to join.

    • William says:

      Ridley is persistent. It doesn’t matter how many times people point out to him where his arguments are lacking, he just goes on repeating the same message to the point that people get tired of correcting him. The newspapers don’t seem bothered by that, which is odd until you consider of the Telegraph/Oborne story recently.

      There’s a useful counter-argument in a letter from David Mackay (formerly of DECC), pointed out on ATTP recently:

      I was irked by the comment on FF subsidies:

      … and these are mostly subsidies for consumers (not producers), so they tend to help the poor, …

      If he doesn’t know that this is rubbish he shouldn’t be opining on the subject. FF subsidies go predominantly to the already-affluent who can afford big cars, heated swimming pools etc. Cheap petrol doesn’t help me if all I can only afford is a bicycle. I imagine Ridley’s been told that before too.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        The Appalling Truth About Energy Subsidies

        Please read and then evaluate who it is that is talking rubbish?

        • William says:

          There’s nothing in that article that contradicts what I said. Or if there is you’ll have to spell it out. Do you really think that spending, say, $1bn on petrol subsidies paid to everyone reaches the poor more reliably than the same money paid directly to people in poverty or invested in poor communities? You don’t have to be a raging green to recognize that subsidizing the lifestyles of the well off, like giving winter fuel allowance to rich oldies in the UK, does not help the poor (unless you believe in a “trickle down effect”).

          I live in one of those dark red countries on your map. Petrol is $2 per US gallon and the streets are full of big 4x4s. My neighbor drives a gigantic Ford F150 around town. People leave their engines running when parked. It is not the poor indigenous population that benefits, but rather the affluent, me included. Tanks of gas are subsidized too, with the result that there is a great trade in gas across the border with neighbors that are not so stupid. Petrol is undoubtedly smuggled across too.

          • A C Osborn says:

            You just have no clue about the UK do you.
            Petrol here is about $7.84 per gallon and nealry all of it is Tax.

        • A C Osborn says:

          Rich pensioners on $180.96 a week yeah right.

        • William says:

          With subsidized energy, the more one consumes the greater total subsidy one receives. The affluent use far more energy than the poor and so capture a disproportionate share of the subsidy. So much is obvious to anyone. If the aim of a subsidy is to help the poor, energy is not an obvious beneficiary. Health, sanitation, education, public transport are clearly better choices. FF subsidies are political, not economic.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            William, it would do no harm if you told us where you live and a little bit about what you do. With the progressive taxation system in the UK, those who earn most benefit most from the system and also pay most by way of tax. I’m really quite confused about where you are coming from.

          • JerryC says:

            Would you mind being a bit more specific about which fossil fuels you feel are being subsidized, and how? Hopefully you are not referring to normal tax breaks for depreciation of capital equipment.

  2. Euan Mearns says:

    Roger, Your lead article from the IEA is very interesting. I have for some time been saying that the precipitous fall in the oil price smacked of demand side weakness in addition to over supply. I’m still guessing that something has gone badly wrong with the Chinese economy that we have not been and may never be told about. If Chinese coal consumption is down, that would almost certainly signal economic stagnation. Need to wait for BP in June to see all energy trends.

    And oil price took another plunge on Friday, WTI back to its lows of $45. If that doesn’t hold then hold on to your hat.

    • Euan: I expect that when final data are in we will find that CO2 emissions went up after all. 2014 coal consumption in China has probably been under-reported, as noted in this article in last week’s blowout.

      The IEA’s claim that there’s no global economic downturn at the moment also strikes me as questionable. There certainly wouldn’t be any demand side weakness in oil if it were going full steam ahead.

    • Javier says:

      We do know more or less what is going wrong with China, Euan. I have recent graphs for Industrial production, retail sales, fixed asset investments, GDP and CPI that show that year on year rate of growth is still positive but declining rapidly.

      PPI, Housing prices, and imports are in negative YoY rate of change, and housing prices going down is really bad news because real state is 75% of Chinese household assets.

      Chinese Rail Freight is collapsing indicating a similar problem to the Baltic Dry Index collapse but for national trade.

      If you want any of these graphs just ask me. Most of them are coming from Zerohedge.

      Since 2005 most of the oil demand growth has come from Chindia, and lately mainly from China. If there is a demand growth problem, and I believe there is, China has to be involved. The risk of a global recession is high. Goldman Sachs Swirlogram is in contraction ( and Economyc Cycle Reaserch Institute weekly leading index (ECRI WLI) is looking really weak (

      Actually low oil prices could be our best hope of avoiding a global recession if they can stimulate the economy enough.

    • I agree with China slowing, which may reduced their carbon emissions. One thing re your scepticism on global warming is the sea-level rise. If the planet it warming more rapidly then we would expect ocean levels to rise as the sea expands and ice caps melt. Till you disprove that then surely you would have to admit there is some warming going on. Still I don’t think that warming is the biggest issue we will face. The general economic collapse will force us to consume less in any case.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        I have in the past simply accepted that the lower atmosphere and oceans were warming. The question is how much is due to CO2 and how much is natural. But what is going on in the southern hemisphere is a bit odd, not widely know about, and as far as I’m concerned I don’t really know what to make of it. There are 14 lengthy climatic records around Antarctica. Since 1971 they give yet another totally flat line.

      • Roger Andrews says:

        I know of no one who doesn’t acknowledge that there’s “some warming going on”.

        Sea levels have been rising for 20,000 years.

      • A C Osborn says:

        Can you please show that the current “warming” is more rapid than histroical data shows, or can you show us the Melting Ice Caps that are melting any different to the way they have always melted, or show us sea Level rising more rapidly than it has in the past.
        You do know how fast the seas rose coming out of the last Ice Age I assume?

    • Sam Taylor says:


      Regarding China, they got a lot of hydroelectric from the three gorges last year, and added quite a lot more hydro. There were record rainfalls, and hydro production really surged. I’ve not seen exact figures, but this might make up for a fair chunk of the displaced coal. This bloomberg piece from last august has some details:

      If there is much wrong with the Chinese economy (I’m starting to doubt this a little myself), I’m sure the current $45 oil will be helping things.

  3. Javier says:

    If fossil fuels’ CO2 has stalled, is going to be a lot of fun to see what atmospheric CO2 is doing. What do we do if atmospheric CO2 keeps growing at the same rate? Will a magic hand adjust CO2 data to fit models?

  4. Pingback: Middle East OPEC Oil Rig Count Jumps 14% | Energy Matters

  5. concernclub says:

    If you want to argue scientifically look at the data first (not at newspaper articles!)


  6. Euan Mearns says:

    Off topic, need a place to dump this.

  7. William says:

    Euan, I replied earlier, but despite the site saying I had posted the same twice, it has disappeared.

    You must have my location from your logs, but for the benefit of readers, I live in Ecuador. I am retired and hence have plenty of time to waste on the internet….

    JerryC asked what subsidies I am talking about – it is the consumer subsidies Ridley justified on the basis that they help the poor. But you only benefit from a consumption subsidy if you consume and, as we all know, the poor don’t consume much. The subsidies go to the non-poor. I think Roger lives in a country with plenty of poverty, perhaps he can comment – you’ll probably believe him more than me.

    As I think I said before, farm subsidies are largely captured by rich farmers and solar subsidies by rich homeowners. Enough said?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Sorry about commenting issues, don’t know what is wrong there. I can see an IP address but never use that to try and locate a commenter. I think on energy subsidies your are only looking at one side. In MENA, subsidies mean the building of electric grids and untold growth in relative prosperity. What did you do before you retired?

      • William says:

        Well, if it matters, I have an electronics background, but I spent a lot of time teaching IT skills.

        I think on energy subsidies your are only looking at one side. In MENA, subsidies mean the building of electric grids and untold growth in relative prosperity.

        I’m not talking about energy subsidies in general, which is a much bigger subject altogether. I referred specifically to and quoted directly from Ridley’s WSJ article mentioned in your Blowout. Specifically the paragraph:

        It is true that some countries subsidize the use of fossil fuels, but they do so at a much lower rate—the world average is about $1.20 per gigajoule—and these are mostly subsidies for consumers (not producers), so they tend to help the poor, for whom energy costs are a disproportionate share of spending.

        The bold bit is what I quoted and called rubbish, a sentiment you disagree with though I’m at a loss to know why. The paragraph quoted above is not a reference to grid development, worthy though that is. It refers to fuel subsidies of the sort that I noted exist in Ecuador. These subsidies cannot be said to help the poor for reasons I have given. They are also hugely expensive when petroleum prices rise. Some countries are taking the opportunity of low world prices to abolish or reduce fuel subsidies, e.g. Indonesia. That frees up money to be directed at the poor – see

        From memory, Ecuador’s fuel subsidies take up a large part of its budget (I have 25% in mind from somewhere). I’m hoping the petrol subsidy will be abolished too, but no sign of this yet.

        • JerryC says:

          I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill with regard to this consumer subsidies issue. In the grand scheme of things, fossil fuel consumer subsidies are trivial. Get rid of them entirely and fossil fuels are still the only practical means to power modern civilization.

          • William says:

            That is debatable and anyway is beside the point – which is that Ridley continues to write what he has been told repeatedly and must by now know is untrue.

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