Roundup

First up, Upstream Online brings us news of Alberta’s new climate change policy:

Becoming a leader in climate change reform has been the Alberta government’s dream since the New Democratic Party took office in May 2015.
Now that dream could be reality with a proposed new policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions and holding everyone — including the general public — accountable.
Okay, that’s the facts out of the way.

There were a lot of shiny happy people at the Alberta Legislature on 22 November when the province announced its new climate leadership plan.

Industry, government, environmentalists and First Nations all joined together to hail the plan as a game-changer for the future.

Which industry?  The rent-seeking industry?

The province will set a 100-megatonne limit on carbon emissions from the oil sands, implement a C$20 (US$15) per tonne economy-wide carbon tax in 2017, increasing to C$30 per tonne in 2018, and phase out all coal-fired power generation by 2030.

A 100-megatonne limit?  That seems a bit arbitrary.  Why not 113 megatonnes?  And how many tractors should be produce this year, comrade?

Among the loudest supporters was Canadian Natural Resources’ chairman Murray Edwards, who only six months ago expressed extreme scepticism.

“This announcement removes barriers for collaboration with a broader group of stakeholders. We are now working together to realise the full value provided by the oil and natural gas,” said Edwards.

What nonsensical guff is this?  This sounds more like something extracted from a politician’s campaign speech than the reaction of an oil company chairman to legislation which has the potential to seriously damage his business. And why the volte face?  Did somebody wave a juicy, post-retirement government job in front of him?

Likewise, Pembina Institute executive director Ed Wittingham said the policy would “strengthen the competitive position of Alberta’s oil and gas companies”.

I had no idea what the Pembina Institute was until I looked them up.  They are a “clean energy” think tank which exists for the purpose of “advocating for effective policies and collaborative solutions” while “reducing the harmful impacts of fossil fuels while supporting the transition to an energy system that is clean, safe and sustains a high quality of life requires advancing solutions from various approaches.”  A green lobby group, in other words.  So it should come as no surprise, then, that its director likes a government-imposed initiative to clobber Alberta’s oil industry, but how he thinks this additional burden will make it more competitive he doesn’t say.

Of course, the elephant in the room is what long-term impacts the new climate policy will bring, environment aside.

Yes, you could say that.  Skeptics might also point out that, on the basis of what’s in this article, a single oil company chairman and the director of a green lobby group hardly demonstrates that “industry” is on board with this.  Presumably Shell, ExxonMobil, etc. were too busy to comment.

Albertans will be expected to pay an extra C$3 billion in taxes, oil sands producers could pay hundreds of millions of dollars implementing methane reductions, and the 100-megatonne limit could hamper forecasted oil sands growth.

Sorry, but how is this going to be anything other than an unmitigated disaster for the Albertan oil industry?  Their oil sands were just about profitable when oil was over $100 per barrel, now it sits at less than half that and shows no sign of recovering even though Russia and Turkey are rattling sabres.  And then along comes the state government which lumps on a few billion in additional taxes and imposes arbitrary, Soviet-style emissions targets.

It remains to be seen if the goodwill will last when the proposal becomes reality.

Won’t it be a bit late by then?

Next we have the BBC spinning the climate change jamboree in Paris for all it’s worth:

Observers say that the recent terror attacks on the French capital will increase the chances of a new agreement.

Funny, when Europeans reacted to news of jihadists entering the continent hidden among refugees by calling for tougher border controls, the global elites dismissed such plebian demands by saying “it’s what the terrorists would want” and that “we should not change our way of life”.  But if the cold-blooded murder of a hundred plus people can be harnessed to ram through a climate-change agreement, why it’s any means necessary, eh?

The gathering of 147 heads of state and government is set to be far bigger than the 115 or so who came to Copenhagen in 2009, the last time the world came close to agreeing a long term deal on climate change.

Yes, I’m sure the hookers of Paris are delighted.

While many leaders including Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping were always set to attend this conference, the recent violent attacks in Paris have encouraged others to come in an expression of solidarity with the French people.

Yeah, sure: expressing solidarity with the French is the foremost reason why thousands of people are flying to Paris on a taxpayer-funded junket. Uh-huh.

Unlike at Copenhagen, the French organisers are bringing the leaders in at the start of the conference rather than waiting for them to come in at the end, a tactic which failed spectacularly in the Danish capital.

Odd that not involving decision-makers from the beginning should not have worked.  Whoever would have thought it?  But with this one being organised by the French, they probably assume that the participants in the discussion are irrelevant because the actual decisions will be made over dinner later and the agreement announced as a fait accompli as if nobody else mattered.

A former UK government adviser on climate change and now chairman of environmental think tank E3G, Tom Burke, believes that some leaders will push the line that, by tackling rising temperatures, you remove one of the causes of terrorism.

Indeed.  Whereas most news outlets erroneously reported the jihadists in Paris screaming “Allah akbar!” as they gunned down innocent concert-goers, what they really said was “fuck it’s hot!” in a suburban Belgian dialect.

While the mood music around the event is very positive, there are still considerable differences between the parties.

Positive mood music?  Is this supposed to be a news report or a flyer for a health spa?

Naturally, this pointless event couldn’t have been held somewhere secure and remote to minimise the disruption to local citizens (apparently the shopping, dining, and prostitutes aren’t quite as good in Fort McMurray), so Parisians are instead subject to a raft of draconian security measures including:

Some major roads to be closed for two days

Remember folks, the numbers attending this circus swelled because they wanted to express “solidarity with the French people”.  Nothing demonstrates solidarity between the elite and the plebs quite like road closures and ZiL lanes.

One key problem is what form an agreement will take. The US for instance will not sign up to a legally binding deal as there would be little hope of getting it through a Senate dominated by Republicans.

Yeah, that’s the problem with having a Senate.

Many developing countries fundamentally disagree. As does the European Union.

See ?  Much easier without a Senate.

“We must translate the momentum we have seen on the road to Paris into an ambitious, operational, legally binding agreement,” said EU commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, in a statement.

“And fuck what the people think,” she added later, when the microphones were switched off.

As well as the form there are also many issues with the content.

Issues with the form and content.  But we must agree on an ambitious, legally binding agreement.

There are a wide range of views on what the long-term goal of the agreement should be.

While it will ostensibly come down to keeping temperatures from rising more than 2C above the pre-industrial level, how that will be represented in the text is the subject of much wrangling.

Some countries reject the very notion of 2C and say 1.5C must be the standard. Others want to talk about decarbonising the world by the middle or end of this century.

What about those who are not mentally ill?  What do they say?

While the fact that more than 180 countries have put forward national plans to cut emissions is a major strength of this conference, there are still big questions marks about how to verify those commitments that will actually be carried out.

Yes, as we discovered the other day when China forgot about that 600 million tons of coal it had burned out back.

And among the many other issues in dispute, almost inevitably, is money. While rich countries promised they would give $100bn by 2020 to the developing world back in 2009, the cash has been slow in coming.

In other words, this is less an event about climate change than an opportunity for thieving, grasping hands to seize monies purloined from the wallets of western taxpayers.

Many believe that a country such as India, with close to 300 million people without electricity, will refuse to sign up to a strong agreement that limits future fossil fuel use.

How unreasonable!

If that happens, the whole process could come unstuck, as nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

We’re entering into a process to agree on cutting fossil fuel use which required the unanimous approval from participants which include countries where 300 million people are shivering in the dark?

Tom Burke for one believes that going against the flow will be particularly difficult this time round.

“I think one of the reasons people will find it hard to hold out at the end will be because of the level of political capital that Obama has invested in climate change, making it clear it is a primary legacy issue for him,” he said.

Oh, well so long as The Messiah has staked his legacy on it, that’s all right then.  Economic and political reality will just have to take a back seat.

Here’s my prediction: the talks will bog down in petty bickering as shitholes you’ve never heard of demand western governments hand over billions they don’t have, and at 3am on the final morning the half-dozen leaders who you could recognise will announce they have reached an agreement to…discuss it further next time.  Meanwhile, the Parisian restaurateurs, Louis Vuitton sales reps, and hookers will be phoning up their local Porsche garages to confirm they will go for the S-model after all.

Finally, having trumpeted the proposed Turkish gas pipeline as being a finger in the eye for those who were glad to see South Stream canned, it now looks as though this one too has been cancelled.  The lesson here that Mr Putin ought to be taking home is that if you are going to choose a country as a partner in your policy of thumbing your nose at the civilised world, at least ensure your relations with that country are friendly enough that they are not going to shoot down your planes.

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