Carbon War erupts in Europe

A battle of world significance has started quietly in Europe. Like all battles it is about energy, resources and ideology.

In the red corner, with a coercive utopian green ideology, is Germany, strongly supported by Denmark and Britain. This group wants to forcibly wean Europe off carbon fuels by replacing them with sunbeams, sea breezes and fermented food crops. They get self-serving support from places like nuclear-powered France, hydro-powered Scandinavia and geothermal Iceland. They are now proposing more drastic cuts in Europe’s usage of carbon fuels after 2020.

In the blue corner is Poland, with quiet support from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

Poland relies on coal power, has undeveloped gas resources and prefers to use its short growing season to produce food, not fuel. The Poles know that nuclear power is the only realistic non-carbon option for Eastern Europe. They have recent experience of coercive central planners and want to avoid dependence on Russian gas.

Naturally the German Greens oppose Poland’s use of coal, gas or nuclear power. In self-defence, Poland is opposing the plan for extra cuts in the use of carbon fuels in the EU after 2020.

This is a crucial battle in the carbon war. If Eastern Europe caves to the Greens, all Europe faces very painful adjustments. Power and food costs will surge, electricity supplies will become unreliable, and industry and jobs will migrate.

This battle shows that the green consensus in Europe is starting to crumble. If Europe cannot get unanimous support for more carbon cuts, even within the EU, there is no hope for a binding world treaty.

Australia seeks green adulation by trying to lead the world in carbon taxation, but Australia is in the same position as Poland with nuclear power banned and little hydro potential. Australia and New Zealand are already the lonely carbon fools of the Pacific. The growing doubts in Europe may well leave us with the world title.

Viv Forbes,
Rosewood, Qld,

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12 Thoughts on “Carbon War erupts in Europe

  1. Huub Bakker on 18/03/2012 at 6:46 pm said:

    The end result is clear; only the route that is followed is not.

    As the cost of green policies and the mountain of debt grows, the attention of the people swings further and further away from the green agenda. With the loss of interest from the public, the politicans find that their support for these policies is disappearing. This opposition from eastern Europe is a marker along the way as are the cut-backs on green energy subsidies in places like Britain, Germany and the US.

    (Note how National here are looking to delay taking the next step with the ETS.)

    The only real unknowns are things like Viv has raised—whether Europe will move away now or fall over later—and how much damage is done before the end; how many years will the ETS hang around our necks before it is rescinded.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on 18/03/2012 at 9:01 pm said:

    Conflicting news reports but this from Reuters on Thu, Mar 15, 2012:-

    China halts 10 more Airbus orders in EU row: sources

    China has suspended the purchase of 10 more Airbus long-haul jets, raising the stakes in a row with the European Union over an airline emission levy, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

    The move to delay the purchase of the A330 planes brings to $14 billion the value of European aircraft caught up in growing trade tensions over the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, which is opposed by China and a group of other trade powers.

    China has ordered its airlines not to comply with the EU scheme which came into force for aviation in January.

    Airbus declined to comment.

    Earlier this week, Airbus said China had blocked the purchase of 10 Airbus A380 superjumbos and 35 A330s worth $12 billion. Several people familiar with the deal said the A380s were earmarked for Hong Kong Airlines, 46-percent owned by HNA Group, parent of Hainan Airlines

    The red corner’s utopia has an opportunity cost.

  3. The following points are made in my peer-reviewed paper now published on at least four sites and linked from my site

    (1) Radiation from cooler parts of the atmosphere to warmer parts of the surface cannot transfer thermal energy, but can slow just the radiative component of surface cooling, which is less than half the cooling, probably about a third.

    (2) When radiative cooling is slowed, the rates of evaporative cooling and diffusion (conduction) followed by convection will increase for reasons explained in my paper.

    (3) The energy in each photon is proportional to the frequency of the associated radiation.

    (4) Short wave (high frequency) infra-red radiation (making up about half of the total solar radiation) thus has far more energy per photon than does long wave (low frequency) infra-red radiation from the atmosphere, which is mostly well below freezing point.

    (5) The effect which radiation from the atmosphere has on radiative cooling of the surface depends upon both the temperature of the region from which it originated and the density of frequencies in that radiation.

    (6) Carbon dioxide radiates far fewer frequencies than water vapour, and each radiates fewer than a blackbody.

    (7) Hence each carbon dioxide molecule has far less effect on the radiative rate of cooling than each water vapour molecule, of which there are usually about 20 to 50 times as many.

    (8) So carbon dioxide is like a picket fence with most of its pickets missing, standing up against full blast radiation from the surface.

    (9) Any warming effect of carbon dioxide is cancelled because of the reasons in (2) and, because of those in (4) there is a significant cooling effect as it sends back to space at least half of the high energy photons it captures from solar radiation.

    (10) Hence carbon dioxide has a net cooling effect, but such is absolutely minimal compared with the effect of water vapour which also has radiative cooling effects, but possibly some warming effects also about which we can do nothing.

    Doug Cotton

  4. Peter Fraser on 19/03/2012 at 2:09 pm said:

    Informative and the last paragraph very droll. Clearly a world title we can do without.

  5. Gary on 19/03/2012 at 8:28 pm said:

    From Europe some more stupidity, that only politicians know how to do….

  6. Doug Proctor on 20/03/2012 at 4:47 am said:

    I haven’t thought this through. It is just a thought: would the EC in some way benefit from a trade war over CO2?

    I’m suspicious when I see people behaving in ways that seem counter to their personal best interests. To do so is almost un-human. So, the proposal is this: were a trade war to erupt, were carbon taxes to create a showdown with Poland on one side and America and China on the other, could the result be of benefit within the EU?

    Here’s an idea: You cannot implement trade restrictions against other nations without a big problem. But if you manipulate their responses so that THEY refuse to deal with you, you have created a restriction in their involvment in your country just as if you were the bad guy. And how would this be good?

    Let’s try just this, the airline business. China backs out, Poland backs out, all in a snit. So now the only airlines servicing Europe are European ones that agree to the tax. Extend that to other affected businesses: Businesses active within Europe are now only similar European or European owned.

    Protectionism of any sort is always good for those inside the protectionist racket. More money flows internally, less goes to foreign markets. But the GDP may fall? If total dollars for external debt payments become insufficient, you restructure the debt, i.e. you get a debt reduction, and now, in a quid pro quo arrangement, you reopen your skys and all those areas that were – not because of you – shut down.

    There is more than one way to de-fur a feline.

    What say you? Is there something other than Green, ideological stupidity going on?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/03/2012 at 11:54 am said:

      “So now the only airlines servicing Europe are European ones that agree to the tax”

      But they might have fly a bit further Doug P. There has been threats over the rights of European Airlines to enter non-compliant airspace as part of a range of measures to counter the tax by non-compliant countries.

      “Is there something other than Green, ideological stupidity going on?”

      Like most EU/EC idiocy (think light-bulbs, food standardization etc), I think that in addition to Green, ideological stupidity there’s intransigent, bureaucratic stupidity going on; Brussels makes an art-form of both so it will take a while to resolve..

  7. Doug Proctor on 21/03/2012 at 3:51 am said:

    I can’t decide if bureacracies act they way they do – in their own self-interest – because they are blind or mean-spirited. Because they reflect human behaviour, I don’t want to go the mean-spirited route, but I am almost compelled to do so.

    “It doesn’t matter. It’ll all get sorted out later, hopefully after I’m gone.”

    The closest I can get to a benign explanation is the above. In very large companies it is true. The fundamental profitability of the ‘machine’ allows foolishness at the edges because foolishness at the edges stops fooling around with the centre. The mass rolls on.

    Our Canadian government is like a large company. The politicians have little true power. They fiddle, they faddle, but the economy does what it does, generally. It is actually in our interests that they fiddle-faddle. Every time they actually try to do something significant we get screwed up and spend years recovering. Unfortunately the EC is trying to do something signficant. They should go back to arguing about the pictures on the euro. Everyone would be better off.

    Sometimes – most times – those in power won’t let things well enough alone.

  8. The Second Law can be illustrated with a hose used as a siphon to empty a swimming pool, for example. It works if the other end of the hose goes down a slope and is significantly below the bottom of the pool.

    The water flows and entropy increase because we have a single process. The SLoT requires a single process, as is obvious in everyday life.

    If you cut the hose at the highest point you now have two processes, and the water no longer goes upwards from the pool.

    Any heat flow from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface is a single completed process. The energy is not constrained to return by radiation or to do anything in particular. It could be conducted elsewhere in the surface for example.

    Because it is a single process from atmosphere to surface, there is no justification for saying that any subsequent process can create a net effect and thus excuse the violation of the Second Law. It would be like water flowing uphill to the town’s water tank on the basis that it would subsequently flow further downhill through pipes into houses. But there is no constraint enforcing this, as there was with the siphon before the hose was cut. After all, the tank might leak.

    Hence, thermal energy cannot transfer spontaneously from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface. Fullstop.

    See my publication Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

    • Andy on 21/03/2012 at 6:14 pm said:

      There is a commenter who goes by the name mydogsgotnonose who frequently posts at Bishop Hill, who seems to hold similar views to your own.

  9. Andy on 27/03/2012 at 8:15 am said:

    Looks like Viv Forbes is on the Skeptical Science “To Do” list.
    This from the hacked files

    Are you familiar with Viv Forbes? Like me Viv is a geologist and circulates regular denial emails to geologists in Australia. A search of your website this morning gave no results for “Viv Forbes”…
    Something for your To Do list?

  10. Douglas Jeffrey Cotton’s arrogance is beyond belief. On the thread that Roger Tattersall dedicated to his nonsense ( he has had detailed explanations from contributors of the flaws in his understanding (based upon Professor Claes Johnson’s simplistic model), particularly from individuals using the false names Tor and br1. Despite their efforts, on this A p r i l F o o l’s day Doug declares “ .. Every relevant equation in “standard physics” is based on a false assumption .. don’t tell me yet again that I need to read physics textbooks. I have been helping university students learn their physics ever since I majored in it .. I know what the books say, but such is in error because the early scientists were mistaken .. they were obviously wrong .. You cannot argue successfully against this point, but it is not in textbooks yet.
    .. So please don’t respond yet again with “standard physics” which is the very thing I am refuting .. ”.

    ( and #comment-21733 #comment-21734)

    Although he has been trying very hard recently to prove otherwise, Doug is not a complete idiot. He does at least now “ .. acknowledge that the radiation from the cooler body does slow the radiative component of cooling of the warmer target .. ”. Hallelujah, he accepts that the “greenhouse effect” is real. Now all that he needs to acknowledge is that with that constant source of energy coming from the Sun there has to be a compensating increase in the temperature of the Earth until balance is restored – ignoring the many other processes that also contribute to the distribution of energy within the global system of atmo/aqua/cryo/litho/bio/spheres.

    Finding that he was taking a pounding over his blog article posted on the blog of the virtually unknown science-fiction publisher Principia Scientific International started by John O’Sullivan and his “Slayers” it seems that Doug has had to call up reinforcements – Professor Claes Johnson has come to his aid ( Strange that he chose to enter the fray there on A p r i l F o o ls’ Day. Maybe he’s getting worried that Doug will be awarded that Nobel Prize for Physics instead of himself.

    It should be interesting following the responses to his comment.

    Back in October Professor Johnson declared “ .. I am not a member of any group subject to group thinking,
    in particular not the slayers group .. ” ( but I wonder if he has rejoined the “Slayers” gaggle as a member of PSI.

    Best regards,
    Pete Ridley

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