On Trump withrawal from the Paris Agreement

Finally, US President Donald Trump has officially dumped the Paris Agreement of 2015. He declared yesterday,

“We will cease honoring all non-binding agreements”, and “will stop contributing to the green climate fund”.

“The bottom line is that the Paris Accord is very unfair to the United States”.

“This agreement is less about climate and more about other countries getting a financial advantage over the United States”.

“The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries.”

“Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord… could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025.”

“India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid.”

“We need all forms of available American energy or our country will be at grave risk of brown-outs and black-outs.”

“Withdrawing is in economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.”

“We will be environmentally friendly, but we’re not going to put our businesses out of work… We’re going to grow rapidly.”

“Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, & across the world should not have more to say w/ respect to the US economy than our own citizens.”

“It is time to exit the Paris Accord and time to pursue a new deal which protects the environment, our companies, our citizens.”
————

The agreement funds a UN Climate Slush Fund underwritten by American taxpayers

  • President Obama committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund – which is about 30 percent of the initial funding – without authorization from Congress
  • With $20 trillion in debt, the U.S. taxpayers should not be paying to subsidize other countries’ energy

The deal also accomplishes LITTLE for the climate

  • According to researchers at MIT, if all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be The impacts have been estimated to be likely to reduce global temperature rise by less than .2 degrees Celsius in 2100.

trump

When I checked the US stockmarkets yesterday… Did the investors cheer Trump’s decision?

djia

I am actually an agnostic about President Trump’s policies in many sectors but when it comes to climate and energy policies, I support him. Planet Earth has experienced climate change many times since it was born some 4.6 billion years ago. How can the UN and governments fight something that naturally occurs?

The higher the climate alarmism, the higher the climate extortion becomes. $100 billion/year starting 2020 on top of promised foreign aid to developing. Many governments of developed countries are angry at Trump’s decision because they promised a lot, they raised expectations a lot, even if they do not have such big money or cannot squeeze more taxes from their people to give away. They only expected that US taxpayers will shoulder a big portion of such climate extortion.

Now the annual huge parties and junkets involving thousands of “planet saviours” aka annual UNFCCC meetings will be pared down. No more $ hundreds of millions a year of US taxpayers’ money to bankroll their huge parties and junkets.

As expected, lefties’ and alarmists’ heads blew and hysteria, angst and tantrums were flying anywhere. See a short compilation of such hysteria at WUWT,
The craziest reactions to Trump pulling out of the #ParisAgreement

When I posted this subject in my fb wall, one alarmist stranger Cesar Cifra unloaded a series of personal attacks.

cifra

This Cifra is a friend of my friend and fellow UPSE alumni Romy Bernardo. I asked for data (like below, last 4,000 years global temp.) and this Cifra responded with ad hominems, what a lousy and low-life mind.

Anyway, this Trump decision is a big blow to the climate alarmism and global ecological socialism movement. A big blow to the UN and many governments whose revised purpose of existence is to tax-tax-tax their citizens as much as possible to “fight climate change” even if CC has been happening naturally, cyclically, for the past 4.6 B years.

Advertisements

DOE not concurring with PH’s Paris agreement, good

Some PH Senators declared that the Senate will ratify the Paris Agreement of more expensive, unstable electricity “to save the planet” even if the DOE did not concur with it. Portion of the report said, “32 of the 33 agencies having already submitted their certificates of concurrence to Malacañang.”
(Phl to ratify Paris climate pact in July, Philippine Star, January 10, 2017)

The agency or department that did not concur with the PH (actually CCC) commitment to the Paris Agreement is the DOE, thanks Sec. Cusi.

“In the Cabinet, officially I have the only department that has not concurred in the ratification of the climate [pact].”

“I cannot concur on the ratification of the climate change [pact] because that can be used against DoE in approving the kind of power plants that we are going to have,” he said.

Mr. Cusi said the country’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 70% means reaching a level that has already been met — in 2015.

“What does it mean? Wala na tayong gagawin [We can’t do anything],” he said, referring to curtailing the country’s development.”
(Energy department calls for foreign funding of global warming measures, BWorld, Dec. 12, 2016)

Many big countries like the US, Germany, UK, have not ratified their Paris commitment. Those who ratified are mostly small countries. $100 B a year of climate money transfer from developed to developing countries has become a huge extortion project that will produce huge disappointment from beggar countries. Almost ALL developed countries are already heavily indebted, they have huge public debts, don’t have enough money for their own citizens. And they will give away huge money to developing countries, many of whom are led by despots and corrupt leaders, will not happen.

The degree of climate extortion varies. While the “consensus” is $100 B a year starting 2020, some UN officials and planet saviours want $500 B a year. Less flood or no flood or more floods; less snow, no snow or more snow, that money should be given to them.

cc

As for energy prices, Meralco generation charges for Sept-Oct-Nov 2016 below. All these power plants are using coal and nat gas, except TMO, a peaking plant that uses oil. WESM prices are cheap, down to only P2.54/kWh last Nov. Which means FIT Allowance will be high so that pampered solar and wind plants at P8 to P10+ per kWh will remain “viable” through expensive electricity imposed on all energy consumers nationwide.

wesm
Sec. Cusi’s energy realism should be supported against energy alarmism by other agencies and groups.

Trump transition team questions for US DOE

This is not directly related to energy issues in Asia but US climate and energy policies can reverberate strongly in Asia and other continents/countries. Hence, I am reposting this article by Willis Eschenbach, The DOE vs. Ugly Reality last December 10, 2016, about the 74 questions sent by Mr. Trump’s transition team to the current DOE leadership.

I think those question are frank and highly sensible. But there are many news reports attacking the letter and questions, saying they infringe on DOE scientists’ independence, etc., and they cite only a few of those 74 questions. Good work there, Willis, thank you
————–

usdoe1Questions for DOE

This memo, as you might expect, is replete with acronyms. “DOE” is the Department of Energy. Here are the memo questions and my comments.

  1. Can you provide a list of all boards, councils, commissions, working groups, and FACAs [Federal Advisory Committees] currently active at the Department? For each, can you please provide members, meeting schedules, and authority (statutory or otherwise) under which they were created?

If I were at DOE, this first question would indeed set MY hair on fire. The easiest way to get rid of something is to show that it was not properly established … boom, it’s gone. As a businessman myself, this question shows me that the incoming people know their business, and that the first order of business is to jettison the useless lumber.

  1. Can you provide a complete list of ARPA-E’s projects?

Critical information for an incoming team.

3 Can you provide a list of the Loan Program Office’s outstanding loans, including the parties responsible for paying the loan back, term of the loan, and objective of the loan?

4 Can you provide a list of applications for loans the LPO has received and the status of those applications?

5 Can you provide a full accounting of DOE liabilities associated with any loan or loan guarantee programs?

6 The Department recently announced the issuance of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicles (and perhaps associated infrastructure). Can you provide a status on this effort?

Oh, man, they are going for the jugular. Loan Program Office? If there is any place that the flies would gather, it’s around the honey … it’s good to see that they are looking at loan guarantees for electric vehicles, a $4.5 billion dollar boondoggle that the government should NOT be in. I call that program the “Elon Musk Retirement Fund”.

Folks, for $4.5 billion dollars, we could provide clean water to almost half a million villages around the world … or we could put it into Elon Musk’s bank account or the account of some other electric vehicle manufacturer. I know which one I’d vote for … and I am equally sure which one the poor of the world would prefer.

7 What is the goal of the grid modernization effort? Is there some terminal point to this effort? Is its genesis statutory or something else?

Asking the right questions about vague programs …

8 Who “owns” the Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial efforts within the Department?
Continue reading

Climate action and Asian energy realities

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last Friday.

bw

Planet Earth is estimated by geologists and other scientists to be 4.6 billion years old. In that period, the world has experienced a series of warming-cooling-warming-cooling cycles. So global warming and climate change (CC) have been there as natural (i.e., nature-made) and cyclical events. See dozens of paleo-climate data and charts that date back to thousands, millions and billions of years ago here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/paleoclimate/.

Yet for decades now, we have been bombarded by the United Nations and other institutions and individuals who deny nature-made climate change and climate cycle, deny that global cooling can take place after a global warming phase. Owing to such denials, anthropogenic or “man-made” climate change can only be fought via man-made and UN-directed solutions like large-scale and endless subsidies to intermittent renewable sources.

Such is the dominant global belief and being formalized during the annual UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), like the Conference of Parties (COP) 22 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco from Nov. 7 to 18 this year.

The goal of the 160+ intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) is to “hold the average global temperature rise below 2 ºC and 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels.” (source: UNFCCC, “Aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions: an update Synthesis report by the secretariat,” May 2016)

It is another confused document from the UN.

For instance in Figure 14, p.64, the “Key climate hazards identified in the adaptation component of the communicated intended nationally determined contributions” are the following, in order of “hazards.”

Top 5: Floods, Droughts, Higher temperatures, Sea level rise, Storms.

Next 5: Decreased precipitation, Changes in precipitation timing, Vector/water-borne diseases, Increased precipitation intensity, Desertification/land degradation.

In short, the climate “hazards” for the planet according to the UN are more floods, less floods, and no flood; more rains, less rains and no rain; more storms, less storms and no storm. So regardless of the weather and climate, we should send more money to the UN and various government climate bureaucracies, give them more power, more global climate travels and meetings. And they will demonize fossil fuels like coal and oil to “save the planet.”

Such scenarios and proposals are very detached from the realities and needs of many countries, developed and developing alike.

Here are the data from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released only two weeks ago (see table).

o4big_111716

Almost all of the big and developed economies in the region have high reliance on coal and/or natural gas, among the most prominent fossil fuels in the planet. The Philippines in particular has low national electricity production compared to many of its neighbors in north and south east Asia, only 75 billion kWh in 2013. The country also has a very low per capita electricity production of only 690 kWh/person.

Over the past two weeks, I have attended several conferences and meetings and the subject of “expensive electricity” and “insufficient supply of power” would crop up naturally even if the events are not specifically focused on energy.

These events include the DTI’s pre-summit consultation on FTAs and manufacturing industries last Nov. 3, pre-summit consultation on innovation and competitive industries last Nov. 4. One participant said that while garments are labor-intensive, textiles are energy-intensive and they can feel the pinch of high electricity prices.

Meanwhile, during the Philippine Economic Society (PES) annual conference at Novotel Cubao last Nov. 8, the two sessions on energy economics and competition policy have also touched on these subjects including competition in power generation companies and monopolies in power transmission and distribution.

In the Agribusiness commercial legal and institutional reform (AgCLIR) roundtable at Makati Shangri-La last Nov. 11, many agri-business enterprises in the country brought up the matter of high electricity costs.

Last but not the least, during the Asian Legal Business (ALB) — Thomson Reuters’s Competition Forum at Dusit Thani in Makati City last Nov. 15, one of the speakers, Dr. Raul Fabella of UPSE mentioned pricing under monopoly and duopoly or oligopoly, like in power distribution and generation.

The over-riding concern for the Philippines and other developing economies in Asia and the rest of the planet is how to hasten and sustain economic growth so that job creation and poverty alleviation can also be sustained. Having cheap and stable electricity is a major part in realizing this goal.

Forcing expensive and unstable energy sources to “fight climate change” as pushed by the UN and participating governments is contradictory to the above goal. After all, climate change from warming to cooling in natural cycles did happen in the past and continues to happen today.

Governments therefore, should be more realistic and not alarmist in pursuing that over-riding goal. Less ecological central planning, less energy rationing, less climate bureaucratism would be consistent with poverty alleviation.

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the president of Minimal Government Thinkers and a Fellow of SEANET and Stratbase-ADRI.

Donald Trump’s climate and energy policies

Anthropogenic or “man-made” climate change (CC) hypothesis is actually 5% climate science and 95% political science. A realistic view is that CC is natural (ie, ‘nature-made’) and cyclical (warming-cooling-warming-cooling…). So a change in political leadership of one of the major players will significantly increase the % share of real climate science and reduce the share of political science.

Some big news reports a day after Donald Trump was elected as the next US President.

“While vowing to “cancel” the international Paris climate accord Obama championed, Trump would also rearrange domestic energy and environmental priorities. He wants to open up federal lands to oil and gas drilling and coal mining. He wants to eliminate regulations he calls needless. He would scrap proposed regulations for tighter methane controls on domestic drillers. And he wants to shrink the role of the Environmental Protection Agency to a mostly advisory one and pull back the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s proposed plan to push utilities toward lower carbon emissions.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/trump-victory…/

“Global markets were thrown into disarray as results from the U.S. poured in. Wind turbine makers led the biggest declines in five months. Vestas Wind Systems A/S dropped 9.7 percent Wednesday after dropping 8.1 percent Tuesday when management announced a bleaker outlook for next year.” http://www.bloomberg.com/…/trump-victory-seen

“Shares in Vestas Wind Systems A/S plunged after U.S. voters unexpectedly propelled Republican nominee Donald Trump to the presidency, sparking concern that the renewable- energy industry will face future political headwinds.

The world’s biggest maker of wind turbines fell as much as 14 percent and traded 6.6 percent lower at 440.10 kroner as of 12:50 p.m. in Copenhagen. Stock of the Danish company already lost ground last week after U.S. polls tightened, bringing this year’s declines to about 10 percent.”http://www.bloomberg.com/…/vestas-sinks-as-trump

“On climate change, abandoning the Paris Treaty would be primarily of symbolic importance, since implementation has always been the biggest obstacle. China’s announcement of a 19% increase in coal capacity over the next five years demonstrates just how little committed many of the signers are. Possibly, President Trump will try to reduce federal support for renewables, but since that would cause the loss of many jobs and Congress has already extended the Production Tax Credit for five years, it’s not clear that much will be done, or at least not very quickly.”http://www.forbes.com/…/what-will-president-trump…/

tr1

Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley (UK) wrote:

  1. U.S. withdrawal from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, from the Paris climate agreement and from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  1. Termination, on environmental and humanitarian grounds, of all Federal Government payments to foreign entities in connection with climate change…https://wattsupwiththat.com/…/in-light-of-recent…/

“Many years ago, Lord Monckton predicted America would be nation to lead the world to freedom from the anti-humanist greed of the green movement. Lord Monckton’s prediction has now come to pass.

In my native Australia, in Europe, across the world, in the bleak halls of the United Nations, the climate elite were gathering for one final great push to claim the future. Their plans are now in ruins.” https://wattsupwiththat.com/…/09/the-end-of-the-green-age/

From Marc Morano: “Climate sanity has been restored to the U.S. No longer do we have to hear otherwise intelligent people in charge in DC blather on about how UN treaties or EPA regulations will control the Earth’s temperature or storminess.” http://www.climatedepot.com/…/trump-wins-u-s…/

“The US president-elect “cannot prevent the implementation” of the landmark Paris pact, inked in the French capital last December, said Segolene Royal, France’s environment minister and outgoing head of the UN climate forum.

“As I speak, 103 countries representing 70 percent of (greenhouse gas) emissions have ratified it, and he cannot — contrary to his assertions — undo the Paris Agreement,” she told French radio station RTL.”https://www.yahoo.com/…/climate-diplomats-push-back

Their big problem is that hundreds of those “planet saviours” from developing countries, NGOs, etc were paid for by US taxpayers, courtesy of Pres. Obama’s embrace of climate alarmism movement.

“Paris accord in limbo?

As for the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump can either ignore it or withdraw from further climate talks. Since Obama bypassed congress by calling it an accord—a treaty requires approval by the Senate—Trump could repeal the executive order Obama used to implement the agreement.”http://us.blastingnews.com/…/here-s-what-a-trump

tr2

“The bigger concerns, climate researchers, strategists and activists say, is if Trump prevents the U.S. from meeting its target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions or keeps the country from taking more ambitious climate action. The U.S. has promised to reduce emissions 26-28 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels, a goal many say may be within reach simply based on the market forces already pushing out older coal plants in favor of natural gas.” https://insideclimatenews.org/…/marrakech-morocco

“SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”

http://www.npr.org/…/here-is-what-donald-trump-wants-to

“Seven actions to protect American workers:….

★ FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

★ SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.

★ SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fi x America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”
https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/_landings/contract/O-TRU-102316-Contractv02.pdf

tr3

The climate alarmism movement with the goal of more UN, more government, more carbon taxation, more renewables cronyism, more and endless global climate junkets, more climate loans, would be reeling now because the “party might be over soon.”

More real climate science, less political science. More market in science debates, less government interventions in debate.

Climate change, the UN and ‘Clexit’

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last September 08, 2016

bw5

Last weekend, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon declared during the G20 summit in China that “climate change scepticism is over.” This statement is wrong on two counts.

First, the term climate change (CC) skepticism or “CC denial” is wrong because skeptics recognize climate change, having happened in the past and currently taking place in the present. However, skeptics only believe that climate change is natural and cyclical, or it is “nature-made” and not man-made. Thus, the appropriate term should be “anthropogenic/man-made skepticism” and not “CC skepticism.”

Second, the debate is not over and was never settled.

If the debate is “over,” then how come that the UN (UNEP, WMO, IPCC, FCCC, etc.) could not answer (a) how much of current CC was man-made and nature-made? Is it 100-0, or 90-10, or 75-25, or 51-49? And (b) what was it like before this “man-made” CC, less flood, no flood, or more flood? Less storms, no storm, or more storms?

A Web site (http://wattsupwiththat.com/paleoclimate) used Greenland surface temperature as proxy for global temperature, and galactic cosmic rays’ (GCRs) volume.

GCRs are charged particles from exploding stars that wander through the universe including our solar system. They help in the formation of cloud cover in our planet, so that more GCRs mean more clouds. The presence of GCRs in the Earth’s atmosphere is regulated by the sun. Active sun through more total solar irradiance (TSI) means less GCRs that can enter the solar system and hence, less cloud, contributing to global warming. A weaker sun means more GCRs and hence, more clouds, contributing to global cooling.

Temperature changes in Greenland are measured in temperature anomaly (or deviation from the average temperature) while changes in GCRs are measured in carbon -14 anomaly (or deviation from the average volume of carbon -14). The author has shown there is correlation between GCRs count and Greenland temperature cycle of warming-cooling.

This correlation between GCRs and global temperature has been studied and shown by a known Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark many years ago, and followed up by hundreds of other papers by other physicists and geologists worldwide.

Recently, a group of scientists from the National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Space) and the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has shown the link between large solar eruptions (or their absence) to changes in Earth’s cloud cover based on over 25 years of satellite observations. They wrote,

“Earth is under constant bombardment by particles from space called galactic cosmic rays. Violent eruptions at the sun’s surface can blow these cosmic rays away from Earth for about a week. Our study has shown that when the cosmic rays are reduced in this way there is a corresponding reduction in Earth’s cloud cover. Since clouds are an important factor in controlling the temperature on Earth our results may have implications for climate change,“explains lead author on the study Jacob Svensmark of DTU. (Source: WUWT, “Svensmark publishes: Solar activity has a direct impact on Earth’s cloud cover,” Aug. 25.)

These and other scientific studies show that all the huge annual climate meetings of the UN and national governments for many years are based on questionable if not wrong hypothesis and assumption that natural factors like the Sun, GCRs, clouds, water vapor, are not the main drivers of planet Earth’s climate, that it is only human emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) that drives the “unprecedented, unequivocal” global warming. Therefore, their solution that more UN and governments’ interventions, taxation, and regulations will “fight man-made” warming and CC is wrong.

And that is how various global associations and alliances of independent-minded scientists and NGOs were formed. The most recent of which is “Clexit,” http://clexit.net/.

Inspired by “Brexit” or Britain’s exit from the huge EU bureaucracy, “Clexit” or Climate Exit from UN FCCC, the climate alarmism and energy cronyism was formed last August.

Here is part of the summary statement made by Viv Forbes, Founding Secretary of “Clexit”:

“For developing countries, the Paris Treaty would deny them the benefits of reliable low-cost hydrocarbon energy, compelling them to rely on biomass heating and costly weather-dependent and unreliable power supplies, thus prolonging and increasing their dependency on international handouts. They will soon resent being told to remain forever in an energy-deprived wind/solar/wood/bicycle economy.

“Perhaps the most insidious feature of the UN climate plan is the “Green Climate Fund.” Under this scheme, selected nations (“The rich”) are marked to pour billions of dollars into a green slush fund. The funds will then be used to bribe other countries (“developing and emerging nations”) into adopting silly green energy policies.

“Carbon dioxide does not control the climate. It is an essential plant food and more carbon dioxide will produce more plant growth and a greener globe.”

“Clexit” now comprises 158 members from 23 counties. The “Clexit” Committee is headed by Dr. Václav Klaus, an econometrician and former prime minister and president of the Czech Republic, as Hon. Patron. “Clexit” President is Christopher Monckton from UK, an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on CC and author of numerous peer-reviewed papers on climate sensitivity and mitigation.

The few but deep members of “Clexit” include the following:

  • Official IPCC reviewers but dissented from the final public IPCC reports prepared by political appointees.
  • Meteorologists, climatologists, physicists, radiation experts, climate modelers, and long-range forecasters who show that the assumptions and forecasts of the greenhouse-driven computer models are faulty.
  • Organic chemists, biologists, physicians, naturalists, graziers, foresters and farmers who know that extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial for Earth’s biosphere.
  • Sea level history and measurement experts who can prove that there is nothing unusual or alarming about current fluctuations in sea levels.
  • Geologists and geographers who have studied eons of climate history via ice cores, stratigraphy, paleontology, deep-sea drilling, historical records, glaciers, ice sheets and landscapes and can show that CC is normal and today’s climate is not extreme or unusual.
  • Astrophysicists, geologists, and researchers who have studied the cycles of ice ages and the climate effects of the Milankovitch cycles in Earth’s orbit — obliquity, eccentricity and precession, and say that the 1,000 year climate averages are trending towards the next glacial epoch of the Pleistocene Ice Age.
  • Medical researchers who point to evidence that exposure to cold are up to 20 times more lethal than exposure to heat.
  • Power engineers and logistics experts who say that wind and solar power cannot run modern industrial societies, modern transport, or big cities except by installing massive overcapacity and gigantic transmission webs at exorbitant costs. 100% wind/solar is a recipe for blackouts and starvation.
  • Politicians, businessmen, columnists, lawyers, army officers, and bloggers who see that this political agenda will destroy the freedoms we cherish.

The formation of “Clexit” was not prompted or supported by any industry, corporation, group or lobby nor have they had any say in the association’s statements or conclusions.

The “anthropogenic CC” camp is driven by a desire for more, bigger UN, and governments. They desire more government regulations, taxation or subsidy of energy, transportation, manufacturing, down to micro household lifestyle.

A “Clexit” is a way to regain scientific objectivity, economic rationality, and protect individual and enterprise freedom from ever-expanding UN and governments, local and national.

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the head of Minimal Government Thinkers, a SEANET Fellow and “Clexit” temporary regional director for Southeast Asia.

INDCs and Philippine energy realities

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last Thursday.

bw2

Energy poverty can kill today, not 30 or 100 years from now because of “man-made” warming or climate change. Dark streets at night because of expensive electricity and unstable energy mean more road accidents, more crimes. Or households using candles are courting more fires, more destruction to private property. And households using traditional biomass for cooking endure indoor pollution and invite various respiratory diseases.

Thus, it is unwise for governments to institute measures that will make electricity even more expensive and make the construction of power plants become more costly and bureaucratic. Depriving the people of more access to cheaper electricity and stable energy sources is violation of their human rights, the right to live in safe communities, and road travel at night, the right to productive work and studies, the right to entertainment with families and friends, anytime they like.

Consider the following data on energy poverty in the ASEAN from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). We exclude Brunei and Singapore in this list because they have 100% provision of energy for their people (see table).

bw3
In 2013, some 21 million Filipinos were still using candles or noisy gensets at night, consuming more diesel, another fossil fuel. And some 53 million Filipinos were still using firewood and charcoal (meaning more illegal cutting of trees) for cooking, or cow dung, causing more indoor pollution and respiratory/health problems later.

Is this a good situation for the country and our people? Maybe if one advocates de-industrialization and low standard of living as much as possible, the answer is yes.

The Philippine government through the Climate Change Commission (CCC) submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris last year this Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG):

“The Philippines intends to undertake GHG (CO2e) emissions reduction of about 70% by 2030 relative to its BAU scenario of 2000-2030. Reduction of CO2e emissions will come from energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors.”

This means that we should cut our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 70% compared to a business as usual (BAU) scenario.

How will several industries be adversely affected? Mainly through more expensive electricity as more expensive, subsidy-dependent renewables like wind and solar will be forced-fed into the grid and distribution utilities. Even if cheaper electricity from coal and natural gas plants are available, they will be second priority when power from intermittent but expensive sources are available. So our monthly electricity bills will keep rising.

Also, more electric tricycles and jeeps will be fielded via tax-funded programs, like the ADB loan of $300 million (around P17.2 billion) for 100,000 new e-trikes in the country. Purchase of e-trikes is borne by taxpayers, their daily electricity charging is also borne by taxpayers via charging stations in municipal/city halls.

And firms will be forced to procure more capital-intensive processes, meaning higher operational costs to be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices of goods and services.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) early this month wrote to the CCC questioning that commitment of a high target, 70% GHG emissions by 2030 as this will put undue pressure on local industries and strain the growth of the economy. The PCCI said, it supports GHG emission reduction but that “high target” is impractical. Their proposal was 40% reduction.

Good call by the PCCI. Expensive energy, costly prices of commodities and services, should be among the last things that we should aspire for our people.

Those alarmist scenario of “more severe weather”, “unprecedented, unequivocal global warming” and catastrophic “man-made” climate change remain questionable. Climate changes from warming to cooling to warming to cooling, in natural and endless cycles, since the planet was created some 4.6 billion years ago. Consider this data for instance (see chart).

bw4

The big or very strong El Niño of 2015-2016 has a precedent, the big El Niño of 1997-1998. And almost always, big El Niño is followed by big La Niña, see the early ’70s cooling and the prolonged La Niña from 1998-2000.

Continued demonization of CO2 — a useful gas that we humans and our animals exhale, the gas that our plants, trees, and crops use to produce their own food via photosynthesis — is creating more distortions in energy and economic policies.

We should not aspire to rival Myanmar and Cambodia, much less North Korea, in energy poverty. Government — through the CCC and DENR especially — should get out of overly ambitious alarmism in energy rationing.

This subject was not highlighted in the recent Presidential elections but President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was quoted in one forum during the campaign period that he supports more coal power plants to sustain the country’s rising energy needs. Let us hope that he will stick to this policy.

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the head of Minimal Government Thinkers, a Fellow of SEANET and Stratbase-ADRi. minimalgovernment@gmail.com