Industry Market Trends

Climate Change Desertification Prediction Comes True: Funding Drying Up

Dec 09, 2011

The Anthropogenic Global Warming movement is faced with the ugly specter of expanding deserts, dry, arid places with no... funding.

"The availability of finance to help developing countries tackle climate change is drying up, imperiling the international climate talks, the head of the World Bank's sustainable development network has warned," according to a recent post on the Environmental Finance Web site. Evidently, Rachel Kyte told an audience in London that there could be a spreading "desert" between funds already allocated in fast-start climate finance, according to the post, "such as to the Clean Technology Fund, and the beginning of operations of the planned Green Climate Fund."

Kyte said managers of the Clean Technology Fund, a climate "investment" fund set up by the UN and managed by five development banks, have $4.5 billion in commitments and the use of an additional $37 billion, around one third of which is private sector money.

Of course the goal, the idea is for the West to be shoveling about $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing countries on the pretext of helping them deal with climate change.

"$100 Billion A Year? Um, We'll... Think About It. We'll Call You."There are only a few minor details that might get in the way of such largesse -- the fact that, as Bret Stephens writes in The Wall Street Journal, the U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and the EU have all but confirmed they won't be signing on, the Chinese and Indians won't make a move unless the West does, and Europe's already spent all their money bailing out Greece and the Germans really aren't in the mood anymore.

Other than that, though, hey, clear sailing. Get those Swiss bank accounts ready, Third World recipients.

Everywhere one looks the bloom is off the rose of AGW. It's politically dead in the United States, as Stephens notes. Even loony lefty Europcrats are rethinking the wisdom of destroying their heavy industries during an acute economic crisis and costing their already-moribund economies an additional $67 billion a year, all in the service of an idea, that human industrial output will render the planet uninhabitable in a few years, that fewer and fewer rational people actually believe.

Yes, the Climategate e-mails did a lot to show the world how dishonest the whole enterprise of AGW really is. The AGW alarmists -- "All the polar bears are dying! The Himalayan glaciers are melting! New York City is going to be underwater!" -- are ignored, their papers and reports and press conferences quietly withdrawn, thrown away and erased from the memory bank.

Desert, Desert, As Far As The Eye Can See.But the truly telling fact is that the money is drying up. Follow the money, as Hal Holbrook told Robert Redford in All The President's Men.

Case in point: This past May the industry journal ClimateAction reported that Britain's Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets in Great Britain, was reviewed by The Department and Energy and Climate Change, which paid a lot of lip service to the ideals of low-carbon lifestyles and emissions, but quietly "cut core funding to two flagship green bodies: the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust."

There will be policy targets and papers and regulations and all whatnot, "a range of environmental and energy security targets," but funding? Sorry. Money's getting tighter. You understand. You're doing great work, keep it up, best of luck, but we can't afford you anymore. Cheerio.

The review said the coalition will introduce new legislation - under a Strategy and Policy Statement - which Ofgem will be under obligation to meet. Appearances will be maintained.

Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said all the right things, noting that "A strong, independent regulator will be crucial to building the secure, affordable low-carbon energy we need," pointing out that "long-term certainty is vital," proposing "clear goals which Ofgem must play its part in meeting," and saying it was all necessary "so that industry and consumers know the rules of the game."

Yeah, We Know The Rules Of That Game.Sure, we all understand the rules of the game. We all saw that DECC axed the core funding for flagship programs including the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust. We know how that game's played.

The British government justified the cuts, saying they "expect both organizations to develop commercial opportunities" and "compete services put out to tender."

Sure, that'll happen. And the U.S. Post Office would do just fine competing with FedEx and UPS by developing commercial opportunities and competing on the strength of the quality of their service, too. They don't need government subsidies.

The Carbon Trust released a statement "calling private partners to come forward," saying that "mobilizing the private sector will be key in delivering a low-carbon economy," no doubt while passing around their CVs.

Wall, Meet Writing.Frankly, it's hard to miss all the warning signs: Banking on AGW and its concomitant green technologies is just a bad bet.

Consider another case: Austin, Texas-based online journal The Digital Texan examines the recent solar power experiment conducted by the city of Pflugerville. TDT noted the construction of 500 new solar energy panels for the city's water treatment plant. Cost: $1,040,000. Granted $870,038 of that should have been offset by  federal stimulus grant.

Proponents of the solar installation say the panels will save residents $415,000 over 20-25 years. This, they tell residents, is A Good Thing. They are Saving Money. As TDT's math shows, however, it's kind of hard to spin a loss of $625,000 as "saving money."

Let's recap: The $870,038 of federal stimulus money was given to Pflugerville in the form of a renewable energy grant from the Texas Comptroller's State Energy Conservation Office, TDT reported -- "borrowed taxpayer dollars at the federal level being twisted by Pflugerville into a 'savings'."

And bear in mind that the savings the panel project's proponents claim is a best-case guess, undoubtedly the rosiest one they could possibly throw out there, and depends on there being no unforeseen problems, repair bills or other issues with an experimental technology over the next 20 years. Because as we all know, things go just as planned in such a situation. And sure, we can count on government grants every year. Take it to the bank.

TDT dares utter the ugly truth: "The solar energy industry hasn't proven itself to be a viable business or a viable energy source, yet government continues to pour billions of taxpayer's dollars into it at the expense of proven businesses. It's an industry that currently thrives on government handouts and insider taxpayer loans."

Solyndra And All That.We don't really need to run over all the dreary examples of taxpayers losing millions in green technology again, from Solyndra on down, do we?

Solar power, wind power, harnessing ocean wave power, none of it has come close to proving itself capable of contributing much in the way of genuine savings. An exhaustive objective academic study, the most comprehensive so far attempted, found that Spain's green technology industry has ended up costing far more jobs than it has created and inflicted untold billions of dollars of losses on the Spanish economy, which isn't that robust to begin with.

And then there's the issue of the tattered CO2 markets themselves. A recent articles in the SFGate reported that Odin Knudsen, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s managing director for environmental markets, resigned a few weeks ago, as "the largest U.S. lender scaled back its climate-related practice," according to the article.

It's the result of the United States finally coming to its senses and refusing to join any global carbon emissions trading system. Looking over the edge of a cliff does have a wonderfully tonic effect on one's perceptions of reality. As Knudsen himself said to explain his resignation, "the market pretty much died out."

The SFGate article went on to note that "emissions credits and clean power stocks plunged in 2011. Investors deserted those markets as the United Nations plan for a global emissions cap remains gridlocked and European governments that subsidize most clean energy projects are battered by the sovereign debt crisis."

Which Dies First, EU Carbon Markets Or The Euro?It's a bloodbath. Benchmark EU carbon-emission permits have dropped 40 percent this year, and the Bloomberg Industry solar energy stocks index plunged 68 percent. Overall the value of carbon trading fell 8 percent to 23.7 billion euros ($32 billion) in Q3 from Q2. One wonders which will go toes-up first, the entire EU carbon trading edifice or the euro itself. One won't be far behind the other in the race to the graveyard.

The writing on the wall's getting harder to ignore -- the entire notion of a "carbon trading market" was always only ever propped up by artificial government regulations in the first place, such an animal would never exist in nature.

To wit: This past June, Green World Investor wrote that the European Carbon Trading Market, the biggest cap and trade market in the world, hit a monster slump, with carbon credit prices crashing to around 10 euros, "the lowest since March 2009."

GWI pinned the blame for the fall on -- naturally -- less government regulation requiring carbon compliance, as well as "a number of frauds happening in trading of these carbon credits."

Global talks on climate change are failing. Don't expect any relief from Durban. Why? Look, the EU and the rest of the world have more important things on their mind, like the greek debt mess and what that means for Italy, Spain, Ireland and the rest of Europe.

In other words, we need to pay attention to reality now.