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Lumps of Coal for Al Gore's Christmas Stocking

Lumps of Coal for Al Gore's Christmas Stocking

Former U.S. senator, vice president, and current climate activist Al Gore makes a speech to participants in a U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, Weds., Dec. 12, 2018. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

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Wednesday, 26 December 2018 09:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Santa is reportedly still pretty miffed at Al Gore regarding very naughty claims exactly two decades ago that his North Pole property values would soon to be underwater.

Gore had famously predicted on Dec. 14, 2008 during the COP15 Copenhagen Climate Conference that the North polar ice cap would be gone in five years. Instead, a recent NASA satellite study shows that Arctic sea ice is actually growing faster now during winter months than it did decades ago.

Also, the Northwest Passage through Nunavut which was supposed to be clear was closed this year due to excessive multi-year ice blocking the way. According to Waguih Rayes, general manager of Desgagnés Transarctik, Inc. which oversees several Arctic ships as the managing partner for Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc., "The thickness and concentration of ice are worse than we have ever seen since we started servicing the communities [in 2008]." 

The "Goracle" was back in a full frenzy mode at the COP24 Katowice, Poland climate talks which ended last week. Angry that the Trump administration refused to sign on to the U.N. Paris Climate Agreement, he intoned, "Will civilization descend into another dark age?"

Then, really stoking up the blast furnace, he asked, "Will we descend into a condition that future generations will describe as hell on Earth?"

The goal of COP24 was to come up with an international rulebook aimed at slashing atmospheric CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 through steep world-wide reductions in coal consumption. The likelihood of that happening, however, are about as good as a snowball’s chance in Gore’s most feverish fantasies.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global coal demand which had fallen for two years following the late-2015 signing of the Paris Agreement on climate returned to a consumption rebound last year which is projected to grow, "driven by strong coal generation in China and India."

China’s carbon dioxide emissions have risen 4.7 percent year over year.

The China Electricity Council has reported that China added 39 gig watts of coal-fired capacity in 2017 alone. Beijing is also actively investing in coal infrastructure abroad.

Although a smaller energy consumer than China, India’s rising coal demand is being driven by infrastructure development, population growth, and an expanding middle class. By year’s end, India’s carbon dioxide emissions will have grown 6.3 percent from 2017 levels.

Overall, the world’s greatest growth of future coal use is expected to occur in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia in particular. During a September visit to Indonesia, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in oversaw a deal to build two new coal plants there.

Turkey currently plans to build 80 new coal power stations which will double its consumption. New coal plants are also under construction in the Balkans, Greece, and COP24 Climate Conference host Poland. Warsaw has declared that it will continue burning coal as a matter of national security, given that the principal alternative is Russian natural gas.

Green energy-touting Germany will continue to remain a significant Western Europe coal user. While some of their power plants are switching to cheaper imported black coal from the U.S., Russia, and Colombia, Germany is also strip mining more lignite, or brown coal which yields much less energy than the shiny black anthracite.

Meanwhile, since pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, coal use in the U.S. dropped by 2.6 percent in 2017. This reduction is largely is attributable to transitions to plentiful and less expensive natural gas.

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to shutter all coal-fired plants by 2021, and ban all oil and gas drilling by 2040. In addition, by 2030 or 2035, he also wants to reduce France’s nuclear energy use by half which currently provides 72 percent of the country’s electricity.

Whereas the idea behind these initiatives was to fight climate change, Macron now faces dangerous rising tides of a political sort. Since France already imports 99 percent of its automotive fuel, French citizens successfully revolted against a massive gasoline tax increase which had been enacted to cover a transition to far more expensive wind and solar energy alternatives.

Speaking at COP24, Al Gore called the decision to create a U.N. Paris Climate Agreement regime "the single most important moral choice in the entire history of humanity." Perhaps recall that this is the same guy that predicted in his 2006 Inconvenient Truth science fiction book that a possible 20-foot ocean rise would flood major U.S. coastal areas from southern Florida — to San Francisco — to Manhattan "in the near future."

One might reasonably be forgiven for wondering why then he risked spending nearly $9 million in 2010 on an ocean-view Montecito, California villa only four years later.

Word on the street is that Santa still wonders too.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of several books, including "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful” (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), and "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles."Click Here Now.

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At COP24, Al Gore called the decision to create a U.N. Paris Climate Agreement regime "the single most important moral choice in the entire history of humanity." This is the guy predicting in his "An Inconvenient Truth" science fiction that a 20-foot ocean rise would flood major U.S. coastal areas.
cop, gas, iea, natural, poland, warsaw
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2018-05-26
Wednesday, 26 December 2018 09:05 AM
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