In a post back in December, I made this prediction:
As soon as the United States stops parroting the global warming line, the other countries will quickly start backing away from it as well.
Look around and you will find that this is happening much faster than even I would have thought. Scott Pruitt hasn't even been confirmed yet as EPA administrator, and already the floodgates are starting to open around the world to rapidly expanding fossil fuel use, particularly coal. Now mind you, no country has actually officially stated that "we don't buy that global warming crap any more." If you just listen to their official words and pronouncements, it might seem that not all that much has changed. But then, take a look at what they are doing, and you get a very different picture.
Let's have a round-up:
Japan. Do you remember Japan's pledge, after the Fukushima nuclear plant incident in 2011, to transition away from nuclear and fossil fuels and toward the holy grails of wind and solar power? It seems that that did not work out too well. Andrew Follett in the Daily Caller on February 1 reports on Japan's newly revised energy plans. Wind and solar?
Officials promised to replace nuclear power with wind or solar, but this caused the price of electricity to rise by 20 percent.
Enough of that foolishness! What are the new plans?
Japan [has] plans to build as many as 45 new coal-fired power stations in the coming years. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is still firmly behind plans to build coal plants, despite repeated pressures from environmentalists to stop construction of the major new coal plants. Abe wants more new coal plants to make sure the island nation isn’t too reliant on any one source of electricity. . . . Japan got 24 percent of its electricity from coal in 2010 and the country plans to get more than a third of its power from coal by 2040.
According to Follett, Japan is also planning to add natural gas capacity, as well as to restart most of its nukes. Back to energy sanity!
Australia. Do you remember that back on September 28 a big storm in South Australia caused the amount of power coming from its extensive wind farms to swing so wildly that it knocked out electricity to the entire province for a couple of days? Going in to that disaster, South Australia was one of the world champions of wind power, crowing that it got up to 50% of its power from wind on some days. Well, what are they going to do now to keep the disaster from re-occurring? From The Australian on February 1:
Australia’s Turnbull government is planning to help fund the construction of new clean-coal-fired power stations in an extraordinary measure to intervene in the looming energy security and pricing crisis. . . . [T]he federal government will look to either repurpose plants or directly invest in the construction of new-generation coal-fired plants in partnership with the private sector.
Canada. In 2015 the Canadians voted out the notorious Conservative "climate denier" Stephen Harper and voted in trendy lefty Justin Trudeau. Surely this guy would carry forth the torch of the fossil fuel restriction movement? Don't count on it. From Yale Environment 360, January 17, "Canada's Trudeau Is Under Fire For His Record on Green Issues":
Trudeau’s critics say that while he has talked a good game on climate change, his actions have been in stark contrast to that rhetoric. Trudeau has approved two contentious pipeline projects to transport Alberta tar sands oil. One, the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline, would carry oil from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest and beyond. The other, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, would move oil and bitumen to ports in British Columbia for export, thus extending for decades the life of tar sands operations. Trudeau also supports the highly controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. . . . In addition, Trudeau has approved the $11.4 billion Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that would be built by the Malaysian national oil company, Petronas, at the mouth of British Columbia’s Skeena River.
China. Of all the countries on the world climate stage, China is my favorite. They are willing to say the most transparently deceptive things to make the environmental crowd think that they are going along with the program, when in fact they are just thumbing their noses -- and the environmentalists get completely taken in every time. And thus on January 18 came the big announcement that China was canceling some 103 coal plants previously planned to be built. Exciting! From the New York Times of that date:
China is canceling plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants, seeking to rein in runaway, wasteful investment in the sector while moving the country away from one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation, the government announced in a directive made public this week.
That sure sounds like something for a greenhouse gas-hating environmentalist to cheer about! So let's try to put it in some perspective. How much coal electricity-generating capacity does China already have, and how much is it still building even after the cancelation of the 103 plants? As of 2015, China's coal-fired electricity-generation capacity was over 900 gigawatts, according to Bloomberg, and continuing to grow rapidly. It seems that they had planned another 350 gigawatts; but with these cancelations, they will now limit that to another 200 or so gigawatts, to achieve a "limit" of about 1100 gigawatts of coal-fired generation capacity. From Next Big Future on November 8:
China will need to cut about 150 gigawatts of coal-fired power from projects that are either approved for construction or already under construction to maintain the 1,100-gigawatt limit, Huang Xuenong, director of the power generation division of NEA said during the webcast. Without restrictions the country’s coal-fired power capacity could reach about 1,250 gigawatts by 2020, he said.
By contrast, the evil pollution-happy planet-destroying U.S. has coal-fired electricity-generation capacity of a big 305 gigawatts. So China's announcement of cancelation of that last 150 gigawatts of planned capacity means that they are graciously going to "limit" their coal electricity-generation capacity to 3.7 times the U.S. capacity, rather than the previously-planned 4.2 times. That sure sounds like "climate leadership" to me! From Isabel Hilton at Yale Environment 360 on November 21:
With Donald Trump threatening to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, China is ready to assume leadership of the world’s climate efforts. For China, it is a matter of self-interest – reducing the choking pollution in its cities and seizing the economic opportunities of a low-carbon future.
Sure, Isabel. And here's another way that China is seizing the "climate leadership" away from the United States: by building well over a dozen new coal-fired power stations in the Balkan states of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovinia and Montenegro. From Not A Lot Of People Know That on September 21:
The Balkan region’s first privately-funded power plant came online on Tuesday, increasing the region’s dependency on coal-fired power stations even as environmental concerns are driving them to the brink of the extinction elsewhere in Europe. It was built by China’s Dongfang Electric Corp and financed with the help of a 350 million euro ($391.13 million) loan from the China Development Bank.
And that plant is just the first of many. Paul Homewood of Not A Lot Of People Know That helpfully provides this map of planned coal-fired power stations in the Balkan countries, largely to be financed and built by Chinese investors and construction companies:
The best part about all of this is that in the time since President Trump's election the voices of climate alarm have reached entirely new levels of hysteria. It's just that it seems that they aren't scaring anybody any more.