COP-26 Out Could be a Cop-Out                                                                                                                               

These past few days Boris Johnson, the UK’s PM and host of the upcoming COP-26 Climate Conference must be wringing his hands as the COP-26 Climate Conference being held in Glasgow from October 31st until November 12, 2021 is showing signs of major problems. 

On his home turf, the UK recently had to fire up a coal plant to avoid a blackout as their 24,100 MW capacity of onshore and offshore IWT (industrial wind turbines) went on holidays while natural gas prices soared.  The BBC article noted: “Over the coming months, those sky-high gas prices are expected to remain volatile. So, as well as forcing National Grid to make some tough choices about where we get our electricity from, it could also have a big knock-on on what we pay.”

As if to top things off for Johnson, new regulations associated with the electricity system and coming into force next year were recently announced and they state; “Electric car charging points in people’s homes will be preset to switch off for nine hours each weekday at times of peak demand because ministers fear blackouts on the National Grid. Under regulations that will come into force in May, new chargers in the home and workplace will be automatically set not to function from 8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm.”

To put the foregoing in context the number of EV registered in the UK are approximately 300,000 out of 38 million vehicles which equates to less than 1%!  Prime Minister Johnson must surely have his fingers crossed that some of those recent events will not impact COP-26 and bring to mind, the realization reliable electricity cannot be supplied by those intermittent sources such as wind and solar usually referenced as “renewable” rather than “unreliable”!

The foregoing may be a strong signal to Prime Minister Johnson that his plan to end sales of all non-electric cars by 2035 is a non-starter unless they will forego being charged except perhaps once a year!

On top of the UK’s problems, the Spanish government has stepped into the fray as they recently moved to halt the record rise in power prices by; both reducing their taxes on energy and by curtailing what they referenced as “exceptional benefits”.  The article outlining the Spanish Government’s actions went on to state; “The government says the hikes in electricity bills are driven by spiraling prices of so-called carbon certificates, which give companies the right to release carbon dioxide; gas imports that Spain needs to complete its energy mix; and surging power demand in recent months.”

The amusing feature about the Spanish government’s actions is that back in December of 2020 “Renewables Now” were bragging Spain generated 43.6% of its power from renewables and had closed 3,486 MW of polluting power plants which were mainly coal-burning units during the year.

As is to make the COP-26 Conference outcome even more worrisome for PM Johnson, China advised Britain “it will not yield to international pressure for bigger improvements to its climate change commitments at the Cop26 conference in Glasgow.”  They will not be bullied into going green despite the visit from Alok Sharma, the UK senior climate change representative, who visited Beijing for pre-summit talks hoping to persuade China to “enhance” its carbon emissions reduction targets. It is worth noting China’s emissions stand at 28% of all global emissions and continue to climb. Without an “enhanced” commitment from them one should suspect COP-26 will fail to provide Johnson with the ability to claim it was a success!

Canada’s commitments at the Conference are presently unknown until the results of our election come to light.  What is known however, is one Canadian is playing a prominent role at COP-26 and that individual is Mark Carney whom I expounded on in prior articles.

PM Johnson back in January 2020 appointed Mark Carney (former Governor of the Bank of Canada and former Bank of England Governor) as his “advisor” for the conference. In addition, Carney is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. I personally suspect Carney is not at all concerned about the outcome of the COP-26 Conference despite his lofty positions for the UN and PM Johnson.

Should COP-26 turn out to be a failure and Canadian voters couple that with the boot for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party we should expect Carney’s fallback position will be to run for leadership of the Federal Liberal Party. 

Stay tuned!

Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

One thought on “COP-26 Out Could be a Cop-Out                                                                                                                               ”

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