The suicidal Spanish Climate Change Law

Published in Expansión

A few years ago, an American acquaintance told me an amusing anecdote. At a meeting held in Detroit between representatives of automobile companies and rookie youngsters sent by the Obama Administration, enthusiastic climate change zealots, the latter conveyed to the industrialists the need to soon have an electric car with a range of 600 miles. One industry veteran argued that physical laws stood in the way of such a task, to which one of the young men angrily retorted, “What laws are those? Don’t you realize we control Congress?”

With similar frenzy, our social-communist government, which controls Congress, has passed the Climate Change Act believing that the immutable laws of physics can be modified at the whim of fashionable ideological dogmas. The fact that the first two words of the law’s explanatory memorandum are “United Nations” is eloquent, since we obey, once again, the slogans of world powers with a god complex who spend “their nights from sunset to sunrise, and their days from dawn to dark” dreaming about their feverish utopias of recreating man and his world, running the risk, like Don Quixote, that their brains will dry up and they will lose their wits from too little sleep and too much messing around.

What has been hidden from the public is that this law will mean an unprecedented increase in the price of electricity bills in a country that already holds the European record for price increases in households since 2008[1], as it approaches its ideal of 100% “renewables”, forcing us to oversize our electricity system at a prohibitive cost to avoid sporadic blackout scenarios.

The ideological background of this law is undeniable. As Belloc would say, one does not have to be as sharp as a ferret to glimpse the monomania, dogmatism and blind obedience to supranational slogans that permeate its text, a leap into the void that goes far beyond the socialist tradition of nonsense in energy policy for ideological reasons. This drift has gone mild to severe since former PM Felipe González’s nuclear moratorium in the late 80s (possibly his greatest error of judgment) until former PM Zapatero’s frivolities and his “renewable” push, so profitable for some. However, this law of messianic overtones far exceeds such precedents, and the fact that only one party has opposed it is evidence of the lack of intellectual rigor and the worrying level of ideological contamination of our political class on both sides of the aisle.

The approval of the law has been underpinned by an unprecedented instrumentalization of the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) by a government that leaves no institution uncontaminated by politics. Indeed, since the arrival of the Socialist new climate minister in 2019, the AEMET has been forced to publish an annual report on climate change whose publication has been brought forward this year for political reasons to make it coincide with the approval of the law[2]. Unfortunately, the report repeats the mantra that global warming has caused an increase in extreme weather events despite the fact that even the IPCC acknowledges that neither hurricanes, floods nor droughts have increased globally (AR5, ch. 2.6)[3]. It also makes fanciful temperature projections to achieve the usual apocalyptic headlines by extrapolating the trend of a carefully chosen interval and using the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario discredited by climatologists as mere alarmist propaganda[4]. Finally, it provides a long series of land temperatures that should be taken with caution, because until recently AEMET also did not clean the data of the so-called Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect (thermometers that were in the middle of the countryside half a century ago and are now in the middle of a city). I do not know if it has corrected these defects, but, nevertheless, it is certainly ironic that the data show that there was practically no increase in temperatures whatsoever in Spain between 1850 and 1971 despite the increase in atmospheric CO2.

Let us turn to the content of the law. Throughout history, human beings have used their intelligence to replace inefficient forms of energy with more efficient ones. However, for the first time we are witnessing an unusual coercive involution that forces the use of inefficient energies whose shortcomings (technically well known) are intentionally hidden from the public. In addition to their poor performance, they are intermittent, since wind energy depends on the wind (which does not blow everywhere or at all hours) and photovoltaic energy depends on the sun, which does not shine at all hours or at night, as the minister will surely have observed. Thus, they can generate electricity when there is no demand and not do so when there is. In this regard, it is worth remembering that electricity cannot be stored except to a very limited extent, a fact that is often overlooked. This intermittency also prevents them from acting in the adjustment, regulation and programming of a system whose demand is variable at every hour of the day and which, in addition, has randomness factors. Since the demand must be met at all times without interruption, these energy sources alone cannot form the basis of the system. They may be an add-on, a whim or a politically correct ornament, but because of their own physical limitations they cannot play a preponderant role, since they will always need the support of traditional generation sources. Thus, the deception of the “100% renewable” objective really implies a duplication and over-dimensioning of the system at a prohibitive cost.

Obedient even in the choice of name, this law copies Germany with its “Energiewende” (“energy transition”) plan. The problem is that it is an open secret that the German experiment has been a failure. After boosting renewables to 40% of electricity generation, Germany is today the country with the most expensive electricity in the world (more than double that of the USA) while its CO2 emissions per kWh have fallen less than in the USA[5], the UK or France (champion of nuclear energy), countries with far fewer renewables[6]. The fact that Germany has postponed until 2038 the end of coal usage due to its former unrealistic forecasts (while inaugurating a new 1,100 MW coal plant) is significant. Wind and PV produce a lot of CO2 during their construction and maintenance and cause ecological damage, such as local temperature increase in PV farms or the disruption of wildlife and natural landscape in those unsightly scarecrows called wind farms, whose crazy land area requirements (per MW installed) have contributed to the growing weariness of the German population.

The disproportionate imposition by law of intermittent, inefficient, ruinous and unsustainable energies that hardly reduce CO2 can only please this unique alliance between certain economic interests and the druids of the new global climate religion. This law, suicidal for our national interests, is a very serious mistake and must be abolished as soon as possible. Who will do it? The Partido Popular, the main non-opposition party and a serial abstentionist accomplice? Someone has decided that Spain should be sacrificed on the altar of the new gods.

 

Fernando del Pino Calvo-Sotelo

www.fpcs.es

[1] https://www.acer.europa.eu/Official_documents/Acts_of_the_Agency/Publication/ACER Market Monitoring Report 2018 – Electricity and Gas Retail Markets Volume.pdf

[2]  http://www.aemet.es/documentos/es/conocermas/recursos_en_linea/publicaciones_y_estudios/publicaciones/Informes_estado_clima/Resumen_ejecutivo_informe_clima_2020.pdf

[3] https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WG1AR5_all_final.pdf  ch. 2.6 pg 214-220

[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00177-3

[5] https://emissionsindex.org/#chart-1-view-3

[6] https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/daviz/co2-emission-intensity-6#tab-googlechartid_googlechartid_chart_111_filters=%7B%22rowFilters%22%3A%7B%7D%3B%22columnFilters%22%3A%7B%22pre_config_date%22%3A%5B2010%3B2018%5D%7D%3B%22sortFilter%22%3A%5B%22ugeo%22%5D%7D

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