Saturday, July 29, 2017

EU Spokesperson Caught In Bold-Faced (Bald-Faced) Lie? -- July 29, 2017

Updates

July 30, 2017: I was somewhat concerned that I was incorrect in the original post; it's hard to believe that a EU spokesperson would be so cavalier with facts when they are so easily checked these days. But see first comment; much appreciated. The reader also provides this link:

https://s1.postimg.org/faz3droun/Captura_de_pantalla_1326.png

It's important to note that the graph at the link is the EU total (all 28 countries which would include Great Britain; Great Britain skews the data to some extent because it is unique in trying to displace coal with natural gas where the EU in general has not made the same commitment (at leas to the same extent).

Original Post
 
Where is Snopes when we need the fact-checking service? In this Reuters article:
Nicole Bockstaller, a spokeswoman at the EU Commission's Energy and Climate Action department, said that the EU's coal imports have generally been on a downward trend since 2006, albeit with seasonable variations like high demand during cold snaps in the winter.  
The rest of the article did not seem to support that statement, so where was the fact-checking?

Here is the fact-check over at TorvaldKlaveness (for some reason, the writer only includes the first eight months of each year, through August):

Not only is the trend clearly upward since 2006, but look at this:
Total imports into the EU (excluding the U.K.) totaled 188Mt in 2015, the second highest import on record, only beaten by the 196Mt imported in 2008. However, imports in the first 8 months of 2016 have started on a much weaker note, down about 10% from the same period in 2015.
"... down about 10% from 2015..." LOL. Comparing 2016 with a record-setting year. Why didn't the writer compared 2016 to 2004? Or to 2006? Or to 1010?

I guess there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

The writer excluded the UK in the graph perhaps because that country was an outlier -- not because coal was displaced by wind/solar, but rather because coal was displaced by natural gas (see the linked article at Torvald Klaveness).

Based on the data coming in for 2017, it appears that 2016 was an outlier for the EU also; the amount of coal being imported by Europe has already surged the first six months of this year.

But as a reader pointed out, the EU does not count burning wood as contributing to CO2 emissions because wood, they suggest, is a renewable resource.

And some folks think President Trump is mentally challenged. 

2 comments:

  1. I went and checked Eurostats for all 28 European Union nations for full years. Bockstaller makes an empirical claim which is false.

    Here's the data:

    https://s1.postimg.org/faz3droun/Captura_de_pantalla_1326.png

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    Replies
    1. I was somewhat concerned that I was incorrect in the original post; it's hard to believe that a EU spokesperson would be so cavalier with facts when they are so easily checked these days.

      I do think that EU use of coal may be an under-reported story.

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