Michaelmas Gracie

Welcome to little Gracie, born at Michaelmas.

By the time this child is five years old, the world should have agreed to control Carbon Dioxide emissions.

Net greenhouse gas emissions to air should have peaked, and be on the decline by the time this child starts school.

It’s up to us to care for our children.

If we don’t take steps to stop the ocean becoming increasingly acidic, we will have destroyed part of the food chain, and people will go hungry in greater numbers than they do now :-

http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=F50CF08B-237D-9F22-E86BA2E071920760

“August 2010 : Scientific American Magazine : Threatening Ocean Life from the Inside Out; August 2010; Scientific American Magazine; by Marah J. Hardt and Carl Safina : …As researchers, we were concerned about the underappreciated effects of changing ocean chemistry on the cells, tissues and organs of marine species. In laboratory experiments at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Havenhand had demonstrated that such changes could seriously impede the most fundamental strategy of survival: sex. Ocean acidification—a result of too much carbon dioxide reacting with seawater to form carbonic acid—has been dubbed “the other CO2 problem.” As the water becomes more acidic, corals and animals such as clams and mussels have trouble building their skeletons and shells. But even more sinister, the acidity can interfere with basic bodily functions for all marine animals, shelled or not. By disrupting processes as fundamental as growth and reproduction, ocean acidification threatens the animals’ health and even the survival of species. Time is running out to limit acidification before it irreparably harms the food chain on which the world’s oceans—and people—depend.”

And global warming will only make the problem worse :-

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n2/full/ngeo420.html

Letter : Nature Geoscience 2, 105 – 109 (2009)
Published online: 25 January 2009 : doi:10.1038/ngeo420

“Long-term ocean oxygen depletion in response to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels”

Gary Shaffer, Steffen Malskær Olsen & Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen

“Abstract : Ongoing global warming could persist far into the future, because natural processes require decades to hundreds of thousands of years to remove carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning from the atmosphere. Future warming may have large global impacts including ocean oxygen depletion and associated adverse effects on marine life, such as more frequent mortality events, but long, comprehensive simulations of these impacts are currently not available. Here we project global change over the next 100,000 years using a low-resolution Earth system model, and find severe, long-term ocean oxygen depletion, as well as a great expansion of ocean oxygen-minimum zones for scenarios with high emissions or high climate sensitivity. We find that climate feedbacks within the Earth system amplify the strength and duration of global warming, ocean heating and oxygen depletion. Decreased oxygen solubility from surface-layer warming accounts for most of the enhanced oxygen depletion in the upper 500 m of the ocean. Possible weakening of ocean overturning and convection lead to further oxygen depletion, also in the deep ocean. We conclude that substantial reductions in fossil-fuel use over the next few generations are needed if extensive ocean oxygen depletion for thousands of years is to be avoided.”

Big Oil’s Tea Party

http://www.desmogblog.com/astro-turf-wars-uncovered-new-undercover-documentary

If you, dear Reader, are a Republican American, and you are demographically “middle class”, and you support the Tea Party movement, you are likely to have been seriously deceived – by Big Energy. Or Big Mining.

Who are these “Big Diggers”, propagandising the naive, well-intentioned, right-wing citizens of the United States of America, so they don’t realise they’re thinking somebody else’s thoughts, shouting somebody else’s slogans, riding somebody else’s train ?

Continue reading Big Oil’s Tea Party

Wind Power : Material Fatigues

Image Credit : Cape Cod Living

James Delingpole follows in a long line of commentators with zero engineering experience in pouring scorn on a technology that could quite possibly save our skins :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100056158/wind-farms-yet-another-brewing-disaster/

I don’t know what he harbours in his heart against wonderful wind turbines, but he seems to be part of a movement who delight in their failure. Just ask the Internet to show you “exploding wind turbines”.

For example :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKkTUY2slYQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSB1SdVHqQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkGXoE3RFZ8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOfHxINzGeo

Clearly, you need to be in full protective fatigues when battling this kind of bad press…in fact “fatigue” is exactly the right word to come back at Mr Delingpole’s cracked warning (of cracks in wind turbine bases).

Continue reading Wind Power : Material Fatigues

And Now For Something Completely Different

[ WAIT FOR IT… a video will appear shortly in the space below…if not, reload the page, will you ? ]

http://www.crudeawakening.org.uk/

Just what are they brewing ?

Continue reading And Now For Something Completely Different

George Marshall : The Dying of the Light

In the orange light-filled advertising corner : the oil and gas companies proclaiming new, untold riches beneath the melting Arctic. Technology will make us stronger, less polluting and improve the lives of the countless poor.

In the blue chain-smoking activist corner : Climate Change and Peak Oil are really, really serious, destabilising and horrible and we should all get depressed and go and lie down in a darkened room for a while.

On the other hand, most people don’t fall in one camp or the other. We worry about Climate Change some days, but we’re too pre-occupied with trivia on other days.

We have a natural in-built “happy button”, according to recent research mentioned in New Scientist magazine, so we can’t sustain feelings of doom and gloom for too long unless we’re clinically unwell :-

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727791.000-how-to-be-happy-but-not-too-much.html

We’re born to be sunny, optimistic (Teddy Miliband’s favourite word) and relaxed, only reserving adrenalin and noradrenalin for times of stress.

So why does George Marshall try to convince us that everyone is dangerously susceptible to “apocalyptic” language ?

http://climatedenial.org/2010/09/29/collapse-porn/

People can cope with being given bad news as long as they have some strategy with which to combat the problem.

It’s not wrong to tell people the truth about Climate Change just in case they get scared and worried.

Alarm is a good thing – I’d rather a fellow pedestrian shouted at me to “look out !” if I’m about to be mown down by a car as I cross the street, rather than just watching on and wincing at the crunch moment.

Continue reading George Marshall : The Dying of the Light

Tu Me Manques, David Miliband

I don’t know about you, but I’m missing David Miliband from the political fish-eat-fish top table already.

If he were to ask me, which he won’t, but anyway, if he did, I would recommend that he starts reading up about Energy production and supply, over the next 18 months or so before he gets invited, acceptingly, back into the Shadow Cabinet of the UK Government.

If he were to spend his time on the train between South Shields and Westminster looking into energy security matters, into crustal petrogeology, the Middle East oil fields, Wind Power, solar and marine options, he could make a strong comeback into the limelight – as opposed to the “lemon” light he’s been cast into, thrust into, so far.

If he becomes acquainted with the ways and wiles of engineering and fossil fuels over the next few years, the viability of Renewable Energy solutions, the transport explosion phenomenon and how to control it, then he will be able to offer solid assistance to his younger brother Teddy – who appears to be mistakenly sold on the idea of new nuclear power.

And if Ed Miliband were to ask, (again, which he won’t), I’d say – atomic energy cannot save us; carbon capture technology cannot save us; algae biodiesel can only trickle, even Frankenstein GM algae biodiesel; Peak Oil is almost definitely here; efficiency of use alone cannot save us. We have to go right out for a non-combustion, Renewable Energy future.

FIT for Purpose

Image Credit : Marrickville Greens

Everywhere in the world that Renewable Energy subsidies, grants or guaranteed unit price contracts have been set, there has been a gradual, or sometimes even rapid, development of new Renewable Energy assets. Which seems like quite a good reason for the State to partly finance the development of Renewable Energy systems, if you take the long view. (Note : I’m using the word “asset” in its proper, original sense here – something that has value long after it has been created, and long after it has been paid for.)

By the end of the lifetime of German roof-top solar panels, or British wind turbines, the economic signal to assist the deployment of these technologies will have long since vapourised, leaving behind a functioning electricity supply that runs without the use of expensive fuel and doesn’t run the risk of major failures and huge drops in power output – unlike large centralised power stations.

The need to invest in long-term non-fuel widely-distrubuted generation assets plugged into the electricity network is essential for its future stability – the more reliable Renewable resources of all scales the National Grid can call on, the cheaper it will be to guarantee a solid supply for all.

The large energy companies most likely consider investment in small- and medium-scale Renewable Energy by individuals and communities as a threat to their monopoly on electrical generation. And so they should. It is time for big changes in the way energy is supplied and managed in this country.

New, large, centralised power plants that the large energy companies want to build will cost their customers dearly in the form of higher energy prices – and there have been continual battles over the planning for and the financing of large new energy plants.

This is why the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme in the UK is so important to keep – a stimulus to create small-scale Low Carbon power resources that will still have value in 20 or even 30 years time with very low maintenance schedules.

The threshold level of the economic stimulus for small-scale Renewables is comparatively low when compared to other forms of investment. The incentive scheme to install principally solar resources can work with funds much lower than those required to underwrite a new fleet of Nuclear Power stations, for example, and yet create a resource that could rival the new reactors without all that cost of nasty radioactive clean-up at the end of a nuke plant’s life.

But, being Great Britain, the Government have had their heads turned by the large energy companies yet again, it seems, as there are rumours that the FIT will be scrapped :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/339acf30-c757-11df-aeb1-00144feab49a.html

“Solar power subsidy under review : By Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondents : Published: September 23 2010 : The recent mini-boom in solar power could be in jeopardy, as the government has privately indicated that new feed-in tariffs that have fuelled the industry could be slashed. If such cuts are adopted, renewable energy experts fear that it will scare off investors – with repercussions throughout the industry. “To change the subsidy system just when you can see the success it has had beggars belief,” said one. “Renewable energy investors . . . will lose faith in this government.” Industry insiders also accused the government of hypocrisy. They say that while Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, was promising the Liberal Democrat conference 250,000 green jobs as part of a “revolutionary” deal to cut emissions, government advisers were holding meetings in back rooms at which they flagged up potential cuts to the feed-in tariffs (FITs)…”

Don’t blame me or anybody in the Green Party or Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth or a number of other Non-Governmental Organisations or independents if in 15 years time there is still not a significant Renewable Energy resource in the United Kingdom. We have expended a lot of personal energy calling for sensible levels of sustainable funding for the renewables revolution. We can do without the limitations of a stop-start regime.

If you want new energy systems, you need to pay for them. It’s called investment, and we need to do it because our current energy systems are decrepit and high carbon. The large energy companies are not prepared to put their own capital into small-scale Renewables, so it falls to the taxpayer to fill the gap. Why not pay the least for the most by directly incentivising small-scale Renewable Energy with a long-term Feed In Tariff scheme ?

Go Beyond Oil

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gt9FazoUMIDxODUKwX2TF5LxndsQ

“Protesters condemn ‘dirty oil’ at World Energy Congress : (AFP) : 14 September 2010 : MONTREAL — Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in the streets of Montreal Sunday, calling for an end to “dirty, risky” oil exploration, ahead of a global gathering of energy experts. A dozen protesters covered in molasses staged a “Black Tide Beach Party,” while dozens of others carried banners that read “Too dirty, too risky, go beyond oil.” A blond baby boy smeared in brown sticky molasses wailed in his activist father’s arms, while protesters used megaphones to slam the provincial Quebec government of Jean Charest for inviting oil companies to the five-day World Energy Congress at the sprawling Palais de Congres. Some 5,000 participants from industry, government and academia, were expected to attend the conference, slated to officially open Sunday evening. The event is expected to tackle global energy issues, such as improving access to energy in the world’s poorer regions and the role of new technologies in ensuring a sustainable energy future. Many protesters directed their anger at BP over a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. But Julien Vincent, a campaigner for Greenpeace International, said BP was only part of the problem. “British Petroleum is one part of a big industry that’s got an abysmal safety record and an abysmal record in terms of its obligations toward protecting communities,” he told AFP. “You also have oil from Shell dripping out over Nigeria right now. You have oil spills that have taken place in China that have flooded ports,” he added. “The entire industry needs to be told to sit back and listen up.” …”

http://www.wecmontreal2010.ca/en.html

Continue reading Go Beyond Oil

Gunk Zero

What happened to all that deepwater crude gusher oil, so visible from space, spreading like a magical sheen on the surface of the waters in the Gulf of Mexico ?

It’s now lying as a 5cm layer of gunk on the sea floor, that’s what. That’s where you’ll find Ground Zero for BP’s careless “blame the cement” spill mess-tastrophe :-

http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2010/09/oil-layers-two-inches-thick-coat-gulf.html

If ever there were an advertisement for the campaigns to end the age of fossil fuels, this, I think, is it.

Liberate Tate : Pouring Oil on Troubled Relationships

http://www.youandifilms.com/2010/09/crude-2010-oil-painting-protest-over-bp-sponsorship-in-tate-modern-turbine-hall-liberate-tate-calls-for-footprint-of-art-museum-to-be-free-from-big-oil/

http://twitter.com/liberatetate

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B2JesScn-l6lM2E2OTU2MGEtZmEzYy00NDZmLWE0YWMtYzY4Zjg5YmUxZTVi&sort=name&layout=list&num=50&pli=1

What Germany Says, Germany Means

Unlike the United Kingdom, where political sensibility can quash the most logical enactment of energy policy, plans for progress voiced so tentatively you can bearly feel a ripple, or hear it over the whispering swoosh of a new wind turbine blade, over in Deutschland, what they say, they intend to happen, and they’re making serious proposals about how that’s going to be done :-

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,716221,00.html

“09/07/2010 : Green Visions : Merkel’s Masterplan for a German Energy Revolution : By Stefan Schultz : Giant windparks, insulated buildings, electric cars and a European supergrid: the German government on Monday unveiled an ambitious but vague blueprint to launch a new era of green energy for Europe’s largest economy. SPIEGEL ONLINE has analyzed the plans…”

It appears to be time to wave bye-bye to German coal, incidentally, even as a strong commitment to renewable, sustainable energy is put on the table.

I wish the British Government could take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror of the future and realise what a bunch of dithering duffers they appear to be.

What we need is a proper Energy Policy, chaps, and since you’re in the hot seat you better come up with it. Elected or not, our ministers and officials need to get up out of their deep leather chairs, extinguish their pipes, don their working breeches and get digging for Britain, and I don’t mean Shale Gas or Old Coal.

Continue reading What Germany Says, Germany Means

Climate Weak

An e-mail trail with a certain amount of political content…


from: Kate Shepherd
date: Tue, Aug 10, 2010
subject: Climate Week

Hello Jo

It was lovely to speak with you today about Climate Week and I’d be grateful if you could pass on the information to the rest of your team.

Climate Week, 21st – 27th March 2011, is a new national occasion on climate change, backed by the Prime Minister, Al Gore and Kofi Annan. During Climate Week, thousands of events will be run by organisations from every part of society to highlight the positive steps being taken to help prevent climate change.

I have attached a document for further information, the document includes a list of supporters of Climate Week, which range from every part of society: from the Chief Fire Officers Association to the Women’s Institute, the Girl Guiding UK to several Regional Development Agencies.

Continue reading Climate Weak

Christopher Booker : For Once, I Agree

Even only semi-regular perusers of this little web log will be astonished, galled and maybe even venomously upset to discover that for once, and probably only the once going on past evidence, I actually agree with Christopher Booker :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7969102/The-Clean-Development-Mechanism-delivers-the-greatest-green-scam-of-all.html

“The Clean Development Mechanism delivers the greatest green scam of all : Even the UN and the EU are wising up to the greenhouse gas scam, “the biggest environmental scandal in history”, says Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 28 Aug 2010 : …The way the racket works is that Chinese and Indian firms are permitted to carry on producing a refrigerant gas known as HCF-22 until 2030. But a by-product of this process is HCF-23, which is supposed to be 11,700 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. By destroying the HCF-23, the firms can claim Certified Emission Reduction credits worth billions of dollars when sold to the West (while much of the useful HCF-22 is sold onto the international black market). Last year, destruction of CFCs accounted for more than half the CDM credits issued, in a market that will eventually, it is estimated, be worth $17 billion. Of the 1,390 CDM projects so far approved, less than 1 per cent accounts for 36 per cent of the total value. Even greenies have become so outraged by this ridiculous racket that the Environmental Investigation Agency has described it as the “biggest environment scandal in history”…”

I would commend Mr Booker to get his chemical acronyms sorted out, by substituting “HCF” with “HFC”, or “HCFC”, but apart from that, which was fairly easy to unpick, it is quite an honourable description of the problem.

None of the money-based “flexible mechanisms” sewn into the Kyoto Protocol appear to be working, and that’s because they are (a) money-based and (b) not economy-wide.

Continue reading Christopher Booker : For Once, I Agree

Spill, Baby, Spill

It’s OK to spill.

That’s the message handed to Royal Dutch Shell in the form of their fine for spilling oil in the Niger Delta – only 10% of their spillage will be counted :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/22/shell-niger-delta-un-investigation

Environmental fines don’t work – because the oil and gas and coal companies have well-paid and persistent lawyers :-

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/industries/energy/stories/DN-valdez_26bus.ART.State.Edition2.4e176ea.html

Money can’t buy you a clean environment. Take note.

Rethink Fossil Fuels

We all love the inputs, but what about the outputs ?

Fossil Fuels have been providing an easy life and easy pickings for the citizens and enterprises of the industrialised world for some time.

People love their jet-fuelled lives. One man will move one kilometre from his home to a restaurant in two and a half metric tonnes of steel and glass believing he is admired for his larger-than-car-sized car. He will wear sunshades, and oil-slicked hair (if he has any) and sport a tan from his recent holiday over the ocean. A life of glory and feeling good about himself.

But what about the emissions ? What, indeed, about the environmental devastation at the places the Fossil Fuels (and metal and glass) were mined and refined and manufactured ?

What do we leave behind ?

Continue reading Rethink Fossil Fuels

Come On Over For Lunch

Shock ! Horror ! Major Climate Change Scientist spotted at Climate Camp…ah, but which one… ? How to distinguish one dressed-down, unwashed individual with dishevelled locks from any another ?

Any sign of Climate Change sceptic-denier Andrew Montford, as affectionately known as “Bishop Hill” ? Can’t make him out, but he might have responded to the banner appeal to “Come On Over for Lunch”. You never know. That might be him chopping potatoes, right in the thick of it.

Continue reading Come On Over For Lunch

Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

Here follows an extract of a conversation I have had with members of the Claverton Energy Research Forum, which I have cut-and-paste into a more easy-to-read fashion below the fold :-

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/59dfb3351bb432ec?q=abbess&lnk=ol&

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/bfec36913d002b91?lnk=gst&q=abbess#bfec36913d002b91

As you can see, there are Climate Change sceptic-deniers everywhere, even in the most knowledgeable and respectable circles.

Countering Climate Change denial from so-called “sceptics” takes a lot of time and energy, and is a bump-in-the-road nuisance/irritation distraction from the main priority for human civilisation, which is how to stop being addicted to Fossil Fuels.

Continue reading Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

This Is Not A Riot

[ UPDATE FROM JOABBESS.COM : ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH, CLIMATE CAMP SITE HAS BEEN TAKEN. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION FROM process@climatecamp.org.uk, Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:59 PM : “Site taken! People needed NOW! At 9.15PM tonight Climate Camp took the site on RBS HQ. Get on site as fast as you can! Defence help urgently needed. Come to RBS Gogarburn Gardens, off Gogar Station Rd. More info later. x” ]

Al Gore has been telling all the young people, and well, all of us, really, to protest, in public, to make a downright law-unabiding nuisance of ourselves :-

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/114717-al-gore-calls-for-us-protests-on-climate-change-inaction

“Gore calls for major protests on government’s climate change inaction…In a post on his personal blog headlined “The Movement We Need”…”

Well, it won’t work to call people out onto the street. Most people are too busy credit-crunching, wage-slaving or favour-scraping to be able to commit to a short-term, potentially self-defeating public display of annoyance, frustration and shrill demands.

And if people do come out to the big protests, it won’t achieve much. News reports can be swept into the trash. Activists can be swept into holding facilities. Politicians can conveniently ignore anything that isn’t violent.

Drop the loud-hailers and home-made placards, I say, and do something more…focussed.

The Climate Camp want to target the Royal Bank of Scotland for financing Coal power plants and Tar Sands oil projects, which are very bad things to be doing, and smacks of huge corporate irresponsibility, considering the bank is largely owned by the British taxpayer, and I say, if you can’t make the camp (and I can’t for reasons which I shall not go into just now), do something about money in other ways instead.

What’s your money doing ? Which oppressive regimes in oil-rich countries is it supporting ? Which Fossil Fuel companies trashing your Environment do your bank support ? Why not switch your money to an ethical financial organisation ? Why don’t we all try to do this at the same time ? “Crowd-banking” could have an impact, you never know until you try.

Let’s pick, say, Monday 23rd August 2010. And let’s all spend our way out of Climageddon together on that day. Transfer your money to an ethical bank, or pledge to do so. Phone your bank and tell them you’re leaving for a sustainable bank.

Other actions possibly useful :-

1. Refuse to buy Fossil Fuels for a day.

2. Refuse to use any hot water for one day (most hot water is produced by burning Fossil Fuels). It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere – come on – a cool shower won’t hurt you.

3. Don’t spend any money on anything that had Petroleum-based plastic or Natural Gas-based chemicals in its production – which would rule out 85% of non-food purchases, I reckon.

4. If you’re working for a company or an organisation who have anything to do with the Energy industry, make a point of asking your boss, or their boss, or the Chief Executive or something what the company/organisation intends to do about moving the whole business to Renewable Energy.

5. One short telephone call could have you moving from burning Coal for your home electricity to a Green Energy account.

This is not a riot – but it is an emergency, and the response should match the scale of the problem.

Our Climate – Not for Sale.

Bloody Oil from Felix Gonzales on Vimeo.

Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Dr Judith Curry insists, quite correctly, that we should take uncertainties into account when deciding Climate Change policy.

Yet I think our respective positions probably strongly differ on which way we weight the uncertainties.

I strongly favour the Precautionary Principle, implemented Early, making it the “Early Precautionary Principle”.

One of the reasons I come down on this end of the spectrum of possible responses to uncertainties is that there are quite a spectrum of unknowns that form the pillars of those uncertainties.

After all, if we don’t know a term in an equation, how can we possibly calculate anything meaningful with any kind of confidence ?

How can anybody feel safe and secure not knowing for certain what the actual equilibrium Climate Sensitivity amounts to ? The response of the Earth’s Climate system to extra airborne Carbon Dioxide-forced temperature rise is a number that is becoming firmer, but there are error bars. Surely this points to conservatism in emissions ?

Moreover, we could be well advised to cut back on Fossil Fuel burning not just to protect the Climate, but to save the Economy. How can we pursue our normal everyday Carbon-emitting lives not knowing how much Fossil Fuel there is left in the ground that can be inexpensively mined ?

How can we know the order of magnitude of Fossil Fuels left to extract ? And how can we know what kind of impact this will have on the Climate ?

Continue reading Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Say No To Coal

Banks + Coal = Climate Chaos

People + Information = Social Change

Just say no. No to Coal. And then no to all the other Fossil Fuels.

Oil Salesmen

Advertising imitating Life…but just which photograph is the fashion shoot ?