Claverton Energy Conference 8

The Claverton Energy Group will be holding its 8th Conference from 23rd to 25th October 2009 at the headquarters of Wessex Water, Claverton Down in Bath, England.

Advances in Energy technologies old and new will be presented amongst a wide-ranging and influential forum of engineers. The focus, as ever, will be the development of new infrastructure, within the context of the urgent need to de-Carbonise Energy supply.

http://www.claverton-energy.com/8th-claverton-energy-group-conference-2325th-october-wessex-water-bath-ba27ww.html

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A Very Crude Analysis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or-TyPACK-g
“A Crude Awakening – Trailer”

I watched the film “A Crude Awakening” for the third time this week with the good people of Transition Waltham Forest.

Several people in the room were strongly affected by the footage of the deserted oil fields of Texas, Baku and Venezuela.

In the discussion after the film I challenged the Green Party activist in the room (hopefully without hurting anyone’s feelings), asking where Energy is in the list of electoral campaign policy priorities. I said I don’t hear strong concern from any political party. It’s a subject that’s just not there.

Continue reading A Very Crude Analysis

Big Energy : Fighting for Survival

The Carbon game’s up : within 40 to 70 years the Petroleum empires will be gone. Even with massive new investment, Hydrocarbon production will be peaking. With supplies of Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and yes, even Coal, starting to fall away, a crucial sub-plot will begin to play out.

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Deep Gas : Russia Dives

A cursory Western reader of news about Russia would find curious snippets with little context or explanation. “Russia plants flag on Arctic floor” from 2007 or “Vladimir Putin dives to bottom of world’s deepest lake” from 1st August 2009.

With the new streamlined Russian openness strategy, the information is not withheld, just dumbed-down, it seems. When reported in the Western press, it’s easy for further meaning to erode at this extra remove. But there is a story here. What are they up to ? Staking claims in the Arctic and mining for unconventional Hydrocarbon fuels underwater, that’s what.

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Nuclear Drive : Barbecue Country

A number of media outlets have been skewered and grilled one more time in the last fortnight by the Nuclear industry and it’s paid-up or paid-to fans. It feels like the poor lamb hacks have been gambolling and frolicking too close to the fire.

Just getting a Press Release in the papers is not equivalent to convincing a critical mass of people to support your energy technology of choice. It’s like roasting and toasting a very dodgy piece of carcase/carcass and adding hot pepper sauce to hide the bacterial slime.

Even recruiting a senior former British Government Minister to the radioactive cause is not sufficiently influential for a good portion of the electorate. That’s like pulling some Amazon-killing soya-fed dead cow out of the freezer and finding it’s several years too old to eat.

Nuclear Power has a bad track record, and the last couple of years have been near-on laughable.

Continue reading Nuclear Drive : Barbecue Country

10×10 : Cut Carbon 10% by 2010

The Campaign against Climate Change has been running a very thought-provoking extending compendium of ideas on how to reduce British Carbon Emissions by ten percent by (the end of) 2010, to which you are all welcome to contribute :-

http://portal.campaigncc.org/content/10-10-ban-domestic-flights

http://portal.campaigncc.org/content/10-10-ban-domestic-flights-0

http://portal.campaigncc.org/content/10-10-50-reduction-cost-public-transport

Continue reading 10×10 : Cut Carbon 10% by 2010

Is That All There Is ?

Image Credit : Scott Kinmartin

Over the course of aeons of archeaological time, there has been a lot of death, I mean mass extinction, periods of natural hyper-slaughter and climate mayhem, atmospheric toxicity and ocean wipeout.

It’s all in the fossil record, except where those dead things have decomposed or chemically transposed into other things, like petroleum oil.
Continue reading Is That All There Is ?

Pizza Drop

What’s the opposite of a negative “anti-” protest against Fossil Fuels ? Why, it’s a negative “anti-” protest against losing jobs in Renewable Energy, with the best positive intentions.

The assortment of folks occupying the Vestas manufactory in Newport on the Isle of Wight are struggling to make a positive contribution to the future of British green collar jobs.

Alas, their sustainable and forward-thinking plan has met with summary dismissal – sackings by letters slipped under their pizzas in a delivery drop – according to the Press. The ultimate in snide micro-management.
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Beware : History Repeating Itself

[ UPDATE : I need to make clear that there is a lot of partially decomposed and undecomposed biological material in the iced-over regions of the planet. This is not producing Methane yet, but as it Globally Warms, it will. ]

Interestingly, today I have been accosted by e-mail, by a small collection of Peak Oil devotees, begging me not to waste my time on Climate Change : for, as they claim with some foundation, Fossil Fuel depletion rates may well mean that emissions stop short of causing dangerous Global Warming.


“I see the oildrum is part of your background reading!! I was therefore a little disturbed to see that along with most of the rest of the intelligentsia of my beloved home country, you are going to devote your professional future to being a “low carbon activist”. I hope you will reconsider this.”

“Any theory is ever only as good as its assumptions. The assumptions used by the IPCCC to develop future projections of run-away CO2 emissions are enormously “optimistic” about the future availability and price of oil, gas and coal.”

“In fact, we probably saw peak oil flows last year, will soon see peak gas flows, brought forward by Russia’s (and OPEC’s) need to maximize the price of gas and minimize current upstream expenditure. There are soundly based theories that we may be on the cusp of peak coal production. As someone said, it is not the size of the tank that matters, it is the size of the tap! The taps are not getting bigger but smaller, all over the World.”
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Genetically Modified Biofuels

Scottish historians can correct me on this : was it Robert the Bruce or William Wallace who first coined the phrase “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” ?

Well, it seem the “life sciences” industry, producing genetically modified organisms, is doing just that, this time in the fields of Energy and Climate Change.
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Messing With The Paradigms

Feeling faint and fatigued by Climate Change news recently, with its tit-for-tat spats about Policy and Science and most of all the Economics; grappling with the detractors and wreckers on various channels, I decided to turn to another source of information, trusting to uncover a little alternative inspiration.

I wanted to find something that would be unburdened by corporate advertising, untainted by agendas of those with financial or political capital to be made from various shifts in Energy and Carbon; something transparent and sufficiently broad to avoid niche arguments.

I hit upon a Science book for children, you know, with primary colour diagrams and simplified English, and it was quite refreshing. But wrong.
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Peak Everything

Just because we’ve reached the summit doesn’t mean the mountain’s about to disappear. But we have to recognise that, from now on, things are going to be heading in a sinking and falling away direction.

Some will fear and shake, as the Earth seems to slip away under their feet. Some will have psychological tremours as they have to adjust their world views extremely radically, and rather rapidly.
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No Country for Old Men

Heaven knows what Aubrey Meyer must feel like some days.

For every ounce of frustration I feel about the sloth-like pace of the international Climate negotiations, he must feel a pound of nerve-wrecking agitational sweating stress.

The United States of America has been trumpeting its progressive politics again this week, asserting itself as the world’s Climate Change leader at the G8 talks in L’Aquila in Italy.
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Stern Remarks #3 : The Law of Diminishing Energy Returns

Nicholas Stern, and other more bog standard Economists, all seem to believe in the magical power of Innovation. He writes about it in a reverential way in his book “A Blueprint for a Safer Planet”.

Innovation : gleaming, sparkling, wondrous dexterity : if there’s a buck to be made from shaving a saving, or fishing for an efficiency, it is assumed the holy Market Economy will be in there, innovating away.

Or that’s what Economists believe anyway, wholeheartedly, generally, generously, neo-liberally.
Continue reading Stern Remarks #3 : The Law of Diminishing Energy Returns

Stelios Flies By The Seat Of His Pants

At the conference “The politics of climate change : from economic crisis to business revolution” on 5th June 2009, Stelios Haji-Ioannou ended up flying by the seat of his pants.

“I’m usually [cast as] the Devil. People are trying to find a high-profile industry [to target]…[they choose] airlines.”
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Transition Waltham Forest : Trees, Fresh Blood & Networking

If you or anyone you know is young and unencumbered (you know, without kids or other dependents, like an employer for example) and living in London E17 (England), please, we need you to help us roll out the Transition Waltham Forest project :-

http://www.transitionwf.org
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Peak Oil Contraction – The Truth is Out There

It sometimes seems that truth is not only stranger than fiction, it’s out there, somewhere, way beyond our active recall.

We all know from our early years education that Petroleum Oil is a finite resource, unless we were home-schooled by Creationists.
Continue reading Peak Oil Contraction – The Truth is Out There

Tesco Town : Consultation Blues

Yes, I’ve been to the “regenerated” overheated Community Room 2 at my local public library in Hale End to view the fancy artwork and landscape model and debate with the ideologically-challenged young pups defending the new “plus size” Tesco plan for London E4.
Continue reading Tesco Town : Consultation Blues