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.

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

On Hot Rocks

Nuclear Power is on the rocks – hot radioactive rocks.

There have been a string of accidents, fires and outages in the last couple of years, probably due to cost-cutting and lack of investment in new equipment.

Nuclear Power stations are ageing. Many of them are due to be completely shut down by 2020. But some of them might not survive that long, judging by the catalogue of incidents racking up.

Does this kind of event make the national or international news ? Sometimes. Nobody wants to be sensationalist about it. It doesn’t get much commentary or opinion following.

Here’s only the very latest happening :-

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fire-breaks-out-at-nuclear-power-station-2017945.html

“Fire breaks out at nuclear power station : Sunday, 4 July 2010 : An overnight fire at the Sizewell B nuclear power plant near Leiston on the Suffolk coast was brought under control by eight fire crews after more than six hours. The blaze, in a building housing a charcoal absorber which filters gases, was the second incident this year. In March, 50 firefighters spent almost seven hours tackling a similar blaze which resulted in the plant being closed. Jim Crawford, the station director, said the latest fire had posed no danger to the public.”

And that’s it – the entire report. It’s quite astonishing that there is no further investigation, exploration or explanation.

As one of the commenters, Jason Brown wrote “And The “Independent” devotes precisely TWO paragraphs to this story? Ah, hallo? Chernobyl anyone?”

Climate Union : Sharing Principles

Image Credit : Gilbert & George, “Nettle Dance”, White Cube

I’m in the Climate Union. Are You ?

Soon we could all be, if the expansionist plans of a group of social campaigners come to fruition.

Taking in the unions, faith communities and the usual rag-tag bunch of issues activists, the Climate Union aims to establish itself as a political force for Low Carbon.

First of all, however, it has to tackle the uneasy and prickly problem of the exact name of the movement, and the principles under which it will operate.

The flag has been flown : a set of principles has been circulated for discussion amongst the “Climate Forum”. I cannot show you the finalised document yet, but I can offer you my comments (see below).

If you want to comment on the development of this emerging entity, please contact : Peter Robinson, Campaign against Climate Change, mobile/cell telephone in the UK : 07876595993.


Comments on the Climate Forum Principles
Jo Abbess
28 June 2010

I am aware that my comments are going to be a little challenging. I made similar comments during the review of the ClimateSafety briefing, which were highly criticised.

I expect you to be negative in response to what I say, but I think it is necessary to make sure the Climate Forum does not become watered-down, sectorally imprisoned and politically neutered, like so many other campaigns.

Continue reading Climate Union : Sharing Principles

Green Energy : Stuck in the Sidings

If you can imagine the engine for new, renewable and sustainable Energy systems as a train which should by now be thundering down the tracks, get this : it left the depot only to get stuck in the sidings.

Enough of the locomotive metaphors, already. On to the analysis. Here’s an excerpt from Catherine Mitchell’s fine book “The Political Economy of Sustainable Energy” (2008, 2010) :-

Continue reading Green Energy : Stuck in the Sidings

Nuclear Consultation

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has already made up its mind about a new fleet of Nuclear Power plants. However, they had the good grace to publish an open online consultation on the overall National Policy Statements, to which I have just contributed. It’s not a real democratic, deliberative process, but I still contributed, because I believe we do need to make use of the channels opened for us to express ourselves, even if few people with decision-making authority pay attention to our points of view and analysis.

Please note : if you want to add your halfpennyworth you have until the close of business today to do so, 22 February 2010.

Continue reading Nuclear Consultation

Toilet Power Trumps Nuclear

Image Credit : NowPublic

I still don’t know what all the fuss is about Nuclear Power, when the BioMethane from all the toilets, farm slurry, hospital and food waste in the country could trounce the amount of power available from atoms by 2020.

Without all that nasty radioactive leftover, massive expensive building projects, social tension, election nightmare and increasing security issues.

Continue reading Toilet Power Trumps Nuclear

Free Energy : The Nuclear Power Dead-End

“Sustainable Development” is a phrase with two distinct meanings.

When people trained in Economics think about what “Sustainable Development” means, they normally assume that Nature’s continuing bounty will sustain our development path. That the pyramid of wealth, the wealth accrual machine and monetary incentives will bring more and more people and material resources into optimal production, and there will be no end to the development of the enrichment of all peoples and the quality of their habitat. Growth is good, for it brings prosperity to all, health, wealth, education, freedom from want and a top-notch built environment.

Continue reading Free Energy : The Nuclear Power Dead-End

Would You Trust This Man ?

Ed Miliband is today assuring us that New Nuclear Power will be safe, and that we will all have a say in the planning process – so tantalising us with the idea that we will be able to influence the outcome.

I don’t believe either of these things.

Nuclear Power is inherently dangerous, operationally unreliable, dirty, wasteful, expensive and any public money used to support it in any way will prevent us from pursuing truly sustainable Energy.

New Nuclear won’t work without Government subsidy, either for the construction of the plants themselves, or guaranteed customer pricing, or the insurance to cover the failure of projects to complete (or radioactive accident). The Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change can expect to find any New Nuclear direct public funding, price fixing, subsidy or tax breaks in court.

No, it won’t be me personally taking the Government to court.

Nuclear Power is a dinosaur technology, and judging by the number of countries that have signed up for new fleets of reactors, the Uranium fuel to run the plants being planned will be exhausted within the lifetime of the plants. With supplies of fuel running out, early decommissioning means the plants will never pay back on the investment.

Sounds like a high risk strategy to me, even before looking at the risks of radioactive explosions.

The Nuclear Begging Bowl Fights Back

We told you all along : New Nuclear will be expensive, and the privatised Energy suppliers will not be interested in financing them on their own. Too big a risk.

All that capital tied up in projects that could roll on for years and years and years with no guarantee of a decent generation capacity at the end.

Building infrastructure with no assurances of a return on investment – well, in this Economic climate, it’s not going to happen. New Nuclear will need public sector finance – yet another bailout.

Continue reading The Nuclear Begging Bowl Fights Back

Engineering the Return of Nuclear Power

Image Credit : Quiet Corners

Despite the continuing list of problems with existing Nuclear Power plants, a committed group of highly-financed representatives from mining and construction companies carry on plugging away with the public relations for a new global fleet of Atomic Energy.

The crisp, tinted, glossy promotion packs from the Nuclear industry lobbyists pop up at every conference, meeting and ministerial intray, and certain public persons continue to preach the glow-in-the-dark gospel, glossing over the cracked history of this nightmare Energy industry to date.

The diagrams depicting the “next generation” technologies are always full four-colour, precise, attractive. The propagandists always well-dressed, well-remunerated and clean-shaven.

Continue reading Engineering the Return of Nuclear Power