Renewable Gas #1 : What to do about Cars ?

Image Credit : PGO Automobiles

The European Commission, ooh, way back, decided that Biofuels were just what was needed to start the de-carbonisation of transportation. The original plan looked rather yellow and green – farm after farm of oilseed rape – what the Americans term “canola”. Suddenly schoolchildrens’ crayon renditions of the landscape were not as primary in colour as the actual fields.

The first target was for 5.75% of all transport fuel to be biologically sourced – from plants. What the European legislation didn’t figure was that some very dodgy dealers would take the long haul to Indonesia and Malaysia and start selling up the idea of marketing palm oil to Europe to make BioDiesel to meet the Biofuels Directive obligation. So goodbye rainforest and goodbye orangutans out in Asia. And goodbye good carbon intentions – replacing the rainforest with oil palms created net carbon emissions – so Biofuels failed to take the carbon out of motoring.

Some very bad ideas have followed on after. Several companies are still struggling with the idea that algae could turn out, could, I emphasise, be the thing that starts a genuine BioOil market. We’ll see – but most of the designs need an input of carbon dioxide – which would probably come from a fossil fuel-burning power station – so not very renewable, then.

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The New Climate Alliance

Green jobs, green energy, greening communities.

Forget Nigel Lawson and his struggle to keep the British energy system in the privatised 1980s by denying the realities of Climate Change.

The lords (and sadly, some of the ladies) of this land want to stay rich from their shares in fossil fuels and mining. They’ll say anything to protect the value of their holdings.

But where’s your new North Sea Oil and Gas, Nigel ? Do you want to bankrupt this country by forcing us to ramp up our imports of energy as the North Sea production falls away ?

The chief executives of the “traditional” energy companies of these islands are just trying to keep themselves in a job when they decry wind power, biogas, marine energy projects.

No, Vincent de Rivaz of EdF, we don’t want expensive, inflexible and toxic Nuclear Power. No, Dorothy Thompson of Drax, we don’t want dirty coal continuing to heat up the world, poison fish and raise coughing kids. No, Rupert Soames of Aggreko, we must maintain the Renewable Energy obligations we have agreed at the European level, and raise the bar even higher, to protect the economy going into an uncertain future, by having homegrown energy.

We need an energy evolution in this country.

And so, what is needed is a social movement – involving ordinary, working people, unions, communities, academics, trained professionals from the engineering trades, local political activists and faith communities.

This is the emergence of Green Power.

Ride the Future

Video Found At : Energy Bulletin

The Earth keeps turning, the Sun keeps burning, and the future will look a lot different than today as we drag down Carbon Dioxide emissions “by hook or by crook”.

We have to be wary of possible “crooks”. There are still technology “snake oil salesmen” out there, trying to impose Genetically Modified crops on us, or Nuclear Power, or Carbon Capture and Storage (to justify the continued use of Coal), and using the vehicle of science to push their wares :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/8048917/Climate-change-threatens-UK-harvest.html

“Climate change threatens UK harvest : Climate change could push up food prices by causing large-scale crop failures in Britain, the Met Office has warned. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published: 08 Oct 2010 : Rising temperatures could mean events such as the drought in Russia this summer, which pushed up grain prices, hit countries like the UK. But they said the worst effects of climate change could be limited by investment in better farming and the development of new drought resistant or heat tolerant crops. This could be done by aid money, breeding and new technologies like genetic modification (GM)…”

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/908/crop_failures_set_to_increase_under_climate_change

Look out for terms like “new crops”, “crop development” or “modified crops” :-

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007092817.htm
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034012/

See the use of the word “biotechnology” in the actual research paper :-

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034012/pdf/1748-9326_5_3_034012.pdf

But, as everybody can probably guess, most farmers in the world will not be able to afford Genetically Modified crops, and anyway, nobody really yet knows if GM crops confer the benefits claimed – there is some evidence that “life scientists” don’t know the full range of effects on organisms from gene splicing.

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Burning Things Is Wasteful

Centre for Alternative Technology

Burning things wastes a lot of energy – even burning waste.

1. Plain Old Inefficiency

The systems and infrastructure for the generation and distribution of electricity in the United Kingdom is extremely poor, nigh on immorally wasteful. See the diagram above from the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report :-

http://www.zcb2030.org/

There are so many things that could be done to improve on that enormous loss of energy, and save on Carbon Dioxide Emissions at the same time.

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Climate Union

I’m in the Climate Union. Are you ?

Finally, I have to admit that I have an personal stake in the outcomes of Climate Change and Energy policy.

I have to confess to a utilitarian, yet enlightened, self-interest.

And so say all of us.

In the future, I want there to be jobs. New jobs, for young and old, for me. Productive, worthwhile employment, green jobs that don’t permanently wreck the atmosphere for future generations.

When I get sick, unabled or old, I want there to be social services. Not run on a shoestring budget owing to Carbon Taxes or Carbon Trading, but Low Carbon hospitals with well-motivated, sufficient staff; and decent, affordable sheltered housing and residential homes for the vulnerable.

I want cheap, Zero Carbon Energy; as access to Energy is an essential public good, even a human right, for those who live towards the Poles. I don’t want to be made poor by a badly managed transition out of Fossil Fuels, or expensive Carbon Capture projects that the State pays for, because Electricity generation companies want to burn dirty Coal. I don’t want to have to pay double for my power, just because new Nuclear Power stations cost so much to build.

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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.

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Poepen is Gezond : The Rise of Poo Power

Sustainable Energy comes from doing what comes naturally. Wind, waves, sunlight. And pooping.

With some fairly minor adaptations to all sewage treatment plants, and a little AD – Anaerobic Digestion – we could hook up our off-gassing into the National Grid, and reduce our Fossil Gas use, big-time.

Watch this technology for meteoric rise. Cheap, cheerful, but slightly pongy. But they do BioGas in China and India all the time, and 2.4 billion Chinidians can’t be wrong.

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Eleven Practical Ideas to Combat Climate Change

Very little of what follows is original thought. But after much reflection, I feel these ideas are worthy of attention, and so I have expanded them for your consideration.

1. Contraction & Convergence Video Conferencing

Yet another international meeting on Energy Efficiency, Climate Change, Renewable Energy. Yet another brace of airline tickets for big speakers, engineers, policy-makers and scientists (and reporters) to fly in and confer.

In order to demonstrate the Contraction & Convergence framework in action, the delegates at all these meetings and conferences should reduce their carbon emissions to be in line with the lowest emitter of them all. Everyone will contract their carbon emissions, and everyone will get in line. Equal rights to pollute. The Principle of Equity.

There is enough cable and wire laid under all the world’s oceans and through the world’s rivers and soils to hold every single meeting by videoconferencing. And so it should be done.

No more flying for people of green persuasions. Follow Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute and the UNFCCC papers for development of Contraction & Convergence.

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