George Monbiot : Wrong Choice

Data Source : IEA via ESDS

This chart shows why George Monbiot, Mark Lynas and Stephen Tinsdale have all plumped for the wrong choice – new Nuclear Power cannot deliver more electricity or reduce carbon dioxide emissions for us at the time when we need it most – the next few years :-

0. Massive energy conservation drives – for demand management – are clearly essential, given the reduction in UK generation.

1. It is impossible to increase new Nuclear Power capacity in less than ten years, but total UK generation is falling now, so now and in the next few years is the timeframe in which to add capacity. We cannot go on relying on Nuclear Power imports from France – especially given the rate of power outages there.

2. The fastest growing generation sources over the next few years will be Wind Power, Solar Power and Renewable Gas – if we set the right policies at the government and regulator levels.

Continue reading George Monbiot : Wrong Choice

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.

Continue reading Ride the Future

The Independent “in association with Shell”

I rubbed my eyes, but the logo didn’t disappear. The Independent newspaper article had a graphic explaining that the article was “in association with Shell” :-

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/newenergyfuture/a-climate-for-european-action-2068570.html

Further clue : the author was Tom Burke, “Mr Clean Coal” to those of us that know of him.

The article was great, up until the paragraph :-

“Without deploying carbon capture and storage technologies for coal and gas, Europe has no workable climate policy…”

Well, we knew Tom Burke was going to say that, didn’t we ?

But why was the article “in association with Shell” ? Is this the start of advertising masquerading as opinion articles ?

What could possibly link Royal Dutch Shell to Carbon Capture and Storage ? The “Enhanced Oil Recovery” (EOR) angle, possibly – Shell offering to pump Carbon Dioxide down into its depleting oil and gas wells in an attempt to raise the pressure on the remaining hydrocarbon, to squeeze it out.

Continue reading The Independent “in association with Shell”

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

No More Coal

The options are clear : either rapidly commence the largest, most complex and resource-hungry engineering infrastructure ever conceived to do Carbon Capture and Storage, or simply halt the burning of Coal to generate electricity.

Simple choice, you would have thought; yet governments around the world have been sucked in by the slick allure of the all-expenses-paid lobbyists for Old King Coal. Politicians and civil servants roam the halls of power with that glazed look in their eyes as they recite the mantra “Clean Coal. Clean Coal. Clean Coal…”

Yet all is not a done deal. In Scotland, common sense and good, open debate have led to a rejection of all that is lumpy and sooty; and that can only bode well for the future of Energy policy.

Coal is not clean. It never has been and it never will be.

We can’t afford cheap Coal. It’s time to ban it.

Undue Influence at Copenhagen

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a United Nations body set up under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to research and advise the global Climate Change negotiations.

Climate Change deniers and sceptics accuse the IPCC of being under government control. That is not the case. All parties and sectors are involved in the IPCC, and the research is adopted by governments, not dictated by them.

There is however a significant Trojan Horse effect from allowing the large Energy, Engineering and Mining corporations to be involved.

Continue reading Undue Influence at Copenhagen

What Is “Clean Development” ?

The idea behind “clean development” is simple : promoting the clean development of developing countries so that they don’t make the same dirty development mistakes that the developed countries did when they were developing.

So, let the developing countries develop, but avoid the dirty part. Instead of burning Coal to make electricity, let them burn Natural Gas, or BioMethane (poo power); or let them make wind turbines, and hydropower dams and efficient biomass stoves.

There was to be a fund to finance Clean Development Mechanism projects, and it was supposed to be aimed at developing countries.

However, the negotiations around the CDM have taken more than one twist. Today, discussions were held about whether to permit Carbon Capture and Storage technologies to be included as “clean development”.

Continue reading What Is “Clean Development” ?

When 100% Becomes 25%

I don’t know about you, but I would have thought that zero should mean zero. Zero tolerance on smoking in restaurants shouldn’t allow one corner of La Dolce Vita, Peckham to have a smoking table.

No, there isn’t an Italian dining establishment called “La Dolce Vita” in Peckham. I made that bit up. But I’m not making this bit up – the Zero Carbon Homes standard will only mandate a 25% reduction from ordinary energy efficiency standards :-

http://www.greenbuildingpress.co.uk/article.php?category_id=1&article_id=414

That means that new residential buildings will still emit 75% of the amount permitted today. Seventy-five is not even close to zero, in my book. Even I learned that much at school. Seems like a misnomer to call them “Zero Carbon Homes”.

Continue reading When 100% Becomes 25%

ExxonMobil Errs On Television

Unlocking Potential in Algae

http://www.media.exxonmobil.com/media/microsite/index1.html?contentID=04B

It’s there, right in the script, an outright fallacy. If you were in converstion with your friend on the sofa you would have missed it.

ExxonMobil have been playing an advertisement on British television about algae. Apparently there’s green algae, red algae, golden… While the rest of the world is trying to get rid of pond scum, they’re growing it. To make biofuel. Green, Low Carbon driving fuel.

And it’s not competing with the world’s food supply. Hurrah !

And it eats up Carbon Dioxide, the narrator narrates in passing… “Algae are very beautiful… they absorb CO2 so they help solve the Greenhouse problem as well.”

Is that a hooray, also ? No, it’s not.

Continue reading ExxonMobil Errs On Television

Carbon Capture : Dead Technology Walking

The IPCC’s best guess was that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) could not be developed quickly enough to make much of a contribution on Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions before about 2030 :-

http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg3/ar4-wg3-spm.pdf
Figure SPM.9

The Carbon Capture and Storage Association chief says that CCS is only an “elastoplast technology” – patching the gap between Coal burning and new Low Carbon Energy :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2009/03/26/carbon-capture-and-storage-merely-an-elastoplast-technology/

And now, the “competition” for Carbon Capture in the United Kingdom appears to have stalled :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/09/carbon-capture-and-storage

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

Everyone Should Read This (2)

[ PREVIOUS ARTICLE : http://www.joabbess.com/2009/11/02/everyone-should-read-this/ ]

Since the book “Climate Cover-Up : The Crusade to Deny Global Warming” by James Hoggan does not appear to be available in the United Kingdom as of now, I have taken the liberty of transcribing a brief passage about Carbon Capture and Storage.

The thrust of the passage, and in fact two whole chapters of the book, which everybody should read, is that

(a) even with Carbon Capture, Coal will never be “Clean” and

(b) that there has been a deliberate propaganda campaign amongst the public and in the corridors of power to promote Carbon Capture even though it cannot clean up Coal.

Continue reading Everyone Should Read This (2)

The Carbon Capture Begging Bowl

Colin Challen MP [Member of the United Kingdom Parliament], the author of “Too Little, Too Late : The Politics of Climate Change” has told the nascent Carbon Capture industry to stop bleating for funding, effectively a bailout for the Coal industry :-

http://www.newenergyfocus.com/do/ecco.py/view_item?listid=1&listcatid=32&listitemid=3178&section=Carbon

“CCS industry should support itself, claims MP : Wednesday 04 November 2009 : Labour MP Colin Challen believes the CCS industry should fund itself : A Labour MP has called on the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) industry to stop giving a “sob story” about needing government investment and instead fund new projects itself. Colin Challen, the MP for Morley and Rothwell, made the comments at today’s (November 4) Energy and Climate Change Committee meeting at Westminster, which was held as part of its inquiry into low carbon technologies. Responding to calls from industry body representatives for more government help in developing CCS plants, Mr Challen said: “It seems to me that research and development (R&D) has plummeted to a fraction of what it was. This industry has had billions of pounds out of the consumers’ pockets but yet we get this sob story about needing more money.” However, the director of technology and external affairs at Alstom – which builds integrated power plants – Philip Sharman, argued that utility companies have been investing in CCS, but said that the larger scale projects would need government help…”

Carbon Capture : Over-run, over-budget, over-rated

[ UPDATE : Extra links at the end. ]

Looks like some people are waking up to the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) spin : it’ll be late, costly and still nobody can promise it will all work…but it’s a superb opportunity to ask for handouts from the State :-

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2009/s2727172.htm

“Clean coal more costly than first thought : Bronwyn Herbert reported this story on Thursday, October 29, 2009 : TONY EASTLEY: The vision of clean coal powering our future electricity has copped a blow, with new costings revealing that the technology won’t be viable for 20 years. The Federal Government’s own global carbon capture and storage institute says clean coal power generation won’t be commercially worthwhile unless the carbon price hits at least $60 a ton and that’s not expected until 2030. Clean coal advocates want the Government to lend a hand to make the first commercial size plants affordable…”

Extra links :-

http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2252191/ccs-coal-fired-plants-nearly

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aFWr9zH1ETM8

http://www.wwf.org.uk/news_feed.cfm?3403/Carbon-capture-wont-stop-tar-sands-threat

All Shook Up

Image Credit : A Sound of Thunder Movie

Students of Chaos Theory well know what is known as the Butterfly Effect – apparently small changes in system forcings result in major outcomes.

We’ve heard repeatedly about rising sea levels resulting from Global Warming, but there are more bugs crawling out of the woodwork now.

Continue reading All Shook Up

An Essential Holiday Read

Ah yes, time to pack up your trusty, dusty suitcase and head for the beach.

I hope you’re not thinking of flying.

And I trust you’ll take with you the Synthesis Report from the Copenhagen Climate Change science conference that took place between 10th to 12th March 2009 :-

http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/files/synthesis-report-web.pdf
Continue reading An Essential Holiday Read

New Labour Can Win

As usual at these events, I bumped into a couple of political activists of various flavours and persuasions at the Fabian Society conference “Six Months to Copenhagen”, today, held in the faded-yet-still-grand setting of the Foreign Press Association, just off The Mall in London.

[ The Mall is the street that links Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. It’s not a shopping centre ].
Continue reading New Labour Can Win

A Cabal of Campaigners

There’s news from the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) quarter.

A whole bunch of Aid and Development, charity, Third Sector and green groups got together today and were instilled with their responsibility to “hold politicians’ feet to the fire” by Ed Miliband, who just happens to be a politician.

Not just any old politician, no. Only the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the United Kingdom.
Continue reading A Cabal of Campaigners

Number Crunching #1 : Jobs Flooding in, Homes Flooded out

In the best Private Eye style, I will merely present to you two statistics and let you deduce the relationship between the two.

If you really don’t understand what I’m driving at, do get in touch :-
Continue reading Number Crunching #1 : Jobs Flooding in, Homes Flooded out

Clean Coal Capture Economics

Everywhere you look this week there’s news about Coal, and how we need to pay to clean it up, and how wonderful this idea is.

I don’t buy it. But I’m going to be forced to pay for it through my electricity bills regardless :-
Continue reading Clean Coal Capture Economics

The Best A Man Can Get : The Tales Of Two Gillettes

You can take the soul out of an engineer with a boring, stressful or ethically suspect career, (like the Manhatten Project), but you can’t take the engineer out of a soul.

I have a persistent interest in things engineering, and some say I waste too much of my time thinking about systems engineering and the Laws of Physics.

I also have a persistent interest in the minds of engineers. How do we work ? What makes us tick ? And do we have an overview on social organisation that could be useful ?
Continue reading The Best A Man Can Get : The Tales Of Two Gillettes

The Promised “Summer Strategy”

David Kennedy, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change announced today, almost in passing, at the The Guardian Climate Change Summit, that the “Summer Strategy” regarding all the Government’s choices on Climate Change technologies, as articulated by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will be published within the week.
Continue reading The Promised “Summer Strategy”

Stern Remarks #2 : The Unbearable Fragility of Complexity

I have been reading Nicholas Stern’s book “A Blueprint for a Safer Planet : How to Manage Climate Change and Create a New Era of Progress and Prosperity”, and I feel that it is somehow my role to be making some rather critical remarks about it.
Continue reading Stern Remarks #2 : The Unbearable Fragility of Complexity

Cheering the Truth; Regretting the Twist

At the London School of Economics last Friday 5th June 2009, there was a conference called “The politics of climate change : from economic crisis to business revolution”.

In the afternoon, after Adair Turner spoke, we were treated to the pragmatic realism of Andy Duff, the CEO of RWE npower, the Energy group.
Continue reading Cheering the Truth; Regretting the Twist

Summer of Stupidity

It is from the Business pages of The Times Online that I learn that Ed Miliband possibly cannot read, and does not seem to be able to think clearly.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/utilities/article6401711.ece
Continue reading Summer of Stupidity