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

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

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

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”

Ahead of the McKinsey Curve

I remember the second time I saw this graph. It was shown to me by that enthusiastic young guy Guy Shrubsole, who waved a printed copy under my nose and asked me if I’d seen it and knew what it meant. I had and I did :-

http://climatechange.cbi.org.uk/uploaded/climatereport2007mckinseyapp.pdf
Continue reading Ahead of the McKinsey Curve

DO-Tech, NOW-Tech

To answer Climate Change we must have strategies for new Low Carbon Energy investment.

The technologies we need to deploy are those that are already proven, and can be installed in the fastest possible time. What we can DO, and DO NOW.

This is DO-Tech, NOW-Tech : and it effectively rules out new rounds of Nuclear Energy, which is slow-to-grid. It also rules out the almost entirely hypothetical Carbon Capture and Storage.
Continue reading DO-Tech, NOW-Tech

Carbon Capture and Storage : Basket of Tricky Questions

Last week’s announcement by the UK Government for up to 4 “demonstration” projects for Carbon Capture and Storage [CCS] at new coal-fired electricity generation plants raises some serious questions.

Not least amongst that basket of tricky and serious questions : is CCS being used to justify the use of coal fuel, when less Carbon-intensive fuels are available ?
Continue reading Carbon Capture and Storage : Basket of Tricky Questions

Carbon Capture and Storage : Cease Seeming Serious

What follows is part of an e-mail exchange frenzy that has been sparked by the UK Government’s decision to announce plans to invest in up to four Carbon Capture and Storage “demonstration” plants.
Continue reading Carbon Capture and Storage : Cease Seeming Serious

Carbon Capture and Storage : Today’s Trojan, Tomorrow’s Turkey

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been just the wisp or filament of an idea for so long; and never really taken on a bodily form. It’s still ectoplasmic, in the worst of ways. Despite the various attempts around the world to drag it kicking and screaming into a corporeal existence.
Continue reading Carbon Capture and Storage : Today’s Trojan, Tomorrow’s Turkey

Carbon Capture and Storage – merely an “Elastoplast” Technology

Lord Ron Oxburgh, formerly non-executive director of Royal Dutch Shell, now honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, today labelled the clean coal technology as an “Elastoplast” – a temporary, transient technology to use in the Energy system until Energy has all been de-Carbonised.

Speaking at the Tenalps Energy and Environment 2009 Conference in Westminster, he derided the 20th Century as profligate in the use of cheap Carbon Energy, oil, coal and natural gas. He said that in the field of Energy, optimisation has been to anything other than fuel use – in other words – the relative cost has always been the driving factor.

Continue reading Carbon Capture and Storage – merely an “Elastoplast” Technology