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

George Monbiot bites Thorium bait

George Monbiot in his new role as an apologist for the twice-bailed-out-of-insolvency British Nuclear Power industry, has now taken the Thorium bait, quite probably the most well-funded piece of astroturfing propaganda in existence :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/09/coalition-greatest-threat-to-environment

“This ‘greenest government ever’ is the greatest threat yet to our environment : The coalition is preparing to bin Britain’s climate change targets. After all, ministers have corporate sponsors to take care of : George Monbiot, guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 May 2011”

“…we should start considering other options for decarbonising the electricity supply: especially new nuclear technologies such as thorium, integral fast reactors or travelling wave reactors…”

“New”, George, “new” ? The only thing that’s “new” is the desperate rush to try Thorium power out, now that there are doubts about “classic” nuclear reactor design. Here’s what James Birkin has to say over at the Claverton forum, where they have real energy experts discussing Thorium reactors :-

Continue reading George Monbiot bites Thorium bait

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.

Continue reading Ride the Future

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

A Subsidy By Any Other Name

There’s the real world. And then there’s “Daily Telegraph world”, a fantasy mindscape, it seems to me.

In yet another piece that seems to be written for the sole purpose of attacking wind power, massaged in under the banner of standing up for the fuel poor :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/6236920/Taxing-the-fuel-poor-to-bolster-subsidised-companies-is-a-waste-of-energy.html

is this outstanding piece of reporting about Atomic Energy in the United Kingdom :-

“Nuclear, by contrast, is unsubsidised.”

Continue reading A Subsidy By Any Other Name

Glowing Gordon Brown – Blame Sir David King

I had a very brief exchange with Dr Alan Knight of the Sustainable Development Commission today at the UK Aware 09 “Ideas for Greener Living” exhibition today at Olympia 2 in London.
Continue reading Glowing Gordon Brown – Blame Sir David King