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.
Of all the macroeconomic proposals put forward over the last two decades for consideration by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the most ridiculous has to be Carbon Trading.
To imagine that a market can be created for something that the industrialised country economies are highly dependent on is an hallucination.
Carbon Dioxide emissions are in lock-step with economic growth, the creation of liquidity, if not wealth. To try to price Carbon Dioxide emissions would be to attempt to give a negative value to a positive commodity. It just won’t work. Nobody will want to buy it. And if they’re forced to buy it, they won’t want to pay much for it. And nobody can think of a way to force the developed countries to pay for their Carbon Dioxide emissions.
Even before the “serious” negotiating week of Cancun begins, the Kyoto Protocol has been pronounced dead on arrival :-
Nobody ever said the “KP” was perfect – it only committed countries to a very small level of emissions cuts. Some commitment ! Few of the countries in the KP have taken their responsibilities to cut emissions seriously. And if they have, they’ve just outsourced them to China.
But the Son-of-Kyoto Post-Kyoto Protocol Protocol could have been something, you know, if the industrialised countries admitted they needed to back down significantly from rising and large emissions profiles – if developed nations had not tried to lean on the “flexible mechanisms” that effectively legalised offsetting their emissions with emissions reductions in other peoples’ countries.
It appears from Wikileaks that the United States of America have been scuppering the United Nations’s best efforts :-
“Secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed new details about how the United States manipulated last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen. The cables show how the United States sought dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming, how financial and other aid was used by countries to gain political backing, and how the United States mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the “Copenhagen Accord.””
If, as reports state, the United States are continuing to use any leverage they can to push countries to accept the doomed Copenhagen Accord, there can be no progress on Climate Change.
We may have just found the real Climategate.
You cannot buy or sell the atmosphere.
There is only one solution – that is to displace High Carbon Energy with Low Carbon Energy and that means goodbye to Tar Sands, Shale Oil, Tight Gas, deepwater Petroleum, dirty Petroleum, Coal, Coal-to-Liquids, anything that you can dig out of the ground and burn.
We have to stop mining for energy.
And that has serious implications for a number of international energy corporations and state energy enterprises.
Unless this basic issue is addressed, we are all heading for hell and high water.
The Climate Change talks have been window dressing for unworkable hypothetical macroeconomic policies, and continue to reduce chair people to tears :-
If you, dear Reader, are a Republican American, and you are demographically “middle class”, and you support the Tea Party movement, you are likely to have been seriously deceived – by Big Energy. Or Big Mining.
Who are these “Big Diggers”, propagandising the naive, well-intentioned, right-wing citizens of the United States of America, so they don’t realise they’re thinking somebody else’s thoughts, shouting somebody else’s slogans, riding somebody else’s train ?
We all love the inputs, but what about the outputs ?
Fossil Fuels have been providing an easy life and easy pickings for the citizens and enterprises of the industrialised world for some time.
People love their jet-fuelled lives. One man will move one kilometre from his home to a restaurant in two and a half metric tonnes of steel and glass believing he is admired for his larger-than-car-sized car. He will wear sunshades, and oil-slicked hair (if he has any) and sport a tan from his recent holiday over the ocean. A life of glory and feeling good about himself.
But what about the emissions ? What, indeed, about the environmental devastation at the places the Fossil Fuels (and metal and glass) were mined and refined and manufactured ?
Shock ! Horror ! Major Climate Change Scientist spotted at Climate Camp…ah, but which one… ? How to distinguish one dressed-down, unwashed individual with dishevelled locks from any another ?
Any sign of Climate Change sceptic-denier Andrew Montford, as affectionately known as “Bishop Hill” ? Can’t make him out, but he might have responded to the banner appeal to “Come On Over for Lunch”. You never know. That might be him chopping potatoes, right in the thick of it.
One of the worst ideas that anybody has ever had is to pull heaps of toxic chemicals out of the ground and spread them over the surface of one of the few countries that will remain habitable after the onset of deep Climate Change.
If the Global Warming doesn’t get you, then the mercury from the Tars Sands tailing ponds sure will !
“Oil sands toxins growing rapidly : Nathan VanderKlippe : Published on Monday, Aug. 09, 2010 : Canada’s oil sands mining operations produce vast and fast-growing quantities of deadly substances, including mercury, heavy metals and arsenic, new data released by Environment Canada shows. The information on pollutants sheds new light on the environmental toll exacted by Canada’s bid to extract oil from bitumen, showing in stark relief how many nasty substances are being laid on the northern Alberta landscape in the process – and how quickly those are growing. In the past four years, the volume of arsenic and lead produced and deposited in tailings ponds by the country’s bitumen mines – run by Syncrude Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC – has increased by 26 per cent. Quantities of some other substances have increased at even faster rates. The companies also released huge amounts of pollutants into the air last year, including 70,658 tonnes of volatile organic compounds, which can damage the function of human organs and nervous systems, and 111,661 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, a key contributor to acid rain…The numbers “are just ridiculously huge,” said Justin Duncan, a staff lawyer with Ecojustice…”
Unconventional fossil fuels are just such a liability – using up precious freshwater resources and depositing toxic waste just about everywhere.
Shale Gas (or Gas Shale) operations are reported to be polluting underground water tables. Now, that’s a clever thing !
“EPA moves NY drilling hearing, expecting crowds : By MARY ESCH : ALBANY, N.Y. : In anticipation of as many as 8,000 people at a public hearing on natural gas drilling, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it was moving it from Binghamton University to a Syracuse convention center 65 miles north. The hearing is the fourth and last by the EPA around the country to get public comment on its study of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells. Critics say the technology, which blasts chemical-laced water into the earth, could poison water supplies. The industry says it’s been used safely for decades. The EPA said 300 people have signed up to speak at Thursday’s sessions and 1,200 are expected to attend…Advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, significantly increased yield from shale gas wells and led to the current natural gas boom, starting with the Barnett Shale in Texas. The technology has drawn intense scrutiny since the focus of gas drilling companies has shifted in recent years to the Marcellus Shale, a massive rock formation underlying New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Environmental groups, residents and civic leaders fear potential contamination of watersheds in the densely populated region if fracking isn’t more tightly regulated. Fracking was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005 after an earlier EPA study declared fracking wasn’t a threat to water supplies. That study has since been criticized as flawed. The new EPA study, to be completed in 2013, could lead to new federal regulations. However, the industry says state regulation is sufficient and has worked well…”
Carol Browner, Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy in the United States of America, has been all over the Media, announcing the policy to “kill kill kill this” BP nightmare story, telling the world that a turning milestone point has been reached :-
Have they decided that BP have been punished enough now for the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher, and the reputation of the company needs to be rehabilitated sharply in order to protect the Economy ?
I made the mistake of taking in a BBC TV news bulletin on the matter. I heard several talking heads say it’s “good news” that roughly three quarters of the accountable oil from the spill has “disappeared” :-
Breaking this story is “good news” for the stability of pension funds, maybe. But what is the real extent of the real damage to the real world, the world of oceans and fish and plankton ? Will the world be watching as the researchers scavenge data and clues to the marine ecotastrophe that is still unfolding ?
“Shale gas pollution fears leave Americans with another energy headache : By Rowena Mason Energy Last updated: June 23rd, 2010 : Still politically scorched from BP’s giant Gulf of Mexico spill, it couldn’t be a worse time for America’s oil giants to find themselves roasting in another environmental firestorm. But new flames of controversy are on the horizon – in fact, literally emanating from the drinking water of US citizens living near so-called “shale gas” fields. A controversial documentary, Gaslands, which was aired on television channel HBO this week, shows one Colorado homeowner bending over his tap, holding a lighter with outstretched arm and igniting his chemical-laden water…”
Phew ! That’s a relief ! The American President Barack Obama has personally spoken to British Prime Minister David Cameron apparently to reassure him he meant no harm to the reputation of Britain by blaming BP for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill :-