The Right To Evolve

Image Credit : Oil Change International

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101028/sc_afp/franceenvironmentclimatewarming

“Global warming ‘unquestionably’ due to humans: France : Global warming exists and is unquestionably due to human activity, France’s Academy of Science said in a report published Thursday and written by 120 scientists from France and abroad. “Several independent indicators show an increase in global warming from 1975 to 2003. This increase is mainly due to the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide,” the academy said in conclusion to the report. “The increase in carbon dioxide, and to a lesser degree other greenhouse gases, is unquestionably due to human activity,” said the report, adopted unanimously by academy members. The report contradicts France’s former education minister Claude Allegre, a geochemist, who published a book called “The Climatic Deception” which claimed that carbon dioxide was not linked to climate change. The report was commissioned in April by Minister for Research Valerie Pecresse in response to hundreds of environmental scientists who complained that Allegre in particular was disparaging their work. Allegre is a member of the Academy of Sciences and also signed off on the report. “He has the right to evolve,” the academy’s president Jean Salencon said. Pecresse said: “The debate is over.”…”

To my Climate Change sceptical readers, you, too have the “right to evolve”.

Come on over from the dark side to the side of light, life and understanding.

Stop the blame game, the game of suspicion, nitpicking, paranoia and irrationality, and reflect on the path of right dealing, factual research, and true and cooperative human endeavour.

Human beings are genetically encoded for pragmatic policies and practical decisionmaking; yet sometimes the fastest route to a solution is the least successful in the longer term.

Digging high calorie substances out of the ground and burning them in very large quantities is having a negative effect on the ability of the Earth to sustain Life. Ponder that for a while.

Eventually virtually all mining activities will be curtailed. As an elderly relative commented to me when discussing recycling – if we recycled all materials then people wouldn’t have to risk their lives going deep underground for new resources – like those poor miners in Chile and China.

The mines are getting deeper and more dangerous – something the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem encountered to its irrecoverable loss earlier this year.

We can live without mining. We can garner energy without mining. We can live having all our wants and needs provided for by the power of sunlight and the winds and waves it drives, and by the gravitational pull of the Moon turning the tides restlessly.

That kind of productivity will keep us in industrial development for as long as we survive as a species, whilst preventing destruction of our habitat, which would finish us off as a species altogether, along with millions of others.

That’s the kind of evolution we need.

Ellen’s Collaboration

Video Credit : Ellen MacArthur Foundation

I can’t decide whether I’m inspired or concerned by this little film from Ellen MacArthur.

It seems to focus quite heavily on cars, and one of the collaborators is Renault.

It also talks a lot about electricity, and another one of the corporate names shown is National Grid.

And then it also talks a lot about waste, and the company that sponsored Ellen’s sail around the world was B&Q, the chain that spawned a thousand home makeovers.

None of these companies appear to want to follow the sustainability principles spelled out in the movie.

Is it just a little bit too high-brow to be talking of “closing the loop”, when most people in the world are simply concerned with finding their next meal or coasting towards their next pay cheque ?

Who is this video designed for ? What’s the intended audience and how are they being asked to respond to it ?

Tell me I’m wrong to be ever-so-slightly sceptical.

Wind Power : Material Fatigues

Image Credit : Cape Cod Living

James Delingpole follows in a long line of commentators with zero engineering experience in pouring scorn on a technology that could quite possibly save our skins :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100056158/wind-farms-yet-another-brewing-disaster/

I don’t know what he harbours in his heart against wonderful wind turbines, but he seems to be part of a movement who delight in their failure. Just ask the Internet to show you “exploding wind turbines”.

For example :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKkTUY2slYQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSB1SdVHqQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkGXoE3RFZ8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOfHxINzGeo

Clearly, you need to be in full protective fatigues when battling this kind of bad press…in fact “fatigue” is exactly the right word to come back at Mr Delingpole’s cracked warning (of cracks in wind turbine bases).

Continue reading Wind Power : Material Fatigues

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.

Peak Everything

From a conversation with the Claverton Energy Research Group over the leak of a German military study into Peak Oil :-

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,715138,00.html

“09/01/2010 : ‘Peak Oil’ and the German Government : Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis : By Stefan Schultz…”


Hi Clavertonians,

My view on Peak Oil is that it is the tip of the iceberg – and I know that’s a totally inappropriate metaphor.

The art of petrogeology dictates that right on the heels of Peak Oil is Peak Natural Gas, and there is strong evidence for Peak Coal. In the US for example, I understand there is very little good hard anthracite left.

My position is that – since the “conventional” Fossil Fuels are depleting, there are strong moves towards the “unconventionals”, the shale gas, the deepwater oil, the smoky “half peat”, the Lake Baikal hydrates, the frozen subsea wastes of the Arctic [don’t forget the Tar Sands !] and so on. People argue for “stop-gap” energy resources, but they carry with them huge risks not only to the Climate, but also the the Economy with the step-change in EROI/EROEI [Energy Return on Energy Invested – that is – how much energy do you need as input to get energy as output] and the “clean-up” costs.

My take on this is that pretending that Peak Conventionals doesn’t exist leaves a veil in front of most peoples’ minds – they believe in the Power of Technology to supply all their Fossil Fuel needs, now and into the future – it’s just that the actual location and form and dirtiness of these new resources will be different than in the past.

And here’s the rub – we need to encourage people to think about the “alternatives”, or rather, the “solutions”.

The only way forward is Renewable, Sustainable Energy resources, because of Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas and so on, and if people do not learn about that, they will not understand the privation for most people that will surely come with Peak Conventionals.

Continue reading Peak Everything

James Delingpole Has Kittens

Poor, dear James Delingpole has been passing kitten-sized anxieties and angry thoughts again; fear and accusations all completely unfounded :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100046150/how-come-we-now-have-to-go-to-the-chinese-for-the-truth-about-global-warming/

A number of indignant inaccuracies and strident claims I will pass over, but here are a few I think I shall contest. Just to show that I do bother to read his work (even if I smirk about it most of the time).

Continue reading James Delingpole Has Kittens

Unpicking Kyoto (4)

Video Credit : Lighting Africa

Unpicking Kyoto
Jo Abbess
20 June 2010

PART 4

CONTINUED FROM PART 1, PART 2 AND PART 3

Linking Climate Change to Poverty

There will be no global treaty on Climate Change without a solution for the poor.

The poor in every country are generally low emitters, and models of Low Carbon lives; yet because they are poor, it’s easy for their economic concerns to be swept aside in the global efforts to revive the big Energy systems.

One thing is clear, imposing a “dollar economy”, and thrusting international markets traded in American Dollars on the world’s poor is not the same as creating an environment for true social and sustainable development.

Continue reading Unpicking Kyoto (4)

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

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.

Continue reading Burning Things Is Wasteful

Zero Carbon Britain 2030

I’m sure you’ll be interested to know that the second Zero Carbon Britain report from the Centre for Alternative Technology is now available for free download from this website :-

http://zerocarbonbritain.org/
http://zerocarbonbritain.org/downloads/ZCB2030.pdf

Here are a few articles about the report release :-

http://neweconomics.org/publications/zero-carbon-britain-2030
http://www.cat.org.uk/news/news_release.tmpl?command=search&db=news.db&eqSKUdatarq=37990&home=1
http://www.greenbang.com/uk-carbon-from-637m-tonnes-to-0-possible-by-2030_14526.html
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/06/453523.html

Enjoy !

Windlings

Methods of electricity storage are considered essential in grids that have large proportions of wind capacity. This is because, surprisingly, winds have been known to quieten down a bit from time to time.

Some people take this fact too far. For example, there is the “Northern European Winter High Pressure” lobby, who continue to insist, in a number of forums, that low aerial flow entirely compromises wind energy expansion, just because there are several days in December or January that might be a little flat.

Continue reading Windlings

The Price of Carbon

The Price of Carbon

by Jo Abbess
20 April 2010

1.   Introduction

Policy strategy for controlling risky excess atmospheric greenhouse gas (Gowdy, 2008, Sect. 4; McKibben, 2007, Ch. 1, pp. 19-20; Solomon et al., 2009; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 6, pp. 205-208) mostly derives from the notion that carbon dioxide emissions should be charged for, in order to prevent future emissions; similar to treatment for environmental pollutants (Giddens, 2009, Ch. 6, pp. 149-155; Gore, 2009, Ch. 15 “The True Cost of Carbon”; Pigou, 1932; Tickell, 2008, Ch.4, Box 4.1, pp. 112-116). Underscoring this idea is the evidence that fines, taxes and fees modify behaviour, reigning in the marginal social cost of “externalities” through financial disincentive (Baumol, 1972; Sandmo, 2009; Tol, 2008). However this approach may not enable the high-value, long-term investment required for decarbonisation, which needs adjustments to the economy at scale (CAT, 2010; Hepburn and Stern, 2008, pp. 39-40, Sect. (ii) “The Consequences of Non-marginality”; MacKay, 2008, Ch. 19; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 2, pp. 40-41). Continue reading The Price of Carbon

Renewable Synergy

The news is that there is continuing progress towards a fully Renewable Europe. It is, after all, the only means to ensure a sustainable Economy into the future, given the twin blended threats of Climate Change Carbon Mitigation and Peak Fossil Fuels.

Dr Gregor Czisch’s meisterwerk is being translated into English for publication this Summer :-

Scenarios for a Future Electricity Supply: Cost-Optimised Variations on Supplying Europe and Its Neighbours with Electricity from Renewable Energies

You would never know from the plainspeaking title just how exciting this is : seriously cheap Energy and peacemaking collaboration all in one shot !

The management consultants PriceWaterhouseCooper (couldn’t they think of a more speakable name ?), have just published their own view on Europe and North Africa combining to provide a one hundred percent renewable Energy solution :-

http://www.pwc.co.uk/sustainability/

http://www.pwc.co.uk/eng/publications/100_percent_renewable_electricity.html

Continue reading Renewable Synergy

BP : After the Gas and Oil are Gone

Together with a couple of my peers, I’ve been taking a look at BP’s “sustainability”, both from a business point of view and from a Climate Change point of view.

We’ve just given a presentation, of which I offer you a couple of the slides and the script to accompany them.

The central point of issue is : what will BP do after the Gas and Oil are gone ? There may be decades of reasonable hydrocarbons left to exploit, but how will Pension Funds get their return on investment after that ? Where is the future thinking ?

And what about Climate Change ? Retreating from Alternative Energy back into its core business of Oil and Gas means that BP plc will not be able to make substantial cuts in the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the products that they sell – which means that sooner or later, when Carbon Energy is rationed, their business will start to implode.

Continue reading BP : After the Gas and Oil are Gone

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

Fossil Fuels Ruel, OK ?

http://www.polluterharmony.com/

It’s easy to stay on top of the heap – just throw rocks at everybody trying to climb The Hill.

Fossil Fuels are free when they come out of the ground, but exact a heavy price on the Environment – a cost that cannot be measured in Money – since wealth is made from Fossil Fuel Energy.

Unless we cut the thread – the causal relationship between Energy use and Carbon Dioxide emissions – then we will all lose wealth – from the destruction of the natural environment.

The only practical answer is to reduce the amount of Fossil Fuel that is burned. But that would impoverish us. So we need to have Zero Carbon Energy to replace Fossil Fuel Energy.

Renewable Energy is the only source of future wealth.

Continue reading Fossil Fuels Ruel, OK ?

British Sea Power Supergrid

“Supergrid”. Sounds a bit 1986-ish, really. But it could save Europe from industrial collapse as Carbon restrictions start to bite.

“Sun, wind and wave-powered: Europe unites to build renewable energy ‘supergrid’ : North Sea countries plan vast clean energy project : €30bn scheme could offer weather-proof supply : Alok Jha : guardian.co.uk : Sunday 3 January 2010”

Continue reading British Sea Power Supergrid

Time to Care

It’s time that we all cared about what is happening to Life on Earth. Nobody in an alien spacecraft is going to come crashing through the clouds to save us with miraculous Energy technologies, or brand new Chemistry that beats the Laws of Physics to capture Carbon Dioxide right out of the air in the amounts we are emitting it.

Continue reading Time to Care