Christopher Booker : For Once, I Agree

Even only semi-regular perusers of this little web log will be astonished, galled and maybe even venomously upset to discover that for once, and probably only the once going on past evidence, I actually agree with Christopher Booker :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7969102/The-Clean-Development-Mechanism-delivers-the-greatest-green-scam-of-all.html

“The Clean Development Mechanism delivers the greatest green scam of all : Even the UN and the EU are wising up to the greenhouse gas scam, “the biggest environmental scandal in history”, says Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 28 Aug 2010 : …The way the racket works is that Chinese and Indian firms are permitted to carry on producing a refrigerant gas known as HCF-22 until 2030. But a by-product of this process is HCF-23, which is supposed to be 11,700 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. By destroying the HCF-23, the firms can claim Certified Emission Reduction credits worth billions of dollars when sold to the West (while much of the useful HCF-22 is sold onto the international black market). Last year, destruction of CFCs accounted for more than half the CDM credits issued, in a market that will eventually, it is estimated, be worth $17 billion. Of the 1,390 CDM projects so far approved, less than 1 per cent accounts for 36 per cent of the total value. Even greenies have become so outraged by this ridiculous racket that the Environmental Investigation Agency has described it as the “biggest environment scandal in history”…”

I would commend Mr Booker to get his chemical acronyms sorted out, by substituting “HCF” with “HFC”, or “HCFC”, but apart from that, which was fairly easy to unpick, it is quite an honourable description of the problem.

None of the money-based “flexible mechanisms” sewn into the Kyoto Protocol appear to be working, and that’s because they are (a) money-based and (b) not economy-wide.

Continue reading Christopher Booker : For Once, I Agree

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

Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

Here follows an extract of a conversation I have had with members of the Claverton Energy Research Forum, which I have cut-and-paste into a more easy-to-read fashion below the fold :-

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/59dfb3351bb432ec?q=abbess&lnk=ol&

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/bfec36913d002b91?lnk=gst&q=abbess#bfec36913d002b91

As you can see, there are Climate Change sceptic-deniers everywhere, even in the most knowledgeable and respectable circles.

Countering Climate Change denial from so-called “sceptics” takes a lot of time and energy, and is a bump-in-the-road nuisance/irritation distraction from the main priority for human civilisation, which is how to stop being addicted to Fossil Fuels.

Continue reading Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

Pat Michaels is Right

Of course, Pat Michaels is “right-wing”, but that’s not what I meant.

Some folk will be surprised that I agree with anything that Patrick Michaels says, as he is consistently inaccurate about the Science of Global Warming.

However, he is right that a Carbon Tax is the wrong way to proceed.

Carbon pricing, whether by direct taxation or by a trading scheme, effectively creates a double disincentive for change.

We have a large number of companies and organisations that are highly dependent on the use of Fossil Fuels. Carbon pricing will make these companies and organisations less financially efficient, and they will try anything they can to pass on the costs of Carbon to their consumers and clients, in order to remain profitable.

Carbon Taxation will therefore stimulate cost offsetting, but not Carbon reductions.

Moreover, if companies that make and sell energy are forced to pay for Carbon, they will have less funds available to deCarbonise their businesses; less capital to invest in new lower Carbon technologies.

Carbon Pricing will not alter the patterns of emissions significantly, if at all.

We have to face facts : the economists are largely wrong about environmental taxation. Record fines and levies demanded of Fossil Fuel companies in the last ten years have not stopped the spills, the leaks, the poisonings of waterways; nor have they helped the companies change course and start to develop Renewable Energies.

The pricing of large scale environmental pollution is a failed disincentive.

Continue reading Pat Michaels is Right

Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Jaw-droppingly, the BBC have apologised for the contents of a Today Programme. Not the one that caused poor, deceased Dr David Kelly so much embarrassment, God rest his soul. No, the one that featured the breaking of the “Climategate” e-mail scandal :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/bbc_apologizes_to_university_o.php

The BBC picked the wrong scandal story to run with, it appears.

The real scandal of Climategate is how the scientists’ e-mails were “liberated” from the University of East Anglia, and then annotated to give heavily biased interpretation, then released to the general public via the Internet, and how the Media were taken in.

Certain people at the BBC chose to go with the fake scandal, it seems – the narrative fabricated and dictated to them by Climate Change deniers.

Anyway, now the BBC have made an apology, of sorts. Better late than never, but all the same, it would have been better earlier rather than later.

Thankfully, despite the late apologies, this particular alleged witch-hunt didn’t end with a suspected suicide. Although it did include reports that Professor Phil Jones had, in fact, contemplated suicide; the reporting of which just added to his completely groundless public humiliation at the hands of the Press. Which they should apologise for, in my humble opinion. Just as good (old) George Monbiot had the good grace to offer some regret for :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/russell-inquiry-i-was-wrong

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7180154/Climategate-Professor-Phil-Jones-considered-suicide-over-email-scandal.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece

http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/johnhumphrys

“BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for “incorrect” remark”

“The BBC has apologised for an “incorrect” remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had “distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be”.”

Continue reading Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Christiana Figueres : The Elusive Saucepan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWsQscb6lfM

http://unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/application/pdf/100806_speaking_notes.pdf

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has just held its regular half yearly conference to further the working parties of the Kyoto Protocol :-

http://unfccc.int
http://unfccc.int/2860.php

A number of Press commentators have been critical of proceedings, indicating that there has not been much progress at Bonn, and in fact the conference could show some ground having been lost :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c9213b40-a180-11df-9656-00144feabdc0.html

Continue reading Christiana Figueres : The Elusive Saucepan

They Shall Beat Their Destroyers Into Marine Turbines

OK, so it’s a ham paraphrase on a Biblical quotation, but as the world loses its appetite for big military assault (particularly for no discernible just reason), we could see more weapons manufacturers turn their metal-working skills over to the production of Renewable Energy :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/25/bae-green-energy-project

“BAE to assist green energy project : Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer will contribute its marine engineering expertise to a wave-power project off Orkney : Terry Macalister, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010”

Isaiah 2:4 (New International Version) : “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The great energy revival could contribute to world peace, after the fading of a Century of competition and conflict over Fossil Fuel resources.

BBC Panorama on Climategate

The BBC risk ending up with yet more egg on its face after broadcasting a Panorama “investigation” with more errors than you can shake a pepper grinder at at :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/default.stm

But it’s worse than merely embarrassing.

Entitled “How ‘climate-gate’ turned nasty”, it was a genuinely nasty piece of work in my view, showing images out of place, endorsing the work of non-experts, overlaying poor and inaccurate narration and editing interview comments inappropriately.

I feel that some of the mistakes made by the reporter, Tom Heap, were laughable.

I will mention just one thing here, out of all those that riled me. Several times during the programme, the “reporter” mentioned that Renewable Energy was expensive. At one point the film showed an offshore wind turbine and said that the electricity produced by wind power was three times more expensive than conventional sources.

He did not mention that the price of onshore wind power is comparable in price to fossil fuel generation but blocked by recalcitrant Planning authorities.

He didn’t mention that it is to be expected that Wind Power will be somewhat expensive at present – the investment phase in the new infrastructure is still ongoing.

He neglected to mention the high levels of return on investment, and solid asset base with continuing value, that a fully operational Wind Power network would provide, as outlined by the Offshore Valuation study :-

http://www.offshorevaluation.org

And he also neglected to mention that ongoing research and developing into Wind Power is dragging the prices down.

From this, I take it that the BBC can clearly not be trusted to provide accurate and complete information on the development of Renewable Energy.

As for the Science, I’ll probably get round to digging into this mess at some point, but one thing needs to be emphasised here : the views of John Christy and Bjoern Lomborg (a non-scientist) are at the very end of the spectrum.

Bjorn Lomborg’s work has been discredited, and he cannot be trusted in my view :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/06/the_lomborg_deception_1.php

John Christy has had to retract some of his scientific claims :-

http://climateprogress.org/2008/05/22/should-you-believe-anything-john-christy-or-roy-spencer-say/

They are in no way representative of the main caucus of Climate Change Science, and I feel it is extremely poor of the BBC to allow its viewers to be propagandised into believing that there is a serious debate about how significant and serious Climate Change is.

There isn’t. The governments of the world have invested public money in trying to find out the problems that could arise from Global Warming and the Climate Change it can cause, and the results are that we are at serious risk.

I think it is immoral and unethical to leave Panorama viewers with the idea that Climate Change might not be happening, or might not constitute a major threat to their way of life and the lives of those they care about.

In summary, I think the BBC cannot be trusted to relay Climate Change Science to us.

This bumbling attempt to cover all bases as if they were all relevant is going to confuse the public even more than they are already. The BBC is therefore complicit in mass deception, according to my analysis.

Oh, and Tom Heap, people breathing out Carbon Dioxide doesn’t add to the sum total of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere – it merely recycles it. On the other hand, digging up Fossil Fuels from the ground and burning them, they do increase the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the air. How little you know about the basic science. You are in my humble opinion entirely unqualified to broadcast on Climate Change.

Once again, the Media have failed to communicate the facts.

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

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

Climate Union

I’m in the Climate Union. Are you ?

Finally, I have to admit that I have an personal stake in the outcomes of Climate Change and Energy policy.

I have to confess to a utilitarian, yet enlightened, self-interest.

And so say all of us.

In the future, I want there to be jobs. New jobs, for young and old, for me. Productive, worthwhile employment, green jobs that don’t permanently wreck the atmosphere for future generations.

When I get sick, unabled or old, I want there to be social services. Not run on a shoestring budget owing to Carbon Taxes or Carbon Trading, but Low Carbon hospitals with well-motivated, sufficient staff; and decent, affordable sheltered housing and residential homes for the vulnerable.

I want cheap, Zero Carbon Energy; as access to Energy is an essential public good, even a human right, for those who live towards the Poles. I don’t want to be made poor by a badly managed transition out of Fossil Fuels, or expensive Carbon Capture projects that the State pays for, because Electricity generation companies want to burn dirty Coal. I don’t want to have to pay double for my power, just because new Nuclear Power stations cost so much to build.

Continue reading Climate Union

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

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