The Green Party now has a Science policy I can be proud of


11:30 am - March 2nd 2011

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contribution by Alasdair Thompson

At Spring conference last year we re-worked much of our health policy, removing references to homoeopathy and other ‘alternative medicines’, reversing the, frankly bizarre, opposition to embryonic stem-cell research and supporting an evidence-based approach to funding for treatments on the NHS.

This year it was the turn of our science and technology policy section to face review and we made some, really quite substantial, progress, stripping out unnecessary detail and bluster and adding in policy which I think will actually attract us votes from the scientific community.

This is now the introduction to the Green Party of England and Wales’ science and technology policy.

The basic aim of our Science and Technology policy is to encourage and promote research, development and application of science and technology which will:
– Increase knowledge and understanding
– Help to understand and address the major environmental threats such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity losses.
– Contribute to a better quality of life for all the peoples of the world.

The tone of our policy has changed, focusing on the positive things we belief science adds to our society and the ways government policy can help, rather than the constraints we need on put on the misuse of science, that we previously emphasised.

We recognise the value of science to society, and not just in terms of the narrow economic viewpoint that some other politicians seem to view it.

Also:

» Privately funded research at public institutions should be subject to freedom of information just as publicly funded research already is and we’ll encourage publicly funded research to be published in open access journals and offer additional funding to cover any additional costs to do so, so everyone has access to the latest research, not just those at institutions that can afford the subscriptions for the journals in which it is published.

» On a similar theme, we’ll require professional bodies to put in place programmes to ensure equal participation from under-represented groups and a correction of any imbalances in their make-up. But unlike before, we no longer talk about “male-dominated hierarchies” and “closed sub-cultures”, taking a more open and positive approach.

» We’ll encourage the development of educational or promotional resources and activities for young people, and accept that current imbalances, however damaging, cannot be immediately altered by diktat. In the tutorials I teach (in physics), for example, it is normal for only around 30% of the class to be female, until that improves we cannot expect equal gender balance in staff and management.

» We affirmed our support for the Haldane principle (that government can set strategic objectives but should leave which projects are funded to qualified research councils) and independent scientific advice. “We will ensure that scientific advisors to the government work in an environment of academic freedom and are able to always make recommendations free of political interference.” Not for us would be sacking academics because they didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear about drug policy, for example.

» Policy continues to support “a moratorium on the release of GMOs into the environment and on importation of food and feed containing GMOs” pending further research into the effects on the environment, health and animal welfare. Green party policy does not, however, oppose the use of GM technology in principle or ban lab based research and development. Indeed policy explicitly states that “genetic engineering may be benign and may lead to enhanced quality of life”.

Overall, I think we’ve turned a corner, we now have a science policy I’m not scared to show to my friends. In fact it’s yet another area of policy I’ll be actively advertising to them come the next election.


A longer version of this article is at Bright Green

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Reader comments


“At Spring conference last year we re-worked much of our health policy, removing references to homoeopathy and other ‘alternative medicines’, reversing the, frankly bizarre, opposition to embryonic stem-cell research and supporting an evidence-based approach to funding for treatments on the NHS. ”

“In fact it’s yet another area of policy I’ll be actively advertising to them come the next election.”

What do you expect, a medal?

So the two most powerful currently available solutions to the problems with which you claim to be concerned, carbon – nuclear power and hunger – GM crops, you either reject outright or reject in practice.

Nurse!

@1 I’m sure I saw some research on GM crops that showed that they don’t actually produce a higher yield. Though they may have other benefits such as resistance to disease (thus producing a more consistent crop in times of bad weather) and may contain natural antioxidants etc. So I’m not sure that they’re quite the salve to world hunger that they’re often made out to be. Still worth pursuing though.

Well, I’m happier, a much better science policy. It means there is a party in this country I could vote for again. Labour is still a bunch of authoritarians or war criminals, the Liberal Democrats betrayed most of their own supporters, including me, and the Conservatives are showing they learnt nothing from their years in the wilderness. A socially responsible Green Party with strong links to reality might fill the gap for a lot of people.

Still worried that you might go back to flaky science in the future though, but there is, unfortunately, lots of time till the next election to prove you believe what you say.

Completely agree with Akheloios – this makes me happy that the green party are making themselves a credible alternative worthy of my vote.

5. Chaise Guevara

It’s a shame there’s nothing here about nuclear policy – a strong anti-nuclear stance effectively demands that we burn more fossil fuels in the short term, which seems antithetical to what the Green Party is supposed to be about! Still, the policies above all seem positive, especially when it comes to GMOs and quack medicines, so more power to your elbow. Good stuff overall, and you’ll be staying high on my list of preferences should AV come in.

6. Chaise Guevara

*Hits ‘post’ button, then instantly realises nuclear issues probably come under energy policy.*

Good for you guys. It’s been a bugbear of quite a lot on the left that the Green science policy was stuck in the hippy era, nice to see you lot catching up. & yeah, if AV comes in you’ll definitely have my 2nd pref.

Got to concur with some of these comments. The anti-science nonsense coming out of the Green Party, particularly the endorsement of quackery, was one reason I could never consider voting for them even if they stood a chance of winning (which, for the most part, they didn’t). They now might be a sensible alternative, at least for a second preference.

@ S.pill Chaise Andy

And who’s your first pref, Labour???? WTF????

“At Spring conference last year we re-worked much of our health policy, removing references to homoeopathy and other ‘alternative medicines’ ”

Yet last July Caroline Lucas signed an EDM in favour of homeopathy on the NHS.
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=41216

This is still a problem with the Greens for me.

I have to say, even as a Lib Dem (and a council candidate) I’m very pleased to see the Greens with a better science policy and becoming more electable. It’s not good for the left to only have a narrow spectrum of parties and voices and a stronger Green party will help to fix that. All I can say is that the Greens will always have my second preference (assuming a fair voting system gets implemented of course).

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 9 blanco

“And who’s your first pref, Labour???? WTF????”

Calm down. If your reaction to people listing anyone other than the Green Party as their first preference is “WTF?????”, your head will no doubt explode.

To answer your question, I’ll be seeing where my local candidates and their parties stand in 3-4 years time. It’s a bit early to call really.

It is true the Greens have established themsewlves as one of the key movers in ecological issues in the UK, but at what price?

After all, members of the Green Party can´t be prejudiced. If they accuse members called “Levy” of being Israeli academics in disguise defending Israel, they can´t be rehashing old Jewish conspiracy theories. If they circulate emails from David Duke, a key figure in the Klu Klux Klan, on how “Jewish Zionists” are shaping American policy in Israel in alliance with Obama (thereby rehashing not only anti-semitic myths but also an alliance of this with anti-Black racism), they can still work in Caroline Lucas´s office and be on the list for the European elections. If they circulate emails accusing Jewish members of parliament of double loyalty (to Israel and the UK), there´s no need to suppose that they are re-hashing the anti-Catholic discourse which surrounded JF Kennedy´s run for office in 1960. If they talk of the “squealing zionists”, there´s no reason for them not to be respected party figures.

A report commissioned by the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC – a powerful decision-making body in the decentralisd power structure of the party), and written by two non-Jewish members, said that these were examples of a toleration of low-level anti-semitism, and that therefore a working party on anti-semitism was recommended to be established.

What happened? Nothing!

Noticably much of the content of this posting a re a redistribution of an article by Toby Green, who, until recently was a leading member of the Greens and Caroline Lucas or any other senior member of the Greens have chosen to push it under the carpet.

No, I’m not convince by Green aspirations to be radical. they still have a long way to go.

14. James from Durham

I am sure there are a lot of pissed off Libdems out there, me for one, who still detest Labour and will be looking very carefully at the Greens, and not just for second preferences (in the unlikely event that AV passes the referendum).

Good to see strong affirmation of science-based policies. Particularly when it’s framed and measured in terms of how it can “Contribute to a better quality of life for all the peoples of the world.” – rather than how much money it can make corporations.

~~~

2. Cylux:

> I’m sure I saw some research on GM crops that showed that they don’t actually produce a higher yield.

Yup.

* Genetically engineered corn and soybeans in the United States for more than a decade has had little impact on crop yields despite claims that they could ease looming food shortages. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g53DoblG25y7O5t4KPsuzYyxMd6Q

* Failure to yield. The promise of higher yields from GM crops has proven to be empty. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html

~~~

3. Akheloios:

> Still worried that you might go back to flaky science in the future though, but there is, unfortunately, lots of time till the next election to prove you believe what you say.

Suggest you take a hard look at the policies of the other parties. They simply ignore science and evidence when inconvenient, e.g. Labour and Tories on drugs, Labour and Tories on nuclear:

* Nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change or security of supply. A UK government advisory panel, The Sustainable Development Commission, concluded that “doubling nuclear capacity would make only a small impact on reducing carbon emissions by 2035″ and “that the risks of nuclear energy outweighed its advantages.” – the Tory response to this was to shut down the SDC.

And there are no shortage of fringe, homeopath woo merchants in any party.

~~~

5. Chaise Guevara:

> …a strong anti-nuclear stance effectively demands that we burn more fossil fuels in the short term…

Completely wrong. Nuclear means unabated burning of fossil fuels in the short term. A nuke can take 10+ years to deploy – see Olkiluoto, Finland and Flamanville, France – both years behind schedule and billions over budget. A wind farm can be deployed in months. You can have solar on your roof in a few hours.

9 of our 10 reactors reach end of life in the next 12 years. It’s fantasy to believe that they can be replaced in that time-frame. Renewables can be rapidly scaled and deployed – provided the government offers minimal investment and stability to the market… which they are completely failing at so far.

Nuclear = unmitigated climate change.

This makes the Greens a better choice for me. However it’s only a start, the anti-GM position and anti-nuclear positions are simply untenable. I have been particularly disgusted at environmentalists’ efforts to prevent the use of golden rice, which has inserted genes increasing its vitamin A content. It basically prevents childhood blindness in some poorer regions, or it would if their governments hadn’t been bullied by well-fed Western eco-warriors.

I know no party is perfect so I hope this is the start of sidelining the strong irrationalist element of green politics.

Great, but… where’s the actual policy document? I can’t find it on the party’s web site. I will post about this on my blog and facebook etc., and may even finally join the Green party if the changes are as satisfactory as you say – but only once I’ve seen the document.

18. Mr S. Pill

@9

Funny, there was a “blanco” who used to post on this site berating others for going after Coulson (it was a “non-story” apparently) and constantly defending the Liberal Democrats increasingly right-wing drift. Are you by any chance related?

I find this interesting:

» On a similar theme, we’ll require professional bodies to put in place programmes to ensure equal participation from under-represented groups and a correction of any imbalances in their make-up. But unlike before, we no longer talk about “male-dominated hierarchies” and “closed sub-cultures”, taking a more open and positive approach.

How do professional bodies do this? You see, they do not employ people or determine the number on programmes leading to qualification (only a few professions such as accountancy run their own examinations), and they cannot discriminate by only awarding accreditation to certain groups amongst those who have met the entry criteria, as that would be, well, discrimination.

Also, professional bodies, with the exception of the not-actually representative government quangos (General Medical Council, General Teaching Council etc), are not subject to government dictat, being normally independent organisations, either charitiable or, in most established cases, chartered (that is guaranteed their existence by royal charter – and so independent of parliament). So not only is the mechanism of how this will happen unclear, but also the way in which legislation will be passed.

Still, nice sentiments. So long as you don’t have any problem with discriminating against people merely because they happen to share certain characteristics they were born with with other people who happen to be ‘over-represented’ in your view…

Incidentally, closed sub-culture is normally a good description of any exclusive body, such as professional bodies.

15. Cherub:

> I have been particularly disgusted at environmentalists’ efforts to prevent the use of golden rice, which has inserted genes increasing its vitamin A content.

You need to read further than the GMO sales brochure.

* Golden rice with vitamin A is not the answer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice#Opposition + http://www.i-sis.org.uk/goldenRiceScandal.php

> I know no party is perfect so I hope this is the start of sidelining the strong irrationalist element of green politics.

Let’s hope it’s the start of shutting up the lazy, empty smearing of the Green Party, done by people whose ideology is threatened by putting the environment, the health of people and sustainable living above corporate profits.

GM isn’t about science – it’s about politics. It’s about whether we want to give more unaccountable power over the food supply to the shady agrigiants.

Yours

A S Eyentist

@20 GM is simply a technology. In fact the basis for inserting genes into organisms that wouldn’t normally carry them is very old, going back to the 1970s. In many ways it’s no different from normal breeding, when mutations or other variations are bred into crops.

Perhaps one might take issue with the rights to patent and control some GM products but in the case of golden rice this was not done, as with some effort a Humanitarian Use License was obtained.

Some estimates suggest up to 10 million children under five die every year due to the nutritional deficits that golden rice could help. There are no reasonable doubts that golden rice can provide valuable vitamin A precursors that are uptaken (http://www.ajcn.org/content/89/6/1776 and others) .

I am not so happy to cry,”Smear” and sit by smug in my privileged position while millions die of malnutrition unnecessarily, and BlueRock if I were you I would seriously look to my conscience and ask whether my priorities were a bit skewed.

@15, I’m unfamiliar with Golden Rice, but if the variety requires seeds to be purchased each year, then it’s going to do nothing for the rural poor (who need to be able to reuse seed each year). If can reproduce itself, then it’s unwise to start widespread usage without a good understanding of how it will affect its environment. It may be that you can address those concerns, but until you can then I, and others, will be uneasy about its use.

21. Cherub:

> GM is simply a technology.

Nuclear bombs are just technology. Coal-fired power plants are just technology. DDT is just technology.

> In fact the basis for inserting genes into organisms that wouldn’t normally carry them is very old, going back to the 1970s.

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#age

> In many ways it’s no different from normal breeding, when mutations or other variations are bred into crops.

In many ways it is nothing like “normal breeding”. You can’t put fish genes in to a tomato no matter how many different strains of tomatoes you cross-breed or hybridise.

> Some estimates suggest up to 10 million children under five die every year due to the nutritional deficits that golden rice could help.

You’ve simply ignored the evidence and science which shows that malnutrition is about a lot more than producing a single crop with pumped up levels of one vitamin. Without other essential nutrients, the vitamin A in Golden Rice would not be absorbed. And those who do not suffer a deficiency could be at risk from overdosing from having only the ‘super rice’.

Golden Rice is a perfect example of the GMO sales ptich that is superficially attractive but does not stand up to close scrutiny.

> There are no reasonable doubts that golden rice can provide valuable vitamin A precursors that are uptaken (http://www.ajcn.org/content/89/6/1776 and others) .

http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=golden%20rice%20vitamin%20a%20overdose

> I am not so happy to cry,”Smear” and sit by smug in my privileged position while millions die of malnutrition unnecessarily…

So, educate yourself on what is needed: sustainable, nutritious agriculture that allows the poorest people to feed themselves properly without needing Trojan Horses from GMO corporations. Here’s a clue:

* Indians Abandon ‘Green Revolution’, Embrace Organic Revolution. More and more fertilizer and pesticide was needed to grow the same amount of crops. “I realized the vicious circle in which we were stuck.” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104708731

> …and BlueRock if I were you I would seriously look to my conscience and ask whether my priorities were a bit skewed.

I prefer to look at science, evidence and expert opinion rather than my “conscience” to work out how to solve problems. Suggest you do the same and you should be able to see the GMO propaganda that has fooled you.

Bluerock,

Perhaps it would be better to help the rural poor out of their poverty, rather than just ensure their poverty was ensured by an endless supply of food but no surplus (other than tax/rent).

Because the reason people are poor is because they cannot make enough money to get away from the danger area where their food supply is not assured. And simply assuring that food supply might make them less endangered; it does not make them less poor however.

@Blue Rock

“I prefer to look at science, evidence and expert opinion rather than my “conscience” to work out how to solve problems. Suggest you do the same and you should be able to see the GMO propaganda that has fooled you.”

Conscience is important, you know.

And I’m pretty good at science, being a biological sciences graduate with a decade in research behind me before moving on. I do keep in touch as well as I can.

There is a lot of politics in this area which does make it hard to discern the truth, but greens are not squeeky clean. In fact the most enthusiastic are often the most dishonest or deluded.

24. Watchman:

> Perhaps it would be better to help the rural poor out of their poverty…

And to do that it helps that they are not starving and malnourished.

> …rather than just ensure their poverty was ensured by an endless supply of food but no surplus (other than tax/rent).

Who said they would not have a surplus by adopting sustainable agriculture that is not dependent on paying vast sums of money to foreign corporations for patented seeds, poisons and synthetic fertilisers?

> Because the reason people are poor is because they cannot make enough money to get away from the danger area where their food supply is not assured.

That’s a ridiculously simplistic and offensive notion – that anyone who is hungry has to move. The reasons for hunger and poverty are myriad – including exploitation of land and labour by western corporations in order to grow cheap food for us.

> And simply assuring that food supply might make them less endangered; it does not make them less poor however.

Tell that to the billion+ people who are starving right now. You can’t eat money.

~~~

25. Cherub:

> Conscience is important, you know.

Your implication being that I don’t have one. Why do you think I am arguing for agricultural policies that help the poorest people?

> And I’m pretty good at science, being a biological sciences graduate with a decade in research behind me before moving on.

That’s wonderful – but it says nothing about the science and evidence you are ignoring.

> …greens are not squeeky clean.

This type of empty rhetoric betrays a lack of rational thinking.

> In fact the most enthusiastic are often the most dishonest or deluded.

Your enthusiasm for Golden Rice has been noted.

Interesting stuff, well done Alasdair et al.

I, for one, would be interested in a post about Green Party nuclear policy (or a more general energy post). (Someone’s going to come on now and tell me that there was one last week or something.)

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 Bluerock

“Completely wrong. Nuclear means unabated burning of fossil fuels in the short term.”

Only compared to switching to renewables. Which we can’t.

I hope the day arrives, soon, that the world gets all its power from solar, geotherm and so on. But at the moment, the technology and infrastructure isn’t up to spec. So nuclear is far from perfect, but it’s a good enough interim technology. The alternatives are fossil fuels or not enough power.

30. Chaise Guevara

Apart from anything else, Bluerock, why would an energy firm use more power to create a nuclear power station than that station would provide in its lifetime? Of course they don’t. You’re knocking nuclear because it’s imperfect, even though all the other options are worse.

28. Chaise Guevara:

> Only compared to switching to renewables. Which we can’t.

Continually repeating ignorant nonsense does not improve it. The process has already begun in many countries and there are many credible plans to transition to 100% renewables without needing nukes – from Google to Greenpeace to MIT professors, etc. etc.

* Zero Carbon Britain 2030: “A sustainable, secure, efficient Britain can be powered without relying on fossil fuels or nuclear power.” http://www.zerocarbonbritain.org/

* Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power. “We suggest producing all new energy with [Wind, Water and Solar] by 2030 and replacing pre-existing energy by 2050.” http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/susenergy2030.html

* The Combined Power Plant. How Germany will provide 100% renewable electricity by 2050. http://www.kombikraftwerk.de/index.php?id=27

* Road map to zero carbon, renewable energy in Europe by 2050. “Nuclear and / or coal-with-CCS plants are not essential to decarbonize power while safeguarding system reliability.” http://www.roadmap2050.eu/

For some reason beyond my comprehension, people like you refuse to educate yourself in preference for just repeating the same nonsense over and over again.

> You’re knocking nuclear because it’s imperfect, even though all the other options are worse.

You’ve now switched the subject to EROEI for some reason – but you’re as equally uninformed and confused on this. The EROEI of wind is higher than nukes or any other competing source.

Is there some wingnut newsletter that propagates all of this nonsense?

32. So Much For Subtlety

14. BlueRock – “Good to see strong affirmation of science-based policies. Particularly when it’s framed and measured in terms of how it can “Contribute to a better quality of life for all the peoples of the world.” – rather than how much money it can make corporations.”

Or as I would put it, a bunch of loons have realised they need better spin and more convincing press releases, but they remain the same bunch of loons underneath.

“* Genetically engineered corn and soybeans in the United States for more than a decade has had little impact on crop yields despite claims that they could ease looming food shortages.”

And what about pesticide use?

“Nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change or security of supply. A UK government advisory panel, The Sustainable Development Commission”

In other words a group of people who have made their minds up that no sensible person would do anything other than ignore.

“And there are no shortage of fringe, homeopath woo merchants in any party.”

Yeah but they are the fringe in other parties, not pretty much the entire party.

“Nuclear means unabated burning of fossil fuels in the short term. A nuke can take 10+ years to deploy – see Olkiluoto, Finland and Flamanville, France – both years behind schedule and billions over budget. A wind farm can be deployed in months. You can have solar on your roof in a few hours.”

Wind farms cannot be deployed in months. A wind turbine, if it is small enough, can. But you need to look at the per kilowatt hour figures. Wind uses more concrete, and takes longer to build, than nuclear per kilowatt hour. You can, if you get the permits, put up one small wind turbine in months. But to build the thousands of megawatts we need would also take decades. And involve the unabated burning of fossil fuels. The problem in Finland and France are mainly down to inexperience in pouring concrete to the required levels and excessive safety regulations.

“Renewables can be rapidly scaled and deployed”

No they cannot. Every single study shows that renewables take longer, cost more and require more infrastructure. Nuclear is compact. Wind is not.

33. So Much For Subtlety

22. Green Christian – “I’m unfamiliar with Golden Rice, but if the variety requires seeds to be purchased each year, then it’s going to do nothing for the rural poor (who need to be able to reuse seed each year).”

The mark of competent, productive farmers is that they buy seed each year. It is the normal practice. And the reason is obvious – those seeds are higher yield. Someone has taken the time to research making them better. And they are. They expect to be paid for doing so. Hybrid vigour tends to disappear after a generation so they need new seed every year. As long as the crop pays for itself, that is no problem. There is nothing about purchasing seed that locks people into poverty. On the contrary, there is a strong association between people who reuse their seeds every year and hunger.

“If can reproduce itself, then it’s unwise to start widespread usage without a good understanding of how it will affect its environment.”

Indeed. I think no GMO should be released if it can reproduce.

31. So Much For Subtlety:

> Or as I would put it, a bunch of loons have realised they need better spin and more convincing press releases, but they remain the same bunch of loons underneath.

Thanks for your fascinating opinion. I’ll add it to the others.

> And what about pesticide use?

* The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AG0QY20091117

Have you heard about Google? You should look in to it.

> Wind farms cannot be deployed in months.

“Erection of the offshore wind turbines on the foundations commenced on 10 May 2003, and the first turbine was in place the next day. Less than three months later, all turbines were up on their foundations. The last offshore wind turbine was erected on 27 July 2003, and all 72 wind turbines was thus in place. That same day, 10 of the wind turbines were already operating. The entire offshore wind farm started commercial operation on 1 December 2003.”

> Every single study shows that renewables take longer, cost more and require more infrastructure.

So stop your bullshit ranting and cite them. Every single one of them.

> Nuclear is compact. Wind is not.

lol. When we run out of hills and ocean on which to deploy wind, maybe then you might have a point. But by then the UK would be a *massive* net exporter of energy so you still won’t have a point. :)

35. So Much For Subtlety

34. BlueRock – “The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods.”

“The report was released by nonprofits The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).”

You should read beyond the first paragraph. It is useless. It is worse than useless. Advocacy is not science. Try this:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/292/5517/637.2.full

“Using U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, we have analyzed changes in pesticide use since the introduction of genetically modified (GM) corn, cotton, and soybeans (1). Since the introduction of Bt cotton varieties with engineered insect resistance, U.S. cotton farmers have reduced the amount of insecticides used by ?2.7 million pounds (?1.2 million kilograms) per year. Corn farmers have achieved more modest reductions through the planting of insect-resistant varieties, because most growers had previously not been treating for the difficult-to-control target pest, the European corn borer. For soybean growers who have adopted herbicide-tolerant varieties, the impact has been to switch from using three or four different herbicides to using one or two, with little change in the total amount of herbicides being used.”

“Have you heard about Google? You should look in to it.”

Google is no substitute for facts.

“Erection of the offshore wind turbines on the foundations commenced on 10 May 2003, and the first turbine was in place the next day. Less than three months later, all turbines were up on their foundations.”

Which is nice but it ignores things like planning permissions and hearings. Which it would seem you are counting for nuclear. That is cheating.

“So stop your bullshit ranting and cite them. Every single one of them.”

That might take a while. Or I could reach over for my tattered old copy of John O’Mara Bockris’ “Energy: The Solar-Hydrogen Alternative”. Being one of the pioneers in this field. And I could point you to any one is his tables.

“When we run out of hills and ocean on which to deploy wind, maybe then you might have a point. But by then the UK would be a *massive* net exporter of energy so you still won’t have a point. :)”

Changing the subject is a rubbish response. We are running out of hills but it is irrelevant. The point remains – wind needs more concrete, it needs more steel, it needs more roads. It is a bigger consumer of fossil fuels, at least in the initial construction phase. Per kilowatt hour. Nuclear is compact. It uses large blocks of concrete (as does wind) but it produces a *lot* of energy, reliably, from those blocks of concrete. Wind does not.

Nuclear is the only alternative to fossil fuels. And it is to all intents and purposes renewable. So it is the only sane option. That the Greens ignore it except when they condemn it show that their science is mere superstition and politics.

Without Hot Air, written by the guy who is currently chief science advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

37. Torquil Macneil

Still opposing animal research, though, right? In other words an end to nearly all cancer research in the UK? Brilliant.

38. Chaise Guevara

31. BlueRock

So basically you’ve got a load of sources saying we can go renewables-only by 2050. Congratulations for failing to contradict me. It’s 2011, not 2049.

“The EROEI of wind is higher than nukes or any other competing source.”

Ho hum. Did I say otherwise? No. Stop arguing with the people in your own head. I said the EROEI was a positive figure.

“Ignorant…confused…wingnut…people like you.”

You know, I was going to try to talk to you about the issue, but you obviously see debates as a way to convince yourself how great you are and slag off strangers because it makes you feel like the internet’s toughest guy. So I’ll give you the response you obviously want and deserve (ahem): go fuck yourself, you arrogant little pratt.

Thanks, BlueRock. Labour are looking better to me now.

35. So Much For Subtlety:

> “The report was released by nonprofits The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).”

Where is it wrong? Where are all the other recent reports wrong? E.g. Food Security: GM Crops Threaten Biodiversity.

> Try this: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/292/5517/637.2.full

Published in *2001* when GMOs made up a tiny percentage of total crops and ‘weeds’ and ‘pests’ had not become resistant to Roundup, etc.

Also, it was published by Janet Carpenter… a GMO propagandist! A perfect demonstration of the paid-for lies that come out of the GMO industry.

It is useless. It is worse than useless. Advocacy is not science. ;)

> Google is no substitute for facts.

You can find facts with Google. You should look in to it and avoid serving up bullshit from propagandists.

For instance, we can find out that it’s not just increased use of pesticides in connection with GMO crops, it’s the crops themselves: Toxins in transgenic crop byproducts may affect headwater stream ecosystems.

> Which is nice but it ignores things like planning permissions and hearings.

It ignores nothing – it demonstrates that your claim that wind farms cannot be deployed in months is bullshit… just like every other claim you have made.

> Which it would seem you are counting for nuclear. That is cheating.

Wrong again. Olkiluoto in Finland and Flamanville in France are not years behind schedule and billions over budget because of planning applications.

> That might take a while.

LMAO. You’ve got nothing. You can’t cite a single study to back up your claims. As expected.

> Changing the subject is a rubbish response.

No change of subject. I responded directly to your irrelevant distraction about footprint of different energy sources. It is a non-issue.

You now move the goalposts to EROEI – you fail again because the EROEI of wind is far higher than nuclear or fossils. Try again!

As demonstrated by multiple studies from multiple experts and credible sources, renewable energy offers the safest, most reliable, most economical route to decarbonising society – and that is why *reality* is as it is, e.g.:

* Global Trends in Green Energy 2009: new power capacity from renewable sources tops fossil fuels again in US, Europe. Global investments in renewables also top non-renewables for 2nd year. http://sefi.unep.org/english/globaltrends2010.html

* Renewables Global Status Report: Renewables accounted for 60% of new power capacity in Europe in 2009; China added 37 GW of renewable power capacity, more than any other country in the world; Globally, nearly 80 GW of renewable capacity was added, including 31 GW of hydro and 48 GW of non-hydro capacity; Solar PV additions reached a record high of 7 GW; 83+ countries have policies to promote renewable power. “China’s wind power capacity surpassed the country’s installed nuclear capacity in 2009, with just over 13.8 GW added to reach a total of 25.8 GW.” http://www.ren21.net/globalstatusreport/g2010.asp

* European Commission report projects that 41% of all energy installations in the next 20 years will be wind. Another 23% will come from other renewables like solar, biomass and hydro. 17% of new capacity to come from gas, 12% from coal, 4% from nuclear and 3% from oil. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/09/wind-and-solar-the-action-continues

* Scotland’s renewable electricity target for the next decade has been raised from 50 per cent to 80 per cent. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/09/2313435

You’re in a hole. Stop digging. ;)

36. ukliberty:

> Without Hot Air, written by the guy who is currently chief science advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

* “… [Mackay’s] artificially inflated demand figure of 195 kWh/d is nowhere near our real energy demand, and has mislead people into believing the myth that Britain’s energy demand exceeds its renewable resource, whereas the reverse is true: our renewable resource is much greater than our energy demand.” http://www.energynumbers.info/british-energy-demand-and-professor-mackays-estimate-of-it-an-explanation-of-the-differences

* ‘No Hot Air’ About Renewable Energy While Blowing Smoke: David Mackay plays ‘Brutus’ to the Sun’s ‘Caesar’. http://www.justmeans.com/-No-Hot-Air-About-Renewable-Energy-While-Blowing-Smoke-David-Mackay-plays-Brutus-Sun-s-Caesar/27338.html

~~~

37. Torquil Macneil:

> Still opposing animal research, though, right? In other words an end to nearly all cancer research in the UK? Brilliant.

That is ignorant nonsense. There are many alternatives to animal torture and more being developed all the time. Here’s a starter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternatives_to_animal_testing + http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=4454054 – am I the only person who knows how to use Google?!

Not only is ending animal torture the right thing to do, it opens up new areas of research and advancement in how we develop medicines. It’s called ‘progress’, folks. Remind me: who’s anti-science?!

~~~

38. Chaise Guevara:

> So basically you’ve got a load of sources saying we can go renewables-only by 2050. Congratulations for failing to contradict me. It’s 2011, not 2049.

Ah, you’ve now changed your argument from “renewables can’t do it” to “renewables can’t meet my unspecified, arbitrary deadline”. You look more desperate with each comment.

Also, you’ve ignored the fact that some sources suggest it can be done much quicker – and some countries already are – see Scotland for example: 80% by 2020.

> I said the EROEI was a positive figure.

No, you did not. Here it is again: “You’re knocking nuclear because it’s imperfect, even though all the other options are worse.” You were wrong. Now you look dishonest as well as wrong. Good work, chief.

> You know, I was going to try to talk to you about the issue…

But instead you served up a load of false ignorant nonsense and then started whining about your ignorance being exposed.

> …go fuck yourself, you arrogant little pratt.

It’s ‘prat’ – one ‘t’. :D

~~~

39. Cherub:

> Thanks, BlueRock. Labour are looking better to me now.

Your claims to being any kind of scientist look less convincing with every comment.

@33 The problem is that for the vast majority of the rural poor, buying seed each year simply isn’t an option. They are subsistence farmers, and they rely on being able to sow the produce of their crops. A technology that will only help the better off in a society isn’t going to help the poor.

43. Chaise Guevara

@ 41 Bluerock

“Ah, you’ve now changed your argument from “renewables can’t do it” to “renewables can’t meet my unspecified, arbitrary deadline”. You look more desperate with each comment.”

Actually, my point from the start was that renewables can’t fully replace fossil fuels NOW. Don’t get your panties in a twist just because I won’t take on the persona of the straw man you want to hang on me. The “deadline” is “before decommissioning nuclear stations would leave us without enough power”, BTW. Never said renewables can’t do it. Nor do I believe it. Just said we need more in the short term.

“Also, you’ve ignored the fact that some sources suggest it can be done much quicker – and some countries already are – see Scotland for example: 80% by 2020.”

Of the sources you gave to support your argument, I think all but one said 2050. Your own witnesses are shopping you, so to speak.

Some countries could no doubt go 100% renewable very quickly if they wanted. That’s not a global solution, though, is it?

“> I said the EROEI was a positive figure.

No, you did not. ”

Yes I did. If you’re quite finished ignoring everything that doesn’t give you an opportunity to bitch at strangers for no reason, you can see for yourself by checking my comment at 30.

“Here it is again: “You’re knocking nuclear because it’s imperfect, even though all the other options are worse.” You were wrong. Now you look dishonest as well as wrong. Good work, chief.”

The other options being a) replace them with fossil fuels and b) replace them with renewable sources and put up with having too little energy supply to meet demand. Both of which are worse to my eyes. If you decide to read “worse” as meaning “has a lower EROEI”, that’s your problem, not mine. It’s to do with existing and available infrastructure. But I realise actually addressing a point is so much more like hard work than just calling the other guy ignorant.

“But instead you served up a load of false ignorant nonsense and then started whining about your ignorance being exposed.”

I may start whining if you actually expose anything.

“It’s ‘prat’ – one ‘t’.”

Well done! You won the Battle of the Typos! Does that get you more Offical 4Chan Internet Arsehole Points than straw-manning your opponent, or less? I can never remember.

Here’s a clue: you are talking to people who, by and large, want the same things you want. For example, I’m fully in favour of renewables – not in the sense that I vaguely think it’d be a good thing, but in the sense that I’d happily pay more tax and higher electricity prices and have a windfarm in my garden if that was what was necessary to wean us off non-sustainable power.

So perhaps, when you happen to have read a different study to other people, or disagree with them on a scientific point, you should try actually talking to them about it? You know, as opposed to insulting them from the off and then straw-manning whatever they say. That sort of behaviour just makes it clear that you’re not interested in the issue at hand – you just want to convince yourself that you “won.” If that’s all you care about, go play Mario Kart or something.

I’ll judge you on your next remark. Happy to talk to you about energy policy if you actually want to. If you’d rather just ignore arguments and point-score because you mistakenly think it puts hairs on your chest, I won’t waste my time.

43. Chaise Guevara

> Actually, my point from the start was that renewables can’t fully replace fossil fuels NOW.

That’s why I said “Ah, you’ve now changed your argument from “renewables can’t do it” to “renewables can’t meet my unspecified, arbitrary deadline””. It seems like you’re not actually reading anything, just having a little hissy fit that your ignorance and idiocy keeps getting exposed.

You’ve proved many times, beyond all doubt that you can rant like an impotent, angry pissant – but there’s one thing missing from it: evidence and compelling argument. Your hysterical opinion is worthless.

If you want to join in with the big boys and girls, bring some credible cites and some rational arguments.

Bluerock,

* “… [Mackay’s] artificially inflated demand figure of 195 kWh/d is nowhere near our real energy demand, and has mislead people into believing the myth that Britain’s energy demand exceeds its renewable resource, whereas the reverse is true: our renewable resource is much greater than our energy demand.” http://www.energynumbers.info/british-energy-demand-and-professor-mackays-estimate-of-it-an-explanation-of-the-differences

I’m not sure why they feel misled. ISTM MacKay sets out very clearly what he estimates the affluent person to demand and the UK average demand. Have you read it, or are you just relying on what other people have said about it?

I love EnergyNumbers’ handwaving here:

125 kWh/d [the figure MacKay uses for average demand] is indeed the amount of power contained in Britain’s total fuel consumption, so that is at least a real-world figure, albeit one that’s still larger than our real energy demand. It’s larger, because in addition to our energy demand, it contains all the power we waste across the energy industry before it reaches the customer.

So waste doesn’t count? Um…

And,

Our current energy demand of 82 kWh/d would be reduced by about 9 kWh/d simply by electrifying cars.

Simple to electrify cars, is it?

* ‘No Hot Air’ About Renewable Energy While Blowing Smoke: David Mackay plays ‘Brutus’ to the Sun’s ‘Caesar’. http://www.justmeans.com/-No-Hot-Air-About-Renewable-Energy-While-Blowing-Smoke-David-Mackay-plays-Brutus-Sun-s-Caesar/27338.html

Scanned that – just seemed a complaint about MacKay’s alleged biases and no comment on the numbers. At least EnergyNumbers made an effort. MacKay denies he is “pro-nuclear” (not that matters to me). What he say is, “we must choose a plan that adds up”.

45. ukliberty:

> …MacKay sets out very clearly what he estimates the affluent person to demand and the UK average demand.

Perhaps that is part of why the article suggests he has “artificially inflated” his numbers and made no allowance for efficiency measures? Did you not read it properly?

Or perhaps you don’t understand that the efficiency of electricity production from wind, solar, etc. is vastly more efficient than burning coal and oil? This is explained in the article. Maybe try reading it – properly?

> So waste doesn’t count? Um…

Do you understand the concept of efficiency measures? You should definitely look it up.

> Simple to electrify cars, is it?

What do you not understand? Have you not heard of EVs and hybrids? You should definitely look them up. Very exciting.

> Scanned that – just seemed a complaint about MacKay’s alleged biases and no comment on the numbers.

Yes, that is exactly what the author says he is discussing. Maybe you should read it before trying to comment on it?

> MacKay denies he is “pro-nuclear”…

Do you blindly accept everything everyone tells you? The salesmen must love you!

> What he say is, “we must choose a plan that adds up”.

* “There are viable and pragmatic energy futures: where offshore wind, waves, tides, biomass and photovoltaics collectively offer the potential to harness enormous energy resources. …the nuclear option is the dearest and riskiest of gambles.” http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-nuclear-power-1961532.html

bluerock,

Perhaps that is part of why the article suggests he has “artificially inflated” his numbers and made no allowance for efficiency measures? Did you not read it properly?

But MacKay does talk about efficiency measures.

Or perhaps you don’t understand that the efficiency of electricity production from wind, solar, etc. is vastly more efficient than burning coal and oil? This is explained in the article. Maybe try reading it – properly?

I read it carefully enough to notice the lack of references.

What do you not understand? Have you not heard of EVs and hybrids? You should definitely look them up. Very exciting.

I suppose I’m not sure what is meant by ‘simple’, here. If you want fully electrified domestic transport, AIUI that not only means cars that use batteries but batteries rather better than today’s and an infrastructure that that can supply sufficient electricity. As I understand the engineering implications of all that, it’s not ‘simple’.

But by all means, let’s accept for the sake of argument EnergyNumbers’ numbers – I’m not up-to-date with electric cars. Great, using their own figures, in electrifying transport they’ve handwaved away 10% of demand…

> Scanned that – just seemed a complaint about MacKay’s alleged biases and no comment on the numbers.

Yes, that is exactly what the author says he is discussing. Maybe you should read it before trying to comment on it?

I think you’ve missed my point – I’m not interested in what people claim to be MacKay’s biases. I really couldn’t care less because he’s made an effort to show his working and his cites. If MacKay says the average UK energy demand is 125 kWh/d is he wrong because Hickey thinks MacKay is pro-nuclear? I’m not interested in Jim Hickey because he’s not talking about the numbers. In contrast, EnergyNumbers has made an effort to talk about the numbers – happy to engage with that sort of thing.

But OK, let us all put our biasses on the table. Let us judge ourselves by the standards we demand of others. The author of that article, Jim Hickey, complains that MacKay doesn’t make explicit his alleged “pro-nuclear” bias. Where does Jim Hickey make explicit his bias against nuclear power? Yes, I did read some of his other articles. Oh Christ, he cites Doug Rokke as an authority… it is to laugh.

> MacKay denies he is “pro-nuclear”…

Do you blindly accept everything everyone tells you? The salesmen must love you!

I didn’t say I accepted it, I said that it is what he said. Why do you accept Jim Hickey’s claim that MacKay is biassed over MacKay’s claim that MacKay isn’t? Surely you’re not… biassed?

Version 2 of the DECC calculator where we can all play with the numbers and see what happens, was published yesterday (explanation. Here for example I’ve made ‘heroic efforts’ in terms of electrifying domestic transport and made no other changes.

And here are example pathways including some proposed by people and organisations outside DECC, for example the pathway proposed by Friends of the Earth – not impossible, but includes many “extremely ambitious changes that push towards the physical or technical limits of what can be achieved”.

47. ukliberty:

> But MacKay does talk about efficiency measures.

Almost subtle! He “talks” about them, but he does not *include* them. Do you really not grasp that? Mackay has not included the inevitable efficiency component of producing most of our energy from renewables and consuming it as electricity. This is not difficult to understand. Think about it.

Nor does he include the enormous efficiency savings possible per capita. Nor does he include the inevitable improvements and cost reductions in renewable technology. It’s almost as though he’s painting the worst possible scenario for renewables in order to push a pre-determined conclusion.

> I read it carefully enough to notice the lack of references.

It references the Digest of UK Energy Statistics and Mackay’s book. What is wrong with the figures cited? Or are you now just trying to distract from the fact that you have no rebuttal?

> I suppose I’m not sure what is meant by ‘simple’, here.

Along with much else. EVs and hybrids are on the market now. We are running out of oil. Can you really not work out for yourself where we are headed? It’s EVs, public transport, cycling and walking. This is not news or revolutionary thinking. Do try and keep up.

> …I’m not interested in what people claim to be MacKay’s biases.

So, you’ve got your blinkers on. That was evident from the outset. You like what Mackay tells you. I get it.

> I really couldn’t care less because he’s made an effort to show his working and his cites.

And you’ve just had it shown where he is wrong – failed to refute it and pitifully tried to distract.

Here’s another: he claims “windmills generate 9% of the electricity” in Denmark. This is massively wrong. Wind power provided 24.1% of generation capacity in Denmark in 2008. Evidently you have not bothered fact-checking anything in his book.

> I’m not interested in Jim Hickey because he’s not talking about the numbers.

Hickey discuss people like you who are blinded by numbers. If you’re shown numbers and ‘clever’ arithmetic, you just accept they must be right – because they’re NUMBERS! Numbers don’t lie!

> I didn’t say I accepted it, I said that it is what he said.

But you quoted Mackay saying he was. Why did you do that if not to argue that is the case? Why would you think a self-proclamation like that is persuasive? If he is pro-nuclear, he would never admit it because it would remove his credibility as a supposed impartial commentator. Fucking duh. There’s one born every minute.

> Why do you accept Jim Hickey’s claim that MacKay is biassed over MacKay’s claim that MacKay isn’t?

I don’t. I accept the possibility put forward that Mackay is unwittingly influenced by his biases and / or is dishonest and has a pro-nuclear agenda. This is not a difficult concept to grasp. Maybe spend more time reading and thinking, less time typing?

> Surely you’re not… biassed?

No, I’m sceptical, inquisitive and very aware that there is a *lot* of lies and bullshit floating around the energy debate. You should try a bit of scepticism – does wonders for preventing being taken for a fool. ;)

BlueRock,

He “talks” about them, but he does not *include* them. Do you really not grasp that? Mackay has not included the inevitable efficiency component of producing most of our energy from renewables and consuming it as electricity. This is not difficult to understand. Think about it.

But he has included them here for example, where he starts talking about the scenarios – here is the consumption, broken down, and then efficiency savings introduced in the future.

Nor does he include the enormous efficiency savings possible per capita.

In fact, he says of efficiency measures that we might be able to achieve “50% reductions in primary energy consumption”. Is that not “enormous”?

It references the Digest of UK Energy Statistics and Mackay’s book. What is wrong with the figures cited? Or are you now just trying to distract from the fact that you have no rebuttal?

I’m not talking about the figures they cite, I’m talking about the figures they don’t cite.

“however we generate electricity, around 7% of it is wasted in the transmission and distribution system” – no cite.

“Our current energy demand of 82 kWh/d would be reduced by about 9 kWh/d simply by electrifying cars. ” – no cite (plus I argue with “simple”, because that is part of the point – this isn’t simple)

“That and other modest energy efficiency measures…” – no cite – “give us Professor MacKay’s target demand of 68 kWh/d” – no working.

Along with much else. EVs and hybrids are on the market now. We are running out of oil. Can you really not work out for yourself where we are headed? It’s EVs, public transport, cycling and walking. This is not news or revolutionary thinking. Do try and keep up.

I understand that’s where we’re headed. That seems to be something that there is a consensus about. What I said was, I do not believe it to be “simple”.

Here’s another: he claims “windmills generate 9% of the electricity” in Denmark. This is massively wrong. Wind power provided 24.1% of generation capacity in Denmark in 2008. Evidently you have not bothered fact-checking anything in his book.

At last! Finally an argument about MacKay’s claims rather than what other people think about MacKay’s biasses. Hurray! I’ll have a look into that. So grateful.

Hickey discuss people like you who are blinded by numbers. If you’re shown numbers and ‘clever’ arithmetic, you just accept they must be right – because they’re NUMBERS! Numbers don’t lie!

I didn’t say I accept the numbers. I’ve been saying let’s argue about the numbers not the man…

So, you’ve got your blinkers on. That was evident from the outset. You like what Mackay tells you. I get it. …

…. But you quoted Mackay saying he was. Why did you do that if not to argue that is the case? If he is pro-nuclear, he would never admit it because it would remove his credibility as a supposed impartial commentator. Fucking duh. There’s one born every minute.

Still missing the point. Let me put it in simple terms for you, Captain Patroniser:

John makes a claim.

Jim says, “don’t believe John, he’s pro-nuclear!”

“Hang on,” says I, “can we argue about the claim and not the man?”

BlueRock asks, “why do you believe John’s claim?”

I reply, “I don’t believe it or disbelieve it, I’d just rather discuss John’s claim than what Jim thinks about John.”

Understand?

49. ukliberty:

That’s a phenomenal number of words to 1, fail to refute that MacKay has artificially inflated his demand figure by failing to incorporate efficiency; 2, failed to refute the (undeniable!) possibility that MacKay is biased and / or has a pre-meditated agenda.

You must love the sound your keyboard makes.

BlueRock,

Here’s another: he claims “windmills generate 9% of the electricity” in Denmark. This is massively wrong. Wind power provided 24.1% of generation capacity in Denmark in 2008. Evidently you have not bothered fact-checking anything in his book.

He does indeed make that 9% claim about Denmark, which is odd as later on he cites a paper later on that provides a figure closer to your figure.

The 9% claim is part of an attempt at humour about putting figures in context and not reacting emotionally to them:

It’s been estimated that 30 000 birds per year are killed by wind turbines in Denmark, where windmills generate 9% of the electricity. Horror! Ban windmills! We also learn, moreover, that traffic kills one million birds per year in Denmark. Thirty-times-greater horror! Thirty-times-greater incentive to ban cars! And in Britain, 55million birds per year are killed by cats (figure 10.6).

In other words, saying to people who think windmills should be banned because they kill birds, think about how many birds are killed by other things, do we want to ban them?

I don’t know what claims he’s based on the 9% figure as it doesn’t appear to be mentioned again.

He appears to give the correct installed capacity of 3.1GW in 2006 (if we can rely on his cite and Wikipedia, say).

So I’m not sure what happened there.

You must be welcoming the current expensive price of oil, BlueRock. Expensive oil is pretty much the only way to get people to adapt their behaviour and lifestyles. Moreover, it should provide impetus and incentives to drive forward innovation of alternatives. Even if or when the Middle East settles down the days of cheap oil are well and truly over. Probably around $100 pb is the new bottom and that is expensive enough to drive change. On the other hand, at that price it makes other marginal production economic.

BlueRock,

That’s a phenomenal number of words to 1, fail to refute that MacKay has artificially inflated his demand figure by failing to incorporate efficiency;

Are you still talking about the “artificially inflated demand figure of 195 kWh/d”? As I already said, MacKay makes clear that is his imaginary affluent person. IIUC, he does not base his scenarios on it – he talks about the 125 kWh/d person of today (well, 2008) and the 68 kWh/d of 2050, the latter figure being net of 30 kWh/d in effiency savings. I am looking at this chart.(can we do images here? let’s give it a shot.)

and quote,

In my future cartoon country, the energy consumption is reduced by using
more efficient technology for transport and heating.

In the five plans for the future, transport is largely electrified. Electric engines are more efficient than petrol engines, so the energy required for transport is reduced. Public transport (also largely electrified) is better integrated, better personalized, and better patronized. I’ve assumed that electrification makes transport about four times more efficient, and that economic growth cancels out some of these savings, so that the net effect is a halving of energy consumption for transport.

It seems to me that EnergyNumbers and MacKay are largely in agreement except that EnergyNumbers think people are misled by MacKay’s introduction of the imaginary affluent person.

2, failed to refute the (undeniable!) possibility that MacKay is biased and / or has a pre-meditated agenda.

Why would I even attempt to refute something about which I have no opinion (MacKay’s supposed bias)? I don’t care! Let’s argue about the numbers – play the ball, not the man. Savvy?

If you’re interested in MacKay’s view of Hickey you can find it at point 5 in the critical reviews section here.

You must love the sound your keyboard makes.

Good one! But we can all see how many characters you’ve typed in this thread.

Good night.

51. ukliberty:

I take it you’ve given up trying to deny reality re. artificially inflated demand figure and the possibility that MacKay could be biased?

> The 9% claim is part of an attempt at humour…

Oh, it’s a joke book? That would explain many things – including the quote that claims offshore wind turbines would be worse than a Nazi invasion.

Although, I’m struggling to see how it’s funny that he offers a quote from Patrick Moore that whitewashes the dangers of nuclear and introduces him as “former Director of Greenpeace International” when Moore left Greenpeace (who have since denounced him as a pro-pollution corporate sell-out) 25 years ago and is now a paid PR spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute. Moore is also a ‘consultant’ for logging and mining corporations and a global warming denier in his spare time.

I’m sure that’s just another innocent mistake from MacKay. No bias, no agenda, no attempt to evangelise for nukes and smear renewable energy. Nope, they’re all just innocent mistakes… and it’s entirely coincidental that they all work in one direction… because he says he’s all about the NUMBERS!

53. Richard W:

> You must be welcoming the current expensive price of oil, BlueRock.

“Welcoming” is a bit strong – but I’m hopeful it will be the catalyst to wake us from our collective sleepwalk towards some fucked up dystopia.

> Expensive oil is pretty much the only way to get people to adapt their behaviour and lifestyles.

Yup. Either we act like we have an urgent problem or one day it’ll be Mad Max – without the 1980s hairstyles (hopefully) and happy ending.

> Moreover, it should provide impetus and incentives to drive forward innovation of alternatives.

Good man! Exactly how I see it. Adversity drives innovation. It’s an opportunity for rapid technological advancement and a cleaner, healthier planet for everyone.

54. ukliberty:

Lots more words and another monumental failure at refuting the very clear evidence that shows MacKay has artificially inflated his demand figure. I can’t explain any more clearly than is already done on EnergyNumbers.info. If you can’t understand that it’s hardly surprising that you’ve swallowed down all of MacKay’s other claims without question.

> Why would I even attempt to refute something about which I have no opinion (MacKay’s supposed bias)?

We’ve already done this. You claimed he had no bias because he says he has no bias. How dumb is that?!

> Let’s argue about the numbers – play the ball, not the man. Savvy?

Who is doing that? Not me. Not Hickey – who specifically explains what he is writing about: “The point of this essay is that this premise, that an interlocutor is without prejudice, is so unlikely as to be safe to dismiss as impossible. Everyone, in the vernacular, ‘has an ax to grind.'”

It’s almost as if you’ve *still* not read the article that you’re desperately arguing over.

> If you’re interested in MacKay’s view of Hickey you can find it at point 5 in the critical reviews section here.

I’ve seen it. A very weak, condescending response that attempts to dismiss Hickey because “he seems to get most of his facts … from reading what other people wrote about it on the internet, rather than from actually reading the book.” Evidence for that? None. Are the facts correct or not? MacKay does not address them – nor does he include the EnergyNumbers article that he is now clearly aware of. Curious once again.

And that is a weak dismissal of the content of Hickey’s article – although it seems as though it perfectly ties in with your grasp of what Hickey wrote… as though you’ve just accepted what MacKay wrote about Hickey’s article! lol

> But we can all see how many characters you’ve typed in this thread.

Big difference: I actually provide cites, arguments that amount to something and read the articles that are being discussed.

> Good night.

Do a lot more reading, fact checking and stop swallowing anything just because it’s from someone with a ‘good’ name, who tells you they’re unbiased and who offers up lots of numbers.

Good luck.

BlueRock, I couldn’t resist.

I take it you’ve given up trying to deny reality re. artificially inflated demand figure and the possibility that MacKay could be biased?

Not at all, it’s just that I intended to go to sleep. I can’t let you get away with making things up about me, though. You see, I haven’t been denying anything of the sort! Do point out where I “deny the reality” re that figure.

Quote from the book:

Our estimate of a typical affluent person’s consumption (figure 18.1) has reached 195 kWh per day. It is indeed true that many people use this much energy, and that many more aspire to such levels of consumption. The average American consumes about 250kWh per day. If we all raised our standard of consumption to an average American level, the green production stack would definitely be dwarfed by the red consumption stack. What about the average European and the average Brit? Average European consumption of “primary energy” (which means the energy contained in raw fuels, plus wind and hydroelectricity) is about 125 kWh per day per person. The UK average is also 125 kWh per day per person.

His scenarios do not use the affluent UK person’s consumption, IIUC, they use the average UK person’s consumption. Nevertheless, EnergyNumbers appears to have taken real offence to the former figure, as have you.

As to the possibility of bias, why on earth would I deny any possibility of bias? And I haven’t! Do point out where you think I did.

If it helps, I do not deny the possibility of bias.

If it helps, I do not deny that he may have a “pre-meditated agenda”, too.

(Incidentally, aren’t all agendas pre-meditated? Perhaps you think “pre-meditated agenda” sounds worse than merely having an “agenda”, which is horrible in itself – only evil people have “agendas”. Let’s conjugate: I have principles, you have an ideology, he has an agenda.)

Oh, it’s a joke book? That would explain many things – including the quote that claims offshore wind turbines would be worse than a Nazi invasion.

Oh, god forbid he should make a joke. Might as well bin all 300 pages, he made a joke.

The word “Nazi” is in a section about NIMBYs, pages 108 to 109.

Quote:

Yes, technically, Britain has “huge” renewables. But realistically, I don’t think Britain can live on its own renewables – at least not the way we currently live. I am partly driven to this conclusion by the chorus of opposition that greets any major renewable energy proposal.People love renewable energy, unless it is bigger than a figleaf. If the British are good at one thing, it’s saying “no.”

[imaginary member of the public] “No, I’m more worried about the ugly powerlines coming ashore than I was about a Nazi invasion.”

He estimates we could achieve over 100 kWh /d per person with renewables, which is really close to 2008 demand of 125 kWh /d per person, but he is really pessimistic about the outcomes after public consultations. Taken at face value, isn’t he right about NIMBYs? Sure, we’d like to ignore NIMBYs, but isn’t he right about them?

Now, I’m definitely going to sleep. Good night! I look forward to you not making things up tomorrow.

58. ukliberty:

> You see, I haven’t been denying anything of the sort!

So, you’ve spent all this time arguing that MacKay is wrong while claiming he is right? You’re not making any sense at all. Are you drunk?

> …why on earth would I deny any possibility of bias? And I haven’t! Do point out where you think I did.

And round and round in little circles you go. See previous response to exact same stupidity.

As for the rest, I’m not in the least interested in your rambling, incoherent opinion. Credible cites only.

BlueRock, you’re not really green are you? You’re just another Delingpole, trolling away, trying to make greens look like assholes?

It’s worked.

BlueRock,

So, you’ve spent all this time arguing that MacKay is wrong while claiming he is right?

Eh?

When you say, “I take it you’ve given up trying to deny reality re. artificially inflated demand figure and the possibility that MacKay could be biased?” that seems to mean you think I’ve been “trying to deny reality re. artificially inflated demand figure and the possibility that MacKay could be biased?”

So, can you point to where I did so or not? Quote(s) please, not your interpretation of what I supposedly said.

I’m not saying MacKay is right or wrong, biassed or unbiased. I just want to talk about his figures, not him or other people’s opinions of him. As I keep saying.

You claimed he had no bias because he says he has no bias. Um no, I didn’t make such a claim. This is an example of you inventing things. All I said was, he denies being pro-nuclear. This seems a bit dishonest of you (I assume you’re not thick).

I’m not a mind-reader and I don’t impute the meaning into Without Hot Air that Hickey appears to have done.

It’s almost as if you’ve *still* not read the article that you’re desperately arguing over.

I haven’t properly read it, as I said earlier I scanned it. The reason being, I’m trying not to argue about it – I’m not interested in it and I’m not interested in this meta-discussion you’re trying to force. I’m aware that lots of people have an axe to grind. I’m aware that there is a possibility of bias. Hickey is of no interest to me. EnergyNumbers is of interest to me. This is taking a long while to get through to you, isn’t it?

I actually provide cites, arguments that amount to something and read the articles that are being discussed.

You’re a hypocrite: you write lengthy comments but criticise me for responding in kind.

bring back the edit function!

@ 60 Cherub

Or alternatively he IS actually a fully paid up Green, but the same type of Green as the Blairite cling-ons in the Labour party who insist that the reason Labour lost in 2010 was that they weren’t New Labour enough, or Tories who earlier insisted the reason they lost in 1997 was that they weren’t Thatcherite enough etc.

The problem the Greens have in attracting disaffected former LD and Labour voters, who are often actually quite impressed with their more progressive outlook, is that purist “keepers of the flame” like Blue Rock make them look a bit woo-woo.

As we’ve seen here, the attack-dog tendency isn’t really open to meaningful debate. Indeed, even where people agree with them, such as with respect to climate change, their minds are totally closed when it comes to any suggestion that for example nuclear power might have any role to play even in the short to medium term.

They aren’t interested in facts (tho’ they will often trot out screeds of cut and paste “evidence” from google, or the last book/article they half digested), because facts will never trump their ideological belief that they are right, and that anyone who dares to suggest otherwise, is not only wrong but a scoundrel and probably mentally challenged to boot. It’s like trying to argue with a person of faith, or a creationist… it can be fun, but it is ultimately pointless.

Blue Rock wouldn’t accept that nuclear power was necessary even if it was proven beyond doubt that it was, because it doesn’t fit with his manichaean world view. That kind of attitude towards energy policy, or medical research or GM is a major hardle for many people thinking of supporting the Greens; hopefully not all of them are quite as unpleasant or resistant to any form of compromise as Blue Rock.

60. Cherub:

I’m sorry I so brutally exposed your ignorance about GMOs and your general scientific illiteracy, but why are you commenting now? Do you have a point?

~~~
61. ukliberty:

You’re still dumping out reams of words, going round in circles and not saying anything coherent.

You’ve not refuted the EnergyNumbers analysis. You’ve obviously not read (or understood) Hickey’s article.

You’re demonstrating what I see so often – an emotional, incoherent response to arguments and evidence that refute a deeply-held belief. Sorry! That’s how reality rolls sometimes.

* Open letter from British scientists and energy experts: There are viable and pragmatic energy futures: where offshore wind, waves, tides, biomass and photovoltaics collectively offer the potential to harness enormous energy resources. …the nuclear option is the dearest and riskiest of gambles.”

That’s just one example. To understand why so many experts have reached that conclusion you need to stop the hysterical typing and do a lot more reading. It takes time, but you might alleviate your ignorance on the subject. Give it a go!

~~~

@63. Galen10:

You demonstrate repeatedly that you have nothing intelligent to say, no evidence-based contribution to make. You’re just a frustrated, impotent troll. Why not try contributing something substantive for a change? It’s difficult but worth the effort. :)

BlueRock,

You’re still dumping out reams of words, going round in circles and not saying anything coherent.

You’ve not refuted the EnergyNumbers analysis.

You write long posts but criticise me for doing so (to be fair, large parts of my posts consist of quoting you). That makes you a hypocrite.

And you insist on me refuting a third-party’s analysis but criticise me for using lots of words. What’s the maximum number of words I’m allowed to use?

You’ve obviously not read (or understood) Hickey’s article.

I did say earlier that I had not properly read it, at least a couple of times. So well done. I’m still not interested in Hickey. I am interested in EnergyNumbers. I can keep repeating that, if you like.

You’re demonstrating what I see so often – an emotional, incoherent response

Emotional? You’re making things up again.

Are you interested in a civil discussion? If you are, stop making things up, stop being a hypocrite, and stop being patronising.

BlueRock, you’re not really green are you? You’re just another Delingpole, trolling away, trying to make greens look like assholes?

I have to admit to having entertained this idea myself, but I put it down to paranoia…

Sorry for HTML fail. Could a mod slip in an end bold tag after “…if you like”. I don’t want BlueRock to imagine me getting upset.

BlueRock,

You’ve not refuted the EnergyNumbers analysis.

OK, from the top. From EnergyNumbers:

In “Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air”, Professor MacKay compares an energy demand of 195 kWh/d with his calculated British renewable resource of 180 kWh/d, and comes to the conclusion that Britain cannot power itself from renewables.

I think the difficulty here is that there isn’t such a conclusion in the book, AIUI.

MacKay mentions 195 kWh/d twice in the book. On the page to which I think EnergyNumbers refers, there is a heading “Can we live on renewables?” and a chart that is accurately described by EnergyNumbers. But on that very same page MacKay asks, “Is the size of the red stack [195 kWh/d] roughly correct?”, “What is the average consumption of Britain?”, and “Have I been unfair to renewables, underestimating their potential?”

So he does not actually conclude anything there. On the next page MacKay starts talking about average consumption – the “125 kWh per day per person” figure.

His scenarios / conclusions are not based on the 195 figure but the 125 kWh/d figure (19 mentions), reduced by efficiency measures. EnergyNumbers itself says this about half-way down the page:

… when looking at current energy consumption, he gives a figure of 125 kWh/d (p104). He then takes away some of the losses within the energy industry itself, the conversion losses, which includes the huge amount of heat we waste in cooling towers to give 98 kWh/d (p116). And finally, when building his own scenarios, he uses a figure of 68 kWh/d (p204). Those figures, together with the 82 kWh/d of actual current demand, are shown to the left.

68. Chaise Guevara

@ 44

“That’s why I said “Ah, you’ve now changed your argument from “renewables can’t do it” to “renewables can’t meet my unspecified, arbitrary deadline””. It seems like you’re not actually reading anything, just having a little hissy fit that your ignorance and idiocy keeps getting exposed.”

You appear to be describing yourself. I never said renewables could never do it. It’s not my reading comprehension that’s at fault here.

“You’ve proved many times, beyond all doubt that you can rant like an impotent, angry pissant – but there’s one thing missing from it: evidence and compelling argument. Your hysterical opinion is worthless.”

LOL! Are you actually staring in a mirror while typing? Hysterical? Please.

Anyway, I said I’d judge you by this reply. As I suspected, you’ve no interest whatsoever in a grownup conversation, so toodle-oo.

66. Dunc:

> I have to admit to having entertained this idea myself, but I put it down to paranoia…

Paranoia will do it – or hysterical anger at a deeply-held belief being challenged.

Some people hold nukes (and GMOs) as a cherished belief because they have swallowed the propaganda that these things will allow them a better life without the need to make any sacrifices or compromises in a world that is rapidly running out of options re. environmental degradation and number of people we must support.

When those technologies are exposed as falling far short of the promises, those people are reduced to what you see in this thread – anger, name-calling and incoherent rambling to try and rationalise away the evidence.

And, of course, there’s the free market wingnuts who see any attack on incumbent corporations as a personal attack on their beliefs. There’s also a handful of skilful shills – but they’re certainly not in this thread. ;)

Seriously BlueRock. This isn’t the way to convince anyone. Most of the people here are on the left (I think ukliberty isn’t to be fair) and will at least give your views a sympathetic hearing, but you descend into shouting and insults and distraction techniques almost immediately.

Also your criticisms of the style and method of other people really are classic projection. You should look at your own posts on this thread.

67. ukliberty:

Another splurge of words (it’s not the volume, it’s the incoherence and lack of rational argument in them) that once again totally fails to address or refute the analysis that shows the UK’s true demand figure is not
195 kWh/d as reported by MacKay, but 82 kWh/d which would be reduced by EVs and other modest energy efficiency measures to give us MacKay’s target demand of 68 kWh/d.

* “…the artificially inflated demand figure of 195 kWh/d is nowhere near our real energy demand, and has mislead people into believing the myth that Britain’s energy demand exceeds its renewable resource, whereas the reverse is true: our renewable resource is much greater than our energy demand.”

P.S. Admitting that you’ve not read articles that you’re rubbishing makes you look like a bit of an idiot. It’s almost as if you have no interest in intellectually honest discussion, just in tedious ranting about your beliefs.

P.P.S. I note that you make no response to the evidence which shows wide-ranging agreement from many experts that show MacKay’s conclusions are wrong. That cognitive dissonance must be deafening by now! ;)

~~~

68. Chaise Guevara:

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Do you ever contribute anything other than piss-weak trolling?

70. Thomas

Seriously Thomas. Your hysterics and anger isn’t the way to convince anyone. Trolling and sockpuppetry contribute nothing to the discussion.

You should look at your own posts on this thread… oh, there’s nothing worth looking at. ;)

BlueRock,

… once again totally fails to address or refute the analysis that shows the UK’s true demand figure is not
195 kWh/d as reported by MacKay,

ISTM MacKay does not report the 195 kWh/d figure as being the UK’s true demand figure – I’ve been over this a number of times now!

MacKay, my emphasis:

Our estimate of a typical affluent person’s consumption (figure 18.1) has reached 195 kWh per day. … The UK average is also 125 kWh per day per person.

And again, his scenarios are not based on the 195 figure but the 125 figure (less efficiency measures).

P.S. Admitting that you’ve not read articles that you’re rubbishing makes you look like a bit of an idiot.

But I haven’t rubbished Hickey’s article, I said I’m not interested in it, I’m not interested in his views about MacKay, I’m interested in discussion of MacKay’s numbers. I can’t put it any more plainly, any more simply, than that. But you keep on bringing up Hickey.

P.P.S. I note that you make no response to the evidence which shows wide-ranging agreement from many experts that show MacKay’s conclusions are wrong. That cognitive dissonance must be deafening by now! What evidence? The letter to the Independent you’ve linked to at least twice? It’s a letter, not analysis. OK, a number of scientists have claimed in a letter we shouldn’t use nuclear power and that renewables can meet our needs. Great. I’ll take it to David Cameron immediately. Why do we need DECC? That’s sarcasm, by the way. Where is their working?

I think you’re labouring under the misapprehension that I agree with MacKay’s conclusions / scenarios. I neither agree nor disagree, I’m just trying to have a civil discussion about them. Yes, I introduced the book and the DECC calulator to the thread – but that is because I am interested in it, I’m neither in agreement or disagreement I just don’t know enough. And that is why I’d like a civil discussion about it.

html fail again, sorry.

slight edit:

“Yes, I introduced the book and the DECC calulator to the thread – but that is because I am interested in it” and because MacKay and the DECC pathways tool are apparently informing the UK’s energy policy.

73. ukliberty:

> MacKay does not report the 195 kWh/d figure as being the UK’s true demand figure – I’ve been over this a number of times now!

MacKay: “Our estimate of a typical af?uent person’s consumption (?gure 18.1) has reached 195 kWh per day. It is indeed true that many people use this much energy…”

Who do we believe on what MacKay says? You? Or MacKay? :D

He then uses that 195 kWh/d in his graph on p. 103 with the label that shows demand figure exceeds maximum renewable supply: “The state of play after we added up all the traditional renewables.” Even you should be able to understand a simple graph!

No matter how you attempt to twist and wriggle, it is clear that MacKay, with that graph, is showing everyone that renewables cannot match demand. That is clearly false as shown by the EnergyNumbers analysis.

Sadly, people like you are not unusual. You’re so blinded by your emotional tie to a story that you *want* to be true that you are incapable of seeing anything else.

> But I haven’t rubbished Hickey’s article…

“I’ve been saying let’s argue about the numbers not the man…” – a clear insinuation that Hickey has resorted to ad hominem. As you refuse to read the article you will be perpetually ignorant of the actual content. This just makes you look weak and intellectually dishonest.

Re. DECC calculator: what a surprise! It’s been weighted to make it impossible to power the UK without nukes! Fortunately, reality (and serious engineers and investors) do not consult Tory-approved, Mickey Mouse calculators.

BlueRock,

MacKay does not report the 195 kWh/d figure as being the UK’s true demand figure – I’ve been over this a number of times now!

MacKay: “Our estimate of a typical affluent person’s consumption (figure 18.1) has reached 195 kWh per day. It is indeed true that many people use this much energy…”

Who do we believe on what MacKay says? You? Or MacKay?

Do you think a “typical affluent person” has the same demand as “an average person”?

He then [are you reading it backwards from 104 to 103?] uses that 195 kWh/d in his graph on p. 103 with the label that shows demand figure exceeds maximum renewable supply: “The state of play after we added up all the traditional renewables.” Even you should be able to understand a simple graph!

No matter how you attempt to twist and wriggle, it is clear that MacKay, with that graph, is showing everyone that renewables cannot match demand. That is clearly false as shown by the EnergyNumbers analysis.

Given that he doesn’t give a conclusion on that page, and that he questions that 195 figure on that very page, and that he does not end up using that 195 figure in his scenarios, I’d say you’re wrong, frankly.

I can see how you could misinterpret the page if you only look at the chart and nothing else. But you wouldn’t do that, would you?

(BTW, I found another ‘joke’ relating to vegetarian cats. Bin the book! No jokes allowed.)

76. ukliberty:

Yes, if you interpret the graph and accompanying text exactly as they appear, it shows exactly what our lying eyes tell us – which is exactly what EnergyNumbers states and refutes: MacKay has artificially inflated figures and his conclusions do not match real-world results that include energy efficiency savings. But I repeat myself for the nth time.

Not just a river in Egypt….

BlueRock,

EnergyNumbers claims that “In “Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air”, Professor MacKay compares an energy demand of 195 kWh/d with his calculated British renewable resource of 180 kWh/d, and comes to the conclusion that Britain cannot power itself from renewables.”

MacKay does not make such a conclusion. The conclusion of the chart is that an affluent person’s demand cannot be met by renewables. We aren’t all affluent.

1. The 195 figure is an estimate of an affluent person’s demand i.e. not the average i.e. it is not representative of British demand. The chart shows that if the affluent person has that demand, and renewables has that potential, renewables cannot meet that affluent person’s demand. But we aren’t all so affluent are we?

2. (so) MacKay himself asks us to question the accuracy of the 195 figure and goes on to use the average demand figure of 125.

This is really simple stuff. ISTM you need to take a look in the mirror before accusing others of having problems with reading comprehension.

Fortunately, reality (and serious engineers and investors) do not consult Tory-approved, Mickey Mouse calculators.

Nevertheless, apparently it’s helping to inform UK energy policy. You suggest we need to deal with reality – deal with that.

Feel free to have the last word – it seems important to you that you crowd out dissent.

Have a good weekend.

@ 78 ukliberty

It’s highly unlikely you’ll get a coherent response given the standard of the rest of his reasoning; if he hasn’t the gumption to see the difference between the figures for an affluent person, and those for an average person, it is safe to assume he’s on the wing of the Green party that probably thought their previous “policy” was just dandy.

78. ukliberty

> MacKay does not make such a conclusion. The conclusion of the chart is that an affluent person’s demand cannot be met by renewables. We aren’t all affluent.

Have you read the book? Or is this another case of you holding forth without having a clue?

Page 103 is titled ‘Can we live on renewables?’. There is a full-length graph that shows a red column (demand) and a green column (all possible renewables). The red is taller than the green. The message is clear to anyone who is not a moron, not a liar and not in denial. Take your pick.

The fact that MacKay goes on to mention in the text that, in reality, the current average demand for the UK person is lower, does not alter the fact that he has presented a case that clearly shows renewables cannot meet demand. It’s there in a graph that stretches the entire length of the page.

Further, on page 109 he then modifies the amount of energy available from renewables after having “a public consultation”. This cuts renewables down to 18 kWh / d – although this time he does use the average UK figure of 125 – which still does not include the energy savings as explained by EnergyNumbers. His justifications for cutting renewable down to 18 kWh / d are almost entirely nonsense.

For example, he strikes off shallow offshore wind with “not near my birds!”. This is ignorant nonsense: Massive Offshore Wind Turbines Safe for Birds. Infrared monitoring shows that savvy seabirds steer clear of wind turbines.

He also strikes off deep offshore wind with “not near my radar!” This is a non-issue: New radar system solves problem of wind turbine interference for military.

The fact that you don’t know any of these things is because your are too lazy or too gullible to think critically and do some basic fact-checking. This is a unifying quality amongst MacKay’s fan club. They love that a clever person – who says he’s unbiased (!) – confirms what they want to be true.

> …MacKay himself asks us to question the accuracy of the 195 figure and goes on to use the average demand figure of 125.

No, he does not “go on to use it” – he simply mentions it along with “many more aspire to such levels of consumption” when discussing the 195 value. He also mentions 250 kWh / d “If we all raised our standard of consumption to an average American level”. That, again, is ignorant, misleading nonsense. The average energy consumption of the US is due to a lot more than simple consumption, e.g. the massive urban sprawl that US town planners allow.

> This is really simple stuff.

It is very simple if you apply the least critical thinking and a minimal amount of fact-checking. You do neither. You swallow it all down without question because it confirms what you *want* to be true.

> …it’s helping to inform UK energy policy.

The Tories – and politicians generally – will happily use any biased information to support their ideological policies. That shouldn’t be a cause for celebration from anyone concerned about truth, science and reality.

> Feel free to have the last word – it seems important to you that you crowd out dissent.

I’m sorry that I haven’t allowed your errors and ignorance go unchallenged – but that’s often the way debates work – you don’t get to dictate what other people write. And you’ve hardly been “crowded out” – look at the word count that repeats the same nonsense over and over again!

MacKay’s rhetoric, evidence-free assertions and assumptions, pattern of ‘errors’ all work against renewables and for nukes. He has an agenda. He is an anti-renewable, pro-nuke ideologue.

@ 80 Blue Rock

“MacKay’s rhetoric, evidence-free assertions and assumptions, pattern of ‘errors’ all work against renewables and for nukes. He has an agenda. He is an anti-renewable, pro-nuke ideologue.”

And we should take your word for this on the basis that you are what… a neutral, agenda free observer, who is prepared to at least entertain the notion that his ideas might be amenable to alteration?

Or should we treat your “throw-enough-mud-and-see-it-it-sticks” ramblings as just the flip side of what you say is MacKay’s rhetoric, i.e. that you have an agenda and are a pro-renewable, anti-nuke ideologue?

81. Galen10:

> And we should take your word for this…

No, you half-wit! You can confirm every claim I’ve made by reading MacKay’s book and by clicking the links I have provided. Fucking duh!

@Blue Rock

No, I’ll have the last word.

58. Cherub

> No, I’ll have the last word.

You’ve certainly failed to produce any coherent arguments. Really? How pathetic are you?

82 & 84 Blue Rock

“No, you half-wit! You can confirm every claim I’ve made by reading MacKay’s book and by clicking the links I have provided. Fucking duh!”

Neither your insults nor your fould mouth do anything to advance what we might charitably call your “argument”. In truth however, you are exposed for the humbug any reasonable observer will already have identified you as.

Even people who agree with your general point are repelled by your personality and aggressive projection. It has been comprehensively demonstrated that you don’t understand simple arithmetic by ukliberty above, so why should we give any credence to the rest of your schoolyard rantings? Any mediocre GCSE student could put together a more coherent case than mess o’ pottage you continue to spout.

We can all see who the most pathetic individual on this thread is Blue Rock…. probably best you step away from the shovel now.

@BlueRock

I was taking the piss out of your apparent need to have the last word. Go ahead…

85. Galen10

> Neither your insults nor your fould mouth do anything to advance what we might charitably call your “argument”.

lol. You really are a stupid cunt. ;)

> In truth however, you are exposed for the humbug any reasonable observer will already have identified you as.

So refute something – anything – that I have argued. For once, offer something other than your empty, pointless whining. Provide a substantive argument backed with credible source to confirm your claims to be true. Like I have done repeatedly.

~~~

86. Cherub

> I was taking the piss out of your apparent need to have the last word. Go ahead…

So, that’s a ‘no’ – you can’t produce any coherent argument?

@87 Blue Rock

Is the smiley face at the end meant to make your use of the word less offensive, or less facile somehow? Or does it just show the depths of your witless posturing?

You might like to make yourself aware of the comments policy, always assuming you can spare the time from all that cutting and pasting that substitutes for having any ideas of your own of course.

88. Galen10

> You might like to make yourself aware of the comments policy…

And which part of that policy allows your ‘contribution’ – which amounts to nothing but abuse and trolling directed at one person?

You’ve added *nothing* substantive to this thread. You’re just clearly hysterically angry at me for the arguments and evidence I produce.

Calm down, take a look at yourself and attempt to make a *useful* contribution.

:)

@ 89

But Blue Rock, you’re just so inadequate an opponent, as well as such an inadequate person, why should I feel obliged to respond to your agenda?

Your “substantive” contribution on this and other threads amounts to two things: aggressive abuse of people who disagree with you, or indeed those who agree with you but think you are deeply offensive, and fatuous regurgitation of wodges of cut and paste “sources” and “cites” which you laughably believe countas “proof”.

If it weren’t so boring it would almost be funny.

You don’t even have the self awareness to see the direct parallel between the climate change deniers you purport to destest so much, and your position with respect to issues you feel are proven beyond doubt (such as GM food or nuclear power), but which are in fact still a matter of considerable scientific debate.

Since we appear to have to spell things out to people of little brain like yourself, most sensible people accept the case that climate change is real because of the weight of scientific evidence and consesnsus. The same can be said of the theory of evolution. The other things like the case for GM or nuclear energy (which you you have a faith based position every bit as unreasonable as the worst cliamte change denier or intelligent design wing-nut) are not in the same category.

90. Galen10

You’re still doing it wrong. ;)

91 Blue Rock

You’re still not adding anything to the debate…. don’t you have some cut and pasting of other people’s ideas to do….?

Haha, this thread is hilarious. Bunch of bald men fighting over a comb.

92. Galen10

You’re providing nothing substantive or on-topic to respond to. You never have. You never seem to – it’s just hysterical abuse.

Have another go.

95. Chaise Guevara

Another hilarious gambit – drag the thread off-topic by insulting everyone, then whinge about the fact that it’s off-topic!

BlueRock, you satirise yourself.

Get a room, ladies!

97. Chaise Guevara

Oh, don’t you start being a prick too, Blanco. That role is adequately covered in this thread.

Sorry, but BlueRock is making some manifestly untrue claims.

For example, [MacKay] strikes off shallow offshore wind with “not near my birds!”. This is ignorant nonsense: Massive Offshore Wind Turbines Safe for Birds. Infrared monitoring shows that savvy seabirds steer clear of wind turbines.

He also strikes off deep offshore wind with “not near my radar!” This is a non-issue: New radar system solves problem of wind turbine interference for military.

These are not MacKay’s claims about renewables but MacKay’s claims about what NIMBYs say. He says,

I don’t think Britain can live on its own renewables – at least not the way we currently live. I am partly driven to this conclusion by the chorus of opposition that greets any major renewable energy proposal. People love renewable energy, unless it is bigger than a figleaf. If the British are good at one thing, it’s saying “no.”

Is he wrong about the latter? I have already posted a link to a Google search for objections to wind farms in the UK. I have heard of people objecting to off-shore renewables for fear they would spoil the view. (And here is the source for the comment about the Nazi invasion – I was wrong about this being from an imaginary member of the public.)

Objecting to claims such as the above is to miss the point – NIMBYs do exist and they are something that has to be overcome if we want to live solely on renewables. IOW there are not just technological obstacles but social / political obstacles too.

Hello there, thanks for the links and discussion to my article at EnergyNumbers on UK energy demand and Professor MacKay’s reading of it. I’d like to try to clear up a bit of confusion, and explain a couple of things a bit more clearly.

Yes, it’s very important that we have an energy system that adds up. To do that, it’s crucial that we compare total demand with total supply. Or, equivalently, average demand and average supply. If you compare *extreme* demand with *average* supply you can’t get a plan that adds up. Hence, MacKay’s comparison of average renewable supply with an extreme demand is misleading.

By Professor MacKay’s own figures, and, now, by his own admission, Britain does have enough renewable resources to meet all its energy demands. So even Professor MacKay now acknowledges that Britain could deliver a 100% renewable energy system.

There are lots of inefficiencies in our energy system – some on the supply side (i.e. energy losses at generators), some on the demand side (i.e. energy losses in customers’ houses, offices, factories). When we change how we supply power, then we might as a side-effect change the supply-side losses. So, when we want to produce a plan that meets demand, the numbers we need to match are: power that reaches the customer, and power demanded by the customer – hence excluding energy losses at generators. At the moment, UK total energy demand is around 200GW (80kWh/p/d). So, that’s the amount we need to supply. At the moment, we do that by consuming about 312GW (125kWh/p/d), and wasting about a third of it long before it reaches the customer. But if, for example, we took an average 4GW of electricity from coal off the system and replaced it with an average 4GW of wind electricity, we’d remove 6GW of supply-side waste too, because coal plants waste about 6GW of heat for every 4GW of electricity they deliver. In this case, total energy consumption would drop by 6GW, but total demand wouldn’t have changed. (all figures from DUKES)

That’s why it’s total power demanded (or equivalently average power demanded per person) that’s the right measure to use in making plans – as indeed Professor MacKay does when he’s making his own plans. How surprising, then, that he doesn’t use it when assessing whether all our renewables are sufficient to meet our needs. But his comparison (p103/104) fails on other ways too: not only is he comparing extreme demand with average supply, but his supply figures are loaded with lots of constraints that are economic or socio/political, despite his assertion to the contrary. No law of physics says that we can put offshore wind in *only* one-third of our waters shallower than 50m, and in *no* waters deeper than that. No law of physics says we can only try to capture one quarter of our available wave power. And yet those are all assumptions that Professor MacKay uses in calculating his renewable resource. No wonder other authors have been able to demonstrate much larger potential renewable resources for Britain.

Some missing sources: 7% transmission and distribution losses – DUKES. 25GW energy savings from electrifying cars – DUKES plus a bit of knowledge of the relative efficiencies of different engines, or indeed Prof. MacKay’s book itself.

And we must decarbonise cars. The best way we’ve got to do that is to electrify them. Electric engines are about 4 times more efficient than petrol/diesel cars, hence the saving of about 75% of energy just by doing something that we have to do anyway – decarbonising cars. I do acknowledge that the industrial side of making this happen is not simple; but in terms of policy, and making a plan that adds up, I do hope that it is simple to explain what can be done, and what its effect is on carbon and energy.

I agree with Professor MacKay that we can reduce our energy demand a lot further, with demand-side economic efficiencies too. If we insulate all our housing stock properly, we can almost eliminate fuel poverty, make the population healthier, and create lots of UK jobs at the same time.

As renewables are faster to deploy than nuclear; are cleaner than nuclear, would make us independent of a strategic dependency on fuel imports (unlike nuclear), and as there exists a carbon price at which renewables ARE the market solution (unlike nuclear, which always requires public subsidy to underwrite its uninsurable catastrophic risks), then an anti-nuclear policy is not only scientifically valid, it’s also one of the most economic ways to decarbonise Britain.

HTH,
Andrew

97. Chaise Guevara

> Oh, don’t you start being a prick too, Blanco.

Everyone’s a prick who has worked out what you are! lol.

98. ukliberty

> Sorry, but BlueRock is making some manifestly untrue claims.

No, you simply don’t understand – yet again – what is being written. Or you are dishonestly misrepresenting it.

> These are not MacKay’s claims about renewables but MacKay’s claims about what NIMBYs say.

There many anti-renewable quotes that MacKay has included in his book – some are his words, others are from third parties.

The point is not that they might come from NIMBYs (no one is denying they exist), it’s that he litters his book with them and does nothing similar for nuclear. All we get for nuclear is a whitewash of the dangers from a paid nuclear shill that MacKay describes as “former Director of Greenpeace International” even though Moore left Greenpeace 25 years ago and Greenpeace have since disowned him as a pro-pollution sell-out.

MacKay dishonestly pushes the idea that the public are largely opposed to renewables but makes no mention of public opinion regarding nuclear. The reality is that the public are strongly in support of renewable energy and opposed to nuclear.

So, once again, you fail to prove your assertion that I am making “manifestly untrue claims”. The reality is that either you do not understand some very simple facts or you are dishonestly trying to misrepresent them. It’s becoming habit forming….

99. Andrew Smith

Thank you very much for your contribution and expansion and clarification of points already made in your article that I linked to.

I believe it is clear to anyone who wishes to wipe the ideology from their eyes that MacKay has an agenda. An agenda that supports nuclear energy at the expense of renewable energy. And it is clear that MacKay is quite capable of playing fast and loose with facts and rhetoric in order to reach the conclusions he wants to be true.

MacKay and his book have misinformed and confused a lot of people. It’s… unfortunate… that he has been appointed Chief Scientific Advisor at DECC. We’re not getting good, impartial scientific advice as a result.


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