Cameron’s missed opportunity to create Green jobs and lower energy bills


11:28 am - April 26th 2012

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contribution by Paul Steedman

Despite pledging to lead the ‘greenest Government ever’, David Cameron apparently deems environmental issues so unimportant that he’s failed to make a single major speech on them during his entire time in office.

Until Tuesday, he was poised to change that – environmental activists, NGOs and politicians were waiting our the PM’s keynote speech at this week’s Clean Energy Ministerial, in front 23 leading economies.

But a flurry of 140 character whispers emanating from Westminster began to rumour that the big speech was off.

DECC has since confirmed he’ll deliver a Q&A session with a ‘press release on the side’ – a far cry from the landmark address we’ve been waiting for.

We now know it’s a missed opportunity to chime with what most British people want, too.

This week Friends of the Earth launched their Clean British Energy campaign, and a new YouGov poll showing 85% of the public back legislation to make energy companies develop power from the wind, waves and sun – instead of relying on costly foreign gas.

The campaign calls on Cameron to shift the power market away from the ‘Big Six’ energy firms keeping us hooked on fossil fuels, and to provide better support for new, clean energy businesses developing power from the wind, sun and sea – just what he called for in 2008.

Some right-wing media argue that renewable energy is ‘bad for business and bad for the economy’.

But the reality is that the rising price of wholesale foreign gas is causing our fuel bills to rocket. By contrast, developing more of the resources Britain is already awash with – especially wind, waves and tides – is, alongside measures to cut energy waste, our best hope of affordable fuel bills in the future. It will also create thousands of UK jobs, right now.

Currently just 9.5% of our electricity comes from renewable sources – a huge majority is generated from increasingly imported coal and gas.

A commitment by energy companies to harness more energy from Britain’s wind, waves and tides would provide the best long-term deal for consumers on their fuel bills. It would also end our dangerous reliance on imported fuels and help to make Britain energy independent.

An electricity market reform Bill will be debated in Parliament later this year. Cameron, and the whole coalition Government, have a monumental opportunity to fix our broken energy system.

Please add your voice to FOE campaign and join thousands of others to develop clean British energy.


Paul Steedman is Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner

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Reader comments


1. Chaise Guevara

“a new YouGov poll showing 85% of the public back legislation to make energy companies develop power from the wind, waves and sun – instead of relying on costly foreign gas. ”

Couple of problems here. The statement itself seems potentially muddled, and neither you or your souce have linked to the original survey. The source itself seems confused, appearing to present the figure twice (once as 85%, once as “almost nine out of ten”) but giving a different description of what it refers to. And it doesn’t say anything about legislation.

I agree with the article, but if this factoid IS correct then it’s potentially powerful, and it would be good to confirm it.

2. Luis Enrique

the reality is that the rising price of wholesale foreign gas is causing our fuel bills to rocket.

it is foolish not to acknowledge that gas prices are falling in other markets.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-17/electricity-declines-50-in-u-s-as-shale-brings-natural-gas-glut-energy.html

I know European shale gas production is likely to lag the US, China, Latin America etc. and there is currently a big difference between US and EU gas prices, but gas can be exported. Putin is taking it seriously, and he should know. See here for example.

http://business.financialpost.com/2012/04/11/russia-needs-to-rise-to-u-s-shale-gas-challenge-putin/?__lsa=dd85956f

http://webfarm.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&tkr=CHQ1:TH&sid=ajuzsHemYct8

and here for more detail if you can access it

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a5053c50-8d2b-11e1-9798-00144feab49a.html#axzz1t96NrM62

the discovery of new large reserves of usable fossil fuels around the world is imho bad news for the environment, and the arguments for renewables still need to be made, but I don’t think ignoring / denying what’s happening in global gas markets is the way to make that argument. It is particularly stupid to base your argument on renewables being cheaper (in straightforward money terms, not environmental costs etc.) because then you will have shot yourself in the foot if (when) people conclude that actually gas will probably be cheaper.

NB, I think these are UK natural gas futures prices. They don’t appear to be “rising” as the OP claims.

https://www.theice.com/productguide/ProductSpec.shtml?specId=910#data

“But the reality is that the rising price of wholesale foreign gas is causing our fuel bills to rocket. By contrast, developing more of the resources Britain is already awash with – especially wind, waves and tides – is, alongside measures to cut energy waste, our best hope of affordable fuel bills in the future. ”

How doies this work then? Given that wind, wave, tides and solar are all currently more expensive than gas, how does using them instead of gas lower energy bills?

Even with this “alongside measures to cut energy waste,” it still doesn’t work.

For even if we cut waste then the electricity from gas, that smaller amount we need, will still be cheaper than wind, wave, tide and solar.

I’m pretty sure i read that the UK could get 34% of its energy from waves and tide. Why are we not pursuing this or is it too expensive?

@ 3 Lynne
Firstly, we are pursuing it and secondly it is too expensive.
Tidal flows follow a sinusoidal curve so harvesting any energy therefrom requires, apart from massively strong structures (look at the erosion of the Yorkshire coast over the last few hundred years), back-up systems to provide as much power when the tide is just turning as the tidal system does at peak flow. So tidal power involves a massive additional capital investment to generate “cheap” energy but still requires the same amount of on-land conventional energy capital investment.

Tim @2,

You missed this bit:

“developing more of the resources Britain is already awash with – especially wind, waves and tides – is, alongside measures to cut energy waste, our best hope of affordable fuel bills in the future”

Our best hope of affordable bills *in the future*.

So we spend more now, but at some future point we will spend less. I expect they call this investment.

@ Mr Portato
Tim W will probably provide with a detailed response BUT
If the future saving is LESS than the current cost it is still called “investment” but it is also called “insane”

8. Just Visiting

Not insane.

One angle is risk reduction.

The costs of a Wind farm say, over the next 25 years, are fairly predictable -maintenance etc.

The cost of gas + oil – highly unpredictable – expect that, over time, we’d all agree that they will go up more years than they’ll go down.

So maybe that reduced price risk, makes it worth spending a little more over the next say 5 years.

What level of ‘ a little more’ would sensible – that’s a harder question of course.

@ Just Visiting
Excuse me – just how predictable are wind farm costs and revenues?
When my wife and I drove up to Glasgow for my adopted niece’s wedding last year, I observed a number of failed windmills that were idle while other windmills in the same windfarm were operating. In some cases the failure rate was one-half. So revenues are far less than the model and/or maintenance costs are far higher

10. Just Visiting

Yes, I saw a few non-moving turbines in Germany recently – a worrying sign.

I have read that the wind-forces on turbines’ bearings can be huge; and a known engineering problem.

Solar has an advantage there -on paper at least – in that it has no moving parts to wear out.

11. So Much For Subtlety

Of course the word missing from this article and from this discussion is “nuclear”.

And I am surprised that Tim Worstall has not pointed out that jobs are a cost not a benefit. Green energy creates jobs because it is more expensive. Just as replacing all the taxis with sedan chairs carried by coolies would create jobs. Not a good idea.

The claim that investing in massively expensive “renewable” energy now might result in cheap power in the future is at best disingenuous. It might. We could surround the UK in a massive concrete sea wall which would extract as much power from the waves and tides as possible. Once we had paid off the costs of building it, we might have cheap power for generations. Concrete walls don’t wear out very quickly. However it would bankrupt us in the meantime and we would have to forgo a whole range of more important things like the proverbial hospitals and schools. And perhaps food. But it could be done.

We would just have to be insane to want to.

12. So Much For Subtlety

But the reality is that the rising price of wholesale foreign gas is causing our fuel bills to rocket. By contrast, developing more of the resources Britain is already awash with – especially wind, waves and tides – is, alongside measures to cut energy waste, our best hope of affordable fuel bills in the future. It will also create thousands of UK jobs, right now.

I expect the Greens are almost literally sh!tting themselves because the other word missing from this discussion is fracking.

By all means, foreign gas bad. But that must mean British gas good, right? It looks like gas-from-shale is a resource that Britain is awash with. Or will be after some explosions, high pressure steam and so on. It will even create some jobs. So all together now:

Well, Rhonda frackin’s so fine
And I know it wouldn’t take much time
For you to frack ‘em Rhonda
Help me get gas out of those rocks

Frack ‘em Rhonda, frack, frack ‘em Rhonda
Frack ‘em Rhonda, frack, frack ‘em Rhonda
Frack ‘em Rhonda, frack, frack ‘em Rhonda
Frack ‘em Rhonda, frack, frack ‘em Rhonda
Frack ‘em Rhonda, frack, frack ‘em Rhonda
Frack ‘em Rhonda, frack, frack ‘em Rhonda
Help me Rhonda yeah, get gas out of those rocks

13. Mr Potarto

“The costs of a Wind farm say, over the next 25 years, are fairly predictable -maintenance etc.”

I understood that a wind solution would include gas generators idling in the background for those times that it’s not blowing. This makes it as susceptible to gas prices.

But even ignoring that, you seem to be saying, “Yes wind is more expensive than fossil fuel, but at least it’s consistent. Fossil fuels may go higher than wind one day.”

@ 10 Just visiting and 13 Mr Portato
I am strongly in favour of using solar power firstly because it scores double on the global warming front and secondly because it can be used for third world villages remote from the grid but it doesn’t do much to replace fossil fuels in winter. The only reliable “renewable” is hydroelectricity, so there has to be CCGT back-up for 100% of all other “renewables” capacity. This makes the capital investment a “sunk cost” in more ways than one.
What I particularly dislike about the wind-power promoters is their dishonesty, demanding subsidies with one breath and claiming that they will save the country money with the next, claiming costs are predictable when *none* of the future costs are known and the breakdown frequency can only be a guess (a pretty guess in my view or we shouldn’t have a 50% failure rate on fairly new machines), talking about the benefit to UK employment and the UK economy when all the turbines are imported, producing graphs of “energy saved” that ignore the millions of kwh required to smelt the aluminium used in the blades, etc etc
The Dutch know how to use windmills, so why don’t we imitate their strategy?

15. Just Visiting

So ok John77, point us to some sources that show the real, detail numbers for those factors you rightly raise.

16. Just Visiting

Mr Potarto

> I understood that a wind solution would include gas generators idling in the background for those times that it’s not blowing. This makes it as susceptible to gas prices.

Yes. But less so than relying only on gas of course.

> But even ignoring that, you seem to be saying, “Yes wind is more expensive than fossil fuel, but at least it’s consistent. Fossil fuels may go higher than wind one day.”

That’s right. It’s probably a certainty isnlt it, that gas will go higher than wind: as gas gets more scarce, and as wind technology gets better + cheaper.

@ 15 Just Visiting
Dr Who is fiction.
You are asking me to produce figures for stuff which cannot be known for another twenty years. Meanwhile you seem to support FOE claims that the price of gas might rise because we don’t know what prices will be in the future. “Rising price of foreign wholesale gas” -despite the dramatic fall in the price of gas in the
You’re not Alastair Campbell incognito, are you?
It is easy for someone who is not hiding by a pretence of laziness to find
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_smelting
http://www.world-aluminium.org/?pg=78
“On average it takes some 15.7 kWh of electricity to produce one kilogram of aluminium from alumina”
However it is quite difficult to find data for the amount of aluminium used – might that be because it doesn’t suit those pocketing vast subsidies to tell us?
I *could* cite one advert that has 35 inch blades weighing 14lb, suggesting that 17.5 metre blades would weigh around 50 tonnes, but that would be dishonest – another advert has 9 metre blades weighing only half a tonne for a windmill producing 10kw at maximum power, suggesting 4 tonnes for full-size blades i.e. 60 Megawatt-hours just for smelting. With wind-power output in the single-figure percentages of rated capacity and with the notional 20-year life shown to be well adrift of the average, the claim that wind-turbines help reduce “global warming” merits a resounding “Not Proven”.
If you’ve ever walked up Ben Nevis (a standard aspiration when I was a child) you may have seen the Glen Nevis hydro-electric station which closed) between my first ascent and my second (I wanted to check out my legs prior to some adventurous walking). One of the big schemes is to spend a few billion building a windfarm off the Hebridies and another billion building cables to transmit the unreliable energy past this unused reliable generator. “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

@ 16
“It’s probably a certainty”
Are you looking for a job with Ian Hislop as a replacement for “Colemanballs”?
Leaving aside the chronic surplus that leads to “flaring” of associated gas from oil wells in areas that don’t have local demand and the fall in US gas prices and claims that there are enough shale gas reserves in Lancashire to keep us going until we can import solar electricity from Morocco and …

19. Trooper Thompson

Regarding the title of this post: one thing the carbon-phobes cannot claim is that they are in favour of lower energy bills.

20. So Much For Subtlety

16. Just Visiting

That’s right. It’s probably a certainty isnlt it, that gas will go higher than wind: as gas gets more scarce, and as wind technology gets better + cheaper.

We have just invented a whole new way to get vast amounts of gas out of the ground. Fracking. We are going to have more natural gas than we know what to do with for the foreseeable future. So no, it won’t get more expensive. The price is plunging in the US. There are methane hydrates after that too.

In the meantime, we use the best sites for wind first. So as time goes on we have to use poorer and poorer sites. Which means it will get more expensive. Now technology can help – off shore sites may become more readily available and the technology may improve, but there is no guarantee how that will average out either way.

21. Chaise Guevara

@ 18 Trooper

“Regarding the title of this post: one thing the carbon-phobes cannot claim is that they are in favour of lower energy bills.”

No, hang on. That only holds if energy comes from carbon-heavy production methods. If you could cut carbon AND energy bills by 50% I assume that “carbon-phobes”, as you put it, would be all for it.

@16. Just Visiting

“That’s right. It’s probably a certainty isnlt it, that gas will go higher than wind: as gas gets more scarce, and as wind technology gets better + cheaper.”

We’ve had windmills since the 1st century, you’d have to be more than a tad optimistic to expect any major improvements made to wind turbine design at this point and as other posters have pointed out gas should become much cheaper due to fracking.

Wind simply does not seem to be the right solution for our needs so why have we poured so much money into it?

23. So Much For Subtlety

21. Chaise Guevara

If you could cut carbon AND energy bills by 50% I assume that “carbon-phobes”, as you put it, would be all for it.

Why do you think that? Carbon dioxide is not the only problem in the Greenie’s minds. Remember Amory Lovin’s saying that he hoped Cold Fusion was not possible because giving humanity a source of abundant, clean and cheap energy was like giving a loaded gun to a child.

I should point out that I’m rather conflicted about windmills. Intellectually I think they’re a nonsense. As to personal matters my largest potential customers are the windmill blade manufacturers. Using my favourite metal, scandium, in the blades makes them more efficient, the electricity from them cheaper. (Specifically, you can run them at higher wind speeds thus gaining more energy in total from your fixed cost of installation).

So, as I say, conflicted there.

However, this isn’t true:

“That’s right. It’s probably a certainty isnlt it, that gas will go higher than wind: as gas gets more scarce, and as wind technology gets better + cheaper.”

Windmills, solar, nuclear, all have a similar cost structure. You put up the capital upfront and then get the energy back over the decades. This means that one of the determinants of the cost is the interest rate that is being paid upon that capital. This is true whether you’re actually paying interest or are just considering the opportuinity cost of having paid for it all upfront.

And interest rates really are likely to rise in the future. So the costs of all three will rise too.

I had hoped that I could drop out, but Tim is wrong on windmills because there is a large maintenance cost element, which depends on wage rates that tend to rise faster than inflation.
@ Chaise in passing: there *is* a way to cut CO2 (describing CO2 as carbon is *really* irritating – CO2 is a gas, diamonds and super-refined charcoal are solids) and energy bills, which is to use nuclear power with safety factors that set expected death rates at a bit below 1% of the death rates from coal mining to generate the same amount of electrical energy; I doubt that your confidence in the sense of FOE is justified.

for once, SMFS has made a good point, nuclear (NOT post ww2 plutonium factories!) but Intergral Fast Reactors should be built as well as Solar, Wind and Wave power, combined with not so little batteries to store excess from wind & solar for inevitable luls in their generative output…

It has been calculated that existing nuclear waste, when used in IFR’s (some of that waste is plutonium) could power our civilisation for 500 years at current demand. So I would modify the FOE proposal to include it. Once nuclear waste is used in IFR’s it is rendered into isotopes that are only dangerous for decades, instead of hundreds of thousands to millions of years – headache causing for the entire future of our species, let alone our current civilisation.

By the way, I am a member of FOE, who is also scientifically aware – good to campaign to wean off what this planet had to bury to stay alive (fossil fuels are supposed to stay underground, NOT burned) But I think the need to break out of the post WW2 outlook on nuclear power (based upon hiroshima/nagasaki, which is the real reason behind fear of nuclear).

Technology is better, we have a more sophisticated understanding of radiation now. The area around Chernobyl is becoming a biodiverse island in a ravaged sea of monoculture ecodeserts!

additional, I disagree strongly about Fracking and Methane Hydrate extraction, SMFS. Previous mass extinctions on this planet were caused when Methane Hydrates were released into the atmosphere, including the worst one of all for multicellular life – the Permian mass extinction. Are you sure it is a good idea to repeat the Permian, especially since the sun is more luminous now?

It would be nicer, and ultimately more profitable to keep it all underground. There is no profit in mass extinction, it is an expression on a much larger scale of slash & burn agriculture practiced in the Amazon Basin, good harvest the first year, then downhill to unproductive wasteland, as you have burned off all the nutrient recycling systems life has evolved…

one more thing, apologies about an example of poor grammar in my first post

“but I think the need to break out of the post WW2 outlook on nuclear power”

Should actually read
“there is a need to escape the post WW2 perception of nuclear power being dangerous, which is really based upon the weaponisation of that technology”

The real reason we have kept those outmoded plutonium factories from that era is because of the bloated military of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact nations.

29. Just Visiting

John77

< I had hoped that I could drop out, but Tim is wrong on windmills because there is a large maintenance cost element, which depends on wage rates that tend to rise faster than inflation.

You can't argue that, unless you can tell us how many employee £s are need per MW per year for Nuclear vs Wind Turbine.

Nuclear plants have well trained ( = higher cost) staff.

@29 Just Visiting
NO I can.
Since open blogs can be read by ladies I am constrained in my reply, but …
You should hire a rabbit and ask him/her for advice
Your comment has absolutely zero validity.
What is the connection between maintenance cost for wind turbines and employment in nuclear power plants?
I’ll give you a clue – Zero.
The predictable rate of salaries/wages for nuclear power plants are NOT, repeat NOT, the same as the wage costs for wind-power plane failures that are, firstly, unpredictable because the designers obviously don’t understand the problems (you have admitted to seeing idle windmills in contradiction of the design specifications), and secondly, increasing with wage costs rather than inflation.
Why do I bother with things like you?
( @ Chaise and other reasonable bloggers – I have no evidence that JV is human)

31. Just Visiting

John77

> Why do I bother with things like you?
> ( @ Chaise and other reasonable bloggers – I have no evidence that JV is human)

And you expect a reasoned debate when you use such childish remarks as that ?

I’ve done your homework for you.
The EIA in the USA do annual reports on the comparative lifetime costs for building new capacity from various energy sources.

Their 2010 report shows Nuclear cheaper than wind: $119 per MWh vs $149

But their numbers in the 2011 show the story reversed – Wind is cheaper:
– $97 vs $113

Gas was cheaper in both models, cheapest gas technology dropped from $79.3 to $63.1

http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/2016levelized_costs_aeo2010.pdf
http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/2016levelized_costs_aeo2011.pdf

32. So Much For Subtlety

26. Dissident

It has been calculated that existing nuclear waste, when used in IFR’s (some of that waste is plutonium) could power our civilisation for 500 years at current demand. So I would modify the FOE proposal to include it.

You miss the point about Greens – if they adopted FBRs they would have no chance of forcing the rest of us back into their preferred mode of mediaeval subsistence peasantry. The aim is not to continue with modern society in a sustainable way, but to undo the industrial revolution. Thus FOE knows perfectly well that FBRs could sustain an industrial civilization indefinitely. But they won’t support for precisely for that reason. Ever.

Dissident

additional, I disagree strongly about Fracking and Methane Hydrate extraction, SMFS. Previous mass extinctions on this planet were caused when Methane Hydrates were released into the atmosphere, including the worst one of all for multicellular life – the Permian mass extinction. Are you sure it is a good idea to repeat the Permian, especially since the sun is more luminous now?

We have no idea what caused the Permian extinction. It may have been the methane hydrates. Or an asteroid. Or super-active volcanoes. Or all of the above and more. But if there is a chance that these deposits might suddenly burst into the atmosphere, surely the responsible thing to do is drain them? Release the pressure? Reduce the chance of them ever doing so again? By burning them for instance in a power generator. After all methane is a vastly more potent Greenhouse gas than CO2. By burning them off slowly, we would reduce the chances they might release naturally and suddenly on their own.

It would be nicer, and ultimately more profitable to keep it all underground.

Well it wouldn’t be more profitable, but we would be sitting on a time bomb. Better to defuse it surely?

Dissident

The real reason we have kept those outmoded plutonium factories from that era is because of the bloated military of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact nations.

Britain and France built several reactors to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. As far as I know not one is still running. They have all been closed. Actually I have just checked – all of France’s were shut decades ago but Britain is still running two at Wylfa. The rest of the world has moved to light water reactors of various sorts. Which do not produce much plutonium and have no use for the military’s weapons programmes.

@SMFS
the only way buried carbon, whether as fossil “fuels” or hydrates would be released en masse in the way you imply is if an asteroid hit Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Falkland Islands, Gulf of Mexico, Iran/Iraq, North Sea, Texas and a lot of other places ALL WITHIN 2 or 3 CENTURIES…

Either that, or the volcanic equivalent…

and, what makes you so sure business as usual (see above) is sustainable??

As for the Permian, Cretacious and Eocene mass extinctions, all of them have a common thread, TOO MUCH co2 in the atmosphere.

The Permian, breakup of pangea – through extreme volcanism. Volcanoes pump out vast quantities of CO2. Look up Siberian Trapps, methand hydrate release is calculated from ammoung of CO2 released.

Cretacious, the KT asteroid impacted rocks full of limestone and OIL, result lots of CO2 released.

Eocene, another period of extreme volcanism, triggering Methane Hydrate release.

All 3 mass extinctions were caused by CO2, methane is quickly oxidised into CO2 + water in an oxygen rich atmosphere.

of course, SMFS, in the short to medium term, in Adam Smith/Karl Marx fairyland (oops, profitable ecenomic paradigm) pumping CO2 into the atmosphere is acceptable, because the scientific info about CO2 is irrelevant within that particular pseudoscience, and it can always be exterionised to the poorest – 3rd world countries, next generation – who cares to the current profiteers, like big oil majority shareholders for example…
like a certain multi billionaire called Charles

of course, in fairness, SMFS, recent reactors haven’t been that good as plutonium factories, but the problem is, the word ‘nuclear’ is synomynous with nukes in most people’s eyes…

36. So Much For Subtlety

33. Dissident

the only way buried carbon, whether as fossil “fuels” or hydrates would be released en masse in the way you imply is if an asteroid hit Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Falkland Islands, Gulf of Mexico, Iran/Iraq, North Sea, Texas and a lot of other places ALL WITHIN 2 or 3 CENTURIES…

So it wasn’t responsible for the Permian extinction event then? Because nothing could release that much methane hydrates except an asteroid strike which would do the job pretty much on its own.

and, what makes you so sure business as usual (see above) is sustainable??

Because we have no evidence whatsoever it isn’t. Which isn’t a guarantee but it gives a fairly high level of confidence.

As for the Permian, Cretacious and Eocene mass extinctions, all of them have a common thread, TOO MUCH co2 in the atmosphere.

Chicken, egg, whatever. How do you know anyway? What is more, how do you think it got there? The causes of these events is highly contested and there is not, dare I say it, a consensus on any of them. So you don’t know.

The Permian, breakup of pangea – through extreme volcanism. Volcanoes pump out vast quantities of CO2. Look up Siberian Trapps, methand hydrate release is calculated from ammoung of CO2 released.

But you have just admitted that volcanoes release a lot of CO2. How do you know it was methane hydrates and not volcanoes? How do you know that the break up of Pangea was caused by and not a cause of volcano activity? Oh wait, you don’t.

Cretacious, the KT asteroid impacted rocks full of limestone and OIL, result lots of CO2 released.

Not to mention burning off all the biomass. And yet here we are. Which gives us even more confidence that the business as usual model works. After all, that impact presumably burnt the rocks and released CO2. All in a day. Far more CO2 than we have released. And yet here we are.

Eocene, another period of extreme volcanism, triggering Methane Hydrate release.

You think.

All 3 mass extinctions were caused by CO2, methane is quickly oxidised into CO2 + water in an oxygen rich atmosphere.

Quickly is a term you need to use with care in geology. Yes, it burns. We all noticed. But you don’t know that even one of these was caused by CO2.

34. Dissident

of course, SMFS, in the short to medium term, in Adam Smith/Karl Marx fairyland (oops, profitable ecenomic paradigm) pumping CO2 into the atmosphere is acceptable, because the scientific info about CO2 is irrelevant within that particular pseudoscience, and it can always be exterionised to the poorest – 3rd world countries, next generation – who cares to the current profiteers, like big oil majority shareholders for example…

I love someone so irrational they can put Adam Smith and Karl Marx on the same side. Dumping CO2 into the atmosphere is fine because there is no adverse side effect as yet of doing so. In fact all the science tells us it probably has beneficial side effects. There is no scientific information that says otherwise. But if there was, there is no reason to think the poorest would suffer more, and some to think they would suffer less, than the richer parts of the world.

The American data ignores the cost of repairs, so clearly understates the cost of wind, and still shows Offshore Wind as costing more than twice as much as nuclear.

38. Chaise Guevara

@ 25 John77

“describing CO2 as carbon is *really* irritating”

Oh, I know, we can put it up there with “organic water”.

“I doubt that your confidence in the sense of FOE is justified.”

I don’t understand this. What confidence in the sense of FOE? I haven’t said anything about them, positive or negative.

39. Chaise Guevara

@ 23 SMFS

“Why do you think that? Carbon dioxide is not the only problem in the Greenie’s minds. Remember Amory Lovin’s saying that he hoped Cold Fusion was not possible because giving humanity a source of abundant, clean and cheap energy was like giving a loaded gun to a child.”

Why do I think that? Because it’s inherently sensible, and anecdotal arguments are not at all interesting.

@ 38 Chaise Guevera
Because you said: “If you could cut carbon AND energy bills by 50% I assume that “carbon-phobes”, as you put it, would be all for it.”, I assumed that you were referring to FOE.
If I am in error, I offer my apologies

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 40 John77

I was referring to “carbon-phobes” in general, which I assume is Trooper Thompson’s very grown-up way of referring to environmentalists, or at least anyone with a responsible attitude to pollution.

I’ve just re-read the EIA report.
It assumes a 34% capacity factor for wind, in contrast with 21%, the latest figure I have seen for UK capacity utilisation for windfarms. So the cost of onshore wind needs to be increased by at least 50%, before you add on the cost of repairs (set at zero in the EIA paper).

43. Just Visiting

John77

> I’ve just re-read the EIA report.
> It assumes … So the cost of onshore wind needs to be increased …before you add on the cost of repairs …

Funny that.
You are willing to criticise 3rd party reports, without giving any sources or evidence for your criticism: because it fits your mantra if ‘wind expensive’.

But you make no criticisms of their nuclear calculations..because you’re pro-nuclear.

It’s not possible to have a meaningful discussion with someone so allergic to evidential sources.

I’m out.

@ 43 Just Visiting
You yourself admitted that you had seen idle, apparently broken-down turbines, just as I had. The EIA report includes NIL (0.0) cost for repairs to wind farms over a 25-year life. The EIA report assumes a 34% capacity utilisation for onshore wind (and only 52% for hydro – what?) which is more than 50% higher than the latest published UK data (and even above the figures claimed by sites trying to sell wind turbines).
I made no comment, either way, on their nuclear calculations because the capacity utilisation figure is comparable to past UK performance and I have no access to the data on which they based their other calculations. I have no idea whether their nuclear numbers are right or wrong so I didn’t comment.
You keep demanding that I comment on things I cannot possibly know. If that is what you mean by a “meaningful discussion”, I don’t want to have one. I prefer to work from facts instead of completely unverifiable speculation.
In #14 I mentioned that I am in favour of solar power.
I criticised the third party report not because I am pro-nuclear but because it was so obviously WRONG. One of the sources was YOU, another was my own observation, a third (“Last year, onshore turbines generated just 21 per cent of their capacity.)” from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8713093/The-BBC-steadfastly-avoids-the-facts-about-the-wind-farm-scam.html
I am not allergic to evidence, only to bullies and I dislike liars.
You are welcome to stay out

45. So Much For Subtlety

39. Chaise Guevara

Why do I think that? Because it’s inherently sensible, and anecdotal arguments are not at all interesting.

Then you cannot have been reading anything a Green has said in recent times. It is not an anecdotal argument. Their policies may not be inherently sensible because they are not inherently sensible.

46. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 SMFS

“Then you cannot have been reading anything a Green has said in recent times. It is not an anecdotal argument. Their policies may not be inherently sensible because they are not inherently sensible.”

You’ve quoted a single individual and are now trying to apply their POV to an entire political group. That’s the *definition* of an anecdotal argument.

With the exception of that, I’ve not read anything by a green that amounts to a desire to de-power humanity for the sake of it. I’m sure you could dig up a few more anecdotes, of course. But where greens say that we should be using less power, it’s generally because the power we are using is harming the environment and human beings.

If you can find people who think we should impoverish humanity for the sake of it, then they’re not Greens. Or rather they might be, but that’s a separate issue. In other words that person would be a Green AND a misanthropic luddite.

47. Dissident

SMFS, i remember reading on a blog debate on here that Karl Marx based his ecenomic theories upon what Adam Smith theorised. I think both are flawed, as recent economic theories actually take into account (or try to) black swan events, the fact that we have a herding instinct, the neurological effects within the brain of power and privilidge, stuff like that. The conclusions that I and lots of other people – who know more than me on that particular subject – is that “homo economicus” a favourite invention of Adam Smith simply doesn’t exist. And if Karl Marx based his ecenomic paradigm upon Adam Smith’s theories, then neither can be trusted in the real world…

Are you seriously trying to imply that because a few “green” people advocate impoverishment, that all greens are in the same boat. I think that type of “green” is more nhilist than i ever would be. I want the next 27,000 generations to live, and flourish, in a flourishing world. Not one raped into impoverishment so today’s pharohs could be the absolute pinnacle of our species…

Personally, I think the type of green you are talking about is overwhemingly likely to be a fifth columnist of those pharohs. Somebody there to smear, destabilise, whip up false controversies to keep you in your complacent mindset – which profits those pharohs far more than it ever would you. Don’ t forget, they would be pushing up daisies soon, so why would they care about the consequences for you or your children.

Speaking of controversies in science, true there is no absolute certainty within scientific hypothesies, but the fact that geological information points to excess CO2 going hand in hand with more than one mass extinction (by whatever cause, volcanism, asteroidal impact, whatever) should surely tell you that there is a strong link between mass extinction events and excess CO2

48. Dissident

Also, we are busy pumping fossil carbon and burning biomass at the surface. In Britain, 80% of forest cover is gone, mostly in a puff of slash&burn smoke in the iron age. A similar story happened in continental Europe.

Ironically, iron age man has been proclaimed to have prevented an ice age now, by placing in the earth’s atmosphere the CO2 from those long gone forests!! If a few million subsistence farmers could have such a huge effect, what about a few billion people in our civilisation?


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