Popular and unpopular greenery

 

             I am all in favour of saving energy, of promoting fuel efficiency, saving the greenfields and the  best heritage of England. Much of the green agenda is popular. Many are happy to recyle, to insulate, to buy more fuel efficient vehicles when money permits. No-one wants to see the Green Belt concreted over or the ANOB sprout an industrial estate.

             What is more contentious is a green agenda built around cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The government embarked on several talismanic policies to promote this form of greenery. Several are now experiencing some difficulty.

            The idea that London does not need any more airport capacity has come up against a concerted business lobby saying the UK needs more flights to emerging market centres if the UK is compete with Frankfort and Paris, New York and Los Angeles. The Mayor of London advocates a whole new London airport to the east of the capital. Others want more runway capacity at Heathwick, with a better link between the two main London airports.Exporting the airlinks abroad does not cut oevrall carbon dioxide emissions.

             The proposal for a High Speed train from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds is encountering strong opposition. Some think it is too dear and will be  too heavily subsidised. Some doubt the need for it. Some dislike the impact it will have on the countryside where the track would be placed. It is by no means clear that such long distance fast trains do save carbon dioxide when you add in the car and taxi rides to get to the stations.

            The idea that the Uk will pioneer high cost  carbon capture technology for power generation has just been hit by the cancellation of the Longannet proposal. Business wants cheaper energy. Carbon capture is both untried and expensive.

             Some  renewable power has been delayed  by Mr Huhne’s indecision over renewable subsidies. There are rumours that he is going to have to cut back on the generous regimes made available to encourage solar and wind energy.

           This autumn there is a public backlash against dear energy. All three main political parties, who have been united behind the carbon dioxide agenda, are saying  the answer to higher prices lies in more competition and shopping around. I am all in favour of more competition.It is the best means to stop unacceptable profit margins.  However, the energy companies do need to make some profits, so they have the money to invest in the large amount of new energy plant this country badly needs. If the investment is to be in carbon capture and storage and in certain renewables it will be much bigger than conventional power generation. This will require bigger profits and higher bills for longer to pay for the investment.

                Carbon dioxide policies are now adding nearly  10% to the total cost of typical bills. This is going to get bigger if current policies continue. Energy is now hot politics. People want a break from high and rising bills.

                   The BBC climate change  show this morning told us there is a new independent scientific study which proves the world’s land surface is now 1 degree hotter than in 1950. They jumped from this to imply  that therefore the global warming powers of carbon dioxide have been proven. We need to know if the temperature increase was consistent , correlated with the build up  of carbon dioxide. We need to know what other explanations for the warming  they have examined and rejected. I think from what the BBC said the paper does not go into causes . If it did not the BBC should say so, instead of implying that this is the long awaited proof after the East Anglia problem. The only genuflection to sceptics was the statement that there remains an argument about whether to tackle carbon dioxide now or to leave it until the world economy has grown more.

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236 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Mr Cable claimed yesterday that the increase in energy prices was wholly unforeseeable. I thought it was Miss Teather who did Lib Dem comedy?

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Cable can be very funny indeed for example –

      “Vince Cable has insisted he has a pro-business agenda”

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Watch cable’s interview with the BBC’sPolitics Show presented by Andrew Neil before the election and you will see how muddled and inept his thinking is and how he changed his mind on a weekly basis about the economy. Clearly a person out of his depth and one that Cameron cannot trust, hence the independent legal advice Cameron sought about workers temporary rights imposed by the EU and gold plated by Cable.

      • lojolondon
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes, he is hilarious!

        “The Bank of England should be ready to reopen its programme of quantitative easing to prevent weak demand threatening the fragile recovery, Business Secretary Vince Cable said today.”

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Listening to “Any questions” this evening with -Bernard Jenkin, a member of the executive of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee and Chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee; Minister of State for Schools and Families, Sarah Teather; Rosemary Hollis, Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at City University in London; and Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry.

        I cannot help thinking the woman who are attracted into politics are certainly not the best representatives of their gender by some measure.

        Perhaps contrary to “Dave think” we need rather fewer of them unless they can find the odd sensible one somewhere – perhaps Ruth Lea and Mrs Thatcher need to be cloned – I cannot think on many others alas.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    You say “Much of the green agenda is popular. Many are happy to recyle, to insulate, to buy more fuel efficient vehicles when money permits.”

    It seems very popular with certain types – usually people with little or no knowledge of science or energy systems. People who get their information from the BBC, Al Gore, Prius driving actresses and a few photographs of Polar Bears and melting ice. They are sort of people who, when you explain that storage of electricity is not usually remotely cost effective, they say “oh really?”. Then get into their new Prius car (having scrapped their perfectly good old one) to drive 6 miles to drive 10 newspapers and three bottles to the recycling centre. Still it makes them feel good.

    Carbon capture is clearly a nonsense (and unneeded) but perhaps it will, at least, allow new power plants to be built and they can always just switch off the vastly expensive white elephant carbon capture bit later.

    Or they could just build generators to use Blackpool’s shale gas and some new nuclear as anyone sensible and with a knowledge of the economics and engineering would do.

    Reply: Fuel saving measures are popular because they save you money

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Once again the BBC is pushing their Global Warming agenda with a slanted reporting of a report from Berkeleyearth.org this morning.

      There seems again from this to be no real warming of significance in the last 15 years nor much from 1870 – 1970 what on earth is all the C02 fuss about. Warmer is probably better anyway the evidence suggests. Warmer weather and more C02 is clearly good for plant growth and food production.

      Needless to say the BBC line is – this clearly shows the skeptics are wrong and vindicates the BBC and all the scare mongers – but it actually confirm what the skeptic have been saying all along.

      Namely:

      C02 is one of very many factors in the complex chaotic weather systems it is not a simple cause and effect.

      Warmer may well be better than colder anyway.

      Spending vast amounts on controlling C02 is clearly daft when the money would be far better spend on other areas (clean water, food, health and vaccinations where returns are certain.

      Most of the solutions proposed PV, wind, wave do not really work in economic, practical or often even C02 terms.

      If we had to cool the earth then removing C02 is not the most efficient way to do it by far.

      World agreements will not be enforced in practice anyway – even if they can be agreed.

      Thousand of deaths occur due every year due to the cold and Huhne’s expensive energy policies.

      • Disaffected
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        NASA have realised that the world is not warming as much as first thought and are not sure of the cause. The propaganda unit in the BBC still fails to recognise any independent analysis or credible evidence to question whether the science is accurate for us to know accurately what might be causing it. Meanwhile the government jump on the band wagon and demand taxes for something that has not been proven or might not be in our economic, social, moral well being. I do not want to pay taxes for wind machines so other EU countries derive a financial benefit, a false EU target drempt up by unelected bureaucrats who have no better understanding than the common man, our energy is more expensive and that our industry cannot compete with other countries.

        Huhne would have us in the single European currency if he had his way and look where we would all be if we listened to him. Therefore extreme caution should be exercised to anything he says, if one adds his recent personal life follies, briefing against other ministers etc then in my view I would not give any credence to anything he says. Another minister out if his depth and not acting in the national interest.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          “NASA have realised that the world is not warming as much as first thought and are not sure of the cause.”

          When did NASA announce this? Also what did they think the cause was?

          “The propaganda unit in the BBC still fails to recognise any independent analysis or credible evidence to question whether the science is accurate for us to know accurately what might be causing it.”

          That’s because there isn’t any credible evidence that contradicts what has been scientifically proven. If there was real evidence then the deniers would use it rather than nonsense about sunspots.

          “I do not want to pay taxes for wind machines so other EU countries derive a financial benefit, a false EU target drempt up by unelected bureaucrats who have no better understanding than the common man, our energy is more expensive and that our industry cannot compete with other countries.”

          1) No other EU countries derives a benefit as they all have to comply with EU targets.

          2) The target was agreed by the leaders of all 27 EU countries, based on scientific advice.

          3) The failure of our country to control energy prices is due to a failure of the UK Government, not the EU.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            Last I heard they had a tame “snail expert” for some reason doing a report to try to help them hold their absurd proven science line. What will they say after a few more years (17 so far) of no “statistically significant” warming.

            Clearly they are brilliant at predictions they should also tell us say the population and GDP in 100 years time and when fusion will become commercial, when the volcanoes will erupt and any earth quakes due too.

            Then again I forgot they cannot even tell us the weather two weeks on Friday.

      • Jeremy Poynton
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        What neither the BBC or its sister corporation, The Guardian, in their crowing about this yet to be peer-reviewed paper, is that most sceptics do NOT deny that the planet has been warming – what we DO deny is that this is down to human causes. GW .v. AGW. Typically bent presentation from two bent media providers with far too much influence.

        John – Pickles said he was going to remove the taxpayer funded Public Sector ads in the Guardian. When is he going to make good on his promise?

        • uanime5
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          What do most sceptics say is the cause? Sunspots? Fairies?

          Also what peer reviewed science do they have to back up this claim.

          • rose
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

            What warmed it up last time, when we farmed on Dartmoor?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            The cause is clearly a huge number of things – suns activity, atmosphere, clouds, particulates, vegetation, volcanic activity etc. an almost endless list.

            I think when the Welsh glaziers melted it was due to dinosaurs fly around too much on 747’s and farting to much methane I think. I am sure the BBC and AGW advocates will clarify if you ask them.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

          Surely the whole paper would fold without these public sector ads subsidy – after all nobody buy it. Anyway all public sector jobs should be on one web site their is no need for any ads unless they want to buy influence and propaganda which of course they indeed do.
          Suggested web sites:

          HMGJobs.gov.uk perhaps or “sixtimesthepension,140%morepay,muchmoresickleave, fewerhoursandnotverymuchtodojobs.gov.uk

          On the odd occasion I read these Guardian adds I never understand what on earth the job actually want the applicant to do it all seems in a strange foreign Guardian language.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:48 am | Permalink

          There is clearly no significant warming for about 16 years despite the increased proportion of C02 in the atmosphere – that is why UEA has to resort to “tricks” with the records.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        “Warmer is probably better anyway the evidence suggests. Warmer weather and more C02 is clearly good for plant growth and food production.”

        Unless you live in Africa where it causes droughts and famines.

        “C02 is one of very many factors in the complex chaotic weather systems it is not a simple cause and effect.”

        Got any scientific evidence to back this up. Unlike you scientists know the difference between weather and climate.

        “Spending vast amounts on controlling C02 is clearly daft when the money would be far better spend on other areas (clean water, food, health and vaccinations where returns are certain.”

        Unless due to the rising temperatures your land has turned into a desert and there’s no rain.

        “Most of the solutions proposed PV, wind, wave do not really work in economic, practical or often even C02 terms.”

        They do work in CO2 terms. Also many non-green methods of power generation also require large subsidies.

        “If we had to cool the earth then removing C02 is not the most efficient way to do it by far.”

        Then it’s a good thing that most countries are trying to reduce the amount of CO2 they produce, rather than remove it from the atmosphere.

        “Thousand of deaths occur due every year due to the cold and Huhne’s expensive energy policies.”

        Millions occur due to famine and drought.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          Not again but in reply to uanime5:

          uanime5- Unless you live in Africa where it causes droughts and famines.

          On balance it is probably better – warmer mean better food growth as does more co2. Try it in your greenhouse as they do all over the place.

          “C02 is one of very many factors in the complex chaotic weather systems it is not a simple cause and effect.”

          uanime5- Got any scientific evidence to back this up. Unlike you scientists know the difference between weather and climate.

          Of course the sun clouds and countless other things affect the weather it is clearly chaotic take a look out of the window for scientific evidence . Weather is climate just over a longer time period.

          “Spending vast amounts on controlling C02 is clearly daft when the money would be far better spend on other areas (clean water, food, health and vaccinations where returns are certain.”

          uanime5 Unless due to the rising temperatures your land has turned into a desert and there’s no rain.

          Hot weather makes desalination easier and there is no shortage of salt water in case you have not noticed.

          “Most of the solutions proposed PV, wind, wave do not really work in economic, practical or often even C02 terms.”

          uanime5 – They do work in CO2 terms. Also many non-green methods of power generation also require large subsidies.

          In general they do not work over whole life nor do coal, gas, nuclear need subsidies in general.

          “If we had to cool the earth then removing C02 is not the most efficient way to do it by far.”

          uanime5 Then it’s a good thing that most countries are trying to reduce the amount of CO2 they produce, rather than remove it from the atmosphere.

          Reducing emissions does remove and removing it is nearly as cheap as preventing it – most countries are not doing this anyway and will not. Which is good as it is a waste of money that could be better spend.

          “Thousand of deaths occur due every year due to the cold and Huhne’s expensive energy policies.”

          Millions occur due to famine and drought and will be reduced in general if slightly hotter.

      • wab
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        “C02 is one of very many factors in the complex chaotic weather systems it is not a simple cause and effect.”

        Basic physics tells you that increased CO2 leads to increased average global temperatures. You can deny it all you want, but it does not change reality.

        “Warmer may well be better than colder anyway.”

        Obviously for some things it might well be. This is not the main issue with changing temperatures. The main issue is the rate of change, not the change per se.

        “Spending vast amounts on controlling C02 is clearly daft when the money would be far better spend on other areas.”

        This is a red herring. I’m sure you also do not want the UK government to be spending money on these other grand things you mention.

        “Most of the solutions proposed PV, wind, wave do not really work in economic, practical or often even C02 terms.”

        I assume you mean in your neck of the woods. Because wind makes sense in plenty of places, and also solar.

        “If we had to cool the earth then removing C02 is not the most efficient way to do it by far.”

        The (average) temperature rise is only one side effect of increased CO2, for example, there is also ocean acidification. And the geoengineering schemes are not as great or as cheap as the people pushing these schemes (who have a financial interest in them) claim.

        “World agreements will not be enforced in practice anyway – even if they can be agreed.”

        They (largely) worked with ozone. You do not want them to work with CO2 for purely ideological reasons.

        “Thousand of deaths occur due every year due to the cold and Huhne’s expensive energy policies.”

        You could easily argue that tens of thousands of deaths occur each year due to CO2 emissions. (Not to excuse Huhne, who is a typical dreadful hypocritical rich Lib Dem who wants to screw the ordinary people of this country in order to help the ordinary people in other countries.)

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          Wab

          You say: Basic physics tells you that increased CO2 leads to increased average global temperatures. You can deny it all you want, but it does not change reality.

          Well it tends to show that more heat is likely to be retained under the c02 enriched atmosphere than otherwise but that ignores complex unpredictable feed backs on clouds, vegetation growth and very many other factors. Also the diminishing return effect of the C02 concentrations. Anyway will sun output decline anyway or some other effect counteract this?

          You say: Obviously for some things it might well be {better}. This is not the main issue with changing temperatures. The main issue is the rate of change, not the change per se.

          Well the biggest rate of change is from night to day – summer to winter – hot day to cold day. Not 1 degree in 100 years!

          You say – They (largely) worked with ozone. You do not want them to work with CO2 for purely ideological reasons.

          I do not want them to waste money on reducing C02 because it would be for better spent on health, basic food, vaccinations and clean water than the c02 religion. Anyway hot is probable better than cold on balance.

          You conclude:

          You could easily argue that tens of thousands of deaths occur each year due to CO2 emissions. (Not to excuse Huhne, who is a typical dreadful hypocritical rich Lib Dem who wants to screw the ordinary people of this country in order to help the ordinary people in other countries.)

          I see very few deaths that can be directly attributed to C02 it is not poisonous and in helping plants grow it surely saves far more lives on balance. Perhaps a few death from trees growing larger and branches falling on people do you mean?

    • Freddy
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      “Reply: Fuel saving measures are popular because they save you money”

      With respect, only if the measures themselves are cheaper than the fuel saved. And if the resulting user experience is no worse with the measures than it is without.

      reply Indeed, I agree

      • Freddy
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        For example, the whole lunacy of CO2 taxes on energy are a “fuel saving measure”, via the brutal route of simply making energy more expensive.
        It will be interesting to see how many pensioners die of hypothermia this winter, because they can’t afford to turn on the central heating.

        • Sean O'Hare
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          “interesting” is not the word I would use Freddy. I believe “shameful” is more apt.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          Dead pensioners are probably more to do with energy company profiteering than green taxes. It’s funny how so many of the contributors never even mention the profits of these companies. Freddy who probably has never even seen a utilities bill?

      • sm
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Maybe not.
        Consider the security factor.It is an enduring act of self sufficiency and self responsibility.

        Your savings,pension, earnings, can be inflated/taxed/charged away, devaluation can power prices upwards, job can be exported or competed away to economies with different standards/rules. Besides if you save, you only disallow yourself from council tax benefit/prescriptions/fuel help etc.

        If you fear the demise of fiat money, then sensible real productive investment is required. The elastic £ numbers have to be strategically looked through.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      To reply: Yes indeed some fuel saving measure are very sensible and cost effective and very cheap and fun!

      Thermal underwear, a jumper or two, more activity, sleeping with a close friend or two, not heating all the rooms, draft proofing, heated blankets and hot water bottles, good duvets, fewer baths, chopping wood and some basic house and hot water insulation are good.

      Some others cost far more, than is ever likely to be repaid, by the savings made. Usually things like:- All Huhne’s house bling, over complex (often unreliable) boilers (unless you old one is actually bust), replacement double/triple glazing, excessive roof/wall insulation, air heat recovery systems. These often do not give an economic return for most situations unless you live in the north of Scotland.

      The windows are also often very ugly, often break as the brittle with age, get water ingress into the glazing gaps and are hard to repair cheaply.

      Do not be taken in by the sales people and government/BBC agenda – buy a jumper and an electric blanket and turn the temp down.

      Also in the, unlikely, event the alarmists are actually right and it does get much warmer they will make even less economic sense and you will save energy anyway!

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Also if you turn the stat down you lose weight apparently as you move about more so yet another benefit.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          But in your professional opinion as a scientist, with some rocket experience, an engineer and a mathematician. Would you not have to eat more food because of the cold and the moving, causing increased food bills and global warming?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            To stay at the same weight yes you would but not very much more.

      • Major Loophole
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic,

        Yes, return on investment (ROI) is key. Unforetunately, most ‘eco’ measures promulgated don’t deliver it. For example, the Technology Strategy Board has been financing a trial costing, I believe, some £40m to try out a range of approaches to improving the energy efficiency of existing homes. The cost works out at about £100,000 a pop on average houses—and in many cases the measures make peoples’ homes smaller—great, just what the average owner doesn’t want.

        The ROI is far too low. The measures will not see mass up-take and the TSB money (ours) has been wasted. And what is it about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics they didn’t already know?

        The existing stock CAN be up-graded to extremely high levels of energy efficiency performance AND provide homeowners with what they want. For my take on how to do it go to “3dcomforthouse.co.uk”. (NB the site is NOT commercial) and its all done with NO ‘eco bling’ whatsoever. None.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Indeed but not only that they do not work in C02 terms either – if you spend a lot on new replacement boiler, double glazing, PV then a lot of energy goes in to producing and fitting it all. Often no c02 saving at all is the result over the lifetime of the equipment.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Another one of your do nothing ideas I see.
        So we all have to freeze or move around because energy is expensive due to profiteering by energy companies? You can live like a miser to help them, but everyone else has a life.
        Insulating the loft is not economical? Before I insulated the loft and fitted double glazing it was like living in a car. After 12 years how much of the four and half grand do you think I have got back as well as the comfort factor.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Fine you made a sensible choice and did not spend much on it anyway £7K. Everyone need to do their own assessment of weather it is worth the investment or not. My heating and electric is about £2.5K PA and double glazing to comply with its listed status would cost about £20,000 and save perhaps.
          just £200 PA at best and make it rather uglier. But if I invest wisely the £20K with tax breaks I will make about 20% on it or £4K PA and I will buy a jumper or two.

          What do you think I will do?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 23, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

            Sorry I meant £4.5K not £7K.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      And let us not forget the buy-back tarriff on electricity that local micro generators produce. So if you have a spare few grand for mini-windmill or solar panel, the electricity company will buy if off you for three times the price.

      This money comes from other consumers who can’t afford this nonsense, an utterly lunatic poor to rich subsidy (that must cease to exist as take-up increases by it’s very nature!)

      • alan jutson
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Stuart

        Agreed.

      • Robert K
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        yes – I was told by a prospective installer of solar panels that the ROI was well into double figures. Even allowing for the fact that he has a product to sell, this exemplifies the mis-allocation of capital that results from the government’s energy policy

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          The return is almost enough to cover depreciation and cleaning the moss off them one a year!

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Returns are suspect in my opinion.

      • Jeremy Poynton
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Indeed – and when all three parties openly support a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, you have to conclude that they are all past their sell by date. It took me 40 years to vote Conservative, and 40 weeks to realise I needn’t have bothered. If I vote again – which I am not sure I will – it will be for UKIP.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic ,

      This company is combining carbon dioxide , water and electricity to produce methanol .

      http://www.carbonrecycling.is

      This looks like the best way I’ve seen of storing electricity and is of course completely compatible with todays method of fueling cars with liquid fuel .

      They currently need a rich source of CO2 rather than just air .

      As with using carbon dioxide sequestration underground to enhance oil recovery , this company , CRI are attaching a positive value to the carbon dioxide stream from powerstations .

      You have to generate the electricity first and I don’t know the efficiency but it is a novel way of storing it .

      hey have commericial scale projects which are viable without subsidies .

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Good luck to them – clearly you can take energy and produce new fuels oils, aviation fuel and gasses from the H2O water and c02 or carbon but you need a lot of energy to do it and the energy is the problem. Hopefully nuclear fusion when solved will mean we can make as oil and gas or hydrogen in this way. At the moment it is too expensive.

    • Mark
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Many fuel saving measures promoted by the DECC do not save money, or have a very poor rate of return. Consider a condensing boiler, installed for £4,000 to meet new building regulations, saving 20% of a gas bill of £1,000 p.a., or £200 per year. That has a payback of 20 years, assuming you can borrow the installation cost for free (or that your best alternative investment return is zero), and that you don’t incur added maintenance cost due to its extra complexity. If you can’t borrow for less that 5%, it has a negative return. Even those economics assume a continuing high gas price: if our prices fell because we develop shale gas, the economics look pro rata worse.

      Solar PV economics in the UK (without the FiT subsidy that gives you a price nearly 10 times wholesale for your electricity) are such that you never generate enough electricity to pay for the installation cost before the panels have deteriorated and have to be replaced.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and the complex boiler are in my experience very unreliable and expensive to fix too.

        • alan jutson
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic

          Agreed.

          Two of our friends who both work in the construction business had to have their old style boilers replaced due to age failure (20-25 years life) over the last few years.

          Both had new condensing boilers fitted, one had 26 yes, 26 call outs in a 3 year period, before the supplier was forced to replace it again with another new one, the other had 4 failures (the last one terminal) in 4 years before it again had to be replaced.

          I am keeping my 31 year old boiler going for as long as I can, never failed yet. !

          The new ones may improve eventually, but just a look inside confirms they have no real guts given the work they have to do.

          • rose
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

            Our baxi back boiler was condemned as well past its natural life by various interested builders over the years, till a green plumber said it was fine, and just needed cleaning once in a while. It has never broken down in over 35 years of constant use.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          Gas boilers are reliable, but what they do not tell you when you buy one is the number of parts that could be classed as consumables that need changing every couple of years valves and the like. In particular combination boilers. (combis)I allow for about £200 a year in repairs on my combi How much do you spend on servicing a car.
          (A named company-ed) are beyond the pale selling insurance and then claiming the boiler cannot be repaired an then trying to sell you a replacement. Just use the money spent on insurance for repairs. The idea of old boilers lasting 40 years and this being good are a false They where very inefficient at about 40% the new ones are about 90% efficient and are in real terms, even allowing for replacement and repairs much cheaper. The installation costs quoted by many are a scam though. (A national company-ed) quoted in 2004 more than four thousand for a complete system. A local gas fitter did the job for £2500 including an expensive shower. The fitting and system is better than what (the company-ed) would have fitted and fitted to a higher standard. What does that tell you?
          What would be a more cheaper and more convenient way of heating and hot water for the home than a gas boiler? A typical gas combi produces about 32 kW of heat, quite impressive. Though not the cheapest boiler to run, the space saving, unlimited hot water and central heating output more than makes up for the additional servicing and running costs than other gas boilers. Application of any technology to a particular use is everything a combi would by not suitable for a large house.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          Also these unreliable boilers are forced on to people by EU diktat and daft UK laws.

      • A different Simon
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        So effectively the boiler costs virtually nothing and almost all of the £4,000 is installation and tax ?

        I really don’t know how we manage to do it in this country .

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Out of interest I asked for a verbal quote replace a boiler with the same boiler, which would have the same fittings, Many companies are quoting 2k. Lets have a quick look at this 1k max for the boiler and 1k for fitting 2 days work. When asked how 1k for two days work could be justified and why it would take two days many of the fitters become flustered and cannot seriously answer the question.
          Choose carefully and carefully choose.

      • rose
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        But how do you deal with inflation on a fixed income? It might be sensible to spend money now on solar panels, before the money becomes worthless. Your income won’t be index-linked but the gas bills will be – and more.

    • matthu
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Fule saving measures are popular because they save you money?
      What happened to David Cameron’s windmill he installed i
      on the roof of his house? Is it still saving him money? What happened to the school that spent £50k on a huge windmill then found the supplier had gone bust when the gearage failed? How long does it take you to get a return on your electric car?

      • APL
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

        matthu: “Is it still saving him money?”

        The blades fell off after about six months.

        (unsubstantiated allegation v Cameron removed-ed)

        • APL
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          JR: “(unsubstantiated allegation v Cameron removed-ed)”

          You see Mr Redwood, we already know Mr Cameron is 98% spin, the remaining 2%, jelly. Residing anatomically where the the bone should be.

          We also recall that he tried to pull the wool over our eyes with his cycling to work ‘ ‘coz e’ was green’ stunt.

          Shadow ministerial chauffeur driven limousine purring along behind the bicycle. Result? An expensive chauffeur accompanied workout for one Mr David Cameron.

          Reply: I delete allegations about anyone of whatever party if there is no evidence offered or if they might cause hurt/legal action. I will publish you saying how you do not like the PM, but it is childish and scarcely helps the debate.

          • APL
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            JR: “I will publish you saying how you do not like the PM, but it is childish and scarcely helps the debate.”

            This is politics. YOU voted for a candidate that you thought could make the Tory party popular and thus get back into power.

            That all he managed was to form an alliance with a party that is the antithesis of the Tory policies and thereby neuter the benefit of a Tory win and at a time when the Labour party was the most unpopular in its history is simply STUNNING.

            Now if you want to continue to delude yourself that Cameron is a good leader, you can. I am giving you the benefit of telling you what he looks like outside the bubble. It is a service I provide for free.

          • rose
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

            Huhne peddled this cheap joke about the shoe chauffeur all the way through the election rather than doing some honest homework and saying something useful. The car was needed for the Red Boxes. How could they have gone in a pannier? He needed the exercise and outdoor (I wouldn’t call it fresh) air, and the Red Boxes needed top security. Now he needs top security, and he doesn’t look anything like as fit or relaxed as when he went to work on his bike.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      “Fuel savings are popular because they save you money”, no they don’t. We need a certain amount of energy, we are an advanced Country, or were. We have just had three cold winters with the promise of another and I would prefer not to become a hypothermia statistic if you do not mind. If total usage were to drop, so would the profit and the result, another hike in prices. Meanwhile resources are being thrown at useless windmills despite the fact that 100% back up will be needed. The way things are going the power cuts may well shut the country down, there are so many computer driven applications already that a cut would be fatal.
      What I really do not understand, is why the push for carbon capture, a knowledge of first year physics damns it straight away, the laws of conservation of energy. These alone tell you it is not viable. But all these “educated people” in government think it is great. Amazing!

      • APL
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        Derek Buxton: “But all these “educated people” in government think it is great. Amazing!”

        Yes.

        Awe inspiring isn’t it, the destruction an Oxbridge PPE can cause?

      • Bazman
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Saving fuel does not save money? If you switched of the fridge then it would not. Buying an energy efficient one would.

        • APL
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “Buying an energy efficient one would.”

          Look old chap, you need to consider a couple of other parameters too. Not just energy to run the thing.

          The energy used to build a new one.
          How much life does your existing fridge still have in it?
          What is the difference between the power consumed by the old fridge compared to the new fridge.

          If your old fridge is good for another five years, then you’d best keep it and get the highest return for your original capital outlay (You spent money to buy the thing, yes).

          • Bazman
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            Modern frost free fridge/freezer uses less than half the kW per year than one 10 years old. It would be wise to run it until it breaks down, but to repair and use after that would not make economic sense. Lets face it any machine can be made to run forever if you throw enough money at it and you never get the benefits of a later model. If you applied this logic to cars we would all be driving around in Model T Fords.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            Exactly- perhaps just put it in the colder garage in winter to save money instead!

        • Major Loophole
          Posted October 23, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          In a super-well insulated house, the heat produced by the fridge’s pump is not necessarily waste. It contributes to the input needed—just like incandescent light bulbs—thus reducing input needed from other sources during the standard 32 week heating season. In warmer weather the energy is wasted. Simple physics.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        They think it “Carbon Capture” is great as it allows them to build the power stations we need while still pretending to stick to their absurd green agenda – the capture bit will not be used it is just silly green wash.

        Rather like the marketing of the Prius.

    • Tim
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      The leftists at the BBC will always jump on any globalwarming/change and pro EU bandwagon. That’s in its DNA and its time they were sold on the open market and we were released from the TV tax. What they won’t do is report the NASA scientific report that was published a couple of months ago showing from actual data from its satelites circling the globe, NO GLOBAL WARMING over the last 10 years. I wrote and complained as they would not publish this proven science. How does that sit with the green carbon taxes imposed by successive Governments. Our flying tax is about to go up to the highest in the world. It may pay to travel to Europe for long haul flights to avoid the green robbery. How ironic!!

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        If you have evidence from NASA that there hasn’t been any global warming for 10 years why don’t you post it here so everyone can see it.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Just look it up satellite measurement confirm it.

    • APL
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      JR: “Fuel saving measures are popular because they save you money”

      Yea, you know what would save more money and create jobs? Cutting excise duty and VAT on fuel.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      The point on Prius cars is a good one. They are, if you follow the carbon and pollution produced by manufacture and disposal not very green and for the owner not very cheap or cheap to run small diesels are better. Carbon capture and global warming being nonsense is your religion both point are controversial and unproven.
      Who is against real savings by efficient use of energy?

      • Steven Whitfield
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Many Prius owners have found to their cost that the car isn’t as economical as it’s cracked up to be. Then there is the issue with the amount of rare metals needed to manufacture the battery’s and powertrain which are acknowledged to be very environmentally damaging to produce.

        I remember the 1983 Talbot Horizon diesel I bought many years ago returned around 50mpg – about the same as a Prius so not much progress really on fuel consumption . Admittedly comfort,emissions, refinement and safety have improved massively.

        If the previous government was really serious about CO2 (and not just tax making gimmicks) it wouldn’t have started the car scrappage scheme. Thousand of perfectly good used cars (often with low mileage and full service history’s) were scrapped and replaced with new.
        I wonder how many tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants were needed emitted to process these cars and manufacture new ?

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Fashion darling. Fashion! Many Hollywood stars drive a Prius. Leonardo DiCaprio would not be seen dead in a Talbot Horizon. A crap car of the 1980’s made worse by the addition of a diesel engine. Who would have thought? And neither would I.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          The car scrappage scheme was clearly insane like most government schemes.

  3. norman
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    It all comes down to what is sensible.

    Recycling, fuel efficiency, insulation, energy conservation, there are very few people who’d say they are against any of these policies but the CO2 stuff, taken at any level, just doesn’t make sense, either environmentally (theoretically it could if the computer models were accurate and if there was a concerted effort involving every government of the world, each of which is about as likely as the other and taken together is the stuff of fantasy) or economically.

    Glad to see the other day the government starting to pass it off as Labour’s policies. Complete hogwash, of course, but at least they are starting to position themselves to find an out and put themselves on the right side of the science and public opinion so I guess we shouldn’t be too harsh.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    What fascinates me is the way the political masters think.
    It is obvious that the sun doesn’t shine at night. It is obvious that the wind bloweth where it listeth.
    So if you pour money into wind farms and putting things on people’s roofs, they will not work during the times when the sources are not there. A child could see this. James Delingpole and Christopher Booker have been saying it literally for years.
    And, as yet, you cannot store electricity in huge batteries. And this, in our world, is serious.

    Now the balloon is going up and votes are being lost.

    So – Plan B: Blame the rich giants who provide the electricity at the moment! Make sympathetic noises. Talk about the new trains (which are white elephants) look green by banning airport expansion. Cancel the ridiculous power station that wouldn’t work properly anyway.

    Do you know what? I think they consider that we are daft!

    And we are.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Green energy is used when available so we don’t have to use 100% non-renewable energy. Think of it as supplementing the current system of energy generation.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    PS King Canute?

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      No, he was the canny one, he knew that he could not stop the tide. His courtiers were the stupid ones, they said he could, a bit like Huhne, climate scientists….oh yes and Cameron.

    • Jeremy Poynton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Canute’s stunt was in fact to show that he was NOT all powerful.

      Similarly (pedant on) the phrase “the exception proves the rule” in fact uses “prove” in the sense of “test”, rather than “confirm”.

      Both Canute and the above are almost always cited erroneously.

      (pedant off)

  6. Antisthenes
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Britain was at the forefront of encouraging capitalism, free markets and entrepreneurship which brought wealth and improved standards of living for all. Now we have reversed all that and we are now destroying wealth creation and impoverishing everyone by following policies dictated by a section of society that spouts more fiction than fact and has no real grasp of reality. The lunatics running the asylum has become a reality.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      Britain achieved wealth by controlling one quarter of the world and a vast system of sea trade.

      Also the rich aren’t being impoverished. In fact they seem to be getting richer.

      • APL
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “Also the rich aren’t being impoverished. In fact they seem to be getting richer.”

        That is true. But it isn’t the fault of Capitalism which to all intents and purposes is dead in this country, it is the fault of Corporatism.

        • rose
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          Hear, hear. If you have 50 years of quasi-socialism, you will either kill trade off altogether, or you will breed a super race of stateless corporatists to survive it – rather like the mutated immunity which arises when anti-biotics are over-used. It happened with the rent acts too: we didn’t get rid of the bad landllords like Rachman – just the decent native owner occupier ones. Now we desperately need the baby boomers to take in lodgers, but they have been frightened off letting for ever, by the retrospective anti-landlord legislation of their youth in the 1970s from which they learned you might not be able to get rid of a bad tenant, so better not to risk taking one in. Socialism was an over-prescribed and dangerous medicine with some very far reaching side effects.

  7. Greg
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Biggest problem we face is that we have a global warming fanatic in the shape of (controversial car user? -ed) Huhne talking rubbish and promoting ineffective , expensive and pointless policies instead of dealing with real issues like the collapse of North Sea oil production and imminent shortages not only of oil but also gas and coal. The government needs to have a real workable plan to deal with that and the ageing power stations that will soon go out of use.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      The plan for “the ageing power stations that will soon go out of use” should be to get out of the EU, fix them up a bit and just keep them going.

      • sm
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Indeed, particularly until we have had a few hard winters of experience to test out the reality of the power grids performance of meeting/managing demand without freezing people to death or exporting all heavy industry.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Usually little wind in cold spells too.

          • sm
            Posted October 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            Wind is variable and a quite a small part of our system 7% when i checked today. This displaces gas and coal imports and allows the old stations to run at lower loads.
            It has its place, as the technology is developed and matures we may see numbers which may surprise.

            I would prefer to look at the data sources from some of the new farm onstream.

            Also until we stop devaluing the £ as policy, the long term economics are moot.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        Fixing them up won’t work as they weren’t designed to be used for so long. The ageing power stations need to be replaced.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          Fixing things up is for the birds and for people with no money. Fixing up and running old cars is often more expensive than buying a more modern one.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Sometimes new is better but often not – everyone should make a judgement not a barmy diktat from the EU who do not know the local circumstances.

  8. Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Well this is rich. JR says “No-one wants to see the Green Belt concreted over”. Plus he mentions objections to expanding airports and rail systems.

    Now why have the above problems arisen? Er . . . it’s primarily down to our increased population which in turn is primarily due to immigration.

    Now which political parties have JR and those who object to the above developments voted for over the last decade or two? 95% have voted for the pro-immigration Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem parties. Those are the parties that have spent the last decade or two spitting venom at the anti-immigration parties like UKIP or the BNP.

    So my message to respectable Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem voters is this. It was you that voted to have green belts concreted over. You got what you asked for!

    Reply I voted for the Conservative party whose Leader promised to cut inward migration from hundreds of thiousands to tens of thousands.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      But, as you always say to those who vote UKIP, it hasn’t worked has it?

    • Jeremy Poynton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      And to repeal swathes of Labour’s crass legislation. Can’t be bothered to hold my breath on that one, indeed, with unbelievable suggestions of fat taxes etc., we seem to be going even further down the road with government interference. By the way, too little fat, as with too little salt, is just as dangerous as too much of either.

      But, hey, Nanny knows best eh?

      • APL
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        Jeremy Poynton: ” with unbelievable suggestions of fat taxes etc. ”

        Yes, don’t forget the fool Cameron is now obsessing about plastic bags. Just like his weird predecessor!

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      John Redwood – Reply I voted for the Conservative party whose Leader promised to cut inward migration from hundreds of thiousands to tens of thousands.

      Mr Redwood, We know from bitter experience of the coalition there are numerous nuances on policy ‘promises’ . These ‘promises’ typically change to aspirations (usually on any policy that might be perceieved as being ‘right wing’ or populist’ ) , to firm commitments (usually on left wing matters such as raising development spending.

      I think the promise to control immigration fits into the aspirational policy camp ie policy seems likely to be buried but DC hopes to get some political capital by talking about it.

  9. Nick
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Some think it is too dear and will be too heavily subsidised.

    =========

    In otherwords, its has a negative return, and its just another debt run up by the government

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Just cash down the drain as usual.

  10. Nick
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Carbon dioxide policies are now adding nearly 10% to the total cost of typical bills

    ==============

    And the rest. What about oil taxes? VAT, regulatory burden, cost of the quangos, ….

    The cost is government.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Indeed about 2/3 of petrol cost is taxes – often people have to work two days a month for nothing – just to earn enough after tax to pay for the petrol and car taxes to get to and from work for the month.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Why don’t they just get a job closer to where they live?

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps non available perhaps they prefer the other job perhaps it pays more!

          • Bazman
            Posted October 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            No jobs available? How is this possible? If the job pays more, than obviously it is viable? Is the state supposed to subsidise free choice?

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      No mention of profiteering by energy companies Nick? Wonder why? Are you some sort of apologist for them?

      • APL
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Bazman: “No mention of profiteering by energy companies Nick?”

        When you buy a litre of petrol for your £1.30 this is what the oil company does:

        Dig it out of the ground.
        Transport it to the most cost effective refinery
        Refine it
        distribute the refined product.
        Advertise the stuff
        Vend it to you in petrol stations
        Make petrol stations available

        Make the whole pharmaceutical industry possible.

        I am sure there are other things they do but that’ll do for now.

        For all that the oil company gets £0.48 roughly and the retailers 5pence per litre.

        The government on the other hand takes
        £0.58 Excise
        and then levies VAT which amounts to about
        £0.22 pence per litre.

        That amounts to a tax VAT on a tax the excise duty.

        Now I expect you’d prefer the oil company to dump a barrel of unrefined crude on your doorstep and natch you’d want to do all the technical stuff yourself.

        But I’d like to know what the government does with the 60% of the cost of a litre other than waste it?

        And before you say, ‘schools and hospitals’, lets just remember you have a higher chance of dying in an NHS hospital and your child will be lucky if it comes out of a State School not among the 20% of pupils that leave school functionally illiterate or innumerate.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          Glad to see you think they are so charitable and enjoy enriching an elite. Maybe we could ask them to increase their prices for the greater good?
          Anyone else think private companies running effectively monopolies and cartels should be more expensive?

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        Profiteering is what companies do it is the government’s job to ensure a free competitive market.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          That will be the energy market then?

  11. lojolondon
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    John,

    Firstly, the BBC is totally wrong and totally one-sided on the issue of climate change. Did you know that they took a decision that ‘climate change is so proven that there is no need to present any counter arguments’. Outrageous behaviour.

    Secondly, the government is completely complicit (and indeed, to a large extent CAUSED ) the energy companies behaviour, that is why they have rolled over so easily this week.
    1. German and French quasi-government energy organisations use the UK as a profit centre to subsidise low cost energy back home. A direct result of the UK being the only country in Europe to open their energy provision to foreign organisations as decreed by the EU.
    2. Chris Huhne and Ed Miliband before him agreed that these energy companies would give UK taxpayers ‘free’ energy advice, insulation and invest in billions of pounds worth of ‘renewable’ energy systems. How is this paid for? Well, obviously the UK energy user/taxpayer will cover all this plus interest plus a healthy margin for the ‘risk’.
    So high energy prices are not just something that ‘happened’ or were ‘unforseen’ (quoting Vince Cable!!) – they are actually an integral part of government strategy. Then the Biased BBC, buying into the whole green energy scam, gives them a really easy ride when interviewing the scamsters.

    Can you see why the public are so disgusted with the system?

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      It is now the established propaganda strategy of the green movement to act as if catastrophic antropogenic global warming is a fact. It has been a very successful strategy – to the point of securing the passage of the Climate Change Bill into an Act of Parliament and now the Carbon Plan.

      A company called Futerra played a role in this. Its advice, supported by DEFRA, the DTI, The Environment Agency and others, was contained in a document called “The Rules of the Game”. The Futerra said:
      “Many of the existing approaches to climate change communications clearly seem unproductive. And it is not enough simply to produce yet more messages, based on rational argument and top-down persuasion, aimed at convincing people of the reality of climate change and urging them to act. Instead, we need to work in a more shrewd and contemporary way, using subtle techniques of engagement.

      To help address the chaotic nature of the climate change discourse in the UK today, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won, at least for popular communications. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken,”

      In short there has been a Government sponsored programme of brainwashing on this issue; the BBC has played its part. If you did not agree you were/are labelled a denier or a flat earther (Gordon Brown`s turn of phrase). Note also the subtle change in terminology from catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), which is where this all started, to simply “global warming” or now the alternative words “climate change”. Who could possibly disagree that the world experiences “climate change”?

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Oldtimer

        Government sponsored programme of brainwashing on this issue; the BBC has played its part.

        Exactly also we had the millennium bug, bird flu, swine flu, CJD ……………

    • Mark
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      You make a very important point about the “profitability” of the “big 6” energy suppliers. All we are seeing via OFGEM is the profit made by UK subsidiaries that distribute energy via the grid and gas pipeline networks. Here’s the reports of another subsidiary of EdF that makes “middleman” profits through trading:

      http://www.edftrading.com/fullArticle.aspx?m=56

      €1bn in 2008 and nearly €600m in 2010. Most of the major banks (e.g. Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, JP Morgan) have significant commodity trading operations that are also very profitable.

      We were told with great affront that “sensible” energy distribution businesses don’t buy on the basis suggested by OFGEM in assessing their profitability: it would seem that their hedging activities are adding to our bills while enriching the more skillful traders elsewhere.

      A small extract from the latest EdF Trading report to ponder;

      New European energy market model
      EDF Trading is heavily involved in a
      pan-European project led by ERGEG (the
      EU energy regulator) to establish a new
      energy market model throughout Europe.
      This is a key strategic project that the
      European Commission has designated as a
      priority for implementation by 2015.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Well said Sir. That is precisely the point, the government has colluded every step of the way.

    • Cliff. Wokingham.
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      The State’s Broadcaster is very one sided in relation to it’s coverage of the New False Religion of Climate Change. I watch Country File each Sunday and seldom do the presenters fail to get in some pro-climate change speech.
      Last Sunday, John Craven gave one of the most biased, pro windmill presentations I have ever seen and it made me sad that I was being forced to fund it through my TV license, which is a tax in all but name.

      The State’s Broadcaster currently has a piece on Ceefax stating that the alarmists were right all along, because a new body, using new techniques, has shown a one degree warming in surface temperature since 1950; what they don’t say is whether a similar warming has occured on any other planet within our solar system. I ask because NASA themselves stated some years ago that the ice caps on Mars were melting at the same speed as our own and that would suggest to me, that much, if not all, the warming is caused by the sun.

      I wonder if anyone in Whitehall has done a comparison between whether it would be cheaper to pay to adapt to climate change rather than trying to fight it. As far as I know, our climate has never been fixed and therefore it may well be folly and indeed arrogant for some of mankind to believe they can stop it.

    • Jeremy Poynton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      All you need to know about Global Warming can be found by reading up on the Club Of Rome. They were looking for a suitable cause to cause global panic. And boy did they get one.

      • Mark
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:23 am | Permalink

        One of the best critiques of Forrester and Meadows came from Prof Wilf Beckerman (I enjoyed his calculation that if transport technology had stayed the same as before the invention of the internal combustion engine, then at the rate at which it grew, England would have been six feet deep in horse manure by 1972) In Defence of Economic Growth. He is still a good read tackling neo-Malthusians:

        http://www.tulevaisuus.fi/keko/FUTUS2a/5_THE_CHIMERA_OF_SUSTAINABLE_DEVELOPMENT.pdf

        My very first job between school and university entailed examining long term resource economics for key materials and was a direct consequence of Limits to Growth. It gave me many key insights as I puzzled out some answers and realised the numbers of unanswered questions and issues, including interaction of resource ownership with geopolitics (A US Bureau of Mines volume detailing estimated reserves country by country and resource by resource was a much valued starting point); the high degree of dependence of projections on assumptions and model construction (I toyed with some programming in the same DYNAMO language used by FM before doing the serious stuff in FORTRAN); the great uncertainties about much of the data; the evidence that human ingenuity often finds solutions to problems previously thought intractable; the importance of economics as a driver.

        I’m pleased to say that our conclusions were rather more in line with the outturn shown in Table 1 of the above paper. The government got good value for its £16.10 per week gross, £6.49p net after deductions (which covered hostel board and lodging and transport to work and taxes). That decided me against taking the underpaid government shilling thereafter.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      “Did you know that they took a decision that ‘climate change is so proven that there is no need to present any counter arguments’. Outrageous behaviour.”

      They also said that gravity has been proven so there is no need to present any counter arguments. I trust you would demand that they allow people on who claim that we could all fly if we flapped our arms hard enough.

      1) This is what happens when you sell all your power plants to foreign countries and don’t regulate the markers properly. This is the fault of the UK Government, not the EU.

      2) Are these the same taxpayers who will benefit most from this advice and services?

  12. oldtimer
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Others (such as Anthony Watts and Bishop Hill) have made a few pertinent points about this Berkeley study.
    1 It draws, to some 90-95%, on the same data set as previous NASA GISS, NOA and HadCru studies; therefore it is not surprising it reaches similar conclusions.
    2 It is not a peer reviewed study but, apparently, a pre-peer review paper intended to gain publicity – an aim it has assuredly achieved.

    Few, if any, who study the earth`s temperature question that it has risen over the period of the past century; there are serious and unanswered questions about how much it has risen, about regional variations and the methodologies used. Unanswered questions include the effect of splicing arifacts and statistical methods. It may be that the Berkeley study will help resolve some of these questions; I believe that was one of its aims.

    Correlation of CO2 and temperature (to the extent it exists) is not causation. It is evident that there are many contributory causes to changes in the earth`s climate. Others have pointed out that, in the geological past, changes in CO2 levels followed (by hundreds of years) temperature change – not cause it.

    Those who advocate man-made carbon capture policies have yet to make a convincing case why it is necessary. Man made CO2 emissions are estimated to amount to c5Gt a year; this compares with naturally occurring emissions of c150Gt a year within a total CO2 component of c750Gt in the eath`s atmosphere. The natural processes of release and capture are imperfectly understood; in the overall scheme of things, man-made CO2 is part of the noise level. It is not even established that greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is a component part, are the cause of global warming.

    The BBC presentation of the results of the study appears to be little more than propaganda for a doubtful cause.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

    • Martyn
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Excellent summation, thanks – especially for the numbers (I assume they are reasonably correct) as to the man-made % compared to the natural CO2 (volcanoes etc) output in relation to the whole.
      Is it not strange how none of the warmists ever mention the natural outpouring of CO2 over which no politician or scientist has the slightest control?
      On a factual level, 2 years ago I had the roof of my aged bungalow stripped of rotten wood battens and cracked tiles and all replaced using the finest insulating materials then available. At the same time I also invested £3.2k in a water-heating solar panel.
      The insulation has proven to be an outstanding improvement and heat lost through the roof is now absolutely minimal. On the other hand, I estimate from recorded figures that my £3.2k investment in solar water heating is saving me about £25 per annum on current electricity costs. Amortisation of the up-front costs of my solar water heating project seems rather unlikely, since I am not expecting to live to be well over 170 years old…..

    • Big John
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      I agree as well.

      Doubts about the validity of the surface temperature record constitute something like 1% of the issues that climate realists have ever raised and not a very important one.

      The thermometer data show that the absolute temperature in the recent century is remarkably stable, within 0.25%, and such tiny changes of the averaged temperature are negligible relatively to noise and make no visible impact and surely not a dangerous one.

      The importent point is there is still no substantial correlation between the CO2 concentration and the global mean temperature.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Thermometer data has shown that the average temperature rose by 0.8C during the last century. This is expected to rise by and additional 1.5-6.1 C during the 21st century. A rise of 4C will render half of the world’s arable land unusable and cause sea levels to rise by 2 metres.

        Also there is a substantial correlation between the CO2 concentration and the global mean temperature, which has been proven time and time again by scientific testing.

        • APL
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “the average temperature rose by 0.8C during the last century.”

          So where does the sudden four degree rise come from?

          uanime5: “A rise of 4C will render half of the world’s arable land unusable”

          Now explain why?

          Israel seems to be able to grow food stuff in temperatures much higher than say your average British farmer.

          On holiday in Southern Spain, they use glass houses extensively, actually poly-tunnels a rise in temperature on the face of it improve the crop yield and reduce costs.

          uanime5: “Also there is a substantial correlation between the CO2 concentration and the global mean temperature,”

          The correlation is reversed, temperature leads CO2. As you would expect as the climate becomes more conducive to vegetation, fauna that relies on it increases too leading to more CO2.

          uname5: “and cause sea levels to rise by 2 metres.”

          The whole of the North polar Ice cap could melt and not make one millimeter difference to the sea level.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          Just wrong and nonsense where do you get this drivel from.

    • Jeremy Poynton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      It also does not address ocean temperatures at all (they do admit that, but what we have is only half the story yet)

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      “It is not a peer reviewed study but, apparently, a pre-peer review paper intended to gain publicity – an aim it has assuredly achieved.”

      What has the peer review said about the actual study?

      “there are serious and unanswered questions about how much it has risen, about regional variations and the methodologies used.”

      There’s no question about how much it has risen. Thanks to the thermometer and over a century of recording the temperature it’s readily apparent how much the temperature has changed.

      “Correlation of CO2 and temperature (to the extent it exists) is not causation. It is evident that there are many contributory causes to changes in the earth`s climate.”

      The evidence shows that high levels of CO2 cause more warming, so there is strong evidence that if humans increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere it will lead to rising temperatures.

      “Others have pointed out that, in the geological past, changes in CO2 levels followed (by hundreds of years) temperature change – not cause it.”

      Who pointed this out and during what time period did this occur.

      “Man made CO2 emissions are estimated to amount to c5Gt a year; this compares with naturally occurring emissions of c150Gt a year within a total CO2 component of c750Gt in the eath`s atmosphere.”

      While humans may not be producing the majority of CO2 emissions by continually increasing our CO2 emissions and the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere we are causing the temperature of the planet to rise.

      “It is not even established that greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is a component part, are the cause of global warming.”

      Care to name some other possible caused and provide peer reviewed science to back up these claims.

      • oldtimer
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        The Berkeley study has not been peer reviewed; the authors stated as much on their web site! Obviously you have not checked out what they say.

        On the question of whether man-made CO2, or total CO2 or total greehouse gases in the atmosphere cause global warming, the answer is that it remains an assertion by those that make it.

        You should check out the small print on the Met Office web site. They are careful not to assert that greenhouse gases cause global warming. They qualify their statements about it with a conditional “if”. They acknowledge there are many influences on the climate, that they do not understand them all and that the climate is a chaotic system.

        As such attempts to forecast climate and temperature decades ahead by the use of computer models are likely to be doomed to failure. Those in the scientific community behind the global warming agenda often assert the need to apply the precautionary principle; the need to take precautions just in case the worst predicted scenario is realised. It is proposed as an insurance policy. If you are one of those who accepts this need for an insurance policy, it would be wise to check out the cost of the policy and whether it actually delivers what you want. The reality is that the cost and the consequences fail to deliver what you want; this is particularly true of renewable energy schemes. They fail as an insurance policy.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          You say: As such attempts to forecast climate and temperature decades ahead by the use of computer models are likely to be doomed to failure.

          Try getting them to forecast the much easier problem of all the positions of some snooker balls after say 10 shots. Given all the initial impact data.

  13. Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    What are the ‘cheap’ options John?

    Nuclear is cheap but the Chinese own the futures on most of the key raw commodities (http://thecomingdepression.blogspot.com/2010/10/china-buying-up-worlds-natural.html) and this government has cancelled financing to ensure engineering capacities to build key components for nuclear plants (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10341119).

    Although wind and solar are more expensive it is quite possible turbines will have a longer (or more cheaply extended) design life then other forms of power which are vulnerable to rising commodities prices. We also need to recognise that in the long term our gaining competitive advantage may well depend on our making best use of our natural sustainable resources such as the powerful tidal forces we have access to and that this will inevitable require up-front investment.

    The two most important things are:
    1.) We need robust and coherent planning to ensure that what we have is efficiently run and that the commodity and engineering supply chains are secure.
    2.) We need to support research and innovation.

    A green agenda will continue to be important, partly because we simply don’t have unlimited consumable resources and so considerations to do with circular economies are becoming more important and partly because global warming continues to be an issue. Short term adjustments to reduce costs will not change these underlying trends.

    reply Combined cycle gas is cheaper.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      “Nuclear is cheap” ?

      Rebecca . Nuclear is incredibly heavily subsidised . It takes 10 years from starting planning to get a nuclear powerstation online .

      The increases in the cost of electricity are supposedly to pay for the new generation of nuclear power stations .

      Take a look and you will find the chairman of Npower stated in 2010 that the wholesale price of electricity would have to double and stay there indefinitely to fund the new generation of nuclear power stations .

      Nuclear cannot compete with fossil fuels on the basis of cost . Fossil fuels have to be handicapped by insisting on carbon dioxide capture and storage and other regulations to narrow the gap .

      Gas derived from coal which doesn’t even have to be brought to the surface and can be gasified in situ can be used to power the combined cycle generators John mentions ; a combination of gas turbine with energy from waste heat recovered by a steam turbine .

      The carbon dioxide in the stream can even be combined with electricity and water to produce methanol which can fuel cars .

      • Freddy
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        “Take a look and you will find the chairman of Npower stated in 2010 that the wholesale price of electricity would have to double and stay there indefinitely to fund the new generation of nuclear power stations .”

        I don’t think I believe that. Could you provide a source for this, please ?

        In any event, the cost of nuclear is largely determined by the multiple layers of regulatory overhead, particularly with regard to disposal of waste. This should be easily soluble, were it not for the mindless greeny attacks on anything to do with nukes.

        • A different Simon
          Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

          I can only find a transcript of what Mr Duff of Npower was alleged to have said . Take a look at point C) about 7 lines down from the top :-

          http://www.carboncommentary.com/2010/06/14/1569

          I believe (though cannot find any reference to support it) that the last Govt made agreements with energy distributors that they would not stand in their way of making huge profits on condition that they invested in infrastructure like new generation stations and gas storage stations .

          Personally I prefer that nuclear power stations are properly regulated . Modern reactors are supposed to passively fail safely . Reactors with smaller amounts of fissile material are inherently safer than those with larger amounts because it is much easier for larger amounts to go critical in the event of a meltdown .

          Perhaps I’ve misinterpretted what Mr Duff said . You tell me .

          • Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

            Nuclear is being pursued as part of our energy mix in order to keep costs down Simon. That particular comment you’ve linked to doesn’t look coherent.

            Whether nuclear energy ends up actually being relatively cheap or not will depend on how well the government manages its oversight of all aspects of the new build project, from the availability of the money for its costs to the financing of companies who are expected to produce key components for the new reactors.

            So far it isn’t looking very promising.

            Yes new reactors are designed to fail safely. Fortunately that bit of the planning does seem to be being managed well.

        • Posted October 22, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

          Indeed, the weapons issues associate with nuclear fuel are very expensive. But the fuel is not if it not linked up with these issues. The cost of decommissioning a commercial nuclear plant is now built in from the beginning.

          Plans for waste repositories in West Cumbria seem to be moving ahead without major opposition. The public here want them because it is our economy and we have the expertise. It’s amazing what people know and understand beyond what you would expect. For example my next door neighbour was a secretary to the top brass in the early days at Windscales when they designed and built everything and went in themselves and sorted out the fire. It helps us see things differently.

        • Mark
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          From EdF Trading’s half year report:

           18 July 2011: the UK Parliament has confirmed the need to develop nuclear energy in the UK, marking a milestone for EDF in its plans for the UK
          The UK Parliament voted on the National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation, ratifying the programme for building new nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom. The Parliament also confirmed the list of sites able to host new nuclear plants, which include Hinkley Point and Sizewell, the two priority sites identified by EDF for the construction of its future power plants.
          This vote is a major step forward for the development of nuclear power in the UK.
           12 July 2011: reform of the UK electricity market
          The UK government confirmed the implementation of the electricity market reform, with four tools:
          – Long-term contracts in the form of contracts for difference (CFD), which aim to ensure some stability in power generator revenues. They will apply to all “non-carbon” technologies (new nuclear, offshore wind, biomass, etc.), and their prices will vary with technologies.
          – A capacity-based payment mechanism in the form of either a market mechanism or a strategic reserve
          – A floor price for carbon, which had already been announced in the first quarter of 2011
          – A CO2 emission performance standard of 450g CO2/KWh and thus preventing any construction of non-CCS coal-fired plant.

          In short, Huhne has agreed to (words left out-ed) it.


           11 July 2011: EDF Energies Nouvelles’ bid for the development of offshore wind power in France
          EDF Energies Nouvelles submitted a bid in response to the French government’s call for tenders to develop offshore wind power (first, five-lot 3,000 MW unit for an investment of about €10bn). The Group has set up a consortium, in which it owns a majority stake, and that will be composed of Dong Energy, Nass&Wind Offshore, Poweo ENR, WPD Offshore and Alstom.

          That’s €3.3m/MW, or about three times the cost of CCGT.

          • Mark
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Can we say Huhne has set the parameters to ensure that nuclear is adequately profitable, which was “A different Simon’s” point? I think he’s done more than just agree something. I hadn’t intended anything perjorative with the word I used which was more in the sense of the title of a TV programme that used to be hosted by a blond, cigar smoking DJ.

          • Posted October 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            Huhne’s agreement to nuclear was done and dusted in the first few days of this parliament Mark – the LibDem energy strategy was a wonderful casualty of coalition government. Sadly the Conservative education ‘policy’ wasn’t another.

            Could you link to your figures on CCGT? Are they embedded in proposals for specific sites with planning permission in the UK?

          • A different Simon
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

            Mark ,

            Was your edited out comment something along the lines of Huhne distorting the market in favour of nuclear and renewables and screw the consumers ?

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Are going to build and dispose of the reactors and the waste on the cheap? Lets build it where you live then.

          • Posted October 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

            I live near Sellafield Bazman, where one of the new reactors is due to be built. Given that we had the world’s first ever commercial reactor (invented and designed on the hoof with no established regulation) on that site and a MOX reactor, no – we aren’t particularly scared of a well designed and regulated modern reactor.

      • Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Here’s just one of many reference which support my comment Simon:
        http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Cost_Generation_Commentary.pdf

        These figures allow no cost for carbon emmissions which are, of course, are very low for nuclear and are a key issue for coal.

        The nuclear powerstations which are being built are not subsidised Simon, but of course government planning support is required to make nuclear newbuild happen. Systematic oversight to ensure the whole process is well managed is also essential and the government loan (not a subsidy as it would have been repaid) to help Sheffield Forgemasters by the 15,000 tonne press to manafacture key components which are in global undersupply was an important part of robust planning and of course would have provided jobs in the UK.

        I don’t think this government can claim to be supporting cheap energy which it is shutting down coherent planning that was in place and has no alternative plan of its own.

        Simon you comments don’t fit with any reality I know. Could you provide supporting evidence or links please?

        • A different Simon
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          I provided supporting evidence ; statements made by the chairman of Npower . You chose to dismiss them .

          I would have liked Sheffield Forgemasters to have got support as Japan Steel Works (started by Brits) have a monopoly on forging reactor cores . The people at Sheffield Forgemasters didn’t exactly help their case though .

          The document you linked to showed only electricity created by overground coal gasification , not underground which is cheaper or would you like to to dispute that ?

          Synthesis gas can be methanised and pumped into houses and also converted into liquid fuels . Our infrastructure would require a complete overhaul if you wanted to power vehicles and heat houses with electricity .

          Carbon emmisions don’t cost anything unless you chose to levy a charge against them to handicap fossil fuels in an effort to make other technologies viable .

          Nuclear has it’s place but not to the exclusion of everything else .

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          Imagine a nuclear power station run like the railways. That is what it would be like. Who would pay for any accidents and leaks? What about the decommissioning costs.? Not us Gov! We’re bankrupt! The boss said from his multimillion pound mansion. We need an enquiry said the government of the day. You are a mindless fanastist if you think it would be any different Rebecca.
          Nuclear power it is said is the most expensive way of boiling a litre of water mankind has ever invented. A private company paying for, running, insurance of full cost of clean up, and decommissioning at end of life within London’s M25. Never happen and you know it.

          • Posted October 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think they are planning to build any of the new reactors within the M25 Bazman.

            Clean-up costs are built in to the financing of modern reactors. The issues associated with cleaning them up are nothing like the horrors we are dealing with from the early days of nuclear and from more dubious nuclear activities.

            This sounds like a bit like I’m trying to sell nuclear. I’m not. I’m just trying to answer questions sensibly.

            As I said at the start of this comment thread – I don’t think there are any easy solutions. We have to plan to efficiently and effectively manage the reality we are dealing with.

    • Robert K
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      We are sitting on 100 years of coal. Let’s use that.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        How are we going to get it? I hear mining is difficult and expensive?

      • Steven Whitfield
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Robert K,

        Arguably we are ‘sitting on 100 years of coal’.

        This calculation assumes present rates of consumption – unlikely if coal is to supplant some gas or nuclear generation.
        Unless the Uk’s remaining oil, coal and gas reserves are left as an exclusively Uk strategic resource, they will last for nothing like 100 years in my view.

        Worldwide energy consumption is rising exponentially in step with population . Consider this report:

        http://www.tullettprebon.com/Documents/strategyinsights/tp0510_TPSI_report_

        Resource depletion and population growth is what the coalition politicians should be getting worried about. Instead Mr Huhme has become obsessed with ‘global warming’ .
        For him and many others, political correctness not reason has fixed the terms of the environmental debate in the Uk. The third world is universaly seeen as having ‘ victim status’ and the developed world is seen as oppressive and bad. In this context, critical debate over third world population increase is seen as an unacceptable attack.
        Anyone who digagrees from this PC orthodoxy is vilified as being an extremist and shut out of the debate.

    • Robert K
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the link – very interesting on China

    • Mark
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I believe the Danes are finding that the life of their offshore wind turbines is proving to be shorter than projected: instead of 25 years, 17 is closer to the mark as corrosion takes its toll.

      • Posted October 22, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Yes, reseaarching since my post I’ve found similar Mark, although most of our windfarms are onshore so hopefully the problem is not so bad.

        But the points that –
        1. the price of wind doesn’t go up
        2. there are no issues with international competition for the supplies of wind we are using.
        3. we could rapidly develop the engineering capacity to build and maintain wind turbines wheras there are serious issues with world supply on components for large power stations.

        are still valid I think?

        • Mark
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          We depend on China for the neodymium that’s essential to making compact magnets used in wind generators. They have recently applied a squeeze on the supply of rare earth metals to Japan as a political lever.

          We used to have world class engineering capabilities for power stations until we started to drive our engineering businesses abroad through regulation.

          • Posted October 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for this clear information Mark.
            Here’s the wiki on neodymium – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium which indicates that this may be a significant problem but that there are reserves in other countries.
            It’s interesting to consider the extent to which we are going to have to rely on the goodwill of China for many things.

      • A different Simon
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        I still fail to see why a wind turbine should be an insurmountable technical challenge .

        Imagine what British engineers in the 50’s and 60’s could have done with the space age materials which are available today .

        On the other hand advanced materials and micro-processors can be a crutch for fundamentally poor designs .

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Green is not important. A reliable power supply is otherwise the Country closes down. You comment on prices from China, I assume therefore that you do not know that a component of wind turbines is derived from a rare earth mainly found in China. It is mined and processed in the most appalling conditions for the workers. Is this not going to increase in price? By the way, several wind turbines have broken after a short service life.

    • Jeremy Poynton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Shale shale shale shale shale.

      It will both provide us with cheap energy, and give us time to develop truly alternative energy sources – Thorium and nuclear fission spring to mind. If Huhne had any integrity, he would be moving heaven and earth to get shale gas moving in the UK. He’d rather wave his green credentials and have old folk die, it would seem. Hopefully the CPS will do us a favour and remove him from politics.

    • Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Reply to John,

      Reliance on CCGT
      1. would leave us exposed to world gas prices and issues to do with the secuity of supply.
      or
      2. would result in us expending our own gas stocks which should be retained as a strategic reserve wherever possible.

      The use of a primary energy source (gas can be pumped and burned at the point of use) to produce a secondary energy source is questionable as the energy output is obviously affected by the inefficiency of the system.

      • A different Simon
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Coal gasification , preferably in-situ . Take a look at UCG (Underground Coal Gasification) . The synthesis-gas so produced is eminently suitable for use in CCGT or conversion into liquid fuels for cars .

        UCG can give the U.K. it’s soft landing .

        Coal gas a.k.a. “town gas” was what was pumped into houses before natural gas and is as you know was used to facilitate suicide .

        • Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          Do you have any remote concept of very cheap energy which would be needed to ‘give the UK it’s soft landing’ Simon?

          Now compare your claim with the reality of UCG.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_coal_gasification

          • A different Simon
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            UCG has been demonstrated on a small scale continuously for 50 years . Above ground coal gasification used to supply the whole of the UK with gas .

            Sasol are using above ground coal gasification in South Africa to produce a high proportion of that countries transport fuels .

            The Shenhua Group are using above ground gasification and gas to liquid plant to produce tens of thousands of barrels of liquid fuel per day .

            Pretty soon the U.K. won’t have anything much that the rest of the World wants to buy and we will have difficulty in purchasing our energy from abroad .

            My assessment is that UCG , along with nuclear and renewables , has a vital role to play in the mix of U.K. energy supply .

            I have put my money where my mouth is by purchasing shares in companies which intend to implement/operate UCG plants in the UK , central Europe , the US , Mongolia and Australia .

            Whilst Cuadrilla may/may not have found a huge amount of shale gas in the Bowland Shales in Blackpool the economics of extracting it are questionable , it most certainly is not easy money for the companies taking the risks and it probably won’t get approval from DECC anyway .

            Rebecca , I would not pretend we are going to have as relatively easy time as we’ve had in the past .

            Without access to unconventional gas sources things would be a lot bleaker than they are .

      • Mark
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        If we had to rely on remaining Norwegian and UK North Sea gas, and LNG as a large import source then I might agree with you. The find of shale gas near Blackpool is said to contain 200Tcf (worth about £1.2 trillion at 60 p/therm – enough to pay off all outstanding gilts or almost the total we have borrowed for our mortgages – which is slightly below current UK wholesale gas prices). Our current annual gas consumption is about 3.3 Tcf. There are other excellent shale prospects elsewhere in the country including East Anglia.

        Develop these, and we can forget about relying on LNG from Trinidad, Nigeria, Qatar etc. – it’s our own gas that can substitute for imports (we might even consider exporting some of it).

        There really still isn’t a “world” gas price. Gas is expensive to transport, mostly by long purpose built pipeline, or via dedicated LNG terminals and ships. That’s why the benchmark price in the US at Henry Hub can be just $3.60/MMBtu = about 23p/therm while we’re paying around 65p/therm on the same wholesale basis. Produce our own gas, and we could be cost competitive with the USA.

        • Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Can anything whatsoever be done with the Blackpool shale gas?http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-13599161
          Let’s hope so.

          • Mark
            Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            Of course it can. I’ve already suggested that we could legislate a tithing as an earthquake insurance fund, that could then be diverted for local development if earthquakes proved not to be a practical issue, as seems reasonably likely. The underlying geology doesn’t suggest risk of more than barely detectable tremors. There is more risk of surface damage from subsidence in old coal mine workings, where solid coal has been removed.

            Some global history of shale gas:

            http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/gsl/geoscientist/features/page9767.html

            Opponents of shale gas seem to be strongly motivated by its potential to undermine their vision for trying to force us to stop using hydrocarbons.

          • Posted October 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            or perhaps they live in Blackpool and are a bit scared Mark.

      • Steven Whitfield
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 2:38 am | Permalink

        I wish we had retained more fuel as strategic reserves but governments don’t seem to do long term strategic planning.

        Unfortunately we sold most of the recoverable oil off when a barrel was trading at around the $25 mark or less. Oil company profit and revenue for the exchequer was the only consideration.

        Michael Heseltine’s ‘dash for gas’ in the early 90’s was stupidly short sighted now we are having to pay through the nose for imported gas.

        • A different Simon
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Would you let them look after your house-sit for you in Winter ?

          By the time you got back the spendaholics would have burned the banister rails , the floor boards the whole lot .

          With this shale gas and also exploitation for coal using underground gasification do you reckon there is any chance whatsovever of setting up a sovereign wealth fund so there is something left for future generations ?

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Nuclear power is not cheap if you include all costs.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        It is fairly cheap certainly cheaper than wind, PV or wave.

        • Posted October 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          PV is solar (photovoltaic) in case anyone wants to know.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Was it not the case that when politicians were living in the fantasy world of the end of boom and bust, they thought that by peddling the fear of global warming they could raise taxes from people without them complaining? Living in their fantasy world they thought they had found the holy grail – a popular tax which would allow them to squander more and more money without complaint and in some cases making themselves and/or their families very rich. Now economic reality has arrived with a vengeance and they are faced with the dilemma of what to do with their grand scheme.
    Just like the EU and the eurozone the logical conclusion of such actions were evident from the outset but were at best ignored whilst portraying those who could foresee the problems as some kind of crazy deniers of their infinite wisdom and knowledge. The consequences of all these bad decisions will take generations to repair but we won’t even start with the current batch of so-called leaders.

  15. Bryan
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The world stops all CO2 emissions from every source, all the plants and trees die, there is no oxygen, we all die – but hey, the Green Party and Mr Huhne are happy (we assume).

    But no fear! China, USA, India etc will continue to pump global warming stuff into the atmosphere in order not to ruin their economies.

    We are all saved

    Hurrah

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry, plants can produce CO2 if they need to. Also humans can produce a small amount of CO2 during respiration.

  16. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    More research, development and enterprise is needed. There will always be a market for energy, so producing it cost effectively should be commercially attractive, given that their is a fair market.

    An example of what can be done is provided by British Sugar – see http://www.britishsugar.co.uk/Tomatoes.aspx

    They are using the waste heat from their CHP units to heat adjacent greenhouse. They also feed their captured CO2 into the greenhouse as this increases the yield. It is always good to turn your waste into an asset. Carbon capture and use it!

  17. Caterpillar
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    As a sceptic (i.e. neither yet a denier nor believer) I am glad to see another report by the Berkeley group, carefully obtaining, validating and re-analyzing the data. I also like that on the berkleyearth.org site that data, programs and draft papers are all made available to help transparency.

    The papers discussed today (avaialble at http://berkeleyearth.org/resources.php) do show:

    (1) Land surface temperatures have risen, and the validity of the data has not been destroyed by for example changing city sizes.
    (2) It identifies a newish direction of questioning the role of the AMO, and openly says that the AMO behaviour may leverage greenhouse effects (i.e. make things worse), may be caused by the same forcing as the land surface temperature rising (e.g. greenhouse gases) or may be natural fluctuations (and so manmade warming would be less than others claim).

    The point so far seems to be that the land data is OK, there are possibly other mechanisms, and Berkeley will now look at the sea data (all openly).

    The Berkeley project is being properly sceptical and transparent, and for all sceptics this is good news, for deniers and believers the jury is still out.

    (BTW – I am not a sceptic on the greenbelt, I think it needs to change).

    • Major Loophole
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      “(BTW – I am not a sceptic on the greenbelt, I think it needs to change).”

      Indeed it does. It needs to be enhanced.

      Guess who wrote this:

      “Parks and gardens will cover our pastures and ploughed fields. When the time comes there will be plenty of room for our towns and cities to expand again.”

      • Caterpillar
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – just looked it up. WC in ‘Popular Mecahnics’, of all places, in1932. I’ll give it a browse.

      • Bryan
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Don’t know but was it that famous car owner who once said ( I paraphrase) that the greenbelt was a Labour invention and they were going to build on it?

        • Major Loophole
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Bryan

          Caterpillar found it. The whole piece is astounding. Churchill predicted nuclear power before Einstein said the atom will never be split.

          Although the article was published in Popular Mechanics in 1932, there’s some evidence that he wrote the first drafts as early as 1926/7. I can’t quote the source for this view, though; lost my references to that.

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      It seems that at this stage Berkeley have only looked at the temperature stations used by NASA GISS, NOAA and HadCru. Their station count peaks at c7000 before 1990 and drops to c1200 around 1990, with only c200 stations common to both pre and post 1990 periods. It has been argued that this introduced a splicing artifact into the temperature record, causing an upward tilt from 1990 on. Among other changes made, it appears that all stations at higher altitudes were eliminated and there was a noticeable shift in the distribution of stations away from the poles and towards the equator. The Muir Russell and Oxburgh enquiries, set up post climategate, did not examine this claim, though invited to do so. Maybe the Berkeley study will provide the answer.

      I think that the next phase of their study, which will include some 39000 stations with digitised records, will provide a better guide. It should be remembered, of course, that still leaves the oceans which account for c70% or th earth`s surface.

    • Amanda
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      OK, I took a look at the Berkley papers. Note one – they are not peer reviewed yet. They are in the process of peer review.

      Note two – search for comment on said papers. I find that the papers have unusually for the scientific process been sent out to the media, before being either peer reviewed or accepted for a journal.

      Note three – there is criticism of the methodology used by Berkley. The data they use is not new, it is reworked from older papers, but their time span is longer than these papers. It is said that under peer review the data needs to be reworked.

      So, there we have it. A media song and dance about non-peer reviewed data, when in previous times we had to believe what we were told because it was ‘peer reviewed’ – only then we found out that the latter process had been ‘nobbled’.

      You really would think that those who wish to ‘prove’ man made carbon induced global warming, that leads to disasters, would be more careful with their ‘science’.
      As with all science, social or physical, scepticsm is healthy, and I question an organization who puts media attention ahead of proper analysis.

      As to the temperature: the question of whether temperature rises or falls is not in doubt, it does both; when we know that the Antartic, when in exactly the same place as it is today, was once green, and the Sahara was criss-crossed with water once, then who would doubt it. What is in question is

      1. The effects of temperature change. Warmer times will have positive effects as well as negative. But the likes of the BBC only associate disaster with warmer temperatures: which is ludicrious given history.

      2. What causes temperature to change? It could just as easily be the sun’s activities as a tiny amount of trace gas in the atmosphere.

      3. Can man’s activities affect the temperature of the earth, in any way?

  18. Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Politically there may be a two pronged approach to greenery. We’ve already seen one in Mr Osborne’s labelling the Climate Change Act as “Labour’s” (never mind that he voted for it). The other will be to say that green initiatives will have to be “postponed” in these straitened times. (Government and taxpayers can’t afford optional extras any more.)

    If Mr Huhne really wants to do something about the energy bills, abolish the expensive and failed Ofgem and adopt what is apparently the norm in North America, where transparent monthly pricing goes up and down with wholesale markets.

    Disadvantages? Energy companies will hate it as they’ll have to become utilities again (rightly) and government imposts will have to be shown separately. Ouch!

  19. alan jutson
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    For gods sake just get on and build some more conventional power stations, instead of procrastinating for years and years, the newer ones are more efficient in every way than the old ones, and will at least give us some breathing space.

    I do not care what the EU says, I just want to be able to use some electricity 24 hours a day in the next decade, without regular power cuts.

    If the government are so concerned about the cost of power, then scrap the 5% vat on bills, scrap carbon taxes.
    Encourage families to insulate homes with vat at Zero on all bona fide insulation products.

    Alternative: Force more competition, or Nationalise the bloody lot.

  20. backofanenvelope
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I see that Mr Osborne (the man with the purse strings) has said that our “greenery” will operate at the same rate as our partners (enemies) in the EU. So, it will be the usual arrangement, a “green” facade with a different policy operating behind it. In this case, a more sensible policy. But wouldn’t be nice to be honest about it for once.

  21. NickW
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    How do you arrive at a single figure for global land temperatures?

    Where are the temperatures measured and what arithmetical treatment is used to process them into a single figure?

    Were the same measuring stations and the same arithmetical treatment used to calculate a single figure for global land temperatures in the 1950s?

    A good starting point would be for the BBC to list all the measuring stations used to compile the data set so that crowd sourcing can be used to show photographs and features of all the measuring stations.

    In what way has the local environment changed around these measuring stations in the last 50 years?

    I have seen pictures of weather stations in the middle of tarmac parking lots, placed adjacent to air conditioning outlets, and placed at Arctic/ Antarctic airports where jet exhaust significantly impacts temperature measurements. There are very good reasons for placing weather stations at airports, but they cannot be reliably used as indicators of climate change.

    Before we condemn ourselves to poverty and export all our jobs to China, we should make sure that the “Facts” on which our policy is based stand up to scientific scrutiny.

    I want to see that complete list of global weather stations before I even accept that global temperatures are changing, and once that is done we can begin a proper discussion as to what was the cause of the Middle Age warm period and other climate change periods which very clearly had absolutely nothing to do with industrial output of CO2.

    The BBC has its own unique view of climate change which has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of objective scientific analysis. The BBC pension fund is heavily invested into green technology which does not make them a disinterested party.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      NickW:

      I thought the key point of the Berkeley project was to address the criticisms you mention. Indeed the first two draft papers (http://berkeleyearth.org/resources.php) address the averaging algorithm and station siting issues you mention.

      Also as I note in my comment above Berkeley also release their data set (a few hundred MBs in text format) and prgroammes. The BBC may do ‘odd’ presenting, but the Berkeley Earth project appears to be doing exactly as you desire.

      • oldtimer
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        This Berkeley paper seems to rely on the same number of temperature stations as earlier studies. These vary quite widely from a high of over 7000 to a low of c1200. The big drop to 1200 stations occurred around 1990 of which only c200 were common to the pre and post 1990 periods. Someone who investigated this in depth, EM Smith, claimed that the reduction introduced a splicing artifact into the record. Among other things he noted that, post 1990, all stations at higher altitudes were eliminated and there was a pronounced drift, in the location of stations, from the poles towards the equator. As far as I am aware, no one has challenged his findings; they were certainly not investigated by the Muir Russell or Oxburgh enquiries set up by the government following climategate. It may be that the Berkeley study is attempting to compensate for these changes. Presumably we will find out as their calculations are studied.

        They also say that they intend to pursue their study to include data from the 39000 stations which have digitised data. That, to me, seems a more promising line of investigation; yet we should remember that the oceans account for c70% of the world`s surface.

    • Jeremy Poynton
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Go to Watts Up With That. All you need on surface stations is there. Including the Chinese ones Michael Mann used which …. don’t seem to exist.

  22. Anoneumouse
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The BBC this morning, demonstrated why the licence tax should be abolished. The report was biased and did not report that the paper was not peer reviewed.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/20/the-berkeley-earth-surface-temperature-project-puts-pr-before-peer-review/

    • NickW
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      This is what a peer reviewer actually had to say;

      As I was invited by The Economist to comment publicly, I would recommend rejecting Muller et al in the current form and suggest that it be resubmitted with meaningful and appropriate 30 year comparisons for the same time periods used by the Menne et al and Fall et al cited papers. I would be happy to review the paper again at that time.

      I also believe it would be premature and inappropriate to have a news article highlighting the conclusions of this paper until such time meaningful data comparisons are produced and the paper passes peer review.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Correct, the BBC has jumped on some early PR fluff issued on the BEST Climate Paper from Berkley. This is an early draft and has NOT been peer reviewed by scientists on all sides of the debate.

      Yet again the ‘Green Scam’ supporters like the Beeb and its dismal environmental reporters who have been linked directly to the ‘Climategate’ emails have shown their true colours. The “Hockey Team” lead by Michael Mann got most upset when they thought the BBC were not pushing out their PR message. Note Richard Black is the BBC correspondent refered to in this email release and Michael Mann is the scientist at the centre of the dispute on climate change and the use of (questionable-ed) statistics and statistical methods:

      1255352444.txt (spelling and grammar corrected)

      From: Michael Mann
      To: Stephen H Schneider
      Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
      Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 09:00:44 -0400
      Extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. It’s particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job). From what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.
      We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what’s up here?
      Mike

      These are the “scientists” that feed the IPCC as lead authors and who in turn advise governments on policy. Until we cut out this (questionable version-ed) of science and scientific method we will never truely be able to tackle the green push for power and control.

      I would recommend an excellent book by Andrew Montford called ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion: the corruption of science” to really understand what these people are doing. Its based on the work of Canadian statistician called Steve McIntyre who quickly sussed out there was something very wrong with the way the statistics had been used to bolster the case of man-made global warming. See also McIntyre’s blog called Climate Audit.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Anoneumouse:

      This may be fair comment on the BBC, but equally I wouldn’t want to see the Berkeley project being dragged into the ‘dirt’. The Berkeley project has submitted its papers for review, but equally has made its drafts available for public scrutiny (along with data and programmes). As well as attempting to address the criticisms of averaging algorithm, and urban heat sources, the criticism of a self-reinforcing refereeing system is being addressed by putting everything into the public domain, including draft papers. ‘We’ will be able to see before and after refereeing papers.

      As a sceptic (neither denier nor believer) I welcome the Berkeley approach; it may end up being used as media, believer or denier ammunition or the extant community of climatologists might not appreciate this group of large data set physicists entering their territory, but at the end of the day anyone can go to the website and download everything.

      • Amanda
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Maybe the publication of the data for anyone to comment on is good, or maybe Berkley have done it on purpose to get media attention !! Given the serious ‘crimes’ and distortions perpretrated in the name of climate science Berkley would have been wise, if the former was their intention, to spell out their objective clearly – to the media !!

        Tthe BBC, should be saying that this data is not peer reviewed and simply there for anyone to look at and comment on. They should NOT be jumping to conculsion about causes and outcomes based on their own bigotry.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          Why not many on this site have already come to their own conclusion on many things and when conclusive evidence of why they are wrong is shown still come out with the same thing.

      • Mactheknife
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        The point is Caterpillar is that the “warmistas” at the Beeb get to spin it out to millions giving their own verdict on AGW. I’m sure the vast majority of people still take the BBC seriously despite its public pronouncement that it is not impartial on the subject of climate change.

  23. Damien
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    It seems unfair that those who can least afford this green energy carbon tax are the people who will pay the most including large families and the elderly. There is also some suggestion that thousands may be dying of hypothermia because they are unable to afford these green carbon tax energy bills. Surely that alone would give cause to halt this nonsense until a new solution to global warming can be found?.

    It seems that the BBC is has a very large carbon footprint from all the hot air it produces and buildings they occupy. Would it not be easier to divert all the TV license fees (another regressive tax) and use it to replace the green energy carbon tax for millions of people?

  24. Sam Sailor
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    John since you have started this blog which item has recorded the largest number of comments from your readers?

    I think it was the recent post on European questions for Ministers where 232 written responses were posted.
    Recent response levels have been higher than previous years, and I often now get more than 100 per story.
    Also popular were inflation -190, Huhne, energy prices and global warming -183, social divisions -180, Quantitative Easing – 166 and railway plans -163.

  25. StrongholdBarricades
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I will believe that there is a green agenda, rather than a reduction of cost issue, when all public buildings become festooned with solar panels, have a turbine on every corner, enjoy heat provided from geo thermal sources, fully insulate those buildings, and actually recycle the water.

    Until then, I’m afraid that it is simply do as I say not as I do

    • BobE
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes and MPs travel in electric cars only.

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Yes yes yes
    And the regime in place for non-carbon pollutants needs looking at too
    The optical fibre production (for instance) in the UK was amongst the cleanest in the world, but as soon as a new chimney technique was invented it would be mandated here, making the anti-pollution regime the most expensive in the world
    It is no surprise that much production has moved to India and China and I know for a fact that their factories are using much cheaper and less clean chimney techniques than were ever used in the UK
    This unilateral attempt to clean up the world is just doing ourselves out of jobs and wealth creating ability
    We need to transform into a multilateral strategy which looks at what will happen if production in the UK is forced to close
    We also have buying power with those Chinese and Indian factories, it is hypocritical in the extreme to force relatively clean British factories to shut and then place large orders for the production output from the dirtiest factory in the world for that type of goods
    And so on

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Iain ,

      You , I and a lot of individuals are competing with India and China but not everyone is .

      All this handicapping of U.K. production is intentionally designed to protect the investments companies have made in moving their production to India and China .

      Remember , China did not compete head on with the West ; it persuaded the West to move production to the East thereby weakening the West .

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      “It is no surprise that much production has moved to India and China and I know for a fact that their factories are using much cheaper and less clean chimney techniques than were ever used in the UK”

      They also use much cheaper workers as well.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        With little health & safety. Shall we compete with that?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted October 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        In fair competition a well looked after workforce with win against poorly treated workforces every time

        You only need to scratch the surface of the story of the apple factories in China for instance to know what is going on there

        The British workforce would win IF 1 we were not handing over their hard won improved production techniques and intellectual property to competitor nations willy nilly and 2 if we did not impose bordering on the impossible over ambitious (and counter productive when looked at on a world scale) anti pollution measures

        we need to compete by being the best not by being the cheapest, there is no other way for us!

  27. startledcod
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Given everything else that could cause a ris ein blood pressure it is the thing that made me splutter more than anything else was Chris Huhne saying that his climate measures only added 9% to consumer energy bills, before going to produce his completely fatuous argument about bills falling in the future (based upon shaky assumptions about future fossil fuel costs and completely ignoring, for instance, the shale off Blackpool).

    ONLY 9% Chris!!!

  28. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    http://www.tullettprebon.com/Documents/strategyinsights/tp0510_TPSI_report_005_LR.pdf

    See how world population growth and fossil fuel consumption continue to rise exponentially. When was the last time population growth was discuseed by the trendy David Cameron ?..I don’t think he has because it’s an essentially non PC subject

    Strangely, Chris Huhme cannot bring himself to speak out about the most serious threat to mankind – a rapidly expanding world population.
    So CO2 from big business and motor vehicles is in his firing line – another example of the moral absolutism in this topsy turvy world.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      So (his wife-ed) is caught speeding (,he) has to take it out on motor vehicles .

      If he’d got done for driving under the influence no doubt he would be trying to close all the pubs down …. oh , wait a minute .

  29. libertarian
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    I’m afraid I only read the first paragraph and fell about laughing when you said “no one wants to build on green belt land or AONB. Sorry buy you’re wrong the ruling Conservative Party in Ashford Kent are DOING that right now. The 14 home mediaeval hamlet of Chilmington Green is to have 9,000, yes 9,000 new houses built on it, adding to the 16,000 green belt ( and flood plain I kid you not) houses already built. Oh and the council are also in the 3rd glorious year of constructing a £16 million roundabout on an AONB , the roundabout was necessary to allow bus access from the new park and ride scheme Oh except the park and ride scheme was abandoned because no bus company was interested in operating it!!!

  30. Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I am happy to accept the possibility the we have Global Warming, although I think some of the data used to prove this are flawed. What I have never seen is any conclusive evidence that such warming is man-made, and more importantly whether it is possible for the human race to in anyway change the course of global warming.

    It is worth noting that sunspots have declined over the last couple of years, and the last time this happened was from 1645 to 1700 AD. During this interval of greatly reduced sunspot activity, known as the Maunder Minimum, global climates turned bitterly cold (the Little Ice Age), demonstrating a clear correspondence between sunspots and cool climate. It is worth noting that during this period, “Winters in Europe were bitterly cold, and summers were rainy and too cool for growing cereal crops, resulting in widespread famine and disease. About a third of the population of Europe perished. Note that “A third of the population of Europe perished” The effects of possible cooling are far, far,worse than those predicted by the most alarmist global warming zealots and any government that ignores this possibility is being totally negligent.

    Thus, I am personally more worried about cooling, particularly in view of the present high prices of fuel and the government’s dilatory approach to nuclear power.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      According to NASA Little Ice Age lasted from 1550 AD to 1850 AD and was coldest in 1650, 1770, and 1850.

      Also the number of sunspots have been decreasing recently but the average global temperature has been rising. This is why scientists concluded that global warming isn’t caused by sunspots.

      • APL
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        uanime5: ” According to NASA .. ”

        NASA? Oh, the world renown history department at the university of Florida.

  31. Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    There is nothing inherently admirable about cutting energy use unless there is a shortage of energy.

    The correlation between energy use and GNP is undisputed.

    In fact there is no possible shortage of energy (nuclear alone being unlimited for at least billions of years).. The current shortage is entirely the fault of politicians.

    I very much doubt if anything close to the majority of people would promote “saving energy” when it means killing 10s of thousands of pensioners if our politicians, amplified by a corrupt and fascistic state broadcater were not pushing their lies.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      There will never be a shortage of energy, but supplies of the right type are expensive.

  32. David Price
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    “Carbon dioxide policies are now adding nearly 10% to the total cost of typical bills. This is going to get bigger if current policies continue.”

    It already is – British Gas helpfully state on the back of my bill that the electricity charge includes a 12% plus VAT climate levy.

    Why is the amount of climate levy specified by the government different between suppliers?
    What the heck is this being spent on? I am told something different each time I ask.
    Why am I paying VAT on a tax?

    I have insulated my home above the recommended level and swapped energy supplier twice in the last year. Frankly it is a complete waste of time because the government is clearly imposing arbitrary levys which overwhelm any savings I can make switching supplier.

    I would happily hold Milliband and Huhne responsible for this extortion of the consumer, except Cameron gaily dances to the same demented tune.

  33. forthurst
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The BBC hysteria is not about climate change but that it is largely or wholly due to mankinds’ generation of CO2 and that that generation causes a positive feedback of further warming as the higher the atmospheric CO2 concentration, the greater the effect of heat retention, therefore there isn’t a moment to lose etc.

    The causes of the hysteria have not be proven, not even slightly. Therefore this new published data adds absolutely nothing in terms of justification for the behaviour of this government in its approach to energy supply:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/25/some-reactions-to-the-cloud-experiment/

    The AGW scam has been designed to make the West uncompetitive with the East. it would appear that the globalists, having trashed the West with third world immigration, are in a hurry to transfer their seat of operations Eastward, so transfering Western industry is now a top priority.

    Question: by what mechanism does the BBC keep itself treacherously in line with the globalists’ agenda?

  34. Ruth
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I do find Chris Huhne’s comments insulting pretty much all the time. Of course I’m too thick to shop around for the cheapest energy… as a matter of fact, I did a price check recently and, leaving aside the one or two suppliers who I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole due to their less than ethical practices, it turns out I’m already on the best tariff.

    When I needed to replace some windows a few years ago, I opted for top quality wooden double glazed windows. This made an immediate difference. I then doubled the loft insulation, this also helped heat retention. My gas usage went down, the price went up and so did my costs.

    Short of bricking up a door and replacing 2 very tiny windows with double glazed ones, there is nothing more I can do to improve efficiency. But still the price goes up, thanks to these stupid taxes. Despite my best efforts, my bills have doubled in the last ten years. So I’m less than enthusiastic about the green taxes, think we will be facing blackouts within years due to this new religion worshipping the god of CO2 emissions.

  35. Posted October 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Taxing politicians are no different to the Machines in the MATRIX films,harvesting the excess electricity from live humans kept in battery farms hooked up to the MATRIX itself,which is a programme designed to keep their brains working,otherwise they atrophy and die without the mental stimulation.That is HOW our political class sees us except we are actually conscious and live our humdrum lives ,work bring up families and supply fodder
    [children] for the Tax Machine to replace us when we die,having watched Sky on Gaddaffi’s passing and the reaction of the crowds,I absolutely understand their desire for REVENGE
    after all they endured 42 years,so for anyone over 65 it is too late to get back what MIGHT
    have been,I am a golfer and can catagorically say to try starting at 65 plus is NOT POSSIBLE,I am lucky I played off scratch and remember what it felt like,I actually have a mental memory [VIVID] of my best round ever,a 66 on a par 72 course it will be in my head at the point I GO,and I will have a smile on my face. And I am only talking of a GAME
    what about really important things.Somebody on a talk show said Gaddaffi could have avoided everything if he had Spread the Libyan wealth around as much as possible,which is true given that it is oil based,therefore in my opinion he deserved what he got.One day
    the climate change zealots will be shown to have been totally wrong BUT what sort of revenge will they all attract,which they should do.

  36. Barry Sheridan
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, thank you for your informed comment, however you ought to have recognised by now that the BBC does not report factually about matters such as the world’s climate, anymore than it does about Europe or Economics. Could I urge you to find another source for such information.

  37. Posted October 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    No-one wants to see the Green Belt concreted over

    *Ahem*

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Yeah! What do want? Hippies or roads?

  38. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Regardless of whether or not ‘the science is settled’ those exhorting us to cut back are among the biggest consumers out. (Prince Charles, Sting et al)

    We don’t like green taxes. Especially because we have doubts about where the taxes are spent and whom they benefit and what vested interests they have in it.

    Unilateralism seems futile, nay economically suicidal in this globalised world.

    And finally. And once again. How can we possibly have control over energy demands when we have no control over the amount of people who will live here or any idea how many there will be ?

    Isn’t population the most important factor in forecasting carbon emissions ? How come it never features in any essay or debate on the subject ?

  39. Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    We are sat on huge amounts of Shale Gas. This can be exploited cheaply and quickly to reduce energy prices and reduce carbon emmissions as it replaces old Oil and Coal-fired plant.

    We can link Northolt to Heathrow quickly to give Heathrow a temporary third runway, expand at Luton, Southend and Manston, while we get on and build Boris’s island airport in the Thames.

    Our lack of ambition over HS rail is shameful. We should be planning to go to Leeds, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      John ,

      Whilst we could do with extra runway capacity now do you think the demand for air travel will remain ?

      I can’t see many Brits having the money for foreign holidays every year any more .

      Even with advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracture stimulation extracting gas from low permeability shale is challenging as the Texans have found out with the Barnett shales . I hope Cuadrilla get the go ahead to carry out a pilot project so everyon can see what the reality is with the Bowland shales .

      Reply: I think airline demand will carry on rising – that’s certainly what the industry thinks

  40. Alan Redford
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    John – please come of the fence and treat ‘Global Warming’ as the ridiculous eco-loon substitute anti-nuke religion that it is. Politicians love it though because of the MONEY.

  41. ms m davies
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    With the BBC Pension Funds linked to Climate Policy, I would think that they had a vested interest in ‘Climate Change’. They are pushing this scam for all it’s worth using the people’s’ Licence Fee money. What a disgrace!

  42. uanime5
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    “The Mayor of London advocates a whole new London airport to the east of the capital.”

    Is this the same Mayor of London who opposed the third runway at Heathrow?

    “It is by no means clear that such long distance fast trains do save carbon dioxide when you add in the car and taxi rides to get to the stations.”

    Driving to a train station, then taking a train will almost always produce less CO2 than driving the whole distance in a car because a train produces less CO2 per mile.

    “The BBC climate change show this morning told us there is a new independent scientific study which proves the world’s land surface is now 1 degree hotter than in 1950. They jumped from this to imply that therefore the global warming powers of carbon dioxide have been proven. We need to know if the temperature increase was consistent , correlated with the build up of carbon dioxide.”

    There have been a large number of scientific studies showing that there is a correlation between increasing CO2 levels and rising temperatures. Each new study doesn’t need to prove what has already been proven.

    “We need to know what other explanations for the warming they have examined and rejected.”

    Why? If they’ve been rejected this means that there is no evidence showing that they are causing climate change or that the evidence shows that they cannot be the cause of climate change.

  43. APL
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    JR: “Carbon capture is both untried and expensive.”

    A pointless waste of money too.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know why anyone bothers? Maybe it’s expensive because it’s untried?

      • forthurst
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        You are seriously deluded if you believe that engineers go about their work in such an haphazard way that they have no idea before they start of the design of what they are building or what it would cost to build or what it would cost to run after construction. Some of the comments I read on this site suggest some people believe that scientific matters are subject to political arguments in which there is not a correct or incorrect, but a legitimate left or right view; there is not: science is based on the laws of nature, not man.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        It is expensive because of the laws of physics and the energy wasted in the capture and storage.

      • APL
        Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Bazman: “Maybe it’s expensive because it’s untried?”

        It’s expensive because it’s uneconomic. We used to, yes, still do, have a little old company that specialised in extracting gasses from the atmosphere and compressing them bottling the gas, it was called the British oxygen company.

        BOC could sell the gasses thereby captured to Hospitals and industry.

        They and their competitors have managed to supply the demand for atmospheric gasses – including CO2, since forever.

        By the way, when did you last drink a Coke, Pepsi, or carbonated bottled water?

  44. Martin
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    1) There is no need for more taxes – the free market has caught up.

    2) CO2 – plant more trees – we have plenty of moorland that was forest a few thousand years ago and hence the space for the trees.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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