Carbon dioxide disasters

I have long argued it makes no sense to make energy so dear in the UK that the main industries that need energy leave our shores to burn cheaper fuel somewhere else. That was one of the reasons I did not support Labour’s Climate Change Act, and why I disagreed with the Lib Dem policies on energy under the Coalition which a Lib Dem led DECC championed.

We have seen again recently the damage dear energy does. The mothballing of Redcar steel making is about high energy prices as well as about low steel prices. Many industrial jobs have been lost thanks to the EU/UK dear energy policy.

The decision at Drax to curb its investment in anti Carbon dioxide was a response to this government’s decision to cut back on renewable subsidies. Many have thought it odd that it is environmentally friendly to cut down trees in Canada, ship them across the Atlantic and take them to Drax to burn. Wood after all produces similar CO2 and pollution to coal.

The UK needs to revisit more of its dear energy policies. The march of the makers and the Northern Powerhouse require more cheap energy and more things made in the UK. That does not add to CO2 output worldwide, merely brings more of it home for the goods we intend to consume.

As many of you have pointed out, the UK also needs to adjust its CO2 targets for a rising population.  If we keep inviting in so many extra people CO 2 output will go up.


  1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
    October 2, 2015

    “inviting in so many extra people” no we are not. In most circumstances these people are trying to illegally break into the UK. Also when they misbehave themselves the invite is not withdrawn. Instead they are allowed to stay because its their “human right” or its “unsafe” for them to return home.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      October 2, 2015

      600k immigrants arrive legally every year. More than that will come legally once this current wave of “refugees” is processed to become legal EU citizens.

      The illegals are the tip of the iceberg (although they should still be dealt with with no compassion as they are illegals subverting our laws and processes for their own ends).

      1. Mark
        October 2, 2015

        Evidence suggests that many illegal immigrants are simply legal immigrants who overstayed their visas. This applies particularly to those who came here on student visas. Home Office longitudinal studies show that only a sixth to a quarter of student immigrants still have valid leave to remain five years after first coming to the UK, yet emigration of former students is rather less than a third of those arriving.

    2. Mike Stallard
      October 2, 2015

      Mrs Rita Webb, that is the law of the EU. If anyone asks for asylum, they are granted it. Even if they are Libyan soldiers who have behaved really badly. There is nothing you or I or even Mr Redwood can do about that.

      And the Climate Change fiasco is the same thing. What is so terribly depressing is the Christopher Booker was warning about this certainly five years ago and nobody listened. Now it is coming to pass and still nobody is listening.
      If you go on Amazon, you will find quite a lot of top scientists who have written a book with the same title: “The Global Warning Scam”.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        October 2, 2015

        Quite right Mike and they also said that for every ‘green’ job at least 3 jobs would be lost in other industries. This is also coming true..

        What is the point in meeting climate change rules in this country, while another country on the other side of the world takes up the manufacturing and produces the same CO2 emissions? Laughable! Just like all the other ridiculous laws the EU make up. CO2 is CO2 wherever it is produced and does the same ‘harm’ if any at all.

    3. Anonymous
      October 2, 2015

      Rita Webb (Mrs)

      If this appeal is allowed then the message will go out that to misbehave and molest women is a sure way to stay in Britain.

      The Tory party have no intention of repealing the Human Rights Act. What’s worse is that they pretend to be angry about it.

      Why does anyone ever vote for them ?

    4. Martin
      October 2, 2015

      I have met plenty of non UK citizens and they are all here legally. Most foreign people in the UK are here legally. They are tourists, students, businessmen, and dare I say it legal immigrants. Indeed the only illegal immigrant I have ever suspected was a UK national in another country!

      Mrs May and previous Home Secretaries successful efforts to deport are of course never reported as it does not sell tabloid newspapers.

      Ever been to Heathrow and seen the passport checking queues? I have seen nobody “breaking in” as you put it. Indeed I am amazed at the patience travelers have with the queues at our airports.

      Most frontiers are not Berlin Wall style efforts and perhaps you need to travel to appreciate this. Our land border with the Irish Republic is a case in point.

      1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
        October 2, 2015

        Ever been near Calais?

      2. libertarian
        October 3, 2015


        In general I’m agnostic on immigration but I have to answer your rather silly assertion.

        I’m afraid literally breaking into UK is a nightly occurrence where I live , by the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. We just spent a whole summer of disruption in Kent due to illegals entering the tunnel on foot, under trains and cars and having hijacked lorries. We had multiple deaths and injuries caused by people desperate to break in and enter the country illegally.


        Ever driven along the M20 and seen the illegals on the hard shoulder? Ever been to Dover, Folkestone, Ashford ? No thought not

  2. Antisthenes
    October 2, 2015

    Those who say that the climate change debate is settled because the models say so are if a new scientific discovery just made turns out to be correct will show them to be highly inaccurate. I have always doubted those models because one predicting the future with any degree of certainty that far ahead has to be impossible as predicting the weather more than 5 days ahead is not yet possible. We also know that predictions on any thing have very few success. Two scientific knowledge although very advanced is not yet up to the task of understanding enough about all the factors that effect climate change for them to be incorporated into the models so make them unreliable.

    The new discovery is that a gas that is known to be produced naturally and one that causes climate cooling is being produced in greater abundance than was first estimated. So if added to the models could in all probability paint a completely different picture to the one being shown now. I suspect that as time progresses new variables that effect the climate will emerge but until they all do the climate change debate is far from settled. It is highly probable that billions maybe trillions will be wasted because based on faulty information we are tackling environment problems the wrong way.

    1. Anonymous
      October 2, 2015

      The Human Race may well be the saviours of the planet.

      We are in the process of learning how to spot and divert mass extinction asteroids.

      So was our domination of the environment really a bad thing ?

    2. Lifelogic
      October 2, 2015

      The models have clearly been shown to be wrong already by events. They seem very keen on long term forecasts that cannot be proved wrong in the short term. But why trust the long term ones when the short term ones are so wrong.

      Particularly when the weather next month affects the weather the month after.

      They might as well try to predict to predict the lottery ball for the next 50 weeks using their garbage in garbage out computers.

    3. English Pensioner
      October 2, 2015

      Yes, I read the report that these volatile organic compounds, which cause cooling, are being given out by the oceans in far greater quantities than previously believed.
      If this is confirmed by further independent research, all the climate change models will need considerable adjustment; who knows maybe soon we have global cooling problems!

      1. Hefner
        October 2, 2015


    4. Hefner
      October 2, 2015

      Which gas is that? Have you got any reference?

      1. Mark
        October 2, 2015

        Isoprene. A search for it will turn up a number of scientific publications with the story.

      2. oldtimer
        October 2, 2015

        I believe this is a reference to isoprene, a volatile organic compound. A report has been issued by the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Germany.

        Link here:

      3. David Price
        October 3, 2015

        The emissions appear to be volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of which Isoprene is a major component. Isoprene is a very common component of plant biochemistry and also results from natural chemical processes in the surface layer of oceans.

        Here is one reference to recent findings that natural emissions of these VOCs is far greater than allowed for, if at all, in climate models;

    5. Qubus
      October 2, 2015

      Whilst not a believer in AGW, I should be interested to know which gas it is that produces climate cooling.

  3. Roy Grainger
    October 2, 2015

    It is curious that politicians of all major parties, including some of the Conservatives, are not out celebrating the closure of Redcar steelworks because that is exactly the outcome their energy pricing policy was aiming for surely ? – make it more expensive so that people use less. For any of them to moan about the works closing and jobs being lost is totally illogical.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 4, 2015

      Exactly – but they are politicians.

  4. Richard1
    October 2, 2015

    85% of global energy demand is met by fossil fuels. Unless and until there is a viable alternative, if CO2 emissions are really to be reduced either radical measures to shut down industry and reduce living standards and freedoms (eg the freedom to travel) are required, or the population needs to be culled. Which do green enthusiasts want? You would have thought leftists who believe in global warming hysteria would applaud the closing of the Redcar steel works. In a particularly inane development in this debate, environmental leftists are now trying to pin the Syrian crisis on global warming. We really need a rational debate on this topic, along the lines: is the problem really all its cracked up to be given the projections of doom haven’t materialised? and what sensible responses are there?

  5. Ian wragg
    October 2, 2015

    It’s a pity your boss and Gideon don’t understand that the CCA is doing immense damage to Britain. Shortly we will lose Egborough Ferrybridge and Longannet power stations accounting for a further loss of 5 gigawatt or about 10 % of installed capacity
    To compensate National Grid will deploy 3 gigawatt of emergency diesels under the STOR programme. Not only are these diesels filthy but we are paying 3 times more than for coal fired stations

    This is idiotic and only Eton educated morons would think differently.
    Please do a blog on the rank stupidity of the government non energy policy.

  6. Hefner
    October 2, 2015

    Coal is fossil fuel, wood is not. It should not be too difficult to understand the difference it makes in terms of CO2 emission. Burning fossil fuel is releasing carbon originally taken in by vegetation million of years ago, burning wood carbon taken in in the last tens of years.

    1. ian wragg
      October 2, 2015

      So is it a different type of CO2 or was my physics teacher lying to us?
      Either CO2 is bad or it isn’t. Saying that fossil fuel generated CO2 is worse than organic fuel makes no sense plus the energy content of 1 kg of coal/oil is immensely greater than a kilo of wood.

      1. Hefner
        October 2, 2015

        Sorry, I didn’t say that one is good, one is bad. I just said using fossil fuel creates an imbalance in the carbon cycle, by perturbing the sources and sinks.
        And just to be picky, yes, there is a difference in isotopic composition

    2. Lifelogic
      October 4, 2015

      Yes but if you did not burn the wood (build with it or just store it) you do not release the CO2.

      Coal is essentially just old wood there is no difference in essence other than timescale.

  7. alan jutson
    October 2, 2015

    John, both you, me, and thousands of others know that this is not about climate change, it is all about a reason for more tax raising powers to gain more money for governments to spend.

    The simple example is vehicle excise duty and its price bands.

    If you want to pay for it, you can buy and run a so called high pollution car, absolutely no problem.

    I see from press reports that the authorities are now worried about the so called power consumption figures and gradings for electrical equipment, apparently they do not think they are as accurate as are being stated by the manufacturers.

    If it was really about climate change, then the regulations all around the World should be the same, and all should ban high pollution and high energy use products.

    There is absolutely no point in each Country doing its own different thing.

  8. Gary C
    October 2, 2015

    How much is the loss of the Redcar steel works going to cost in benefits extra policing etc as the entire area falls into decline ?

    Would it be more beneficial to give temporary (until the cost of steel rises) state aid to keep the area alive ?

    Would the EU allow such a move ?

    And yes stop all this (to use a term often used on here) ‘green crap.’ Maybe think about opening a few coal mines and give some pride back to those areas that are desperate for work.

    1. Mark
      October 2, 2015

      I see the closure has already attracted £80m of funding for those losing their jobs. That’s over £47,000 per job lost.

      The plant was making up to 3 million tonnes of steel a year. In 2014 it reported a loss of £193.5m.

    October 2, 2015

    Lowering energy has for many “Up North” in Sheffield, Rotherham, Scunthorpe and Redcar meant stopping people working which inevitably meant using less energy both human and artificial.

    It was probably always cheaper,using less British energy for UK governments and the British captains of industry to set up steel industry in Brazil which, they did.
    According to several economic pundits across the pond and down-under in Australia, the iron ore exporters of Latin America with obviously a great deal of American dollar muscle have for a number of years “against all industrial and commercial commonsense ” overproduced iron-ore even running for years at a loss , and decreased the price so much as to ruin Australian firms and, attempted to drive out of business Chinese smaller scale producers.
    There has been and is an undeclared vicious economic war and US currency manipulation by the Fed, without bothering to the survival of the firms doing the attacking and the plight of Latin American workers never mind their Australian, Chinese and other workers worldwide.
    A Thailand company and prior to that an Indian company owned Redcar and Rotherham. However it is Chinese steelmakers who are blamed for “dumping” cheap steel in Europe without mentioning they have been sold overly cheap iron ore courtesy of our American cousins and allies.

    There is not in actual fact “more than meets the eye” with many of the US world commercial activities in iron ore, steel, energy, computer technology and retail activity ( and paying national taxes ). It is all in black and white.

    The British Left of course loves attacking America. A traditional target as they are said to be “imperialists” “capitalists” and “hate Socialism”. The Conservative Party as far as I am aware does not say anything even a mite critical of America and its behaviour. But instead speaks of acquiring cheaper energy . Is there some behind the scenes deal for America to provide the UK with cheap LNG or cheap nuclear power or cheap oil. They have loads of it. In fact haven’t they overproduced those things too in massive quantities? Who says the Special Relationship with America is a myth.

  10. agricola
    October 2, 2015

    I believe that plant life thrives on CO2 , so why not fill all that set aside land with trees.

    While I am very much in favour of making the environment in which we live a cleaner and healthier place, I cannot see the point in penalising the population and making us uncompetitive in the World based on emotive thinking rather than fact. That climate change has been going on for millions of years without the influence of man is a known fact. That it’s change, due to the influence of man is immeasurable has neither been quantified as separate from nature, nor has it happened in our part of the World for the past eighteen years. It is spurious to point to increases in the ice cap in Antarctica and decrease in the Arctic as indicative of anything long term beyond their occurrence.

    There is much we could do prior to running around penalising industry. Putting an end to the supermarket bag is a good one, cleaning up the ocean, filtrating industrial processes including exploring how it can be done while creating cheap energy from coal. Getting on with fracking which seems to have become the biggest none event this century to date.

    Have not as yet discovered any agenda for your conference so perhaps we can hear an intelligent debate on the subject of popular reaction to climate change, is it a myth that is jeopardizing our economic recovery, or just another tax scam.

  11. Lifelogic
    October 2, 2015

    Exactly, they are just exporting jobs from the UK and probably actually increasing net World C02 output. It seem quite clear now that man made CO2 is far from the catastrophic problem that has been claimed anyway. The feed back on World warming seem to be a net negative just as one would have expected.

    Catastrophic & runaway global warming is largely an invention and a little mild warming is on balance probably a net benefit to humanity anyway. Catastrophic global warming is a convenient new hell, invented by the green religion to recruit believers, aided by some tame, usually government funded, scientists.

    The climate experts can hardly predict the climate for next week let alone in 100 years time. They do not even know the suns output, volcanic activity, population, development in technology, farming ….. and countless other things for the next 100 years. Even if they did they could not predict the outcome of the chaotic and hugely complex climate systems.

    The real disaster is the expensive & totally misguided measures being taken by dim politicians pushed by the green priests and their scientifically illiterate followers. Many of the measures they force on the public do not even work even in the greens’ bogus CO2 terms.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 2, 2015

      Also there are better ways to cool the earth if ever needed than reducing C02. Adapt if and when needed is the sensible approach.

      I hear that the NHS is paying “or bribing?” doctors not to refer patients for cancer tests. Why not bribe them not to refer broken fingers, heart attacks, angina and lots of other conditions? Sounds like a great use of money/idea from our joke NHS.

      Cameron’s priority in three letters was it not. At least if people paid for their treatments they would be unlikely to pay doctors not to refer them when needed.

      Surely it is unethical of the doctors to accept these payments?

      1. Qubus
        October 2, 2015

        Why not do with NHS employees what Ronald Regan did with the US air traffic controllers: sack the lot and make them re-apply for their old jobs?

    2. fedupsoutherner
      October 2, 2015

      Yes, I see Mark Carney is having a go now. Why don’t they all just shut up and go home? Can they please just do the job they have been trained for and not talk about things they have no knowledge of!

  12. Edward.
    October 2, 2015

    I can’t say much, because it drives me to despair, that, UK energy policy is ocean going stupidity added to unilateral industrial suicide wrapped in a green blanket of political insanity.

    With notable exceptions not least Rt. Hon Mr. Peter Lilley and the host of this blog, the whole of Westminster is at a fault here and they continue to march in goosestep with the arch priests who preach the “world is doomed all thanks to a man chimera”……..emissions of man made CO² will cause global warming catastrophe.

    Useless palliatives; Bird mincers and PV arrays will only cause untold misery for millions of Britons, the footling amount of ‘juice’ they do sometimes produce is not suitable for industrial users and barely usable for domestic purposes.
    Next insult to injury by asking our enemies to build 50 year old and outdated nuclear technology – to construct such facilities at sky high prices only heaps in stacks more misery to what is a disastrous idiocy [UK energy policy].

    A plague on all your houses, because you visited the plague of the green agenda on us.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 2, 2015

      Indeed, and now we even have Zak Goldsmith as candidate for Mayor too.

      Will a five runway Heathwick hub airport every get the go ahead?

  13. Bert Young
    October 2, 2015

    I am not able to argue for or against certain energy sources and the effect on climate through lack of knowledge , however , I do understand that the cost of energy has an immediate knock on effect to manufacturing costs , jobs , cost of living and keeping warm . The wavering around of the various utterances on this subject is compounded by the edicts from Brussels ; Germany decided to opt out of the nuclear business and reintroduce fossil fuels , why Brussels let them off the hook on this has never been made clear . I hope we follow our own decisions and the implementation of our policy makes sense .

  14. Edward2
    October 2, 2015

    We have entangled ourself with the Climate Change Act of 2008 which is an act of Parliament
    “The Act makes it the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all six Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, toward avoiding dangerous climate change.”

    I consider the chances of us achieving this radical target to be zero.
    Unless scientists and engineers invent, very soon, a new form of relacement power generation which will replace our near 100% reliance on fossil fuels at a reasonable price.
    So what happens to the Secretary of State in 2050 if this impossible target is missed, will he or she be prosecuted or fined or punished ?
    At least they can rest easy knowing they will not be burnt at the stake due to probable restrictions on buring wood by 2050.

  15. Stephen Almond
    October 2, 2015

    The mothballing of Redcar steel making is about high energy prices

    Is it not also about having to pay everyone a minimum wage (soon to be a living wage)? How about maternity and paternity leave – do they pay these in our competitor countries?
    I suspect the lowliest person in the Redcar plant earns more than the top steelworker in a similar Chinese plant.
    If you want to compete on a world market, budget soundbites are a poor beginning.

    1. Mark
      October 2, 2015

      Redcar employs 1,700 people. If we assume £30,000 p.a. on average each that is £51m in total which is small compared with the loss announced for 2013 of £193.5m. I doubt that many employees would have been on minimum wage anyway. Another way to look at it is over 3 million tonnes of production, it’s £17 per tonne. A local newspaper reports:

      The price of slab steel has dropped from around £318 a tonne to under £191 in the past year.

      SSI recorded losses of £194m in 2013 and had bank loans totalling more than $790m.

      Energy costs in the UK are around 50% higher than SSI’s rivals elsewhere.

      That 50% premium is largely due to the Carbon Floor price, which the plant probably spends rather more on than its workforce.

  16. Iain Moore
    October 2, 2015

    Ah but you make the mistake of believing these policies are based on informed opinion , and not determined by politicians signalling their virtue . As they are about politicians emoting their feelings over much loved metropolitan causes, we get Governments pursuing policies that are inconsistent and divergent, and we can point out the facts to them till we are blue in the face but they don’t care they are costing people their jobs, or even that they are killing people with their policies, for its all about them being at one with some politically correct causes.

  17. Old Albion
    October 2, 2015

    It’s always been a nonsense for the (dis)UK to strangle itself trying to lower C02 when other areas of the world were not attempting the same, but in fact doing the opposite.
    I’m surprised it’s taken so many politicians so long to see that.
    The whole thing is based on shaky computer modelling. So far, unable to live up to it’s own predictions of death and doom. The planet has not warmed at all for two decades, and has warmed about .5*C over the last 100 years. A time that included massive industrial output, two world wars and a few other ‘lesser’ wars too.

  18. The Prangwizard
    October 2, 2015

    Another failure of the obsession with ‘regulation’. It is sadly and disastrously embedded that regulation must be a feature of any and virtually all business and economic activity. We must get away from it.

    There was an interesting piece yesterday on The Daily Politics about the black cab business and Uber. In response to claims by the black cab spokesman, Andrew Neil said that if Uber drivers were breaking the law, then it was a police matter and it should not be for anyone else to get involved. This is exactly the point, businesses should act within the law and take the consequences if they don’t.

    May I also say, as a follow on to my comments yesterday about the use and overuse of ‘austerity’ as a slogan, I fear that ‘Northern Powerhouse’ has all the hallmarks of a slick phrase which will fall on its face. Encourage and enable business, but stay away from smart Alec sloganizing. It merely focuses ridicule and cynicism, which we are good at in England, when something goes wrong, and attracts little praise when things go right.

  19. Bob
    October 2, 2015

    “UK also needs to adjust its CO2 targets”

    I thought the CO2 theory had already been disproved, because raised CO2 levels has always followed warm periods by a thousand years, and this has been going on since before civilisation. So it’s the warming that causes the CO2, not vice versa.

    We shouldn’t be dignifying the AGW theory by suggesting CO2 targets.

    The real problem here is atmospheric pollution caused by Gordon Brown’s incentives to use diesel instead of petrol.

  20. oldtimer
    October 2, 2015

    I assume you are referring to isoprene and the recent study by French and German scientists. There is a delicious irony that this report appears as the world heads to Paris for the next meeting for hand wringing about CO2.

    It is an unfortunate fact that Green Blob propaganda has buried the scientific uncertainty and indeed ignorance of the multitude of factors that influence and control the earth`s climate. My guess is that this latest report will be buried along with all the other science studies, many of which were published under the auspices of the UN itself. It must be one of the most expensive examples of group think to be inflicted on the human race.

  21. Lifelogic
    October 2, 2015

    You say “Many have thought it odd that it is environmentally friendly to cut down trees in Canada, ship them across the Atlantic and take them to Drax to burn. Wood after all produces similar CO2 and pollution to coal.”

    Somewhat understated, it is not odd it is just complete lunacy caused by a moronic government.

  22. Iain Gill
    October 2, 2015

    CO2 needs replanting and protection of the worlds forests. As those forests turn the CO2 back into Oxygen for us to breathe. That is the real international challenge. Also the UK’s pollution is trivial in the face of China and India and their pollution outputs. It is pointless shutting production here with expensive anti-pollution measures here only for it to reopen in China or India, there is no net reduction in world pollution just a loss of jobs here.

  23. Shieldsman
    October 2, 2015

    Renewable energy is expensive and unreliable it is causing an economic disaster to British Industry.
    Off-shoring industry in order to import cheaper goods does nothing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, if anything it increases them. But, does the green blob care.
    The environmentalists have pushed Global Warming/Climate Change into the political arena. No scientific qualifications are necessary to pontificate on its unproven effects.
    We had the Pope claiming it is a looming disaster with the Governor of the Bank of England now joining in.
    The IPCC produced the SREX report which showed that extreme weather events had not increased in frequency or intensity statistically.

  24. mactheknife
    October 2, 2015

    As one who works in the energy industry it never fails to amaze me that those within DECC have a very poor understanding of so called climate change and the so called science that underpins it. Everyone knows that the Summary for Policy Makers, which is supposed to be derived from the IPCC report is in fact prepared by civil servants and has totally ignored new evidence and basically the SPM is a spin document based on what policies governments want. I will say this yet again….the wild predictions of warming are based on computer model simulations. Over the last twenty years of actual measurements and empirical evidence the models have been shown to be wildly inaccurate in comparison.
    I m afraid John, that the public has little say in these matters as green vested interest groups dominate government thinking and it’s really up to MP’s such as yourself to be firmer and put more pressure on the government to stop this prolonged economic suicide.

  25. Denis Cooper
    October 2, 2015

    “Charlotte Church blames ISIS on climate change”.

    She might have done better to talk about population growth, which is infinitely better attested and has been recognised by some Syrians themselves as being a major problem, and is likely to have been a far more direct cause of violent conflict in that country, and indeed in other countries, than any changes in the global climate:

    From 2010:

    “Syria grapples with surging population”

    “Syria now has a population of 20 million people, with a growth rate that remains one of the world’s highest at about 2.4 percent. But it has declined since averaging 3.2 percent from 1947-94, according to the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs.

    “We have a population problem, no question,” said Nabil Sukkar, a Syrian economist formerly with the World Bank. “Unless we cope with it, it could be a burden on our development.”

    He said labor supply was growing about 4.5 percent a year, due to rapid population expansion in earlier decades, outpacing the capacity of Syria’s economy to create jobs for the quarter of a million youngsters arriving on the job market every year.

    “Too big a population means a high burden on government services, such as education, electricity and health care,” he said. “Perhaps in 20 years the growth rate will go down to 1.5 percent as in Egypt, but in the meantime we do have a problem.””

    Back in 1945 when Syria became independent its population was less than 3 million; if there had been no war and no mass emigration it would now be about 27 million, and it would be heading for about 43 million in 2050:

    It could be that a population of 43 million, or higher, would be sustainable, but only if the Syrians devoted enough resources to developing the country so that whatever population it had would be sustainable; but that hasn’t happened over the past seven decades, and is why Syrians have a per capita GDP at around a sixth of the average in the EU, creating a powerful economic driving force for the mass migration we are seeing.

  26. Martin
    October 2, 2015

    Perhaps Redcar’s problems are caused by the slow down in China and the resulting decrease in demand/supply for steel.

    There is also liable to be dumping going on which the WTO, which in earlier blogs you place great faith in, will do nothing about for years.

  27. Atlas
    October 2, 2015

    Re Drax – I think the problem with Drax is not the burning of wood per-se, rather it is the fossil fuel consumed to, as you correctly say, get it all the way from the forests of Canada to here (let alone the foreign exchange considerations).

    1. ian wragg
      October 2, 2015

      And of course we are paying a vast subsidy for this power which also has a negative effect on our balance of payments.
      I will be interested to see what happens in a few years when environmentalists in North America get the chopping down of trees banned. Then we will be left with a real lame duck.

  28. DennisA
    October 2, 2015

    “the UK also needs to adjust its CO2 targets for a rising population.”

    The UK needs to repeal the Climate Change Act and abandon any CO2 targets. CO2 is not a planetary thermostat, yet it has been used as a trojan horse for global control of energy use via the UN, hence the 2 degree mantra.

    The first suggestion to use 2 degrees C as a critical limit for climate policy was made by an economist, W.D. Nordhaus, in 1977, (Strategies for the control of carbon dioxide, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University.)

    The 2 degree target re-emerged in 1990, the year when IPCC published its first assessment report, but it was not discussed there, and it has never been used in any IPCC document.

    It was introduced into the climate debate by the report of the so-called AGGG, the WMO/ICSU/UNEP Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases, formed in 1987. They claimed that a 2 degree increase was ‘‘an upper limit beyond which the risks of grave damage to ecosystems, and of nonlinear responses, are expected to increase rapidly’’ (Rijsberman and Swart 1990).”

    It was taken on-board by the German Advisory Council on Global Change, WBGU, in 1995. The chairman, John Schellnhuber, climate confidante of Prince Charles, climate advisor to Angela Merkel and now to the Pope, claims it as stemming from his own thought processes and he is often referred to as the “father of the 2 degree limit”, rather than the economist Nordhaus.

    In 1996, the Council of the European Union officially adopted the 2 degree target as climate policy, in spite of there being no scientific basis for it.

    All talk is now of catastrophe if this fictional limit is exceeded. The fact that CO2 is not driving temperatures upwards in spite of its continued increase in the atmosphere, that temperatures in history have been higher with lower CO2 levels and much lower populations, that reducing anthropogenic CO2 will make no difference to the climate, matters not one jot.

    There is a bandwagon with trillions of dollars in sight for the global financiers and now even for the oil companies looking for new ventures as a relief from low oil prices, if a truly global market in “carbon” is accomplished, with guaranteed floor prices and subsidies galore.

    We already have that in the UK and as you point out, it is killing our industry.

    I often wonder how things would be made in the aspired to “zero carbon economy”. Would wind turbines drive blast furnaces to make steel for more wind turbines? How much prime agricultural land should be diverted to “solar farms”? Work life balance would benefit because there would be no night shift, unless powered by a Tesla Power Wall of course.

  29. Javelin
    October 2, 2015

    (words and ref left out ed)
    Chinese over spending following the 2007 credit freeze has led to poor investments such that they are dependent on spending by the West to meet their debt repayments. Now there is a slow down it looks like there will be a large number of bankrupt companies in the Chinese Iron smelting industry. This is clearly a result of poor management accounting in a country with little experience of anything but growth. If there is a collapse in Chinese steel producers then the decision to close UK smelters look foolish.

    It’s also worth making the point that EU regulations on global warming and prevention of subsidising UK industries against other EU industries are both harmful to the UK. First fossil fuel global warming remains unproven and most of the reasearch is based on biased adjusting of the temperature record. Second how can a policy that prevents EU industries to compete with non EU industries be justified. Neither policy makes any sense.

    It’s also worth pointing out George Osborne is at the forefront of both these problems. George is rapidly becoming the chancellor who helps foreigners.

  30. stred
    October 2, 2015

    It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in DECC at the moment. On the face of it, the two lady ministers there seem to be saying that value for money for the customer should have something to do with the process. On the other hand, they are steaming ahead into the worst deal for nuclear imaginable and carrying on building offshore wind, solar and tidal lagoons at great cost and with little CO2 saved, while closing coal power stations and withdrawing finance for carbon capture. If anyone is interested in what their plan for the future is they can see it in a document called Smart Grid Vision and Routemap 02.14 by DECC and OFGEM. The chairpeople are two ladies too- Sandy Sheard from DECC and Hannah Nixon from OFGEM, which is there ‘ to promote choiceand value for all customers. Mz Nixon has now gone to FCA/banking according to the net.

    Scan down to Fig 1and it is all there. Smart everything- buildings, appliances, sensors homes, customers and even cities. The diagram shows wind, solar and tidal connected via smart substations to hydrogen, presumably using electrolysis, and biofuel production. On the other side the electricity is all nuclear, grid based renewables( like burning American trees) and gas with carbon capture ( like the one that was cancelled this week and takes as much energy to capture it as is captures). There is even a little picture of a smart house with a little windmill like Dave’s one that didn’t work.

    Further in the Smart vision there is a graph showing electric car number, going from hardly any now to 10s of thousands by 2020. This seems rather low seeing that millions of diesel cars may have to be subject to a scrappage scheme, according to the previous Labour science minister.

    Anyway, we should be proud to know that, according to the routemap, the UK is the leader in Smart in the EU, with other lagging behind. We are now in’ development phase’ until 2020, when it will be ‘rolled out’ by 2030, just like the steel sections at Redcar that aren’t since it closed.

    1. Mark
      October 2, 2015

      The problem is that their proposed system doesn’t work. Search for “The Renewables Future – A Summary of Findings” by Roger Andrews for an excellent explanation of the real problems and why the solutions proposed are inadequate.

  31. CdBrux
    October 2, 2015

    The wood pellets from North America burnt at Drax are the waste byproducts of other timber products, they can typically be compacted sawdust etc… so I am not sure that full trees are chopped down in NAmerica to be burnt at Drax, it’s just taking value from what is otherwise waste. Now you can argue that it would be better to burn (or otherwise use) those closer to source rather than the other side of the Atlantic…

    1. ian wragg
      October 2, 2015

      Rubbish. (words left out ed). Forests are being cut down and the wood chipped ready for shipment. many in the US and Canada are not happy with this situation and it makes the technology very insecure if they suddenly cut off the supply of trees.

    2. stred
      October 3, 2015

      CD.Brux. The problem is that Bruxelles has decreed that burning American wood pellets is completely CO2 free, but the recently departed Chief Technical advisor at DECC has produced a ‘calculator’, which takes into account everything such as transport, drying, land use etc and it is far from it. American tree lovers have spied on some plant producing the pellets and have seen whole trees being used. The manufacturers say this is because there is no market for them. But perhaps the main argument against is that it takes 50 to 80 years for new trees to soak up the CO2, wheras the wood is burned within months of felling, and that the UK alone will use an area the size of Rhode Island every year. The Americans are now using the calculator to persuade politicians to put a stop to it, but so much money is involved that nothing will probably be done. The thing is falling apart.

  32. forthurst
    October 2, 2015

    “The decision at Drax to curb its investment in anti Carbon dioxide was a response to this government’s decision to cut back on renewable subsidies. Many have thought it odd that it is environmentally friendly to cut down trees in Canada, ship them across the Atlantic and take them to Drax to burn. Wood after all produces similar CO2 and pollution to coal.”

    In a word, barking.

    I’ve just done a bit of research on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS):

    White Rose whose scheme was to be adopted by Drax, outlines the scheme here:-

    Here’s the wiki page on “Oxy-fuel combustion”:-

    In short, the scheme involved removing the nitrogen from the air, which consumes 15% of the power output of the plant, mixing the nearly pure oxygen with some recycled exhaust gases to dilute it and burning the carbon fuel in a sealed process from which the main exhaust gases are condensed and then piped to the North Sea for permanent interment in the seabed.

    The North Sea already contains plenty of free carbon dioxide whose concentration is determined by the sea temperature similar to the graph shown here:

    As can be seen from the graph, the amount of CO2 stored in the sea is very dependent on the temperature (and pressure); thus when the climate warms it yields CO2 and when it cools, as it is now, it absorbs CO2, both in quantities that make the CCS scheme utterly futile.

    As a nation, if we continue to deploy our engineering talent on making aircraft carriers that can’t launch planes, on railways that are not needed and highly cost ineffective and unrealiable methods of generating electricity, we might as well simply settle for third world status now and stop striving because others whose rulers are not barking will simply leave us in the dust.

  33. Anonymous
    October 2, 2015

    It’s not just the damage that dear energy does.

    It’s the damage that free market to-the-death policies deliver to our industries on the basis that governments should not intervene with subsidies – but then subsidise those communities anyway once the industry has gone.

    Thus the free market is NOT in action here. So if it isn’t then why bother pretending it is ?

    We need steel. We’re going to need lots of it for HS2. Chinese steel doesn’t look half so cheap when you add to it the welfare costs of our redundant steel producing communities.

    I could see the point of closing the mines, for example – but to say that we got rid of a subsidised industry is not true. We didn’t get rid of it. The communities are still there but without the mines. The same will happen with the steel areas and we will have whole new areas of Jeremy Kyle participants.

    Let’s learn from this. If we’re going to subsidise communities of unemployed steel workers then, for goodness sakes, let’s subsidise them in work instead. After all, we subsidise all sorts of crap including much in other people’s countries.

    Instead we have the largest welfare state in the western world and it will continue to grow as it is a draw to all and sundry from around the globe.

    Just what is everyone going to do here once all the industries are closed and what’s left is automated ?

    1. Hefner
      October 3, 2015

      “we have the largest welfare state in the western world …”

      certainly not according to Wikipedia Welfare_state

  34. behindthefrogs
    October 2, 2015

    Meanwhile the government prevaricates on financing the Swansea barrage and reduces subsidies on solar generation when it should be encouraging its incorporation into all new builds.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    October 3, 2015

    The UK should not adjust its CO2 and other greenhouse gas targets for a rising population. It should stop its population rising, as should other countries. Immigration control and a foreign aid policy of “Send them condoms and nothing else” would help.

    It’s not gross CO2 emissions that cause the problem. It’s net CO2 emissions. One of the simplest ways of reducing net CO2 emissions to zero is to plant more trees. Unfortunately, humans are occupying more and more land. Some international big wig said recently that the rate of world deforestisation in the last 25 years was ONLY half the rate in the previous 25 years. Note that ‘only’.

    Many of us know that methane gas (CH4), an emission from cow dung, is 30 times more of a greenhouse gas than CO2. Unfortunately, it would take a long time to wean people off meat eating. As Boris Johnson put it: “It’s not enough to kill the cow. You would have to kill the people that eat the cow.”

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