UK: Energy policy dominated by “Green lobby”


Just like the 70s

Just like the 70s

In the UK, the forced transition to highly expensive “green” energy is sowing the seeds for a major crisis. I recall the power cuts of the early 1970s (just), where my family had a collection of oil lamps and candles for when the lights went out, but there’s no excuse in 2013.

However there is a glimmer of hope in the darkness:

Britain must abandon its bias towards green policies or face an energy crisis, a key parliamentary adviser has warned.

Peter Lilley, a member of the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Advisory board, has warned that the UK’s hesitance to embrace shale gas comes at great expense to the country.

He cites decreasing gas prices in American as an example, where gas is a third of the price of what it is in Europe, and questions why Britain is “dragging its feet”.

The UK is potentially sitting on enough shale gas reserves to heat all homes in Britain for at least 100 years, experts at the British Geological Survey claimed in April this year.

However, there has been resistance to excavate the fossil fuel amid concerns about the possibility of earthquakes and water contamination if gases are leaked into the water table while the “fracking” process is carried out.

In an article for The Spectator, the Conservative MP accuses the Department for Energy and Climate Change as being “in disarray” over the issue, with some ministers now beginning to question the direction green policies have been heading.

He claims that the green lobby is in control of the Department for Energy, dominates the EU and is institutionalised in Whitehall via the Climate Change Committee. He also accuses them of deploying “scare stories with reckless disregard for the truth” on a scale comparable to the MMR scare.

“Whatever the power of Big Oil in the past, it has been eclipsed by Big Green,” he said.

(source)

UK: Chief Scientist exits in a blaze of hysteria


Head scratch moment?

Head scratch moment?

Sir John Beddington is the outgoing Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government, and, like our own Sir Ian Chubb, appears to take leave of his senses when it comes to climate.

In a final whirlwind of alarmism, Beddington exits stage left, hopefully never to be seen or heard of again. As the Telegraph breathlessly reports:

The world faces decades of turbulent weather even if it takes drastic action to tackle climate change, the Government’s chief scientific adviser said today in a final stark warning as he prepares to step down.

Professor Sir John Beddington said that time lags in the climate system meant that accumulations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere now will determine the weather we experience for the next 25 years.

Climate change is already manifesting itself in huge variations in the weather, clearly illustrated by the way Britain experienced both drought and extreme rainfall last year, he said.

The scientist said that the international community’s failure to agree binding targets for cutting carbon emissions meant problems were being stored up for the future.

“They may reach agreement, and they may start to reduce greenhouse gases in the next five years, or it may be a little longer,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But they are still climbing, and when that increase is reversed, we will be left with the weather and the climate for the next 25 years from whenever that happens.”

What’s missing from this picture? Any acknowledgement that there has been a pause in warming which was not expected or predicted by the climate models, despite the headbangers claiming that warming is accelerating.*

Sir Ian Chubb falls into the same trap as Beddington – toeing a politically-correct line rather than responding to the evidence in an impartial, free-thinking manner.

More reaction here:

*They do this by suddenly ignoring global temperatures and, like street magicians, using diversionary techniques to shift focus on to something else

UK: Climate indoctrination removed from schools


"Recite after me: In the beginning, Labor created the Climate Commission..."

“Recite after me: In the beginning, Labor created the Climate Commission and the carbon tax…”

Cue the headbangers going ape in 3, 2, 1… Because it had become impossible to have any kind of sensible teaching of climate change in schools, the UK government is proposing to cut climate change from the syllabus for children up to the age of 14. Huzzah and hooray.

And the headbangers are indeed steamed up, complaining that such a cut is “political interference”, oblivious to the fact that it was their relentless propaganda campaign to indoctrinate climate dogma in the classroom that forced this action in the first place.

The Guardian, naturally, gets hot under the collar:

Debate about climate change has been cut out of the national curriculum for children under 14, prompting claims of political interference in the syllabus by the government that has failed “our duty to future generations”.

The latest draft guidelines for children in key stages 1 to 3 have no mention of climate change under geography teaching and a single reference to how carbon dioxide produced by humans impacts on the climate in the chemistry section. There is also no reference to sustainable development, only to the “efficacy of recycling”, again as a chemistry subject.

The move has caused alarm among climate campaigners and scientists [!] who say teaching about climate change in schools has helped mobilise young people to be the most vociferous advocates of action by governments, business and society to tackle the issue. [!!!]

“What you seem to have is a major political interference with the geography syllabus,” said the government’s former science adviser Prof Sir David King. He said climate change should be taught alongside the history of – successful – past attempts to curb chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which is blamed for the depletion of the ozone layer, and air pollution caused by coal fires and cars.

The comparison with CFCs is facile, because while there are alternatives to CFCs, there are no genuinely affordable alternatives to burning fossil fuels, especially for the poor and developing countries of the world.

Note that it is the “climate campaigners” who are complaining the most, because they won’t be able to fill impressionable young minds with their environmental propaganda, and they won’t then go home and badger their parents into installing solar panels or recycling tea bags or switching their lights out for Earth Hour (fast approaching once again – stay tuned). See here for more.

In a way, this is a classic own goal, since students should understand the interaction between humanity and the environment, but since such interaction is inevitably portrayed as a one way street (ie. wailing that we’re destroying the planet), the only option was to remove it entirely.

There’s something called balance, and it’s sadly lacking from the climate debate.

UK Climate Madness: Two billion pounds just pissed up the wall


Pissed up the wall, flushed down the pan. The result’s the same.

Words. Fail. Me.

Britain yesterday pledged almost £2 billion in “climate aid” to help finance foreign projects including wind turbines in Africa and greener cattle farming in Colombia.

Each household will contribute £70 to schemes to tackle climate change in developing countries before March 2015, under plans championed by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary.

Conservative MPs were furious last night at the scale of the bill, which was unveiled as George Osborne prepares to announce a series of tax rises and spending cuts in today’s Autumn Statement.

Lord Lawson of Blaby, a former Chancellor, also criticised the “appalling waste of money” at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.

Senior Conservatives were also dismayed at the timing of the announcement, but Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, hailed the cash as “fantastic news”.

The disclosure is sure to provoke anger among hard-pressed families, who increasingly see foreign aid and green energy as among the lowest priorities for Government spending in the current financial climate.

I bet all those Brits who are struggling to pay their ever increasing power bills (thanks to Green madness) will be delighted to know that their budgets will be even further squeezed thanks to heaps of cash being siphoned off to third world countries (thanks also to Green madness). At least some MPs are rightly furious at this:

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative MP for North East Somerset, said the spending was “an absolutely classic example of waste” that should be stopped at a time of austerity.

“All I can say is a fool and his money are soon parted,” he said. “But it’s the British taxpayer having to pay for this absurd expenditure. We know wind farms are all but useless and nobody wants them in England, let alone Africa.”

Glyn Davies, a Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, also criticised the level of climate aid spending. “This can’t be the priority for spending when the Coalition government is trying to create jobs and reduce the cost of living,” he said.

“It seems difficult to understand how we can justify this when energy is a huge cost for so many of our households and businesses.”

Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, said he thought the spending was “absolutely crazy” at a time when public services were being cut. (source)

Madness. Sheer madness.

Agenda-driven Met Office's grudging concessions to reality


Agenda-driven

It’s bizarre to watch the UK Met Office squirm as it desperately tries to maintain an ideological position in the face of conflicting evidence. I never would have believed that such a formerly respected institution, scientific impartiality at its core, could be so compromised by a political agenda.

Instead of simply reporting on new developments in climate, they must instead be spun in order to bolster the case for political action. Such is the case today, where Peter Stott grudgingly concedes that temperatures have fallen in the past couple of years, but surrounds it with caveats and “yes, buts” in order to make sure The Cause™ is not diluted (see highlights below):

THE world’s climate has cooled during last year and this year, temperature data from Britain’s Met Office reveals — just before this year’s talks on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

The figures show that, although global temperatures are still well above the long-term average, they have fallen since the record seen in 2010.

The findings could prove politically sensitive, coming ahead of the UN’s climate summit in Doha, Qatar, where the global system for regulating greenhouse gas emissions faces collapse. The threat comes because the Kyoto Treaty, under which developed nations pledged to cut their carbon emissions, expires at the end of this year. Doha is seen as the last hope of securing an extension.

In such a febrile situation, any data casting doubt on climate scientists’ predictions is potentially explosive.

The World Meteorological Organisation, which oversees the publication of climate trend data from the four main global centres, including the British Met Office, has been strongly criticised for its policy of releasing such data just before the UN’s key annual summits.

“In the past two years we have seen a slight decline in temperature,” said Peter Stott, the Met Office’s head of climate monitoring and attribution.

“However, it is such a short period that it is scientifically meaningless. Climate change can only be measured over decades — and the records show that the world has warmed by 0.75C over the past century.”

The Met Office figures show that, for the first 10 months of this year, global temperatures averaged 14.43C; 2010 was significantly hotter at 14.54C.

Dr Stott says the heat of 2010 was caused by an El Nino event, where warm water currents in the Pacific released unusual amounts of heat into the atmosphere.

“It is a natural short-term fluctuation and nothing to do with climate change,” he said.

The longer-term record shows global temperatures have hardly risen for about 15 years. But Dr Stott said the key point was that they had remained consistently above the long-term average. (source)

In fact, the print edition of The Australian includes a further sentence, which reveals the Met Office’s bias even more clearly:

“This is why the Arctic icecap is melting and extreme weather events are increasing.”

That could have been written by Greenpeace or the WWF. No mention of the increasing ice in the Antarctic or the fact that no link from “extreme weather” to climate change has been established – even by the IPCC. The claim has no factual basis and is pure environmental ideology.

Bjørn Lomborg has an op-ed in The Oz as well today, on mitigation vs adaptation.

UK: Energy prices rise 140% in eight years


Note the curly eco-globe

And we know the reason: misguided climate change policies forcing generators to rely on expensive, unreliable and inefficient renewables like wind, and penalising (or taxing) the use of cheap energy like coal, oil and gas. All to “save the planet”, naturally.

From the UK Telegraph:

The average household’s annual energy bill of £1,252 now accounts for 11pc of a couple’s basic state pension of £11,175 a year, the study by price comparison website uSwitch.com found.

The cost of energy is now the top household worry for Britons (90pc), ahead of the rising cost of food (77pc) and mortgage payments (42pc).

Almost a third of consumers (32pc) say that household energy is unaffordable in the UK, the poll found.

While the average UK household income has increased by 20pc from £32,812 in 2004 to £39,468 today, the average energy bill has risen by 140pc, according to uSwitch figures.

Households were spending an average of £522 a year for their energy in 2004, but now pay £1,252 a year – 3.2pc of income or double the 1.6pc of eight years ago.

Britons now have an average of £297 of disposable income left each month after all essential household bills are paid.

The study found 83pc of people believe that rising energy bills have had an impact on their disposable income, with 17pc of these reporting that they no longer have any disposable income as a result and 27pc saying energy bills have reduced their disposable income dramatically. (source)

Shocking. And once the carbon tax takes effect in Australia, the story will be the same here.

Wind power fades before it even starts


Fitting end?

Wind power sums up green stupidity: it’s expensive, inefficient and ugly. And those are just the good points. It’s also utterly useless.

As such it is a perfect monument to the Greens – in a few years time the turbines will be silent, rusting away, unloved, past their sell-by date, and abandoned.

Yesterday, Bjørn Lomborg wrote in The Australian:

The use of wind turbines has increased tenfold during the past decade, with wind power often touted as the most cost-effective green opportunity. According to Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action, “People should believe that (wind power) is very, very cheap.”

In fact, this is a highly problematic claim. While wind energy is cheaper than other, more ineffective renewables, such as solar, tidal, and ethanol, it is nowhere near competitive. If it were, we wouldn’t have to keep spending significant sums to subsidise it. (source)

And earlier this month, the Global Warming Policy Foundation released a scathing report on the state of wind energy in the UK:

One of the UK’s leading energy and environment economists warns that wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater as a result of Britain’s flawed wind policies when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants.

“The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Unless the current Government scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder.” (source)

And the UK Daily Mail reports on the rusting wind farms on Hawaii (pictured):

If any spot was tailor-made for a wind farm it would surely be here. The gales are so strong and relentless on the tip of South Point that trees grow almost horizontally. 

Yet the 27-year-old Kamaoa Wind Farm remains a relic of the boom and inglorious bust of America’s so-called ‘wind rush’, the world’s first major experiment in wind energy.

At a time when the EU and the British Government are fully paid-up evangelists for wind power, the lesson from America — and the ghostly hulks on this far-flung coast — should be a warning of their folly. (source)

But no one’s listening. The mad dash to cover the landscape with wind turbines is a result not of careful consideration, but naive environmental ideology. And now Australian industry is suffering as a result:

STALLED investment in renewable energy has forced the country’s largest wind farm tower manufacturer to seek voluntary redundancies from up to 100 of its 450 staff.

Keppel Prince, based in Portland, in southwest Victoria, has experienced a drop in demand for wind farms while the other core part of its business, maintenance of Alcoa’s local aluminium smelter, is also suffering. 

General manager Steve Garner said the wind farm work would dry up in the next two months as production finished for the 140-turbine Macarthur wind farm and a smaller 13-turbine project.

“The wind energy industry’s promise of ‘project, project, project’ just hasn’t materialised,” he said. “There are just so many projects that are still in a state of limbo waiting to try and secure funding.”

The optimism of green energy companies has dimmed since the carbon tax legislation was passed last year, amid political uncertainty and growing concern over the forthcoming review of the 20 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target. The oversupply of renewable energy certificates has also held electricity retailers back from new investment. (source)

The unpalatable reality is that all renewable energy sources available at the moment are hideously uncompetitive and require massive government subsidies. If just a few percent of the billions (trillions?) wasted on climate mitigation globally were directed towards intensive research for genuinely effective and inexpensive renewable energy, we might make some progress (hint: it isn’t wind, solar, geothermal…)

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