Reality Checkpoint 2017
News from previous year

A dozen 140ft wind turbines on the edge of the Lake District are due to be dismantled next summer, 2018. The decision follows a campaign by the Friends of the Lake District and the Open Spaces Society. They said that the turbines spoiled views in the Lake District National Park. Kate Ashbrook, OSS general secretary, said that they objected because the turbines were a severe intrusion in a wild landscape.

22 Dec 17

It struck me today that here in Leicestershire, we have had four power cuts in the last two days. I wonder if this is the beginning of a period when we are going to experience significant disruption to our electricity supplies because of a refusal by successive governments to invest in the building of new reliable power stations, and a programme of closure of coal-fired stations which qwere still perfectly serviceable. I hear on the grape vine that some large local factories are now being paid to refrain from using electricity on Friday afternoons, and sending people home early - though obviously, on here: no names, no pack drill.

The attitude of many well-meaning people seems to be ...Don't want fracking, it's toxic. Don't want wind power, it's unsightly. Don't want tidal; it hurts the wild life. Don't want nuclear; it's dangerous. Don't want coal; it pollutes.

The only possible long-term result of all this is to be forced to turn off your computer, your mobile, your lights and gas, and cook on the fire. (Sorry, you can't have a fire; you're burning trees or coal.)

Now - what about a sensible suggestion or two about what we CAN use to keep our electricity supply (and our industry, and our civilisation) going?

22 Dec 17

News from America

Mark Cool, who lives next to two wind turbines in Falmouth, USA, says that one of the turbines which has been shut down since 2015 should now be dismantled and removed.

The turbine, known as 'Wind 1', is 400 ft high; since being denied an operating permit in 2015 it has been out of action.

Mark submitted a complaint to the Building Commissioner, Rod Palmer, on 7 Dec 2017, saying that under the town’s wind energy systems bylaw, the period of non-use meets the 'abandonment' criteria. He said that at the moment, the turbine is in conflict with the zoning bylaw.

The complaint has been reached Frank Duffy on the Town Council, who has not yet made responded. The turbines were been installed against the wishes of local people, some of whom are experiencing turbine-related health problems.

Wind 2, the other turbine, was ordered to be shut down permanently in June by Barnstable Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty, who judged the operation of these devices to be a nuisance to neighbours.

15 Dec 17

The Government's Facebook page is currently promoting Smart Meters via an advertising campaign, saying that installation of a meter promotes more efficient energy use. Their salemen are also telling us that the meters are free.

It is worth reminding people, again, that the average price of installing a smart meter (the Government has budgeted £11 billion and there are 24 million households) is close to £500 per household. Someone has to pay, and the money comes off our energy bills.

This is a shameful waste of our money.

Do not forget - they are not compulsory; you can opt out.

30 Oct 17

A group which wrote a detailed report for Britain’s Department of Health in 1999 into London’s traffic pollution has strong criticism for Sadiq Khan’s attempt to ban diesel cars in London.

British Civil Engineer, Ed Hoskins helped carry out a detailed report with the Department of Civil Engineering at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. It was found that emissions from diesel-powered vehicles in cities is a comparatively marginal problem.

Ed said that the discussion over diesel emissions is centered around nitrogen oxides (NOx). In terms of NOx in the air, London is now one of the world’s least polluted large cities.

He explained that nitrogen oxides generated by road traffic were far outweighed by naturally generated oxides of nitrogen from bacterial action, volcanic eruptions and lightning.

Scare stories which say diesel vehicles are causing thousands of deaths from traffic pollution are nothing more than propaganda.

If diesel pollution was marginal in 1999, it must be even lower now, because since 1999, there have been significant advances in diesel engine technology; Euro-6 diesels now produce almost no pollution.

The report states: “Air quality standards have been set with inadequate attention to the benefits of meeting them and there is a risk that the ill-considered costs imposed by the authorities seeking to secure compliance will greatly exceed any benefits. The social costs of compliance with regulations that impede movement should not be underestimated.”

20 Oct 17

The Environmental Protection Agency has give notice to dozens of scientists that their roles as EPA advisers will not be renewed.

President Trump has also signed an executive order streamlining the approval process for building infrastructure such as roads, bridges and offices by eliminating a planning step related to climate change and possible flooding.

Whether this is a wise step remains to be seen. Stricter flood requirements raise the costs of development and make certain projects unfeasible.

The NAHB welcomed the move, saying that the previous planning regs (taking into account sea level rise) included a requirement to raise single-family homes by two feet, when built or improved, in all areas flooded within the previous 100 years.

This seems like overkill; surely it is possible to apply commonsense at the planning stage and modify a design if and when appropriate. But we all known how bureaucracies function...

30 Aug 17

The German Chancellor has said that a swift abandonment of diesel cars is not advisable. She says diesel is still needed if climate change targets are to be met.

She asked German carmakers, all of which have been caught using workarounds to meet impossible emissions standards, to work to re-establish public trust in diesel.

The future of the auto sector, Germany’s biggest exporter and provider of 800,000 jobs, has become a hot election issue as politicians blame everyone but themselves for the chemical trick which was used to beat the unachievable emissions targets which were set by politicians in the first place.

Germany is still tied up with the Paris treaty. Unless it abandons its climate-change stance and devises a better energy policy, its competitiveness is at stake.

23 Aug 17

For those who believe human CO2 emissions are harmful, we have a proven zero-carbon energy source: nuclear. The policy problem we've had for the past three decades is that the same people who say we can't use fossil fuels because of CO2 emissions also tend to oppose nuclear.

They prefer windmills, solar panels and increased energy efficiency. However, solar can't work at night, windmills can't work on a still day, and if those are your only energy sources you will have power cuts or worse. To have a successful energy efficiency strategy requires us to produce significant amounts of energy.

This isn't a science problem. Whatever you believe about human CO2 emissions and climate, the problem is policy paralysis, created by the contradictory demands made by those saying human CO2 emissions are harmful.

It is also regrettable that government much of its energy advice from Arts graduates. These are the advisers working in the Civil Service.

The same is true of the BBC; its main energy/climate spokesman on Radio 4 is a highly articulate Arts graduate who repeats and amplifies green propaganda. Work that one out.

9 Aug 17

The President has announced he’s lifting Obama-era policies preventing the financing of overseas coal plants, along with reviewing policies hindering nuclear energy.

“We will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector.... which produces clean, renewable and emissions-free energy,” Trump said during a speech in late June. “A complete review of U.S. nuclear energy policy will help us find new ways to revitalize this crucial energy resource.”

Trump will encourage the World Bank to finance coal plants in developing nations, and his administration for a permanent nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

All of this is part of a drive towards what the President is calling “U.S. Energy Dominance”.

This is good news for the U.S. which will benefit from cheaper energy, more meaningful energy-sector jobs in industries like shale gas, oil, and coal and will be less reliant on imports from politically unstable areas.

9 Aug 17

It is claimed by government that smart meters will enable more efficient use and less wastage of the available energy supply.

That is certainly one interpretation, but it is not the only one.

It seems to me a more likely reason is that demand for electricity can be controlled. Once a smart meter is installed, the suppliers can cut off individual domestic appliances with a signal similar to that from a mobile phone. Remember that if you can control the home from your phone, so can the suppliers. This will happen at times of low wind and no sun, and perhaps at other times too.

Remember also that smart meters are not mandatory. You can opt out.

8 Aug 17

    habitat21 adds: Here's an interesting snippet from 2011; Daily Telegraph 2 Mar 2011, summarised for clarity:

    The days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end, said Steve Holiday, CEO of National Grid. Families would have to get used to using power only when it was available.

    Mr. Holiday was asked how the country would keep the lights on, as it relied more on wind turbines. The CEO said on R4's Today programme that people would have to change their behaviour.

9 Aug 17

Richard Lindzen:
When, today, one hears of overwhelming support for alarmism and for the control of Carbon Dioxide as the unique and precise solution to a largely unknown and uncertain set of phenomena, we should all realize the individuals promoting such narratives have not studied the underlying science, have decided to cash in on the windfall, are politically and economically motivated, fear expulsion from the ranks of the politically correct, and/or are intent on befuddling the public. In brief, we are in the midst of a very unhealthy situation for both this issue and science in general.

24 Jul 17

Wind and solar power are continuing to increase the price of electricity in South Australia. This is causing light and heavy industry to leave the state because they are unwilling or unable to pay the high power costs. With its current plans to install $1.3billion in batteries, diesel generators and OCGG (open and closed-cycle gas generation), the cost can only go higher. South Australia already has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

23 May 17

Summarised from a letter in the DT, 6 May 17
It is a shame that the government has chosen not to revive Britain's nuclear power station building industry.

Many of my colleagues: engineers and scientists, retired early, and are still around, keeping pace with current developments. Their combined knowledge and expertise could easily be harnessed. We also have a number of operating nuclear stations with experienced staff.

A new company could be formed, under British control, which would avoid the excessive costs which foreign builders impose.

TL, Lymington, Hants.

Summarised from a letter in the DT, 6 May 17
A recent letter claims that wind and gas are now the cheapest sources of electricity in Britain.

In the case of wind this is untrue, because of the intermittency of the electricity output as a result of variations in wind speeds. Backup gas- or coal-fired stations therefore have to be kept in operation. There are also high costs involved in connecting distant wind turbines to the grid.

Turbines have to be demolished and replaced roughly every 20 years for land-based wind farms and around every 15 years for offshore. Power stations fired by fossil fuels, by contrast, last for about 50 years.

JA, Fellow, Energy Institute, Hartlepool.

8 May 17

Summarised from letters in the DT, 4 May 17
Ben Goldsmith is incorrect; renewable energy is not cheap.

I assume he is looking only at the borrom line of his own company, not at those of manufacturers whose costs are dominated by the price of electricity.

The costs of renewables include the cost of the loss the the aluminium smelting industry and the cement industry due to soaring energy prices.

The steel industry in South Wales is struggling. It was saved (for now) by the taxpayer funding the carbon taxes which were driving up costs. The cost of renewables is destroying the company's ability to compete with foreign producers who do not have to pay carbon levies.

PW, Shrewsbury.

......Mr Goldsmith must be unaware that carbon taxes are loaded onto fossil-fuel generators. Also ignored on the wind/solar balance sheet are grid reinforcement and system-balancing costs.

FB, Aberdeenshire.

....Industry needs energy which is competitively priced. Consumers need to know what the real costs are, what taxes are levied, and why. A cap on energy bills is just a red herring.

We are entering a new era of supply and storage. Costs should be clearly identified so that a properly-informed debate can take place.

PC, Hayling Island.

The former US Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin recently told the Wall St. Journal that officials within President Obama's administration deliberately presented climate data in a misleading way, to support the government view on climate change legislation.

For example, in the national climate assessment 2014, from the US Global Change Research Programme, one of the key findings was that hurricane acrtivity increased from 1980. What they did not say, unless you waded through the fine print, was that it actually decreased in the decades before that. All of the papers at that time, and currently, say there is no detectable long-term trend.

It is interesting, therefore, that the new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, dismissed members of a scientific advisory board on 5 May.

There are two main science advisory boards at EPA, both of which can exert considerable influences on policy and regulation. The Trump administration has proposed a major weakening of both.

Earlier this year, the White House proposed a reduction in funding for the Science Advisory Board by 84 percent. Such a cut would greatly reduce the work of the 47-member board of outside scholars.

House Republicans have passed legislation to reform the Science Advisory Board, and the Bill is awaiting Senate approval.

The Trump administration has already sent signals that it does not value certain areas of federal research, including climate science and regulations designed to penalise the fossil fuel and chemical industries.

This is a move in the right direction. One hopes that those dismissed were the officials who classified CO2 as a pollutant, or who were complicit in this disgraceful decision.

7 May 17


On the same topic, I often get emails telling me that fossil fuels in the UK are subsidised.

This is incorrect. Fossil fuels are not subsidised; they receive certain tax breaks.

- A subsidy means money goes from the government to the company.
- A tax break means that money goes from the company to the government.

The money flows in different directions.

28 Apr 17

I have been reading recently in the press statements by experts saying that diesel fumes are causing thousands of deaths each year.

In the 90s, Blair's experts told us to buy diesel cars. Now we are told they got it wrong.

Why should today's so-called experts be any more accurate than Blair's?

I do not know of anyone dying of diesel poisoning. Nor do any of my GP friends.

Next time you come across anti-diesel propaganda, ask yourself - where do these experts get their figures from?

27 Apr 17

It has been suggested that some cities should charge diesel vehicles £20 or ban them to reduce NOx emissions.

This seems to me to be a very foolish idea.

In a recent article on the BBC website, it was reported that private diesel cars produced only 11% of the NOx in Greater London and 5% of the NOx in central London.The biggest producer of NOx was gas heating of homes and offices.

It follows that taking action aginst diesel cars will have no noticeable effect on pollution. In any case, modern diesels use an exhaust fluid such as AdBlue which reduces NOx emissions to almost zero.

As a chemist with some knowledge of fuel combustion it is my view that the anti-diesel news we are being fed is mainly propaganda.

The claim that diesel is more harmful than petrol still needs to be proved. If our air quality is more polluted than that of other European countries, this probably relates more to population density and weather patterns than with the number of people driving diesel-fuelled vehicles.

7 Apr 17

Drax Power Station in Yorkshire, when it was producing its maximum output, used to consume 36,000 tonnes of coal per day.

Now, if you burn coal in the UK, you must pay a carbon levy of £55 per tonne. This is higher than the price of the coal itself, and it's the reason why Drax now burns wood chip imported at vast expense from America. It's actually cheaper to do that than it is to burn coal. This is a self-imposed levy by the UK government; it is nothing to do with the EU.

In Germany, the coal levy is £5 per tonne.

    Thank you, RB, for your correction; I was under the impression that the £55 was an EU-imposed levy.

28 Mar 17

    Note added 8 May, based on a letter in the DT, 4 May 17:
    Britain's 'coal-free' days are down to Drax, which, by burning wood, produces 16% of Britain's renewable electricity.

    The wood is grown in the USA and brought here on ships producing more NOx and soot than all of the diesel cars in London combined.

    KP, Littlehampton.

The Turnbull government is negotiating with Asian investors to build a coal-fired power station, part-funded by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund. Half of the nation’s voters endorse the use of taxpayer funds to develop the project and improve energy security.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan is promoting the plan. The Minister told 'The Australian' newspaper thtat there was a high degree of interest from Asia in the new plant which would be situated in northern Queensland.

A poll conducted for The Australian showed that that 47 per cent of voters were in favour of using of federal government fundsfor this purpose; 40 per cent were against and 13 per cent undecided.

The Australian Energy ­Council has said that it is difficult to finance coal-fired power stations when investors are spending money on wind and solar projects, along with gas power stations providing baseload with lower CO2 emissions than coal.

Matt said that until last year there was bipartisan support for the future of coal in Australia. Then the Labour government supported the Senate inquiry which said that all coal-fired power stations should be closed down. He said that Labour and the Greens had moved to the radical fringes of the energy debate by making this risky decision.

The government believes there is strong support in northern Queensland for a new coal project at a time of rising electricity prices.

    Allano adds ....
    When you start an analysis of a system with a wrong initial assumption, all of your subsequent results are incorrect. For example, CO2 is NOT a pollutant, therefore we DON"T have to lower emissions of CO2. Abusing CO2 and demonizing carbon is used to hide this analytical defect. Coal and coal-fired power stations, according the UN and global warming alarmists, are always dirty, inefficient, aged, worn out, need replacing, must move to renewables, need low carbon economy, and so on. All of this is UN propaganda.

Scott Pruitt, the new EPA Head, has criticised the Paris Climate Agreement, calling it a bad deal. He has commented that China and India, the largest CO2 producers, have to take no action until 2030. This has led to lost jobs in the USA has lost jobs through higher energy prices whilst China and India have had no low-carbon consequences to enforce or pay for.

Scott said that the Trump administration is now focusing on operating within the Clean Air Act.

He has also mentioned an executive order coming out next week regarding power plant regulations. It will be called the Energy Independence Executive Order. This will ensure that the USA has a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to energy regulation.

He said the U.S. for too long has accepted the view that pro-growth means anti-environment. It is possible to be pro-jobs and pro-environment. This is a better approach than the so-called "Clean Power Plan" of Obama which would have led to job losses.

The EPA is funded by the US taxpayer to the tune of $8.2 billion a year, but it has been estimated to cost the US economy another $350 billion a year in terms of unnecessary regulations.

[The term 'Clean Power Plan' is a good illustration of the language of propaganda. It implies that anyone not agreeing with its implementation is unreasonable. However, Clean Power, if you look at what it says about carbon dioxide, is best summarised in two words - Lunatic Fringe - Ed. ]

26 Mar 17

On 16 Mar 17 the White House defended a proposal to reduce the federal of climate change programs, calling them a waste of money. The Trump administration released a budget document proposing a 31 percent cut in Environmental Protection Agency funding, including a $100 million reduction in climate change programs.

The budget will also reduce USA contributions to international climate change projects and funding for some areas of advanced energy and renewable power research. Environmentalists have said that lawmakers should not cut funding for climate change during a period of increasing global temperatures, but fail to mention that there has been no increase in temperatures for about twenty years.

An interesting illustration of how climate change spending distorts national priorities is shown by Germany, where a fortune has been spent on renewables whilst the country has failed to meet its NATO obligations of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Summarised from a letter from "TC", Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, published in the Daily Telegraph, 15 Mar 17.

    Smart meters can be useful to electricity companies, especially for remote reading of the meter.

    What the government and the electricity companies do not tell us is that the fitting of the meter is optional. You can opt out.

    The smart meter also has a built-in facility to enable any customer to be disconnected remotely without notice. This can happen if the bill is not paid, if a postcode area is disconnected in a planned power cut, or in times of electricity generation shortages.

    In times of shortage, customers prepared to pay a premium might stay connected. Those who did not pay the premium would be disconnected.

    There would be one law for the rich and one for the poor.

15 Mar 17

For the first time ever, I heard the the BBC attribute a large energy price rise to over-investment in renewables and the cost of smart meters. This was the 14% rise announced by SSE on the 6 o'clock news last night on R4.

14 Mar 17

CO2 concentration is 400ppm; the amount in air is about fifty to a hundred times smaller than that of water vapour, depending on the weather. CO2 is a poorer absorber of IR than water vapour so the warming effect of CO2 is smaller than one-fiftieth to one-hundredth of that of water vapour.

Secondly, changes in carbon dioxide lag changes in temperature at all time scales. Therefore CO2 does not warm the planet. The cart does not push the horse.

There are plenty of reasons for using finite natural resources as slowly as we possibly can, but none of them have anything to do with climate.

Dr. Richard Lindzen has sent a petition to President Trump, asking the President to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.

The consensus of scientists is demonstrated by this petition.

Scientists study evidence. There is no evidence that human activities are having a discernible effect on global climate.

The petition contains the names of around 300 scientists and other individuals, including physicists, engineers, former Astronauts, meteorologists, immunology specialists, marine biologists, chemists, statisticians, doctors, military weather specialists, geologists, accountants, a former director of NASA, economists, soil specialists, mathematicians, hydrologists, environmental scientists, computer modelling specialists and others.

11 Mar 17

On its main news programs the BBC is saying,

>>Much scientific evidence shows CO2 is causing most global warming.<<

That is wrong because there is no scientific evidence – none; not any of any kind - to show CO2 is causing any global warming. There is only a hypothesis that CO2 may be causing global warming and models constructed to show possible effects of that hypothesis.

As to why the BBC is not citing any of the “scientific evidence” it is proclaiming: they cannot cite it; nobody can because it does not exist.

Meanwhile, the BBC is failing to report the petition from Richard Lindzen to President Trump .

11 Mar 17

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency in America is Scott Pruitt. His view on man-made global warming is very different to that of his predecessor. He believes that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming, a view shared by most engineers, physicists and chemists.

The EPA itself has said previously that net emissions of greenhouse gases from human activity increased by 35% from 1990 to 2010, and emissions of carbon dioxide, which account for about 75% of total emissions, increased by 42% over the period.

Scott is proposing to end the US Climate Global Research Program.

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz indulged in some name-calling but had nothing of substance to add to the debate.

Donald Trump's team is apparently divided over whether the United States should withdraw from the Paris climate accord, negotiated under Obama's instructions.

Scott describes the Paris accord as a bad deal. He thinks the accord should have gone through the Senate. 190 world leaders agreed to lower emissions at Paris, but this was more an illustration of groupthink than of any connection to scientific reality.

No-one has a good understanding of how the climate works; certainly not to the extent that meaningful, accurate predictions can be made reliably. However the role of man-made CO2 is known to be secondary and minor; so small as to be unmeasurable.

    An engineer comments:
    Debunk AGW and the case for renewable energy collapses: that’s a trillion dollar fraud on its own.

10 Mar 17

For years, this website has warned about the dangers of surveillance from Smart Meters. Now Wiki Leaks has announced that the CIA has been using them (and similar 'smart' electronic gadgets) to spy in America. The ex-Director of CIA has confirmed that this happens.

You should also be aware that most PCs have built-in cameras and that if the computer is hacked, you may be observed remotely. I have covered the camera lens on my PC with black tape.

9 Mar 17

Poland has filed a lawsuit challenging the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, pricing carbon dioxide emissions. Poland argued that the scheme cannot be binding because it did not have the backing of the EU's 28 member nations. Nine other countries also opposed the scheme.

The EU wants to put heavier taxes on CO2 but Poland objects because its energy comes mainly from its own coal reserves, and it regards its coal-based energy as important for energy security and nationaly security. Poland has repeatedly rejected mainstream global warming propaganda.

The EU says that the regulations are not formal yet so don't need unanimous backing.

9 Mar 17

According to a recent report in Berliner Zeitung, Germany is likely to stop building new wind farms by 2019. The government estimates that it will spend about $1.1 trillion supporting wind power, even though building wind turbines hasn’t achieved what it set out to do - reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Germany created over-generous subsidies and tax benefits for wind power in 2011 after it decided to abandon nuclear power by 2022 .

The reasons for this shutdown were political. Tsunamis (like the one which caused the Japanese disaster) have never been observed in Germany.

Electricity from new wind power is nearly four times as expensive as electricity from existing nuclear power plants, according to analysis from the Institute for Energy Research. The rising cost of subsidies is passed onto ordinary rate-payers, so it seems that poor households are subsidizing the affluent. Complaints to this effect have been made.

Nuclear power delivered 29% of Germany’s electrical energy in 2000. In 2015, the figure was 17%.

4 Mar 17

An engineer (AP) writes ...... A job interview at Drax biomass power station alerted me to the fact that you can get away with murder if you claim to be cutting CO2 emissions. I was prepared to listen to what they said with an open mind and challenge my own biases. I came away from it (having failed to get the job) thinking I'd been right all along. The biomass scam might emit less CO2 than coal, but at what cost? If CO2 isn't the problem, then biomass and wind are not the solutions.

3 Mar 17

Those who question the man-made global warming hypothesis will be familiar with propaganda and groupthink. A new report by the Adam Smith Institute mentions that groupthink is rife within academia. 90% of British universities censored speech on campus last year. It is also rife within the mainstream media. This is not surprising; silencing the views of dissenters goes back through the centuries. Nevertheless it undermines our concept of free speech.

Banning a speaker because you do not agree with his views does not constitute honest debate.

People with right-wing and conservative views are under-represented in British universities, making up about 12% of academics, but 50% of the general public vote for right-wing parties. This risks systematic bias in scholarship.

2 Mar 17

A British think tank, Chatham House, has pointed out that the UK is wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on burning American wood pellets in biomass generators, and that this causes more carbon dioxide emissions than the coal it replaced.

The UK imported 7.5 million tonnes of wood pellets last year, mainly from America. Most were burned at Drax, Britain’s largest power plant. It has moved from burning coal to wood pellets (a much more expensive process) over the last five years and as a result has been awarded millions of pounds in subsidies from the government. In 2015 it received £450 million in renewable obligation certificates.

[Carbon dioxide emissions do not affect climate to any measurable extent, but that's another issue - Ed.]

23 Feb 2017

In the US, environmentalists are watching the destruction of ancient woodlands, to supply the increasing demand for wood pellets by European biomass plants in order to meet low-carbon targets. The enormous additional demand for biomass caused by the bioenergy industry now threatens to destroy ecosystems which cannot be replaced.

Across the EU as a whole, biomass & renewable waste accounted for about 5% of total electricity generation in 2014, a similar proportion to the UK.

    Based on EU accounting rules, which classify burning wood as zero-carbon, Drax’s biomass plant makes carbon savings of 80% compared with coal. Drax’s own figures show that CO2 emissions from biomass are actually 12% greater than coal for each unit of electricity generated.(......thanks to Paul H for the info. - Ed.)

11 Feb 2017

The BBC is under investigation after receiving a large number of complaints that its editorial coverage of climate change is biased in favour of those who say it is a man-made phenomenon.

Concerns are growing that BBC journalists and their bosses regard disputed scientific theory that climate change is caused by mankind as “mainstream” while huge sums of employees’ money is invested in companies whose success depends on the theory being widely accepted.

The fund, which has 58,744 members, accounts for about £8 of the £142.50 licence fee.

Veteran journalist and former BBC newsreader Peter Sissons is unhappy with the corporation’s coverage. He said recently: “The corporation’s most famous interrogators invariably begin by accepting that ‘the science is settled’ when there are countless reputable scientists and climatologists producing work that says it isn’t. It is, in effect, BBC policy, enthusiastically carried out by the BBC’s environment correspondents, that those views should not be heard. I was not proud to be working for an organisation with a corporate mind so closed on such an important issue.”

Last month the BBC Trust announced an investigation after a string of complaints that the corporation was promoting the theory that climate change was man-made.

11 Feb 2017

Here is a diagram showing the proportion of electricity generated in the UK by the different types of power station during Jan 2017. (Source: notalotofpeopleknowthat.com)

electricity generation picture, UK, jan 2017

Summarised from a report by Joe Kelly in Canberra.

The South Australian government says it will take the control of the state’s power supply, after a power cut to 40,000 homes. The Australian Energy Market Operator ordered power to be cut because of lack of available generation supply. Power was resumed 45 mins later.

The government has since blamed everyone except itself for the state’s unreliable power supply. There have been three major blackouts since the entire state lost power during storms on 28 Sept.

Opposition leader Steven Marshall described the government’s energy policy as chaotic, after allowing the Northern Power Station to close last May, which was the state’s last coal-fired station providing baseload power.

PM Malcolm Turnbull said "The idea you can power a state or a nation solely from renewables is fanciful. You need to have backups.”

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said that the high level of renewables in SA had invited grid instability.

11 Feb 2017

We all depend on our media environment to give us a roughly accurate view of the world around us. Tim Cook, the head of Apple, has said that fake news is killing people's minds. I prefer to call fake news by its proper name - lies. And when it comes to lying or distortion, the mainstream media are not exempt from criticism.

The BBC has been peddling fiction on certain topics for years. For example - in 2006 it said the arctic would be ice free by 2013. As for its 'despite Brexit' coverage, that's an ongoing joke.

The day the media become truly independent of any political party will be the day people start believing them.

Media credibility is now lower than it has ever been. Look at the ongoing attacks on Brexit voters, Trump supporters, climate sceptics, diesel car owners and others.

Orwell warned us against letting the government decide what was true and what was fake.

It is not surprising that people are now looking for alternative sources of news which they trust.

11 Feb 2017

Since his inauguration, Mr. Trump has described environmentalism as being out of control, suspended EPA grants, and removed all mention of man-made climate change from the White House website. A more balanced discussion of climate change is likely to result, and not just in the USA.

24 Jan 2017

UK green energy subsidies which currently cost each household £110 per year are to be reduced. Ministers have said they wish to minimise the cost of projects to families and businesses and instead rely on competitive markets to deliver green energy.

The Government recently admitted that it will be spending £9 billion (about £370 per household) on green energy levies by 2020-21.

20 Jan 2017

    .....I would dispute that figure of £110. It's probably a lot larger, and it depends on how you do the sums...... -Ed.

Response from Donald Trump, on being asked for press passes by CNN.

"Dear CNN

We're hosting the Deploraball at the Press Club because we support quality journalism. We sincerely want to rebuild trust with the media. Unfortunately, we feel your coverage during the election was biased to the point of being irresponsible. We question your integrity as an institution of journalism. Therefore, we will not be issuing you press passes.

Please note this is not a partisan issue. We have issued passes to journalists from the New Yorker, New York Magazine, FOX, and others. We simply want to be covered fairly and have no confidence that you would do so."

CNN has been repeating AGW and '97%-consensus' propaganda for many years. Perhaps it now has an incentive to present a more truthful picture of important issues - Ed.

20 Jan 2017

A new carbon-capture facility was declared operational on Tuesday by NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp.

Their Petra Nova project, not far outside of Houston, captured carbon dioxide from coal combustion for the first time in September, and has now piped 100,000 tons of it from the plant to the West Ranch oil field 80 miles away, where the carbon dioxide is used to force additional oil from the ground. The companies say that the plant can capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide released from a 240MW plant, which produces about 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day; around a million tons per year. They say it is the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture system.

There is another coal plant nearly ready in the USA that will also capture carbon dioxide, expected to be operational on 31 Jan. It has been designed to turn lignite into gaseous fuel (syngas) by heating it; much of the carbon remains in the residue so is not released as CO2. The syngas is burned for electricity.

Thus, at Petra Nova the capturing of carbon occurs after the coal has been burned — or “post-combustion” — whereas at the second plant, Kemper, it happens beforehand.

The arrival of Petra Nova and Kemper comes as the incoming Trump administration will have to try to deliver on promises made to the hamstrung coal industry, which has been the victim of government-backed anti-CO2 propaganda from the EPA. It remains unclear whether Trump will support carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, but he did allude to “clean coal” while campaigning.

It must be said that the Petra Nova plant is a tiddler. A 240MW plant is small by today's standards, and whether or not the technology has a long-term future in the power generation sector is uncertain. CCS plants have a habit of going enormously over-budget. The reasons for this are described here in my article Carbon Capture .

According to the Global CCS Institute, which tracks the CCS industry, there are 21 carbon capture projects operating or built worldwide, but none are on a scale likely to be useful in the power generation sector. Those interested can try googling "carbon capture norway".

17 Jan 2017

Short summary of part of a report by C. Krauss, 13 Jan 2017, NYT.

Exxon Mobil and Hess have announced the successful drilling of a deepwater exploration well off the coast of Guyana. It is believed that one of Guyana's offshore fields may contain around 1.4 billion barrels of oil mixed with natural gas, which is comparable to some of the larger fields drilled in South America.

Guyana has a low population so would be able to export most of it.

Early estimates of recoverable oil around Guyana are around four billion barrels, which at today’s prices would be worth about $200 billion. The country currently produces very little energy; it badly needs pipelines and infrastructure if the oil is to be extracted.

Brazil and Colombia are already major producers. Argentina is also becoming a big producer; Chevron and some other oil companies have said they will invest $5 billion this year in the Dead Cow shale field, Patagonia.

Exxon Mobil has not yet said what it will invest, but estimates of the amount are around $500 million. The company has drilled five exploration wells off Guyana so far, one of which was dry.

16 Jan 2017

A group of MPs, The British Infrastructure group, has said that lights may go out next winter and power rationed because of mismanagement of the energy supply. There is not enough spare capacity to cope with periods of high electricity demand.

This is not news. For the last fifteen years, scientists and engineers have told the MPs responsible for energy that they had to plan for the future. Unfortunately they chose not to listen.

Instead, the Department of Energy and Climate Change took advice from environmental activists and others with no idea of how the electricity supply works. They signed up to the EU's Climate Change Act - the most expensive (£300 billion) and foolish Act ever to be passed by Parliament. They concentrated on meeting carbon targets instead of ensuring a secure energy supply. They supplied schools and others with anti-carbon propaganda based on man-made global warming, for which there is no evidence; none; not any of any kind. They closed down perfectly good coal-fired power stations years before they were worn out.

They replaced them with wind farms and solar panels which are intermittent and unreliable and, frankly, not worth connecting to the Grid.

This is a national disaster which every competent chemist, physicist and engineer in the country had predicted.

Now it seems we will have power cuts and rationing and even higher bills. What a surprise.

    An engineer friend, JC, adds......
    Easy to forecast if you have any engineering sense, even if one is not directly involved in the energy sector. I have just been looking at Gridwatch and it shows demand as 46.36 GW, outputs as Coal @ 8,85 GW, Nuclear @ 8.28 GW, CCGT @ 24.9 GW and wind as a miserable 1.01 GW. This is not a particularly cold day but even so the bulk of our electrical power is running at almost red line conditions.

    This means that a relatively small increase in demand may well overwhelm our generators unless we can import more from overseas or we can switch on enough STOR capacity, which will be very expensive and will produce more emissions than the coal stations which the idiots shut down. The supplies from France are in trouble because half of their capacity is denied to us due to a cable fault.

    Note from ND - STOR capacity means small diesel generators of around 2MW each; Short Term Operating Reserve. Price paid for the energy is around 50P per unit (£500 per MWh). For detailed information on this, see article by Richard North at http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84095

19 Dec 2016

      Update - Another engineer friend, RE, writes....
      Yesterday evening, 20 Dec, on the grid, a demand of over 47 GW had CCGT gas on full capacity, all available coal units running on full load and even the oil OCGTs had to be dispatched to meet the evening peak. Wind was contributing about 2 GW and solar PV nothing because it was dark.

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