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Different worldviews

Russia threatened yesterday to disrupt gas supplies to Europe within days, opening a new front in the showdown over Ukraine. President Putin demanded immediate advance payments from Kiev to keep the gas taps on in the depths of winter. Cutting off gas would be likely to hit transit flows to Europe. His ultimatum came on the day that the EU announced ambitious plans for an “energy union” to end Russia’s energy stranglehold over the continent.

The Times, today (£)

Lancashire county councillors have rejected plans for fracking company Cuadrilla to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring at a county site.

Planning officers, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency recommended approval.

But the development control committee turned down the application which had received more than 300 objections.

The BBC, today


Here we go again

The government, in its infinite foolishness, has spent a million quid or thereabouts to get researchers to develop a process for converting draff and pot ale, by-products of the distillery business, into butanol for use as a biofuel. The people involved are now seeking another considerably larger wad of cash from the taxpayer to scale the process up.

Click to read more ...


Quote of the day, corruption edition

By far the biggest beneficiary of the contracts awarded without competition last year was Danish energy giant DONG Energy, which owns three of the five offshore wind farms and stands to reap £7.8bn in subsidies.

Benj Sykes, head of its UK wind business, said he did not know whether his company’s projects could have been built more cheaply but he insisted the subsidy price was not “in any way giving us any sort of return that is not justified”.

The scale of the corruption that the government has brought upon us is sometimes rather startling. Read the whole thing.


Swivel eyed lunacy - Josh 316


Magic wands and the greens

I think it was Bryony Worthington who once asked a bunch of environmentalists what they would happen if a fairy could wave a magic wand and do away with the warming effects of carbon dioxide. Would they be happy for mankind to continue to burn fossil fuels?

The answer of course was "no".

Interesting then to read the news that Roman Abramovich has made a major investment in a company that claims to be able to fracture rocks without any fluids at all.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has invested $15 million in Houston-based Propell Technologies Group, Inc. (OTC:PROP) and its new fracking technology from wholly owned subsidiary Novas Energy. Significantly, this new enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology enables ‘clean’ hydraulic micro/nano fracturing of oil reservoirs—that is, without water, without polluting chemicals and without earthquakes.

According to Propell, the Plasma Pulse patented downhole tool creates a controlled plasma arc within a vertical well, generating a tremendous amount of heat for a fraction of a second. The subsequent high-speed hydraulic impulse wave emitted is strong enough to remove any clogged sedimentation from the perforation zone without damaging steel. The series of impulse waves/vibrations also penetrate deep into the reservoir causing nano fractures in the matrix which increase reservoir permeability for up to a year per treatment.

It sounds like the shale gas industry's very own magic wand. You can almost sense the dismay among the green fraternity.


Why you can't trust climatology

Roger Pielke Jr, along with a handful of other academics is the subject of an "investigation" by a Democratic congressman from Arizona. There has been a great deal of outrage and disgust expressed, on both sides of the debate, and it's certainly nice to see the two sides pulling together for once, although Michael Mann has chosen to keep up his ugly utterances instead.

Roger has discussed what is going on here. I was struck by this bit:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. 

Roger has always struck me as one of the most robust participants in the climate debate. When someone as thick-skinned as he is is forced out then it really does tell you something about the trustworthiness of what climatologists and the IPCC tell us.

The word is "nugatory", I think.


Green messages

When I discussed Scotland's energy supply on Radio Scotland a few weeks back, I shared the airwaves with a Green Party spokesman. I pressed him (I forget his name) on how energy was to be generated on cold still nights, and was told that we needed research into energy storage technologies.

That's fair enough, although the obvious corollary is that we are stuck with fossil fuels in the meantime.

It's interesting therefore to see the green movement declaring today that we just don't need any fossil fuel generation at all. This comes in response to the Conservatives' warnings that we risk the lights going out.


SCOTLAND must build new power stations if it wants to keep the lights on beyond 2025, opposition leaders will warn today.

A massive new gas-powered plant could be built at Longannet which looks poised to shut down within the next decade, according to the Conservatives.

But environmental bodies have dismissed the claims, insisting that Scotland can continue to power itself from green sources like wind and hydro.

Clearly the greens know that the lights will go out if the wind fails to blow on a winter's night unless we have conventional generation capacity on hand. It's interesting to ponder then why they persist in telling journalists that we can allow all these power stations to close. And why the journalists don't call them out on it.



An unfortunate series of incidents - Josh 315


Salby in London

Another date for your diaries...

Prof. Murry Salby presents

Control of Atmospheric CO2

His new research applies observed changes of climate and atmospheric tracers to resolve the budget of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It reveals the mechanisms behind the evolution of CO2, including its increase during the 20th century. Thereby, the analysis determines the respective roles of human and natural sources of CO2, with an upper bound on the contribution from fossil fuel emission.

Click to read more ...


Patchy resigns

News is breaking that Rajendra Pachauri has resigned as head of the IPCC.

The head of the United Nations climate change panel (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, has stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations.

A spokesman for Mr Pachauri informed the IPCC that he resigned from his position with immediate effect.


A cap on hunger

Precisely what is meant by sustainable development has never been entirely clear, but you could be forgiven for thinking that it was something to do with killing off as many people in the third world as possible. Take, for example, the case of biofuels, which were touted by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth (among others) as important contributors to sustainable development and a mighty blow in the war against fossil fuels to boot. When European farmers saw the possibilities it was not long before corrupt bureaucrats in the EU leapt into action and put legislation in place to make the dreams of environmentalists and farmers a reality.

The problem was that it was a reality that involved quite a lot of hunger, not a little outright starvation, and perhaps some landgrabs too.

Click to read more ...


Building a crony capitalist society

A few days ago I noted the comments of the UNFCCC's Christiana Figueres about the UN's desire to transform the basis of daily economic life:

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution.

Click to read more ...


Worst fracking paper ever?

Richard Black's Energy and Climate Change Information Unit has published what must surely rank as one of the most outrageously misleading contributions to the unconventional gas debate since Frackland.

The image explaining the unconventional drilling process is simply jaw-dropping, with readers invited to believe that aquifers are just a few feet below the surface and that shale seams are just a few feet below that.

Click to read more ...


Another witchhunt

So the usual suspects in the green-tinged media are running another of their witchhunts. This time they have returned to the attack against Willie Soon, with the New York Times' Justin Gillis and the Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg in the front line.

As far as I can see, the story is that Soon and three co-authors published a paper on climate sensitivity. At the same time (or perhaps in the past - this being a smear-job it's hard to get at the facts) he was being funded by to do work on things like the solar influence on climate by people that greens feel are the baddies. They and the greens feel he should have disclosed that baddies were paying him to do stuff on a  paper that was not funded by the baddies.

I guess you can make a case that he should have done, but I'm struggling to get very excited about it as a transgression.

And as a fairly ugly attempt to poison the well the articles in the New York Times and the Guardian are an indictment of the standards at those once respected publications. Their failure to discuss the contents of the Soon paper speaks volumes.


Congressional hearings?

According to the Daily Caller, Republicans in the US Congress seem set to announce hearings into the surface temperature records. This intelligence was based on a tweet from Dana Rohrabacher, the vice chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.



It seems fairly clear that the surface stations are a shambles. It is not so obvious that this has led to a material overstatement of warming. But I think we can say with some certainty that a congressional hearing is probably not going to get to the bottom of the scientific issues.