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A glimmer of common sense

…Owen Patterson, the new Environment Minister, spoke at a fringe event last night [Sunday]where he showed himself more than capable of rhetoric.

He is apparently "delighted" that he may have shale gas in his constituency, as he told the audience. It had a "spectacular" effect on the American economy, where the locals only noticed it because of the improvements to their infrastructure, he said. It would help us reduce emissions as well, he believed. A role for gas beyond 2030? "Why limit anything?" he said.

When asked whether this view was in line with the legal requirements set out in the Climate Change Act, he said that the Act may have targets, but whether we can meet them is a different question.


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Reader Comments (15)

I'm always posting in unthreaded at the wrong moment. Here is a good resource for shale gas in Europe. I hope Owen Patterson has it bookmarked.

Oct 9, 2012 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Meanwhile Davey is speaking with two faces, on the one hand arguing for more carbon restrictions, with the other for more CCGTs. How can you do the latter if you restrict gas supplies?

The answer is to aim for a minimum level of CO2 emissions, and in the short term that comes from a fleet of CCGTs operating at maximum efficiency and restricting windmill power to <10% of demand. To force more wind power into the system and save CO2 is impossible unless we go to pump storage to absorb surges, and that has to be pumped by nuclear power at peak demand [gales in the N. Sea].

See this for a recent UK wind energy spectrum, Davey is apparently just waking up to the severe engineering task caused by windmills:

Oct 9, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

And still the pathetic Conservatives haven't even made noises about repealing the climate change act OK we all know Lib-Dems wouldn't stand for it, but the noises would be good, encourage us to believe that not everyone in 'power' is a schoolboy fantasist of some kind, but that there actually are a few people running things who have some understanding of reality. Along with some noises about repealing the human rights act, the two together might slow the desertion of natural conservatives to UKIP.

Oct 9, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

"repealing the climate change act" ... we can but dream.

Oct 9, 2012 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Engineering facts about CCGTs; a wind spectrum:

CCGTs give 60% CH4 - electrical power efficiency at 100% load. To act as standby they have a minimum output of 60% otherwise the boiler fatigues. The efficiency then drops to ~50%. Every time system load changes, efficiency drops. So cycle a CCGT 60% - 100% load, efficiency falls to ~55%.

This means with low windmill loading ~10% average, 90% CCGT power uses 45%/40% more fuel than if there were no windmills, 11% more. Scale to 100% for system CO2 emissions and 10% CO2 saving by the windmills means 10% more by the CCGTs, no net CO2 saving.

Now idiot Davey insists we have >10% wind power. Drop CCGT loading to 20% with no steam cycle. The efficiency is now 40% [OCGT]. As it takes 30 minutes for the steam cycle to start, some users divert methane to preheat the boilers giving 5 minute steam cycle recovery, dropping efficiency to ~35%.

This dramatic fall in CCGT standby efficiency as OCGTs is why the Irish have found there is near zero saving of CO2 emissions for all wind penetrations. The Dutch province of North Holland calculate that even with their dc interconnector to Norway, which allows wind surges to be dumped to hydro, expected CO2 saving is <=1.6% so the wind arrays aren't worth the capital investment costs.

DECC's insistence on using the UK as a carbon offset milch cow for Europe can save no CO2 and dramatically increases electrical power costs. Even using pump storage with dedicated nuclear pumping will save very little CO2.The purpose of increasing energy costs is to reduce consumption. Has any Government in History ever done this to its people and survived the guillotine?

Oct 9, 2012 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

He may be more than capable of rhetoric, but is he capable of more than rhetoric?
We shall see.

Oct 9, 2012 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

But no commonsense from the Government here

Building wind turbines in Ireland - as my Norfolk friend puts it:

This is utter madness. To appease the back-bench Tory snobs we look to build our renewable energy infrastructure on another country and import it under the sea?! What needs to change is the attitude of the out-of-touch pre-historic fossils that reside in and rule over our countryside.
The rest of Europe is looking at us and having a good laugh. What a complete joke.

Oct 9, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The problem is not the climate change act as such but the 'carbon tax' which is due to be levied from next year. As the AGW hysteria drains from the rest of the world and they return to economic growth the UK, almost alone with Australia, will be hobbled by a 'hidden' tax causing expensive energy.

Oct 9, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterWoodsy42

Can Mankind control Climate by reducing a small part of its CO2 emissions?

The Western world is continually being pressured by propaganda and has widely enacted legislation about “Global Warming / Climate Change / Global Climate Disruption”. These definitions mean that any adverse weather event can be ascribed to “Climate Change” and thus be blamed on the destructive actions of mankind. The Catastrophic Climate Change Alarmists back every horse whichever way it runs.

Nonetheless all Alarmist policy recommendations are only ever intended to control excessive Global Overheating by the reduction of Man-made CO2 emissions. It is not clear how reducing CO2 emissions would help save the world from a climate change towards cooling climate nor how it could ameliorate severe weather events.

This is the Blinding Paradox of Catastrophic Global Warming / Climate Change / Global Climate Disruption Alarmism.

This paradox has been bought into, acted upon, legislated on or ignored by the minority of Western Nations including the EU, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, who are trying to reduce their CO2 emissions and thus influence climate.

That has to raise some real questions.

What if:
• CO2 is a harmless but essential trace gas in the atmosphere, without which life on earth could not exist?
• CO2, whether the major part naturally created within the biosphere or Man-made, is not a true pollutant ?
• any extra atmospheric CO2 fertilises plant growth and makes plants more drought resistant?
• all mankind’s small additional CO2 emissions cannot affect the worlds’ climate in any significant way?
• CO2’s effect on temperature has already radically diminished with increasing concentrations and only ~12% of its effectiveness as a greenhouse gas now remains?
• any current warming since 1850 is mainly a natural occurrence recovering from the Little Ice Age?
• the whole Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming cause / quasi religion is a politically and emotionally driven misconception that leads to noble cause corruption. It is negated by serious science ?

If any of the above is true:
• are the massive efforts and extreme costs already being expended and being planned by a limited number Western Nations representing a small proportion of world CO2 emissions reasonable?
• is it reasonable for a few Western Nations to deliberately commit themselves to the immense economic risks of damaged energy security and loss of worldwide competitiveness for a questionable theory ?
• is a partial and comparatively minor reduction of Man-made CO2 emissions, from a few nations (only amounting to 13% of world emissions in 2011) with doubtful effects on world temperature justifiable at all?
• do the participating governments realise that the CO2 emissions from developing world, (China, the other developing nations and India), are increasing so rapidly that they make all efforts at CO2 reduction in the West irrelevant?
• are partial limits on CO2 emissions a rational way to save the World?
• what precisely is the World being saved from?

A warmer world with higher levels of CO2 is probably a rather better, more agriculturally productive world, with longer growing seasons and with less violent weather. This was certainly the case in the earlier Medieval and Roman warm periods and throughout the earlier Holocene. Alarmist predictions of catastrophe from runaway warming are speculative.

As the remedies proposed and already in effect are so vast and so onerous:
• where is or rather was the open-minded, even-handed due diligence: both the IPCC reports after Climategate and the Stern review are questionable?
• where are the full comparative cost benefit analyses ?
• do those participating Western governments understand:
• • that with reducing sunspot activity, the world is entering a period of natural cooling and that the world appears to be moving towards Little Ice Age weather patterns ?
• • that a cooling, rather than a warming, world will lead both a reduction in agricultural productivity leading to huge deprivation for much of mankind worldwide and to more extreme weather events.
• • have the participating Western governments robust contingency plans for when their lights go out?

Instead it is not likely that any current global warming is within normal limits, is probably beneficial to mankind, or sadly may be not now even be occurring at all.

With CO2 emissions still growing rapidly but with stabilisation of world temperatures, the probability is that any current global warming is not man-made and in any event could be not be influenced by any remedial action taken by mankind, especially when actioned only by a small minority of Nations.

That prospect should be welcomed with universal and unmitigated joy.

In that case:
• decarbonisation of Western economies is a pointless ambition.
• all concern over CO2 as a man-made pollutant can be discounted.
• all CO2 reduction targets become irrelevant and wasteful.
• all renewable energy alternatives, except large scale hydropower, are unnecessary and expensive for consumers.
• carbon capture and storage (CCS), if achievable, would be an expensive and wasteful mechanism to throw away small amounts of useful plant food.
• any extra CO2 is already increasing the fertility of all plant life on the planet.
• it is not necessary to further damage the economies of Western world to no purpose.
• a warmer climate within natural variation would provide a future of greater opportunity and prosperity for human development. This has frequently been proven in the past. It would benefit the third world.
• if warming were happening it would lead to a more benign and healthy climate for mankind.

The sooner this is realised, in spite of the media propaganda, public relations efforts, lost academic credibility and the huge business and government monetary capital already invested, the sooner the Western world can be released from its self-imposed, economically destructive straightjacket.

Nonetheless it remains absolutely clear that our planet is vastly damaged by many human activities such as:
• toxic environmental pollution.
• over fishing.
• forest clearance.
• industrial monoculture farming.
• farming for bio-fuels .
• and other habitat destruction.

The world should indeed be strenuously finding ways to improve these situations. There are many more investments that should be prioritised for the benefit of mankind, particularly in the third world including:
• controlling malaria.
• clean water.
• stopping deforestation.
• AIDS prevention, etc.

But the unwarranted concentration on reducing CO2 emissions is deflecting even well-meaning green activists in the Western world from these more immediate and more worthwhile objectives.

At the same time, this is absolutely not to say that the world should not be seeking more efficient ways of generating its energy and conserving its energy use. There may be a need to wean the world off the continued expenditure of fossil fuels on the grounds of:
• security of supply, including making investments into new forms of nuclear electricity generation.
• their apparent scarcity: although with increasing fossil fuel prices amazing quantities of further long term reserves continue to be discovered.
• using fossil fuels as the future feedstock for industry rather than simply burning them.

Dr Patrick Moore founder and former director of Greenpeace in his recent book, “Confessions of a Greenpeace dropout: the making of a sensible environmentalist”, explained succinctly why the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory or perhaps more correctly the religion even now retains so much influence and such traction:

“Fear of climate change results in a convergence of interests among activists seeking funding, scientists applying for grants, the media selling advertising, businesses promoting themselves as green, and politicians looking for votes. It may not be a conspiracy, but it is a very powerful alignment that is mutually reinforcing.”

Oct 9, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered Commenteredmh


With one tiny exception I agree with everything you wrote above and it sums up much that has been said on this blog for years, However the problem is getting anyone in Westminster to remove their heads from you know where and listen.

• any current warming since 1850 is mainly a natural occurrence recovering from the Little Ice Age?

This tends to suggest that conditions in the LIA were somehow abnormal and that the planet then returned to some kind of "normal" state. Climate history is hotly debated even over the last 1000 years and so records of climate going back billions of years have to be taken with a pinch of salt. However the records I have seen suggest that the planet oscillates between periods (sometimes of many hundreds of millions of years) of hothouse conditions and periods of ice age. Our current climate is the least "normal" of all climates, being an inter-glacial somewhere between the other two scenarios.
These conditions have been near perfect for the development of human civilization but the only certainty is that they will not last ^.^

Oct 9, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Hi Dung

May I commend to you the Inconvenient Sceptic by John Kehr

In Chapter 7 particularly illustration 65 he demonstrates with clear 1000 year stepwise graphs the diminution of temperatures since the Holocene Climate Optimum about 10,000 years ago.

He also describes the previous Eemian interglacial and the way it decayed rapidly from a higher peak than the current Holocene.

Fascinating stuff and not in the CAGW mindset.

Oct 9, 2012 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commenteredmh


Indeed ^.^ I have already tried to explain to the DECC that all three of the previous interglacials were warmer than this one with much lower CO2 levels and that this is even shown in the IPCC AR4 graphs, they didn't bat an eyelid >.<

Oct 9, 2012 at 3:16 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Oddly the provisions of the actual Climate Change Act itself, may be contrary to the provisions of the UK Fraud Act (2006) in that it breaches certain aspects, such as "Making or supplying articles for use in frauds" and many other possible infringements. See the details here and decide for yourself whether to complain to Police.

UK Fraud Act 2006

Oct 9, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBallroom Blitz

Bruce Forsyth

I thought maybe false representation might be appropriate but then there is the cost?

Oct 9, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Good to hear from Patterson. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any reporting of this in the media - just plenty of Ed Davey - er - nonsense, to avoid vulgarity.


Oct 9, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered Commentermiket

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