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« Well sampled science - Josh 209 | Main | Hayes out, Fallon in »
Thursday
Mar282013

UK takes the German path

The government has just released its provisional figures for 2012 greenhouse gas emissions, and it's not good news. Emission are up sharply, taking them back to the levels prevalent in 2009, when the Climate Change Act had just been put in place.

The Act is not apparently a policy success, even in terms of its own stated aims.

But we knew that. Perhaps more interesting is the reason for the rise in emissions. If you refer to the provisional energy mix figures, you can see that there has been a sharp rise in coal usage and a tailing off of gas. This has been more than enough to counteract the small (but very expensive) gains from renewables.

So it's fair to say that shale gas has had an effect on UK energy and emissions, even though development of shale fields is yet to begin in the UK. But as gas prices plumb the depths in the USA, coal has been displaced from their energy mix, making it much, much cheaper everywhere else. This may well be the way of the future: DECC as managed to get us a mixture of coal and renewables that gives us the worst of both worlds - higher emissions and higher costs. Bravo Mr Davey.

It's also interesting to consider these results in the light of Mr Davey's claim yesterday that our higher energy prices are due to higher "worldwide" gas prices. If we are using less gas, shouldn't the effect be rather muted?

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Reader Comments (36)

"and it's not good news."

I think it's great news, greenhouse emissions correlate with economic growth so it is a sign of a recovering economy (or a chuffing cold winter).

Mar 28, 2013 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

Emissions will probably turn down as the coal stations close.

Mar 28, 2013 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Dunford

That coal increase was as coal-fired power stations rushed to use up their permitted hours. Watch the coal contribution plummet in the near future. Emissions will fall as blackouts increase.

Mar 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

In the first graph, there is something delightfully pathetic about the phrase "Basket of greenhouse gases."

I think we got ourselves a new collective noun.

Mar 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"not good news".

Really? Does it really matter about carbon dioxide in atmosphere?

Mar 28, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Our emissions, even if they had any measurable impact on climate, are irrelevant:

www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/20/coal-plants-world-resources-institute

World Resources Institute identifies 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India.

http://www.rtcc.org/us-emissions-decline-but-coal-exports-on-the-rise/

“At present the US is the world’s fourth largest exporter of coal – after Australia, Indonesia and Russia. US firms are now setting their sights on the big markets in Asia, particularly China and India.

Coal lobbyists are pushing for new coal terminals to be built on the US west coast to provide easier access to Asia. Exports to China – the world’s biggest coal producer and consumer – have been growing rapidly.

Last year one US coal company signed a $7 bn export agreement with an Indian conglomerate. Other deals are in the pipeline.”

Mar 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

I would not claim to know a lot about this but is it not the case that the owners of coal fired power stations are under commercial pressure to use up their allotted hours before the EU SS come in and shut them down?

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

Forgive the marginally O/T but I've just picked this link up from WUWT.
Hansen appears to have got it wrong all this time.

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

But why was there less gas and more coal used this year? Were gas power stations closed? Or are we running out of gas?

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:23 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I have a premonition that after all the extra taxes, regulations, subsidies, grants for insulation and greeny dirigiste fiscal frigging over the whole economy costing us tens, hundreds of billions, not only will our plant food output not be reduced by 80% but it won't even be reduced by one f***ing iota. To be perfectly honest I've never thought it would be reduced anyway. Unfortunately the price for all these eco-shenanigans is economic suicide whether they achieve their overt objectives or not.

As for curbing plant food production, I never saw the slightest indication that plant food levels affected climate over any period of time in the holocene, let alone over geologic time, hence I never saw any reason to invent mechanisms to explain any such relationship. But then I'm a heretic (and likely to stay one).

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

provisional estimate, final estimate, about. Terms like that indicate a large piece of guess work in measuring(?) minuscule quantities of gases. No signature on a document and no document reference number? So this reported junk rides on the back of settled science...science?

One things for sure if one of those French reactors (or ours) goes pop big time I don't think CO2 will ever be of interest.

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterColin E

Basket of greenhouse gases=so they seep through the wickerwork and back into the atmosphere and we are back where we started.

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

"Forgive the marginally O/T but I've just picked this link up from WUWT."
Hansen appears to have got it wrong all this time.
Mar 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Registered Commenter Mike Jackson
------------------------
It does appear astonishing at first sight. Is there more than one James Hansen at GISS?
I'm still checking the calendar a few more times to make sure it's not April 1st.

pdf link for the full free paper:
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/011006/pdf/1748-9326_8_1_011006.pdf

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Look at it this way: Coal use jumped up several time the level of ALL renewables -- Who noticed ???

People would have noticed three times more wind farms. But a 10% jump in coal use was literally invisible on the environment.

Mar 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Rasey

One has to wonder how much money it cost UK taxpayers to produce this 33 page note which has no added value whatsoever. No wonder this country is broke if this is the sort of stuff our taxes are wasted on.

Mar 28, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"Basket of greenhouse gases" it says. Some people are tin-eared.

Mar 28, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

"...basket of greenhouse gases..." Love it. And basket cases running the CCC.

Mar 28, 2013 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Colin E

One things for sure if one of those French reactors (or ours) goes pop big time I don't think CO2 will ever be of interest.

Are you expecting an ML > 9 earthquake in the Channel or are you recommending a strategy?

Mar 28, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

The question that should be asked in the light of the experience over the past 10 to 15 years is: how on earth can the 2050 target be achieved and if it were achieved what effect will it have on the industrial capacity of the UK and the wealth and wellbeing of its citizens?

I would like the politicians to give a clear answer to the above questions. I, for one, want to know what life is going to be like in 2050.

Mar 28, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

anything that pushes up co2 levels is to be applauded.

Mar 28, 2013 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard

At this stage in our industrial development, it seems patently obvious that more CO2 will follow from more economic growth, and given the standard of living which many presume to be their entitlement, we shall need more economic growth. In most of the world, the link seems even stronger as genuinely poor people work to improve the condition of their lives. But of course burning fossil fuels is a crude and often dirty business in terms of air pollution, and so we shall surely progress away from it, allowing the reserves to be exploited for their chemical richness rather than as a source of heat. All this seems clear enough. But yet we have have been disrupted by irresponsible, selfish, blinkered people with missions of their own to 'save us all'. They demand dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions as a means of stopping world development in its tracks. They have latched on to climate scaremongering as a means for their end, and have enjoyed great success for some decades. But as the climate fails to follow their awful 'dreams', they are looking increasingly bankrupt - morally and intellectually as well as in terms of economics. As they should. Theirs has been a shameful part of our history.

Mar 28, 2013 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Peter

"Emissions will probably turn down as the coal stations close."

Along with output. We have very little headroom...

Mar 28, 2013 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

michael hart
I'm glad somebody noticed my link. Since it could make a difference to a great chunk of the comments on this thread you would think people might have at least looked at it to see what it was.
Pay attention, fellas ----- "Death Train" Hansen comes close to admitting he was wrong about coal! Interesting, no?

Mar 28, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

DennisA -

“At present the US is the world’s fourth largest exporter of coal – after Australia, Indonesia and Russia. US firms are now setting their sights on the big markets in Asia, particularly China and India."

You have to laugh at Oz. When I was there about 4 years ago we landed at Cairns and EVERY taxi was a Toyota Pious - "we are reducing our carbon footprint mate" said the driver. From the Queensland coast a week late we could clearly see the cargo ships full of coal on there way to China. But since then they have introduced a carbon tax (I don't think that applies if the Chinese burn Oz's coal) and the government gives Green NGO's money which they use to organise picketing of coal-fired power stations. - shakes head meaningfully.

Mar 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

"...green house gas emissions, and it's not good news."....who says? You should have used the /sarc tag!

Good news, bad news.....treat these two imposters just the same!...it's the tiresome and meaningless rattle of the MSM.

Meanwhile, as it becomes colder, the up-tiick will continue to falsify the CAGW 'meme'.

Mar 28, 2013 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Paul Matthews - But why was there less gas and more coal used this year? Were gas power stations closed? Or are we running out of gas?

Coal plant were required to either sign up to the Large Combustion Plant Directive which limited their emissions, or were permitted to opt out, but have their remaining running hours restricted to circa 20000 hours before closure.

Plant without flue gas desulphurisation opted out of the LCPD due to the huge costs of building FGD, with the UK having the largest percentage of capacity opting out. The plant that chose derogation were expected to run up to circa 2015, but the high cost of gas has made coal the attractive option, and the derogated plant has run a lot more than expected.

The net result has been higher emissions, and plant closing sooner than expected with the threat of black outs. Isn`t it great to know the Government have got a real handle on all of this?

Mar 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterGalvanize

"Isn`t it great to know the Government have got a real handle on all of this?"

True in both senses - that they have no clue, nor do they have any control. EU law is the driver now.

Mar 28, 2013 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

The reason that the Bish refers to this as "not good news" is that some ******** pillock will now demand more expensive useless windmills in order to bring the emissions down.

Doesn't matter that Hansen quite likes coal now, he is irrelevant to the CAGW machine now and will - I suspect - spend his declining years increasingly trying to get some credibility and - I hope - feeling more and more guilty about his actions.

Mar 28, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Potter

Micheal Hart & Mike Jackson
Like you guys I'm surprised Hansen's latest has not been picked up by more. I'm sure it will be good fodder for a Josh cartoon as well.
I note in their conclusion they try to keep the alarmist BS going by referring to the Faustian bargain.
It seems they are saying, to some extent, that while we have written paper outling our findings and data to back them we actually don't believe it.

Mar 28, 2013 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

Mar 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Mike Jackson

I can scarcely contain the utter contempt I have for James Hansen, Mike, so I hope you will excuse my failing to be excited about whatever it is he has recently said that has exercised you.

Mar 28, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

"DECC as managed to get us a mixture of coal and renewables that gives us the worst of both worlds - higher emissions and higher costs."

Not only higher costs and CO2 emissions, but now the coal gives you more radiation emission than nuclear and more health threatening pollution of all kinds. Fracking would be very helpful.

Mar 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Reynolds

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/elderhealth/9959856/Its-the-cold-not-global-warming-that-we-should-be-worried-about.html

Mar 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterbumpkin

That Hansen piece (putting aside the faustian bargain claptrap of the last couple of paras) is worth reading and definitely - once more - indicates that in climate the science is anything but settled.

Admittedly starting from a low base, he goes up a notch or two in my estimation.

Mar 29, 2013 at 4:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermct

Just think following a path set by a European Union in peacetime that is dominated by Germany and France has done more Damage to British Industry than anything that Napoleon and The Luftwaffe ever achieved.

Vote for Nigel.He wont ever get into Number 10. But it will make the rest of them buck their ideas up.

Mar 29, 2013 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

@jamspid
Stranger things have happened,

Mar 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

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