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« Political neutrality at the BBC | Main | New Zealand's temperature record »
Friday
Oct312014

Quote of the day, waste of money edition

It is important to recall that well over $1,700,000,000,000 ($1.7 trillion) has been spent on installing wind and solar devices in recent years with the sole objective of reducing global CO2 emissions. It transpires that since 1995 low carbon energy sources (nuclear, hydro and other renewables) share of global energy consumption has not changed at all.

Euan Mearns, whose latest post on the subject is a must-read.

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Reader Comments (65)

I cannot recall a policy objective of the climate obsessed that has worked to do anything other than put other people's money in their pockets. Not one thing the climate community has done has made any difference at all in CO2 or climate.
Not one of their predictions have been accurate.
Yet these same people demand more money and fewer questions from the rest of us.

Oct 31, 2014 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

It is worth noting that the constancy at 13% over the last 20 years of the fraction of non-carbon energy consumption implies that any net growth in non-carbon energy consumption is matched by net growth of fossil fuel energy consumption that is seven times greater!

Oct 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterMJK

The public have a right to see cost/benefit analysis for wind/solar
Whenever the gov spends the taxpapers money or forces companies to increase consumers costs through restrictive laws it has a duty to continually monitor the cost/benefit to show value money ..well where is it for wind/solarPV ?

--------------------------
Sept 2014 Report says Why the wind industry has never provided any actual proof that it has in fact reduced CO2 emissions in the electricity sector

I see WUWT have republished Matt Ridleys 19th Oct Spectator article Don't panic! The scientific consensus is that warmer temperatures do more good than harm

Oct 31, 2014 at 11:39 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

So much time and effort to produce a result most reasonably informed people can come to after a few moments of thought.

In the UK, wind and solar are presently a terrible, terrible waste of money...with no sign of ever being anything else but a terrible waste of money in the future.

Keep telling your representatives.....

Oct 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

@ Hunter

A theme I would like to develop is on the history and philosophy of science but I don't know enough about it. There is Deductive Reasoning and Inductive Reasoning. Climate Science follows neither but uses instead what I call Invention. Observations are made and the conclusion always is that CO2 is the cause and a physical process is then invented to join observation to conclusion. Ocean heat is one example. Melting Arctic Sea ice causing cold winters is another. UK winter storms of early 2014 yet another.

The same people and "reasoning" processes have unfortunately been given responsibility for designing our new energy system. The conclusion always is that renewables are good irrespective of the reality. Hydro is of course pretty good and solar in sunny places may have a sensible role to play. The lack of differentiation between common sense and non-sense is the problem.

Oct 31, 2014 at 11:54 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

@ Stewgreen

Solar in Aberdeen probably has ERoEI less than 1 which gives it a negative energy efficiency. In other words the energy used to create, install and maintain the devices may never be recovered. This is digging a grave for society. Solar in Portugal is different.

Oct 31, 2014 at 11:56 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

@Euan When I say cost/benefit analysis I mean CO2 saved per £ spent

ERoEI is different : energy returned on energy invested is the problem of the investors, though of course if it less than 1 ie more energy used than given, it cannot possibly be reducing CO2
in Portugal/Africa full lifetime transportation decommisioning might be above 1 but the relative reduction in CO2 might be miniscule compared to switching to gas from coal.

Oct 31, 2014 at 12:07 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

And we also found out that the moon is not made of cheese.

What is most incredible is that people seriously believed handing all this money over to very rich people to make them even richer had anything to do with reducing CO2 or "saving" the planet. The only reason we did this is because our politicians and civil servants are so gullible that they would have given OUR money to anyone if they were told it was "good" for the environment.

Oct 31, 2014 at 12:09 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Euan: If anyone could write on the Philosophy of Science, I guess you're the man. However, I don't think 'Climate Science' would fit under that heading. It is either a Political Science, or it fits under the heading of Philosophy of Crime.

Oct 31, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Jack Savage

Keep telling your representatives.....

or ...

1. Get new representatives**
2. Stand yourself**

**In England UKIP as a party of England is an obvious choice. In Scotland UKIP are one of the worst "branch office mentality" parties so I would recommend standing as an independent. The £1000 buys around 40,000 leaflets delivered to everyone in your constituency at a time you can really change the political debate.

For what it costs see: Launch of my election campaign

Oct 31, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

correction that Matt Ridley article WUWT referenced is from last year , Oct 2013
WUWT is just saying that the new letter he got from Viv Forbes of carbon-sense.com is saying the same thing as Matt said last year in more detail

Oct 31, 2014 at 12:25 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

So his figure of $1.7 trillion is since 1995? Keep in mind that Europe alone spends 2 trillion dollars (or should I say $2000,000,000,000, which makes it look bigger) on fossil fuel imports every 3 years. And Mearns' figure looks like a worldwide one, whilst mine is Europe only.

Oct 31, 2014 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

@ Raff

I agree that $1.7 trillion is not a huge number for global expenditures on renewables since 1995. The question is what has it achieved? It is supposed to reduce reliance on FF and it has thus far made zero impact there. My post is as much about the decline of nuclear. And could $1.7 trillion have been spent more wisely?

I also believe the additional costs to society by way of higher energy bills, possibility of blackouts etc may have a value well in excess of $1.7 trillion.

FF import costs to Europe and energy security is of course an issue. Germany, Japan and S Korea have all managed to import energy and run a budget surplus. If a country can't do that then they will be in trouble. Notably these countries have all been heavily reliant on nuclear power.

Oct 31, 2014 at 2:16 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Since the extra wind'n'solar has been (just) replacing lost nuclear and hydro output, which really do have low emissions, one can conclude that the new renewables have contributed a net increase in CO2. Not quite what it says on the tin, is it..?

Oct 31, 2014 at 2:16 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Britain's energy policy all explained here.....(Not as gloomy as many think the show is still on the road.)....

https://fenbeagleblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/one-wheel-on-our-wagon/

Oct 31, 2014 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterFenbeagle

One of the main problems with Green thinking is that many Greens are against both fossil fuel (FF) based energy and nuclear power.

No, many 'Greens' are against 'energy'.

In the unlikely event that I stumbled across a totally 'clean', totally 'renewable' energy source tomorrow morning 'Green' would be outside my front door a few minutes after the 'press announcement'. They wouldn't want that any more than they want 'dirty' Coal.

Sorry, but it is a(nother) fundamental misunderstanding of the (Green) ideology. They want a much reduced population and no more of that i-nonsense consumerism. The method they have latched onto, to achieve their 'Utopia', is to outlaw 'energy'. Energy full stop. Clean, dirty, fossil, renewable ....

Facing reality though, very few 'original Earth atoms' of anything have ever left Earth under 'our' control. They are all still here in some form or another and if we could find an 'economic' (energy source) way of separating Iron and Oxygen then Rust becomes something else. Two 'something elses'. Greens don't want that, they want you to stop.

The sooner some realise that ... the better. You cannot 'appease' these people.They want you to stop and nothing less than a full stop will be acceptable.

Appease ye not all ye that read here.

Oct 31, 2014 at 3:44 PM | Registered Commenterbh3x2

Euan Mearns

Visited your blog. Read your piece. Found it refreshingly honest, concise and precise. Well Done

Oct 31, 2014 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

"It is supposed to reduce reliance on FF and it has thus far made zero impact there." - says who, measured how?

World GDP is about $70 trillion. So the total $1.7tr over 20 years is less than 2.5% of just last year's GDP.

"And could $1.7 trillion have been spent more wisely?" Perhaps, but we can probably say that of any expenditure we care to look at closely. Lots of welfare and education spending is wasted (and that amounts to much more than your numbers). Much defence spending is wasted. Look at the "war on drugs" that has cost huge sums, destroyed millions of lives and achieved nothing positive. Look at the foreign wars that have cost trillions and achieved seemingly little, nothing or even less than nothing. At least the spending on renewables has created a worldwide industry that has driven the costs of wind power and in particular solar power down to levels that make it competitive with fossil fuels. I'd say that is a win.

The thing is, when someone wants to slag off something, they often accumulate it over many years to make it look bigger. That is standard propaganda tool - see how I did that with the war on drugs or Iraq.

"I also believe the additional costs to society by way of higher energy bills, possibility of blackouts etc may have a value well in excess of $1.7 trillion."

But you have no proof, do you? Much of the $1.7tr is coming from customers paying higher energy bills, so how can it have a value more than that amount? And show me any confirmed increase in the number of blackouts in Germany, where the grid is far more reliable than in the US. Then tell me how often conventional plant trip every year (yes trips occur not infrequently, that is why traditionally so much backup generation has had to be held in reserve).

Oct 31, 2014 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff...so can you demonstrate that the investment of $1.7 trillion in renewables has a positive cash-flow?

Oct 31, 2014 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Raff - apologies...let's widen the question what benefits have been achieved by spending this $1.7 trillion? Benefits are not purely financial, of course.

Oct 31, 2014 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

EM,

How do you substantiate your statement:
"ZERO CO2 has been abated and the world has done zilch to prepare itself for the expected declines (escalating costs) of fossil fuels in the decades ahead. "/

Capell

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Raff

"Much of the $1.7tr is coming from customers paying higher energy bills"

As the result of subsidies! Take those away, and large scale wind'n'solar would disappear. Or are you happy to be filling the coffers of Dave's father-in-law, Lord Deben and Trougher Yeo, among others?

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"no more of that i-nonsense consumerism"

Except for themselves. Greens fondly believe that you can downscale humanity but keep all the perks.

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:21 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The only reason we did this is because our politicians and civil servants are so gullible that they would have given OUR money to anyone if they were told it was "good" for the environment.
Oct 31, 2014 at 12:09 PM | MikeHaseler

Your comment reminds of the Lords Debate prior to the Energy bill vote last year, Lord Donoughue covered much of the ground that might be discussed here but still the vote was in favour of more of the same.


The Hansard record is here at section "6.05 pm Lord Donoughue:" This is the line that resonated for me with your post.
"This could involve the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the 18th century enclosures. It is not clear to me that it should be a central Labour policy"

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/130514-0002.htm

His closing statement.

What should be done? My own Labour Party is rightly attached to environmental values and should continue so, but in a balanced way and not with excessive green faith and global warming ideology. It should remember our historic concern for jobs and not damage the competitiveness of the economy, and it should show concern for poor people freezing in winter with rocketing energy bills. Labour should be wary of elitist green policies which pay rich Scottish and Welsh landowners and big corporations billions, derived from green taxes on ordinary people in tower blocks in Glasgow, to rent out their estates for wind farms. This could involve the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the 18th century enclosures. It is not clear to me that it should be a central Labour policy.

As for the Government, the Prime Minister should remove Liberal Democrat Ministers of extreme faith from the energy department. Right now, he should ensure that the Energy Bill meets Britain’s critical energy needs and stop littering our countryside with a blight of windmills.

Finally, for the wider issues of climate change, the importance of which I do not deny but the causes of which are not scientifically clear, we should monitor climate developments in a measured and non-ideological way. We should react on proven evidence, not on hysterical alarmism and not by assuming that Britain, with barely 2% of the world’s carbon emissions, should lead some imperial moral mission to save the planet, and certainly not by damaging our economy and the living standards of our people. That is not the responsibility of any sensible and mature Government."

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

jamesp, I don't live in the UK, so I don't. But there's a lot things to which my money ends up going that I don't like contributing to. As things go, renewables are harmless.

Diogenes, look at my last post, especially the 3rd para starting, ""And could $1.7 trillion". That should give you an idea of what I think. Now, if you'll excuse me, for although I will receive no payment for it and there will most certainly be no positive cash-flow, I have to take the dog for a walk.

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

@ BH3*2

I agree that in the extreme form, Greens want industrial society to collapse along with population and prosperity and longevity. Its a worrying problem that they have gained so much traction.

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:54 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

@ MikeHaseler - is it you that runs ScottishSceptic?

I could be tempted to run, but couldn't be arsed travelling up and down to London. Was down there a couple of weeks ago, can't stand the place. Hollyrood is perhaps a better option.

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:57 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

@ Stephen Richards

Thank you

Oct 31, 2014 at 5:58 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

@ Capell

"ZERO CO2 has been abated and the world has done zilch to prepare itself for the expected declines (escalating costs) of fossil fuels in the decades ahead. "

Which part? The investment in renewables has not thus far resulted in the share of low carbon energy going up over the last 20 years. If you look at global CO2 emissions, they have accelerated since Kyoto.

http://www.euanmearns.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/globalFF.png
http://euanmearns.com/the-failure-of-kyoto-and-the-futility-of-european-energy-policy/

The new FF being produced today are much more expensive to produce than conventional oil and gas. They cost more money and consume more energy in their production. And they are often inferior quality in terms of their energy content. The ERoEI is declining and at some point a "thermodynamic" barrier will be reached where so much of society's effort goes into energy harvesting that the stability of our existing expectations will be put at risk.

Oct 31, 2014 at 6:05 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Raff: Who was it said: "A billion here, a billion there, and soon you're talking real money"?
I mean, what's an odd trillion between activists?

Oct 31, 2014 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

sorry Raff...that does not really cut it as a response, does it. When it seems fairly clear that investing in rfenewables has had less than zero effect on CO2 emissions, has resulted in transfers of income from poor to rich in numerous economies because of the effect of subsidies and higher retail prices for energy, then it is cavalier to say " At least the spending on renewables has created a worldwide industry that has driven the costs of wind power and in particular solar power down to levels that make it competitive with fossil fuels"...because that is demonstrably untrue apart from a very few places such as California and Australia...and even there solar is not really down to the price levels of traditional fuels. Wind power is way behind the curve in terms of costing in without subsidies.. It is frankly bizarre to say that because other spending has had negative impacts then there is nothing wrong withy investing in renewables..

In the UK, I believe that solar panel owners receive something like 88p/kwh for "generating" power versus a retail price of about 16p/kwh. Who pays the difference?

Oct 31, 2014 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

@ Raff

I appreciate a good argument and you are making some valid and good points. But let me just cherry pick one thing you said that will enable me to respond:

As things go, renewables are harmless.

1. REE mining in China where neodymium is mined for the magnets of wind turbines seems like an environmental and human catastrophe.
2. Someone on my own blog once linked to a hydro dam bursting in China that led to the greatest loss of human life in any single energy related incident.
3. "tens" have been killed in the global wind industry and I believe if you scaled that to energy produced the stats would be shocking.
4. Expensive renewable energy undermines economic growth - probably one of the main reasons Europe is lagging so far behind the USA, and this undermines our whole fiscal system
5. Whilst wind turbines do not bug me on a daily basis, I gather that many country living folks have their lives ruined by their erection

There is no such thing as a free lunch in the energy world. There is a cost associated with all forms of energy harvesting, but to suggest that renewables are harmless is rather naive.

Oct 31, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Quote of the Month from Raff:

As things go, renewables are harmless.
Well done, Raff. You just gave me the best belly laugh for ages - yet tinged so very much with the plight of third-worlders who we have condemned with our (your) belief that what we do with windmills and solar is lifting them out of their poverty. Like hell!

Oct 31, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Folks, I have to go out now. Its a good discussion. Will try to come back tomorrow to respond to further comments.

Oct 31, 2014 at 6:25 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Euan: 1,2,3 oh come on, lets not start trading relative damage. You cannot seriously think coal/oil/gas exploration, mining, transport and use would come out well on such a comparison. I'm sure some on this blog would try to claim such but you seem much too sensible. And although nuclear hasn't actually killed many people directly (although it laid waste to a large area in Ukraine and Fukushima doesn't is a very black mark) the fact that no commercial insurance company will cover a nuclear plant indicates its potential for harm (you worry about the potential harm of wind farms). Sure, there are negative aspects of renewable energy, but so there are about making iPhones and computers, farming, flying, driving, riding a bike and even breathing if you live in the wrong place. On balance, renewables are no more harmful than things we take for granted.

4. If true, that should be provable with some facts. If I can rephrase slightly, Expensive renewable energy undermines economic growth. If energy prices are so critical, it should not matter whether they are renewable or not. So lets have your evidence - it should be simple to plot things like historical growth rates, GDP, GDP per-person and so on against energy prices. When you've done that you might or might not have proof of what you claim. You will presumably find that Germany, with its high rate of renewables and high gas and electricity prices has lower recent growth rates, GDP, GDP per-person than say the UK (which has had cheaper gas for years, electricity I don't know). You will, won't you? Or you might find that energy prices are just one of hundreds of factors that determine whether an economy prospers or not - and maybe not such an important one on average.

"- probably one of the main reasons Europe is lagging so far behind the USA, and this undermines our whole fiscal system"

So where do differing incentives, attitudes to work, life, business etc, debt levels, social structures and protections, fragmented markets, languages, and so on come in? As I said, if you have some proof, show it. Otherwise, why bother making such claims?

5. There are people whose lives are truly ruined by paralysis, deafness, blindness, and a thousand more conditions. Tell me about some of the "many country living folks have their lives ruined" - and make sure they are not just inconvenienced. If it is just a bit of noise, like that from a new bypass, then its a bit like the local council changing the traffic signals or rules and increasing the traffic in my quiet street - it sucks, but life is not ruined. Compare and contrast with the fate of the poor folks in Chernobyl or Fukushima or those whose livelihoods are disturbed by oil spills, gas explosions, mining disasters and so on.

Oct 31, 2014 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

For $1.7T in so-called renewables, we have a bunch of windmills and panels that produce in the very low single digit percentage of electricity when the sun is shining and the wind blowing strong, but not too strong.
And since basically zero oil is used for power generation or transmission, we can safely point out that anyone who compares oil import costs to tax payer money spent on wind and solar does not understand the issue at all.
The money spent on oil for fuel is for transportatioin. Transportation transports people and things people want and need. For profit.
From those profits comes the taxes that wind and solar need to fatten the wallets of the insiders who got the wind and solar subsidies turned into law.

Oct 31, 2014 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Interesting article by Eric Benazzi, Marketing Director, Axens about refining of crude oil in Europe-27 and how there is an imbalance between output of petrol/diesel from the refineries and demand. Since 2000 there has been a structural surplus in petrol produced, the excess gets shipped to N.America, at the same time there is a deficit in diesel with the shortfall made up by importing from the Middle East. The switch to higher proportion of diesel cars has made the situation worse.

Is it sensible to be using diesel to grow wheat to turn into ethanol to add to petrol which will only makes the surplus of petrol and deficit of diesel in Europe worse ? Increasing the amount of ethanol produced in USA will reduce the amount of petrol it needs to buy from Europe, making the situation worse. Is there another market for it ?

See full report http://www.axens.net/document/11/gasoline-and-diesel-imbalances---part-1/english.html

a similar report is at FuelsEurope - on gasoline-diesel imbalance
https://www.fuelseurope.eu/knowledge/how-refining-works/diesel-gasoline-imbalance

Oct 31, 2014 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

This information will most likely be used to justify the necessity of rolling blackouts long into the future rather than a more sane turn-up of fossil fuel energy. Expect a rise in excess winter deaths across Great Britain.

Nov 1, 2014 at 12:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterdp

$1.7 trillion over the recent years that's nothing dismisses Raff in her/his usual style
Tell that to the people whose lives could have been saved ..or the world's poor who could have been lifted out of poverty. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals had a target to reduce under 5s annual mortality by two thirds from 12 million , they have failed
..they did get it down to 7 million so yes the extra money that we waste on Green gimmicks with no proper cost/benefit analysis could be used better.
- $2.5 trillion is needed for the next phase the UN 2015-2030 Development Goals,should super poor, super indebted countries like the UK & US say no & hand over the cash to the wind/solar renewables subsidy mafia instead ?
- Cheer yourself by listening to the Oct 2 Freakonomics podcast where Bjorn Lomborg says some very enlightening things about proper cost/benefit analysis ..transcript
- I like the way his organisation is called the Copenhagen Consensus ..I bet most tunnel visioned greens assume it can only be about climate.

Nov 1, 2014 at 8:51 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@ dp

A rise in excess winter deaths would indeed be a sign of spreading poverty among the elderly. But in recent decades, excess winter deaths have in fact fallen steadily. Improved care for the elderly and perhaps above all flu vaccine are the likely cause.

http://euanmearns.com/excess-winter-deaths-in-the-england-and-wales/

Nov 1, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

stewgreen: The $1.7 trillion was over 20 years (or at least Euan didn't dispute that when I wrote it earlier). Like I said, accumulating over many years does tend to give huge sums - great for propaganda.

Tell that to the people whose lives could have been saved ..or the world's poor who could have been lifted out of poverty. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals had a target to reduce under 5s annual mortality by two thirds from 12 million , they have failed

World GDP is $70tn, $1.7tn over 20 years is a tiny fraction of world GDP each year, far less than GDP growth. Compared to growth it is nothing. Your fellow commenters, particularly Martin A, are insistent that all foreign aid is harmful. I don't remember any single "skeptical" poster arguing with him on that so I assume you all think that all foreign aid is harmful. Yet you are now a fan of the UN Millennium Development Goals - goals that you want to achieve by what, $1.7tn of foreign aid? How do you avoid the well known Bishop Hill fact that all foreign aid is harmful?


- $2.5 trillion is needed for the next phase the UN 2015-2030 Development Goals,should super poor, super indebted countries like the UK & US say no & hand over the cash to the wind/solar renewables subsidy mafia instead ?

No of course we could give them $2.5tn in foreign aid. But how do you avoid the well known Bishop Hill fact that all foreign aid is harmful? Martin A will be along any time now to point that out to you, I am sure.

Bjorn Lomborg's "Copenhagen Consensus" is mainly a way of funnelling huge sums to Lomborg as far as I have read. I guess he gives his backers value for money or they wouldn't put up with his huge salary. I might listen, all the same.

Nov 1, 2014 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Wind energy is not harmless. It destroys the landscape, increases electricity rates and increases fossil fuel use when its contribution on the elecridity grid becomes noticable.

Denmark and Germany have the largest renewable energy contribution on their grids and therefore also the highest electricity rates in Europe. Thanks to good bookkeeping in Germany it has become clear that although the reduction of nuclear power is about equal to the increase of renewables, the CO2 emissions are increasing. So wind an solar on the grid (even if it is only 14% of the energy mix) increase fossil fuel use.

To spend 1 billion dollars a day on wind and solar energy without gaining anything useful in return is a terrible waste. It would be much better spent even in fusion research. And that is saying something.

Nov 1, 2014 at 5:57 PM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Regarding winter deaths: http://www.poverty.org.uk/67/index.shtml

There is no meaningful downward trend, and the principle causes include poorly heated homes inhabited by poor people. Poor - it keeps repeating. Each year energy costs are artificially increased through inefficiencies of solar/wind and political hot air, the survivors of each winter grow more poor. It is a serious policy problem that one can easily lay at the feet of Trenberth and his ilk.

I note too that the EWD figures for Great Britain are in excess of other nearby countries. Perhaps there is something to be learned in those nations's policies.

Nov 1, 2014 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterdp

"Cake is harmless" Marie Antoinette

Nov 1, 2014 at 9:53 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

If I can rephrase slightly, Expensive renewable energy undermines economic growth. If energy prices are so critical, it should not matter whether they are renewable or not.

Indeed it shouldn't, or to put it another way, it shouldn't matter whether energy comes from hydrocarbons or not.

Nov 1, 2014 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Albert, your conclusion is wrong, wind does not increase fossil fuel use or CO2 output. If, as happened, coal displaces gas for electricity generation, CO2 production goes up - independent of renewables. If renewables replace nuclear, nothing happens to CO2 production.

dp, from your link, London and the SE have the 2nd and 3rd highest excess winter deaths yet are the richest parts of the country and certainly nowhere near the coldest. You don't think there could be more to it than fuel prices?

kellydown, yes you are right, economic growth doesn't care whether electricity is from fossil fuels or renewables. Somehow I think you'll be back-pedalling on that.

Nov 2, 2014 at 12:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

@ DP

What you said in your original comment was correct. An increase in excess winter deaths that can be linked to government energy policy would be very serious indeed. But in fact there is as yet no evidence for this.

http://www.euanmearns.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/EW_winter_deaths.png

EWD is a natural phenomenon in northern Europe where more people die in winter than in summer from a variety of causes. It is correct to compare UK with neighbouring countries and if our stats are worse to ask why.

I am absolutely NOT saying that old poor people shivering at home in winter is not a problem. But as yet there is little evidence that it is killing significant numbers. Of course the EWD stats are excess of winter over summer and can be reduced by summer deaths rising - I haven't looked into that.

And you also need to be aware that a significant portion of higher energy costs comes from high oil, gas and coal prices, not just government policy. I'm quite sure that government energy policy is having an adverse effect on old poor people, but if you want to make an argument that government will listen to then you need to find the right metric.

Here is the DECC energy portal where they have stats on Fuel Poverty

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change/about/statistics

It seems i wrote a post on this about a year ago. The government moving goal posts making it difficult to reach conclusions. Google "euan fuel poverty" and you'll find it.

Nov 2, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

No Raff, YOU have got it wrong.

The situation of the fuel mix for electricity generation in Gemany is as I described earlier.

Nuclear generation decreased, net renewable generation increased with the same amount, which was the whole idea of the German chancellor. This means that renewable generation "displaced" nuclear energy in the fuel mix, not coal.

CO2 emissions have been increasing for the past three years. Clearly, wind energy causes more CO2 emissions - through coal backup - than nucelar energy.

Nov 2, 2014 at 8:41 PM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

You picked a few numbers that you think show what you want to show, but don't want to consider the whole picture. How much did coal burn increase; how much did gas decrease; how much did exports of electricity increase. You can't have much confidence in your ideas if you have to omit key data to make them add up.

Nov 2, 2014 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

kellydown, yes you are right, economic growth doesn't care whether electricity is from fossil fuels or renewables. Somehow I think you'll be back-pedalling on that.

Never mind growth, mere maintenance of human welfare at a decent level requires reliable energy supply.
Perhaps pedalling backwards is what you would prefer?

Nov 2, 2014 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

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