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« What New Scientist wouldn't print | Main | Still going slow »

Yorkshire goes unconventional

Well this was enough to lull me from my blogging stupor:

Fracking given green light in North Yorkshire

Protesters booed and jeered as councillors gave the go-ahead for the first fracking operation in the UK for five years.

The problem the greens are going to have now is that when the sky doesn't actually fall in, they are going to be left looking pretty dishonest. 


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Reader Comments (487)

From 'notalotofpeopleknowthat'

China’s clean-energy firms face record bond maturities this year, just as investor confidence was shaken by the default of a company that had been the world’s top solar-panel manufacturer.

Renewable companies must repay 28.8 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) of bonds over the rest of the year, more than any other previous annual repayments, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. A venture of Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., the top producer of panels until 2014, missed payments on 1.76 billion yuan of its notes. That brings the number of companies that defaulted on bonds to four, involving $1.8 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

May 26, 2016 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterNigel S

Radical Rodent, Green Economics makes getting less, even more expensive, and solving housing shortages by killing the most vulnerable.

We are all supposed to be very grateful, that our Grandchildren will want to kill us.

May 26, 2016 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@ANH +1 for pointing out that planning permn complaint letters in NO WAY constitute a democratic vote

Almost every argument that the DramaGreens come up with is a PR trick,,they just don't seem to care about truth

May 27, 2016 at 4:48 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Entropic man: what gives you the impression that I am not sceptical about fracking? My natural scepticism gave me doubts about its benefits when I first heard about it, so I did some research, which would seem to be a lot more than many who oppose the process have bothered doing. Quite why that would make me a credulous believer would need more explanation from you. Most of the protestors interviewed give the impression that they are useful idiots, with absolutely no idea of what is involved, and no true understanding of risks or benefits. It is odd that no-one raises the point that fracking has already taken place at Kirby Misperton, and it has been producing gas for over 20 years; where is all the supposed harm that this should have done? Admit it, nobody even knew it was there!

As with all processes involved with our advancement, there will be risks involved; it would appear that many of these risks are being considered – after all, it is not in the best commercial interests of any company to use more resources than is necessary, or to lay themselves open to litigation. More knowledgeable persons than you or I will have investigated in greater depth and understanding than we, and now want to test their conclusions. Not only does it make business sense, but it is also what science is all about (not that I expect you to understand that).

May 27, 2016 at 5:53 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent, there is no scientific reason to oppose fracking. EM and Phil Clarke have not even bothered to try.

Any new technology deserves a proper trial to evaluate it, before making a decision. UK wind and solar have been trialed tested and evaluated at huge cost, and despite all the investment, still doesn't work.

Shale gas has been used for years, and does work, and the Green Blob don't want anybody to know how successful it can be.

97% of climate scientists are wrong. How can such a fact be disputed?

May 27, 2016 at 7:36 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

" we were all huddled together in one corner (of t' car park) for fear of FALLING!"

No doubt they'll be out licking the roads clean with their tongues.

Yorkshire born by the way!

May 27, 2016 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterNigel S

Nigel S, this thread is titled "Yorkshire Goes Unconventional" being a mere southern softie, I was loathe to risk offending the brave people of Yorkshire, by translating the title into a broad Yorkshire dialect or Monty Python Sketch.

Perhaps you could oblige without fear of accusations of racism, or cultural diversity deficiency?

May 27, 2016 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Kudos to Dung for admitting the units error. However, what Dung calls 'optimism' I see more as confirmation bias.

It is funny, the dissonance between the anti-frackers’ arguments. See the views of Phil Clarke and Entropic man: on the one hand, …[blether].

Those are not my views [once again]. It makes it difficult to have any kind of grown up discussion if commenters just construct bogus arguments out of thin air.

there is no scientific reason to oppose fracking. EM and Phil Clarke have not even bothered to try.

The technology is well-tried in the US - although it is interesting that when the people of Denton, one of the most enthusiastic early adopters of the technology held a referendum there was a landslide victory for a ban. All the signs are that the regulatory regime over here will if anything, be more stringent , the Green's have exaggerated the threat to the local environment, sometimes to the point of hysteria, (there are risks around fugitive methane emissions and groundwater contamination; these can probably be mitigated). While there is large uncertainty over how much gas will actually be recoverable, and there is as yet no estimate of reserves, under even the most pessimistic assumptions the amount of gas is probably equivalent to at least a couple of decades of UK demand.

The chief objection is that retrieving and burning the stuff pushes up greenhouse gas emissions, methane during extraction and CO2 in combustion, and torpedoes any chance we have of meeting our obligations under the Climate Change Act, which you will recall was passed by an overwhelming majority of our democratically elected representatives.

Commercial exploitation is 10-15 years in the future, by which time most of our dirtier fuels will have been largely phased out so the 'displacement' argument that unconventional gas would reduce total emissions, which had some validity in the US, and perhaps China does not stand up here.

As Special Envoy John Ashton said "You can be in favour of fracking, and you can be in favour of tackling climate change, but you can't be in favour of both.” and as David Mackay and Tim Stone wrote:-

The view of the authors is that without global climate policies (of the sort already advocated by the UK) new fossil fuel exploitation is likely to lead to an increase in cumulative carbon emissions and the risk of climate change. We would strongly encourage continued efforts from the UK and internationally to address this issue, proportionate to the emissions involved.

Mackay & Stone 2013

May 27, 2016 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Something went wrong with the link to the David MacKay paper, here it is in plain text...

May 27, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil Clarke, thank you for the explanation, but relying on the likes of David Mackay, Tim Stone and John Ashton has created this mess, whereby the UK is going to be reduced to forced power cuts rivalling North Korea.

They should be ignored.

"We Advocate North Korea's Electricity Rationing System" should be emblazoned on all Green Blob literature.

May 27, 2016 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The US, thanks to fracking, is producing CO2 at significantly reduced levels, similar to those from over 20 years ago. We are told by the climate obsessed that is am important metric. But in typical climate obsessed fashion we instead get false proverbs about fracking incompatible with their main obsession. Too bad the climate obsessed don't care about the clutter and risks of their failed wind power efforts to an equal degree. But that would require an honest effort.

May 27, 2016 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"The chief objection is that retrieving and burning the stuff pushes up greenhouse gas emissions"

Hallelujah! At last we get some honesty! So it's nothing to do with objections about seismic activity, water tables, noise or anything else that would affect folk at a local level, despite the attempts of green organisations to pretend it is. The hidden agenda is about CO2 emissions. Honest folk can all agree on that.

But the trilemma is not just about CO2 emissions, it also has energy security and price control and the government has been democratically elected to deal with those issues as well as emissions. If you accept that under any scenario gas is still required for a long time yet (even moreso if coal is phased out and nuclear declines) ie that wind, solar and interconnectors will not be enough then being anti-shale is equivalent to saying that we must buy gas from abroad. That just means no UK tax revenues and no UK jobs with no reduction in emissions. So anti-frackers are just ignoring reality and impoverishing the UK. To pay for any alternative energy transition in fact we need those tax revenues and jobs because they all still need subsidised (by which I mean taxpayers or consumers pay, rather than shale gas operators).

May 27, 2016 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Those are not my views…
Is this an admission that you are merely a mouthpiece for others? Would you care to tell us what your views are?

You are obviously of the opinion (yours? Who knows?) that CO2 is the cause of global warming, despite its rise being continuous yet the warming not being (for just 23 of the past 70 years, the rest being flat or downward). Even if it were, the burning of methane is preferable to other sources of energy; how much CO2 is produced in the manufacturing, transporting, installing and maintaining of wind-turbines? The drilling and fracking will produce a lot of extraneous CO2, but after that, the burning of the methane will be the only source – and methane is known to be a very low source of CO2. The USA has already shown that, with CO2 emissions falling below target. However, the fallacy of human-produced CO2 being the driver of climate will soon become known, so you do have a dead-end argument, there.

It is clear that you do not understand British society, as you expect that anyone who is for something would automatically write letters to the council expressing such support, thus, for you, Ryedale council NOT having received such letters are acting against the will of the locals (it would be interesting to know where the writers of those letters received are from). No, it doesn’t work that way; generally a council will accept that not receiving letters of complaint is tacit support for an action. Should you, say, seek planning permission for some building work on your property, the council will only expect letters in opposition to your proposal; that they do not receive any in support means nothing to them. Letters received in opposition will not automatically be believed, either, but should set in motion some investigative work, to test the validity of the complaint. Your not complaining about the views of the vociferous protestors on TV could be taken for your tacit agreement with what they say. So, to repeat: what are your views?

May 27, 2016 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

North Korea GC? You've been told a million times not to exaggerate. You can stick your fingers in your ears and chant La-la-la as loudly as you like. Meanwhile the number of highly credentialled people on your ignore list just gets longer and longer.

Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times It has been estimated that to have at least a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2C throughout the twenty-first century, the cumulative carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2)

However, the greenhouse gas emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves are around three times higher than this and so the unabated use of all current fossil fuel reserves is incompatible with a warming limit of 2C. Here we use a single integrated assessment model that contains estimates of the quantities, locations and nature of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves and resources, and which is shown to be consistent with a wide variety of modelling approaches with different assumptions to explore the implications of this emissions limit for fossil fuel production in different regions.

Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves,half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of

We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to2C.Ourresults show that policy makers’ instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with their commitments to this temperature limit. Implementation of this policy commitment would also render unnecessary continued substantial
expenditure on fossil fuel exploration, because any new discoveries could not lead to increased aggregate production.

Letter to Nature by Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins of UCL.

May 27, 2016 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

RR - I've made my views plain above.

I am certainly of the view that simply counting the sign of the temperature change in particular years is not a valid way of assessing a long term change and can only be an attempt to mislead.. Every decade since the 1950s has been warmer than the one before, and 2016 is 99% sure to be the warmest year on record.

Pretty much as the models, driven by anthropogenic forcings, foretold.

On local democracy ...

"The prime minister feels that it is very important that local voters are taken into account when it comes to windfarms and that is why new legislation will be brought forward, so that if people don’t want windfarms in their local areas they will be able to stop them"

Downing Street statement 2013.

Fracking would be killed stone dead if it had the same treatment. could there be a clearer example of a double standard?

May 27, 2016 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil Clarke: You obviously agree (or you wouldn't have posted the letter) that the increase in global warming should be kept to 2C. It says the number was determined by policy-makers. So, how did that number get decided on? Is it a scientific deduction? What would happen if GAT was increased by 2.5C?

May 27, 2016 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Phil Clarke, how about you start with a list of correct predictions made on the basis of climate science, to justify why climate science funding shouldn't be cut by 97%?

Why are climate scientists offering to negotiate, now that defeat is within sight?

Climate science's worst fear is the double whammy of BREXIT and TRUMP, neither of which are certain, by any means at all, but the consequences are.

Climate science has lived by the political sword (whilst maintaining it was not about politics) so ......

May 27, 2016 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

 So it's nothing to do with objections about seismic activity, water tables, noise or anything else that would affect folk at a local level, despite the attempts of green organisations to pretend it is. The hidden agenda is about CO2 emissions. Honest folk can all agree on that.

Yeah, buried deep in the list of FOE top ten concerns at, um, Number 1.

How about you construct an argument that is not a Straw Man?

May 27, 2016 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil Clarke, how about you start with a list of correct predictions 

Well, Barton Paul Levenson collected the following list of correct model forecasts:

• That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and how much.
  •  That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.
  •  That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.
  •  That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.

  •  Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).
  •  That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.
  •  The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
  •  They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.
  •  They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.
  •  The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.
  •  The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.
  •  The expansion of the Hadley cells. 
  •  The poleward movement of storm tracks.
  •  The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.
  •  The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.
  •  The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.
  •  That coastal upwelling of ocean water would increase.

That will do for starters.

May 27, 2016 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Thanks to US shale gas, Europe is currently importing Natural Gas at 4.13 Dollars per MMBTU (Million BTU)

Please check this in case I am having a repeat of yesterday! ^.^
British Gas standard tariff to me is 4.41p per kWh

1 kWh = 4.41p
1kWH = 3412 BTU
293 kWh = 1MMBTU (1 million BTU)
293 X 4.41p = £12.92

Are British Gas charging me £12.92 for something that cost them $4.13 = £2.82?

May 27, 2016 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Global warming zealots like to talk about the basic physics of the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect. But they don't like to talk about the basic chemistry that shale gas produces far less carbon dioxide than coal per unit of energy produced.

Global warming zealots also like to talk about expensive carbon taxes and ways to make coal uneconomic. They then like to claim that shale gas is already expensive and uneconomic so it should be banned before they've had a chance to tax it. Some days it seems beyond bizarre.

You can tell a true zealot because they will not even countenance half a loaf.

May 27, 2016 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"How about you construct an argument that is not a Straw Man?"

Or, how about you and your FOE chums tell us how we manage to stop using gas without doing far more harm than good?

You seem to represent folk that stubbornly promote unreliable and costly alternative energies with no concern of real-world consequences (higher prices, energy security, economic sustainability) on the basis of predictions of doom about the long-term that is highly speculative at best. In other words, gross pessimism about the climate combines with gross optimism about alternative energies. It would be a fascinating social study if we weren't playing with peoples lives and livelihood.

May 27, 2016 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Phil Clarke, so we should cut climate science funding by 97%. Seems fair enough.

May 27, 2016 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

So it's nothing to do with objections about seismic activity, [...]
May 27, 2016 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

I heard a truck go past outside a few minutes ago and I'm still recovering from the shock. I heard an aeroplane once and it gave me PTSD.

May 27, 2016 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Or, how about you and your FOE chums tell us how we manage to stop using gas without doing far more harm than good?

That's not my view, I don't speak for any group, Green or otherwise, however so far as I know, none is advocating that we 'stop using gas', in the short to medium term at any rate.

Got any actual facts?

May 27, 2016 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Global warming zealots like to talk about the basic physics of the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect. But they don't like to talk about the basic chemistry that shale gas produces far less carbon dioxide than coal per unit of energy produced.

Not sure if I qualify for the z-word, however I specifically mentioned the displacement argument twice in this thread alone.The Committee on Climate Change is clear

there can be no role for conventional coal generation in the UK beyond the early 2020s. This should be reflected by a very tight emissions limit being placed on any non-retrofitted plant beyond the early 2020s.

By the time shale gas could be in large scale production, it would displace other gas, not coal. More likely, it would just add to a stockpile of fossil fuels that we really should not combust.

May 27, 2016 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Well it's ok Phil; I found the FOE energy pathway doc here...

FOE: "Continuing to use large quantities of unabated gas is incompatible with the UK’s climate targets."
me: Correct but the climate targets are incompatible with economic wellbeing; ie price rises and energy security.

FOE: "It would also come with a high economic cost, for two reasons. First, the UK is increasingly reliant on imports of gas as North Sea Gas runs out."
me: Which is a good reason for shale gas surely?

FOE: "Second, the price of gas has increased rapidly in recent years, and is predicted to keep on rising."
me: Yet another wrong prediction from 2012. There is currently a gas glut thanks to shale gas.

FOE "Shale gas has recently been cited as a possible ‘game-changer’, based on the major effect it has had in the USA. However, even a shale gas boom in Europe and the UK will not have more than a minor effect on either price or on the UK’s increasing reliance on imports."
me: Is this a prediction from a group who failed to predict the gas (& oil) price drop? Why yes it is!

FOE: "Gas with CCS would be compatible with carbon budgets, and assist with system reliability. CCS is likely to be a technology that is necessary worldwide to tackle climate change, and developing it in the UK may help in its application to industrial processes. So, although the economics and technical difficulties of CCS are not resolved, we include gas CCS in our illustrative pathway for how the UK could decarbonise."
me: so to meet climate commitments we need CCS. Hence there is no reason to oppose fracking on the basis of climate targets. Yet that is the number one FOE concern! There is no joined-up thinking here!

Still at least they now say CCS is good. Previously Porrit said CO2 was just a symptom of the real problem of unbridled growth so cutting CO2 by technical means would not solve that. A majority of greens also seem to share that opinion. See here:

Hence any "hidden agenda" about growth reduction and enforced poverty is not anyone's strawman argument, it is the admitted truth!

May 27, 2016 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

So it's nothing to do with objections about.[..] water tables, [..]or anything else that would affect folk at a local level, despite the attempts of green organisations to pretend it is.
May 27, 2016 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

You should be more more worried about cracks in you own sewage pipes or the leak in the slurry tank from the farm down the road.

You speak of honest people, but they are hard to find at greenpeace, FoE, or the BBC. Always they emphasise and exaggerate what are often very remote or trivial potential problems in order to scare the uninformed.

Car crashes happen too if the vehicle isn't driven properly. That is why we have driving tests.

May 27, 2016 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times
If you read that properly, it makes no sense, at all. For a start, Policy makers? No explanation as to why must we keep the temperature rise below 2°C from the pre-industrial era. Then there is the interesting “… temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions…”; now, if the temperature rise is not caused by “greenhouse gas” emissions, that’s all right, then?

Have you heard of the Holocene Optimum? A time when, presumably, the conditions were… well… optimum (presumably for life to flourish). As this was several degrees C warmer than it is now, is this just a case of mis-labelling? Or could it be that this demand to restrict temperature rise has other motives? What if CO2 has little, if anything to do with temperature rise? The temperatures have been pretty level for this century, so far, and that is without reducing greenhouse gas emissions; why worry? Oh, let me think… reduction of emissions requires dismantling western civilisation. Hmmm… have you considered that there could be another, more nefarious reason for “reduction in emissions”?

Every decade since the 1950s has been warmer than the one before…
Which is why we were being warned of the on-coming ice age in the 1970s. From 1945 to 1975, there was a drop of about 0.3K… or has the re-writing of history changed that one, too?

I have seen it noted that there are as many papers saying that the current warming is negligible and nothing to be concerned about; will we have a similar situation in 30 years’ time as we have about the ice-age scare, with legal eagles saying that the warming scare was only in the newspapers and magazines, and was not real, as all these papers show that there was still a lot of scientific discussion?

What is your definition of “is”?

May 27, 2016 at 1:54 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Phil Clarke:
If there is no future for coal power generation beyond 2020 in the UK, it’s partly because of the criminal behaviour of Greenpeace and other activists preventing the construction of the Kingsnorth power station. There will of course be coal power in Germany beyond 2020, because Germany is building new coal power stations now, and once British shale gas is on stream, Britain can export it to Germany, to reduce global CO2 emissions (compared with German coal) and also reduce the British government deficit (because of UK tax on shale gas production).
It’s unfortunate if there won’t be enough shale gas to export to China and India, where they are building hundreds of Gigawatts of new coal power.

May 27, 2016 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterrotationalfinestructure

'we need to oppose fracking now because we need to cut CO2 emissions.'
'nobody is suggesting we stop using gas in the short to medium term'

Logical disconnect!

May 27, 2016 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG


There is no contradiction: that extracting shale gas would produce more GHG emissions is fairly self-evident, absent emissions reductions elsewhere, and we need to scale down, not stop, gas usage as we transition to low-carbon energy infrastructure.

Gas with CCS forms part of the mix for some time to come, however CCS is barely out of the prototype stage and the Government has set an insanely high level for the amount of CO2 that power plants can emit, 450g per Kwh as opposed to the average 50g its own CC committee said we needed to achieve by the end of next decade. This is tantamount to an admission that CCS is not going to be effective on the timescales in which it is needed.

I also disagree with some of the FOE document, mainly because they believe we can decarbonise without nuclear, I don't - I think we need a ramped up nuclear sector. I also note that the proposal that the impact of UK shale on gas price would be negligible was not just the opinion of the FoE, the same proposition was made by the John Browne, Cuadrilla themselves and Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, incidentally, point out that

The UK currently imports around 50% of the natural gas it consumes. To bridge the gap and eliminate imports would require shale gas production of between 4.0 and 4.5bcf per day. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that this would require the drilling of around 10,000 wells over a 15-year period, based on optimistic assumptions for flow rates. Activity would peak at around 1000 wells per year. A lower flow rate might mean up to 20,000 wells would be required, draining an area over twice the size of Lancashire.

20,000 wells. I wonder what that looks like?

May 27, 2016 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

"The chief objection is that retrieving and burning the stuff pushes up greenhouse gas emissions, methane during extraction and CO2 in combustion, and torpedoes any chance we have of meeting our obligations under the Climate Change Act, which you will recall was passed by an overwhelming majority of our democratically elected representatives."

The simplest thing to do is abolish the CCA in its entirity! The UNIPCC temperature figures are NOT produced by credible scientists. This 2 degree Celcius is merely something plucked out of thin air & is meaningless. We are living in an Interglacial, & the previous 4 Interglacials were warmer than today by between 3 & 5 degrees Celcius! The modest warming experienced in recent years (well not for the last 18+ years according to the satellite data) in not unprecendented, nor is it unusual. Therefore the bogeyman of CO2 being an issue to cause warming of the atmosphere is irrelevent! Man produces around 0.4% of all emissions, according to the UNIPCC's own data, if one chooses to read it! Fracking isn't a problem of anyone other than activists, egged on probably by the Unreliable Energy companies, because they know full well the gravey train will leave the station once the taxpayer funded subsidies run out! They're in business, so will fight tooth & nail to maintain any kind of scare stories they can! Just an engineer's viewpoint.

May 27, 2016 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

at 10:05
I would gladly accept your argument about the alleged dangers of burning gas if (a) there was reliable evidence that CO2 played a major part in global warming, and (b) if any of the zero or low carbon dioxide generation technologies (other than nuclear) did not, in turn, cause insurmountable problems such as intermittency and variability. In other words, the Climate Change Act has attempted to solve one problem, but created an even larger one in its place. hardly a reason to cite it as a route-map for the future?

at 12:05
You've got a little list from Barton Paul Levenson (author of Dark Gods of Alter Telluria and other such global warming tomes) but really, I got as far as 'That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and how much' and questioned: 'Where and When did they do that'? I'll be digging out my Michael Crichton rebuttal any time soon.

May 27, 2016 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

If Cuadrilla believed they'd make no money they wouldn't do it. If FOE truly believed the effect of fracking would be so minor then they wouldn't be so bothered by it and yet clearly they are...

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with the rump of society deciding to reduce emissions regardless of whether it is a problem or not as long as they are properly informed about the consequences of closing down CO2 emitters before we have the replacements ready and hence about the extra costs and inconveniences involved. But what will actually happen is that people will still be told BS until a sudden energy supply crisis happens in the next severe Winter and that same fickle public will ask why were they told all this BS. At that point the gas facilities will be taken out of mothballs and new ones will be built. Just for once it would be nice if we cut the BS and had a sensible plan instead of firefighting when its too late.

Alas I don't see any nuclear future with the current regulatory regime except perhaps with the Moltex design and/or Candu reactors. But we've had years of waiting and anything now will be too late.

May 27, 2016 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Phil Clarke says;-

Every decade since the 1950s has been warmer than the one before, and 2016 is 99% sure to be the warmest year on record.

So what? Every millennium for at least the last 5000 years has been cooler than its predecessor , including the second millennium of the common era.

Moreover 2016 is unlikely to be the warmest year on record and is unlikely to be as warm as several years in the fourth decade of the twentieth century ( before the temperature records were adjusted downwards by NASA and NOAA) . Actually with La Nina setting in it might even be cooler than 2015,

May 27, 2016 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

"Two degrees is not a magical limit -- it's clearly a political goal," says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). "The world will not come to an end right away in the event of stronger warming, nor are we definitely saved if warming is not as significant. The reality, of course, is much more complicated."

Schellnhuber ought to know. He is the father of the two-degree target.

"Yes, I plead guilty," he says, smiling. The idea didn't hurt his career. In fact, it made him Germany's most influential climatologist. Schellnhuber, a theoretical physicist, became Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief scientific adviser -- a position any researcher would envy.

Rule of Thumb

The story of the two-degree target began in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Administration politicians had asked the council for climate protection guidelines, and the scientists under Schellnhuber's leadership came up with a strikingly simple idea. "We looked at the history of the climate since the rise of homo sapiens," Schellnhuber recalls. "This showed us that average global temperatures in the last 130,000 years were no more than two degrees higher than before the beginning of the industrial revolution. To be on the safe side, we came up with a rule of thumb stating that it would be better not to depart from this field of experience in human evolution. Otherwise we would be treading on terra incognita."

As tempting as it sounds, on closer inspection this approach proves to be nothing but a sleight of hand. That's because humans are children of an ice age. For many thousands of years, they struggled to survive in a climate that was as least four degrees colder than it is today, and at times even more than eight degrees colder.

This means that, on balance, mankind has already survived far more severe temperature fluctuations than two degrees. And the cold periods were always the worst periods. Besides, modern civilizations have far more technical means of adapting to climate change than earlier societies had.

May 27, 2016 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

Everybody has forgotten Paris ^.^

WE do not need to reduce emissions one jot because the EU agreed an EU target not a target for each country. Obviouisly Cameron wants to lead the world into an Economic Armageddon but the UK can sit back and let the others do the work for a change.

May 27, 2016 at 6:20 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Phil Clarke:

20,000 wells. I wonder what that looks like?
In scale, probably like the pic in the letters page of the Daily Mail today. (Do try to ignore the wind follies theat seem to be blocking the view).

May 27, 2016 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

PC, the list you tossed out as evidence of reliable predictions regarding climate actually proves the opposite. Thanks for playing, since what the list shows is that climate hypesters do is n predict both sides and then claim whatever actually happens was as predicted. As to the faux concern for the economics, bunk. Wind and solar are total financial losers by any actual standards. As to blocking fracking, only climate kooks would grab onto the antiquated, failed tech of wind, while rejecting-by way of false claims and lies-the proven safe tech of fracking.

May 27, 2016 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

A petition on 38 degrees:

"Lower Our Energy Prices"

We demand that HMG explores, as a matter of urgency, the full extent of shale gas and oil deposits in the UK and, if those resources merit exploitation, to drive forward drilling, fracking and delivery of cheap, low carbon shale gas as a national priority.

Cheap energy is the secret to a civilised life.

In a hard winter, tens of thousands of UK's old, sick and poor people suffer because our natural gas is imported from Qatar and is needlessly expensive. It is no exaggeration to say that some people have to choose between keeping warm or paying the bills. The ships delivering our supplies boil off methane to keep their cargoes cold. UK shale gas will avoid this AGW pollution and, by replacing coal, will dramatically cut our carbon footprint.

UK industry needs cheaper energy to compete with third world countries which undercut our exports by exploiting cheap labour and cutting corners in their CO2 and pollution reduction measures.

Shale gas will give us a low carbon, cheap energy edge. UK fracked oil will improve our balance of payments and give us energy security, enabling us to disengage from the eternal problems of the Middle East.

To reduce conflict, to improve the lives of the poor, to fight unemployment and to lower our CO2 footprint, please sign this petition.

May 27, 2016 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

No, just because I'm a sceptic doesn't mean I believe the Earth is flat or was created in 7 days by some omnipresent deity. You've adopted the default position of most alarmists: when you're failing to win the debate, just try and belittle your opponent by shouting, 'flat-earth creationist!".

I hate to disabuse of the notion that I'm some sort of bible-bashing red neck, but I'm an athiest who accepts that we don't need superstition and fairy tales to understand the world around us. We have Science and the scientific method to help us now. As I stick with science over superstition I can see that the the CAGW hypothesis is weak and unsupported in so many different ways.

When my pupils ask me what I think of CAGW I give them the facts and graphs and tell them to make their own minds up. I'm pleased to say that the majority have formed a very sceptical viewpoint once they've reviewed all the evidence for themselves. Additionally, a sizeable group of them have become annoyed at how much they were lied to by the irrational alarmists who kept telling them we were all going to fry if we didn't stop driving cars and started building windmills instead (they hate seeing the photos of mangled birds lying at the bottom of the eco-crucifixes). They are also surprised to hear that the satellite temp trends have flat-lined throughout the whole of their lifetimes.

May 27, 2016 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

May 27, 2016 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

All is good apart from you believing that CO2 emissions need to be reduced.

May 27, 2016 at 9:46 PM | Registered CommenterDung


"Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves,half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2ºC."

Can you supply some ( any) reasonably convincing and empirically supported evidence that shows that foregoing the use of such a large proportion of reserves ( note- not resources which are VERY MUCH larger) of the most cost effective sources of energy will be less damaging to humankind than rise in GAT of more than 2ºC and that leaving these reserves in the ground can be shown to be able to prevent a rise in GAT of 2ºC not withstanding that half of the warming to date since 1850 was demonstrably not caused by anthropogenic emissions of CO2 ( according even to the IPCC).

If you can not do this - why should anybody take the slightest notice of your opinions?

May 27, 2016 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

Phil Clarke, so we should cut climate science funding by 97%. Seems fair enough.

It would be fairer for GC to cut his bafflegab output by 97% until he makes twenty correct predictions too.

May 28, 2016 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

vvussell, I don't pretend to be a climate scientist, I make no claims that climate science has any predictive skill.

If climate science has no predictive skill, then any claims it makes, are worthless. If climate scientists deny they make predictions, then climate science is not something that people should have to pay for, and Phil Clarke has proved that climate scientists take the credit for making predictions, so he has proved that climate scientists are very inconsistent with what they consider to be evidence of them making predictions.

Perhaps you could give 20 reasons why taxpayers should be forced to pay for something as pointless as climate science?

Anyone can make 20 predictions. That is what climate scientists tend to do, with more than 97% inaccuracy, and 97% of them still think they are right. Meanwhile, they can't even agree if they do make predictions.

Could you explain what makes you think Climate Science is reliable?

May 28, 2016 at 2:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC. I think you may have used up your 3% non-bafflegab output in one go!

May 28, 2016 at 6:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Another petition on 38 degrees:

Dear David Cameron,

Please reconsider your position on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, immediately and instead champion clean energy sources which do not risk our global climate, the natural environment and our health.

Over a quarter million signatures and counting …

May 28, 2016 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Dung: "All is good apart from you believing that CO2 emissions need to be reduced."

Those who don't understand the need for cheap energy need to brought on board. Methane is low carbon fossil fuel. Maybe they will look at the figures and understand that. Softly softly...


May 28, 2016 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

The IPCC, and others do indeed produce future scenarios, covering different possible futures and run their climate models against each one.

An early example was Jim Hansen's projections made in 1988 on a very early climate model. He used three scenarios A B and C and described B as the most plausible, and it is the one that most closely matched how forcings actually developed. The projection for 2015 global surface temperature anomaly under that scenario was 1.000C. The actual number was 0.99C.



May 28, 2016 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

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