JR Max Wheel
16 August 2013
There are few subjects that can divide people like energy policy and its ugly sister, climate change. The total shambles that is UK energy policy is a victim of dogma, delay and dither. We are “signed up” to a totally unrealistic and legally binding EU sponsored time-scale to decarbonise the UK economy. We are trying to enact a policy that might have seemed relevant in 2005, but now looks like a badly cobbled together case and revealed to be a mix of poor or manipulated modelling, outright errors and a growing public sense that scientists actually do not know with any certainty what drives the Earth’s climate, whether man-made emissions, ocean temperatures, space weather and all their complex interactions. Despite our ignorance on these important issues, we have spawned a movement that is determined to stamp on the UK’s find and exploitation of “tight” oil and gas reserves via fraccing. The self-righteous and self-appointed eco-warriors do not want fraccing at all and so it runs therefore nor should you. This blatant imposition of their views over yours or mine may be a bit of youthful thumbs up at the system or something much more sinister. Some of the leaders have “form”, from UK Uncut to Occupy: so a new generation of Luddites is born.
The problem is not one sided though, the Government’s own Environmental Audit Committee is led by Tim Yeo M.P. unashamedly in the pay of several renewables companies and who should be removed immediately from this job as the conflict of interest is blindingly obvious. Yeo is apparently pro-fraccing as a temporary measure until renewables are sufficiently developed. UK renewables policy is equally dreadful and focuses mainly on inefficient wind and solar. At least the Scots have taken up tidal and wave power with more enthusiasm than in the rest of the UK. Countries like Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic have been forced to cut back on renewables subsidies, leading to high profile collapses of companies. We know that these types of renewables are at best intermittent, so require hefty and costly conventional back up. So stupid is the current policy alignment, that gas-fired stations are being mothballed as uneconomic and why- because the US is shipping cheap and dirty coal to Europe which is of course far cheaper than European gas, largely sourced from the Gulf or Russia. Germany normally a model of common sense- is certainly not on this subject!
Source: Die Welt
Germany has suffered a similar bout of eco-madness. It has returned to burning lignite- (braukohl) possibly the dirtiest of coal fuels. The legally binding targets then are quite literally going up in smoke. The falling price of coal and lignite is even below the price of nuclear generated power. Look at the price falls in the table above.Meanwhile, the UK nuclear case is stalled, despite the valuable option of thorium-fuelled reactors.
In the UK there is little attempt to have a proper informed view and no thanks to the BBC that delights in giving voice to committed eco-warriors instead of trying to inform, but then it has filled the public’s ears with global warming alarmism for years. Its correspondents like Messrs. Shukman and Harrabin are respectively a Geography and English graduate, hardly the kind of scientific background suitable to understand, let alone represent the complexities of climate science.
The small village of Balcombe, West Sussex, chosen as a test-drilling site by Cuadrilla Resources, is now host to the nearby anti-“Dash for Gas” camp, whilst its own inhabitants in a typical outbreak of nimbyism have also vocally protested, maybe they would like a very large wind farm right around them instead. I doubt it.