Newsbytes: Japan Kills Climate Agenda – What Kyoto?

Turns Back To Coal, Abandons Emissions Targets

From Dr. Benny Peiser at The GWPF

The Japanese government is moving to speed up the environmental assessment process for new coal-fired power plants. According to Japanese media reports, the government intends to make 12 months the maximum period for assessing and approving new coal-fired power plants as its utilities seek to develop more power stations to stem surging energy supply bills. With the government considering the closure of much of the installed nuclear capacity over the medium term, the spotlight is back on coal as the cheapest energy source, notwithstanding plans to cut carbon emissions. A commitment to slice 2020 carbon emissions by 25 per cent from their 1990 level will be revised by October, according to Japanese newspaper reports. –Brian Robins, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 2013

Japan is likely to abandon an ambitious pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, the top government spokesman said on Thursday. Asked to confirm if the new administration would review Tokyo’s 2009 pledge, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was “moving in that direction in principle”. “I have been saying for some time that it is a tremendous target and would be impossible to achieve,” he told a regular news conference. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s business-friendly Liberal Democratic Party ousted the Democratic Party in December elections after pledging to review the emissions cut target in light of the post-Fukushima switch to fossil fuels. –AFP, 24 January 2013

New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. Estimates of the global supply of methane hydrate range from the equivalent of 100 times more than America’s current annual energy consumption to 3 million times more. –Charles C Mann, The Atlantic, May 2013

Across Europe, both policy makers and the public remain wary of the potential environmental impact of technologies like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to extract shale gas. A slowdown in Europe’s efforts to exploit its shale gas reserves, roughly 10 percent of the world’s deposits, could not come at a worse time for Europe’s companies, which are already suffering from a continental debt crisis and anemic growth and are becoming increasingly uncompetitive compared with rivals in the United States. –Mark Scott, The New York Times, 25 April 2013

MPs criticised the government on Friday for unnecessarily delaying development of shale gas, saying it should now encourage companies to come up with more accurate estimates of recoverable reserves. The lack of progress over the past two years in exploration and development of UK shale gas is disappointing and needs to speed up, members of the influential cross-party Energy and Climate Change Committee in parliament said in a report. –Reuters, 26 April 2013

The 18-month moratorium on shale gas drilling was a “scandal”, member of the UK House of Commons select committee on climate change Peter Lilley said late Monday. Lilley said that a fortnight’s trip to the US — the birthplace of the shale gas revolution — could have answered all the questions surrounding the risks of hydraulic fracturing, enabling shale gas production to start that much earlier. “Most of the concerns are either exaggerations or lies,” he said. –Platts, 24 April 2013

Europeans have spent hundreds of billions of euros on renewable energy – ultimately borne by taxpayers, consumers and Europe’s competitiveness – for no gain. As the shale gas revolution spreads, it promises to swamp the economics of green energy, leaving it dependent on unaffordable subsidies. –Rupert Darwall, City A.M. 25 April 2013

67 thoughts on “Newsbytes: Japan Kills Climate Agenda – What Kyoto?

  1. Looks like Jim Hansen will have a very busy protest schedule this year…good thing he’s retired.

  2. Japan has been nutty throughout this whole energy/emission business. Shutting down their nuclear plants makes zero sense no matter how you slice it. Japan is paying the price for its inability to address issues in anything other than thru ignorance and fear and hysteria. Small
    wonder China is cleaning Japan’s clock. China is well along a path of a heavy build program
    of nuclear reactors, looking to having over 500 nuclear plants by 2050 and 1600 by the end
    of the century.

  3. India and China took no notice of the no coal-fired power stations nonsense.

    Germany woke up just before it was too late, and now it looks like Japan has also woken up just in time..

    That leaves the UK looking at the world’s most unreliable and expensive energy system with guaranteed rolling blackouts and brownouts just a few short years away..

    There is no way the goofy political ‘elite’ are going to admit the insanity of the UK’s energy policies, which can guarantee only one thing – economic decline.

  4. The AFP article is hilariously misleading.

    “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s business-friendly Liberal Democratic Party ousted the Democratic Party in December elections after pledging to review the emissions cut target in light of the post-Fukushima switch to fossil fuels”

    That was not the reason. Not at all. China’s rising aggression in Japanese waters and the inability of the DPJ to deal with it, then add the DPJ messing up the reconstruction in the Tohoku area, then add how the DPJ was completely lost at what to do with the TPP, etc. Also calling the complete destruction of the DPJ as “ousted” is quite an understatement. They lost 173 seats.

    There is also no word that nuclear power will be completely stopped. The LDP is more positive towards nuclear power and when we look at the election results, then it’s very clear that any anti-nuclear sentiment was no issue whatsoever for the Japanese people. There was a screaming fringe minority pretending to be speaking for the Japanese people (you know, the usual enviro lunatics), but they were never a factor. Anti-nuclear protests happened but were really small and, except one in Tokyo, really not worth mentioning. The Tokyo protest, given the sheer size of the city, was also pretty irrelevant.

    The DPJ and one newly formed party (the so called Tomorrow Party) were heavily riding the anti-nuclear horse, but it brought them nothing. The Tomorrow Party (basically a merger of two already existing parties and several disgruntled DPJ members) that wanted to throw out nuclear power yesterday (if that was possible) was completely murdered in the polls. They started with 61 seats, expected a huge triumph, and ended with 9 seats (on the same level as the communist party, aka practically irrelevant.) One of the parties that merged with the Tomorrow Party was the “Tax Cuts Japan – Anti-TPP – Zero Nuclear Party”. No surprise they were slaughtered.

    The LDP won big (+174), Nippon Ishin no Kai didn’t quite get what was expected but still won (despite the Japan Times claiming they lost, I guess moving from 11 to 54 seats is losing), and the DPJ is now just three few seats ahead of NInK. If anything, this year’s upper house elections will lead to another bloodbath for the DPJ, because right now the LDP is sailing the high winds and they’d have to mess up really big to drop this. PM Abe and his cabinet had an approval rating of 74% in April, 4 months into this adventure, which is unprecedented. The DPJ prime ministers were already stalling and heavily dropping at this point. And that same PM Abe has said that he’s in favor or rebuilding and restarting the reactors.

  5. @Peter Miller

    That’s pretty spot on. I remember reading that, even if all the Kyoto Protocol countries would achieve their goals, the result would still be zero, because especially China and India would keep pushing CO2 anyway.

  6. Japan should not be shutting its nuts unless they are poorly sited/inadequately constructed. Fukushima was both. They can go to coal because the plants only take 4 years to construct, and coal can be imported from Australia. USC technology like all the new plants in China provides about 41% ner thermal efficiency at the busbar.
    The UK should go to CCGT. Higher net efficiency (Siemens best achieved almost 61% in 2012) and plants only take 3 years to construct. Works because UK has appreciable frack able shale gas reserves.
    But it will take an electricity crisis to turn around the politics of the situation.
    GWPF should also be more selective in its information sources. It cited the new Atlantic article on methane hydrate clathrates. That article, in turn, makes unsourced fact assertions that are complete speculation. Methane hydrate RESOURCE estimates vary by a factor of ten. Much of what has been sampled is of very low quality (gas per unit volume), or so dispersed as subsea nodules (the usual images) as to be unharvestable with any known of envisional technology at any price (bring the stuff toward the surface without containment and you increase temperature, reduce pressure, and release into the sea the GHG methane).
    By comparison, shale gas resource estimates in the US alone are also very large, but at best only 13% is technically recoverable via horizontal drill/ frack, and much less at current prices.
    There are methane hydrate deposits like the Nankai trough off Japan, or Siberian and Alaskan permafrost overlying traditional source rock shales, where concentrations are sufficiently high and the deposits sufficiently large that production may someday be technically possible, at rates unknown. Theses are unlikely to compensate for depletion of existing thermogenic reservoirs.

  7. OT..back in March there was a short video of a talk given by a gentleman in which he explained that the Earth has greened, not in spite of, but because of fossil fuels. It came a day or so after a discussion of African desertification.
    I can’t seem to find it in the archives, and need to show it to a AGW fanatic friend, who simply will not believe it.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Dale

  8. And in Australia, we were committed to both Kyoto and Kyoto 2…we are still bombarded with the usual propaganda. But tonight, we were treated to a spectacle…

    One presenter speaks of the CO2 emissions that would result from a power station for that house for the duration of the experiment (In balloons that floated in air – LOL). What the presenter failed to note were the CO2 emissions from the cyclists. Humans expel CO2 at ~40,000ppm/v AT REST let alone under physical stress! That’s why someone invented the steam turbine and hooked it up to a generator. It’s so much more efficient. Reminds me of a test where some man-powered fire service water pump was tested against a steam powered pump. The steam powered pump won!

    The mind boggles!

  9. Rud. The Fukushima failure was putting the backup generator in a tin shed on the beach. Any and all half-decent reinforced concrete structures survived the tsunami, no problem (I live in Tohoku and have visited the areas). Fukushima would have not have been a problem if TEPCO had not been asleep at the wheel.

  10. Perhaps it’s time for Lilley, or any other sympathetic MP, to use parliamentary privilege to call those with vested interests in parliament who are preventing shale exploitation “corrupt”. Parliamentary privilege means that Lilley, or whoever, can’t be sued but the media would be bound to report the subsequent row.
    This would mean that more people would be aware of how and why their fuel bills are going through the roof and the names of at least some of the people who are benefiting from their misery, the excess deaths and how we are heading literally for the Dark Ages while every other country with any sense is baling out fast.
    The sooner the guilty parties are widely exposed the better.

  11. It would be interesting to do a study to piece together just how AGW managed to destabilize so many well educated leaders into making so many poor decisions regarding energy and environment.
    The CO2 obsession has left Britain, Australia, the US, Japan, Western Europe in the position of making non-sensical policy choices. The irony is that not only are those choices not going to impact the stated concern of global warming, they are not even giong to impact CO2 emissions. AGW hypesters have utterly failed in achieving their stated goals of reducing CO2 emissions.
    And they have failed at the cost of increased nergy prices, growing energy poverty, and increased CO2 emissions.

  12. Edohiguma says:
    April 26, 2013 at 7:56 am
    @Peter Miller

    That’s pretty spot on. I remember reading that, even if all the Kyoto Protocol countries would achieve their goals, the result would still be zero, because especially China and India would keep pushing CO2 anyway.
    ===========================
    Zero squared actually, because there is no measurable effect on global warming or climate change following recent level changes in atmospheric CO2.

  13. @ edohiguma

    I agree – good analysis.

    It is interesting that Fukushima Daini (2) nuclear power plant suffered almost none of the failures of Fukushima Daiichi (1) even though it was only about 7 miles south of the famous Daiichi power station. It is true that the tsunami was estimated at about 13 meters at Daiichi (the newsworthy plant) which was over twice the height that it was designed to withstand while Daini experienced “only” an estimated 9 meter wave. The Daiichi plant design was originally meant to remain on the top of an existing hill at the ocean’s edge but was excavated closer to sea level in order to bring much of the heavy nuclear power plant infrastructure to the site by ship. Clearly all of the remaining 50 reactors (out of a total of 54) survived a very extreme natural disaster and after some much needed (and in some cases completely ignored by TEPCO and other operators) retrofit they could and probably should be used to bring much needed power to the long suffering Japanese population.

    Bernie

  14. Reminds me of the pharmaceutical industry where all the investment is in drugs to control effects and not the causes. Addressing the cause doesn’t result in an endless supply of funds, and controlling the effects produces more funds to control the unwanted side effects. There’s no motivation to stop the gravy train.

  15. Japan is so far down in the rank of nations with proven coal reserves they don’t even show up in the top 27 (Zimbabwe ranks at #25, but lack of coal isn’t the root of their problems). However they somehow managed to mine 1.3 million tonnes in 2007, barely edging out France at the bottom rank (#32) with 0.9 million tonnes.

    So if Japan stays the course of abandoning nuclear for electric power and using coal instead, they’re going to have to import a bunch — roughly 30 terawatt hours per month according to the chart above.

    Hello Australia: are you listening? I suspect Japan would rather buy from you than beg coal from China. I’d invest in Australian coal industries except I’m worried your politicians will do something stupid like prohibit export of evil CO2-belching fossil fuels. Sounds like to good issue for the opposition parties to use in your upcoming elections.

    I agree with previous posters: this only makes sense once you accept the insanity of abandoning nuclear. Japan is a wealthy industrial country with plenty of know-how to build and manage safe nuclear. I guess that means they can also build and maintain clean coal plants.

    The US stands alone in having plenty of coal, oil, natural gas, uranium and thorium. We are so blessed with energy resources our politicians have not yet been able to mismanage all that bounty, although they keep trying. If you Australians do manage to send Julia Gillard packing, please don’t send her here. Maybe Zimbabwe could use her help.

  16. Edohiguma says:
    April 26, 2013 at 7:56 am
    “That’s pretty spot on. I remember reading that, even if all the Kyoto Protocol countries would achieve their goals, the result would still be zero, because especially China and India would keep pushing CO2 anyway.”

    True. But due to German Gesinnungsethik, where the motives, not the efficacy, decide about the worthiness of an effort, German warmists shrug this off with “But we need to do something” – and they dominate all parties. (Reason behind this bizarre ethics is the Kantian/Pestalozzian negation of objective reality but Germans are in general not deep enough to understand the flaw in the basis of their logic; a strange disconnect from their general obsession with efficiency. Detail-obsessed yet building on a faulty fundament.)

  17. Peter Miller says:
    April 26, 2013 at 7:46 am (Edit)
    India and China took no notice of the no coal-fired power stations nonsense.

    Germany woke up just before it was too late, and now it looks like Japan has also woken up just in time..

    That leaves the UK looking at the world’s most unreliable and expensive energy system with guaranteed rolling blackouts and brownouts just a few short years away..

    —————————————————————————————————————————

    It sounds to me that most social democrat governments are using Climate Change as a vote getter. The science is shonky and the cheering squad is , frankly, largely certifiable. That said the Alarmists have the ear of authority and it will take something awesome to break that bond.

    You would think that our legislators would have seen through the “Chicken Little” stuff by now. If they haven’t they are extremely dull and if they have then they are stealing our money and effort with every subsidy for no return beyond a few “on sides” types get piles of subsidy dosh for something that can’t ever work. Up until now subsidised nonsense used to be dropped pronto unless it enhanced national pride like, say, Concord. Unlike Concord nobody loves these “renewables” except the recipients of government cash, tax rebates, and a generous feed in tariff.

    It is amazing that they can scrape up cash for these follies. You might think they have run out of stuff to spend the cash on. After all the health and education system works well enough nowadays. Put enthalpy into your models and let’s put this CO2 bugaboo out of its misery. Go and find something to subsidise that makes life better for the largest number of people. Wickedly fast broadband available to all for a simple connection fee and nothing else to pay would be a great start and something all parties could endorse.

    The total greenhouse gas in the atmosphere hasn’t changed in any measurable way. The small CO2 component is 120 parts or 0.4% of all the greenhouse gasses. Using the oft quoted 30 deg of extra warming then the extra CO2 should be at best 0.12 K if it doesn’t displace something else in which case there is no additional warming. Enthalpy may tell us more about what happens to the water vapour which would be a huge step forward.

    Yes I know my calcs are a bit rough and ready but the intention still caries. Oh and big thanks to Bob Tisdale those maps and charts and graphs of his simply scream out the importance of water vapour in this temperature stuff.

  18. Peter Lilley is one of the few honourable people in the House of Commons as he was almost alone in voting against the appalling Climate Change Act. For this alone he should be for ever venerated.

  19. Despite what you have heard from companies in the business and the government, we still have no idea of the true cost and gain of shale gas in Britain or the Continent. The numbers are stupid large as they are gas-molecules-in-the-ground estimates, not gas-in-the-pipeline-with-costs estimates.

    The costs of drilling and completing shale gas in Britain are immense, and the drilling densities are great. Infrastructure is probably a lesser cost than direct drilling, completing and equipping (including dehydrators, probable heaters/methanol feeds for the winter months or pressure drop hydration, compressors, water disposal facilities and wells …. and general land use) but still significant.

    The MSM – and the GWPF, surprisingly – have been still to the point of deer-in-the-headlights on the practical aspects of shale gas development in the UK. If conventional gas is your reference price for gas-energy, then you must expect at least double that for shale gas: if it weren’t, you’d have it already.

    In the US there is a lot of wet shale gas, i.e. light hydrocarbons that come with the gas. The wet part pays for the gas; the gas is a problem, really, just as gasoline was a problem back in the early part of oil drilling: a product that they had to get rid of as the production was greater than the demand. But the shales in Britain are “dry”, meaning the methane content is essentially all there is. Other than co-produced water, that is. So the sale price of Brit shale gas has to cover the cost of its production by itself.

    If you don’t have high rate wells in Britain as you do in the States – depth of burial and a pressure gradient equal to water or more – you are burdened on your sticker price again, as all projects have to be paid for within a certain number of years to be attractive as a project. In socialist worlds, this is not the case – a 20 year payout is okay, in fact no payout may be okay if production leads to profit somewhere else in the economy of the nation. But in a for-profit world, investment follows returns so payout length matters. If you have a high volume well as in the northern US, a large amount of gas may be produced in 18 months, paying for the initial investment. A four-year payout is often used as a metric, though probably 6 will survive if there is an economy of scale. In otherwords, a return of the investment of 16 – 25% per annum is targeted. If, as in Britain, the wells do not produce as quickly, then your payout still must be of the 6 year level, but since there is less gas produced, for example, 0.6 of the US equivalent, then your gas cost must be 1.7X the US situation.

    The minimum price for Brit gas can be determined by simple math: the inverse of how much gas are you going to produce per dollar invested within (say) 6 years. But thes numbers are difficult to find – not because the background data isn’t there, but because both industry and government hedge on the essential numbers, the recovery factor and the expected production profile. They DO exist, as both sides work these out to determine whether they are interested or not, or at what energy cost level consumers must be happy with (resigned to).

    Shale gas isn’t going quickly? You might be suspicious that the only part you hear from either side is excitement about total energy available. What counts in a real world, not the socialist, eco-green world, is what the cost of that energy is, as every dollar you use to do your “thing” is a dollar less you use “as” your thing, be it the tool you now have or the public pleasure you indulge in.

    Energy is not the goal. It is the means to the goal. When governments speak of all the money to be made, they speak as if your energy production is the product you seek. It is not: it is the tool to get what you want, whether it is heat, light, indoor plumbing or turning the bit at the factory. Energy is part of the cost of production, not the result of production.

    We must keep reminding ourselves that the object is not to run quickly but to get somewhere and then to do something. Whatever we have to do to get to our point of “doing” takes away from the doing. And if Brit shale gas is to be the “solution” to Brit’s getting to that good place, it behooves us to understand what that cost will be.

    The future is not dark, but it is expensive. Regardless of what you hear.

  20. Peter Miller says: That leaves the UK looking at the world’s most unreliable and expensive energy system with guaranteed rolling blackouts and brownouts just a few short years away..
    There is no way the goofy political ‘elite’ are going to admit the insanity of the UK’s energy policies, which can guarantee only one thing – economic decline.
    ===

    Well we have our recently canonised St Margaret to thank for destroying the indigenous coal industry and locking our native resources of high quality coal in the ground.

    Oh, and for starting the whole CO2 AGW scam of course which was part and parcel of the same “goofy political” aims to sell out and destroy the country.

  21. Dale W says:
    April 26, 2013 at 8:09 am

    OT..back in March there was a short video of a talk given by a gentleman in which he explained that the Earth has greened, not in spite of, but because of fossil fuels. It came a day or so after a discussion of African desertification.
    I can’t seem to find it in the archives, and need to show it to a AGW fanatic friend, who simply will not believe it.

    Enter “greening” in the search box above, or click http://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=greening

    I think you wanted http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/14/a-must-watch-greening-the-planet-dr-matt-ridley/

    Another good page is http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/24/the-earths-biosphere-is-booming-data-suggests-that-co2-is-the-cause-part-2/

  22. john robertson says:
    April 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm
    In official UN IPCC speak, there is not and never was any place called Kyoto.
    —————-
    And Mikey’s got tree rings to prove it never existed (You’ll have to sue to get a look at them though).

  23. In January three vociferous members, who are anti-nuclear and pro-CAGW, were ousted from the Central Environment Council in the Ministry of Environment.
    I hope this is one of the signs of awakening on the side of our Government.

  24. What I love most about this story is that I’m in Texas, in the nat gas business, and every delay in shale drilling elsewhere just means demand for our product goes up. And what’s even better, every month they diddle another half dozen manufacturers shut down shop where they are and move to Texas to take advantage of our low costs! Unemployment might be a problem some places in the world, but there ain’t no problems here – this place is booming!

    And the greens around the world are the ones who are guaranteeing our boom goes on!!!

  25. ‘Goofy” is just the perfect term for the political ethos of the insanity of the UK’s and Europe’s Green mania and Energy policies, As usual Asia, spearheaded by China, are thinking well ahead of Europe and are thinking a lot more clearly.

  26. Patrick says (April 26, 2013 at 8:09 am): “And in Australia, we were committed to both Kyoto and Kyoto 2…we are still bombarded with the usual propaganda. But tonight, we were treated to a spectacle…”

    Thanks, Patrick! Absolutely hilarious!

    Watching those poor biker “energy slaves”, I was reminded of the galley slave sequence in the film “Ben Hur”:

    Consul: “Now listen to me, all of you. You are all condemned men. We keep you alive to serve the appliances of this house. So cycle well, and live.”

    Thump…Thump…Thump…Thump…

    Consul: “They’re awake! Coffee maker, toaster, radio coming on. Battle speed, hortator!”

    Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

    Consul: “Uh-oh. TV, computers, hair curler…Attack speed!”

    ThumpThumpThumpThumpThump

    Consul: “Electric oven! Electric shower! Ramminnngggg SPEED!

    ThpThpThpThpThpThpThpThp

    Consul: “YIKES! Central air conditioning! WARP SPEED!!!

    KABOOM!

  27. Still too much homage to AGW in most of these articles . . . I’m disappointed. Fracking and methane hydrates are going to overheat the world? Pul-LEEZ! When are people with influence going to get up and say AGW is the feces that it is? What cowardice. Enough is too much already.

  28. Japan is brilliant. What better way to get off expensive nuclear and onto cheap coal. How German of them.

  29. @arthur4563 Are all those Chinese nuke plants going to be 100 percent earthquake proof? Just askin’ ya know.

  30. Edohiguma says:
    April 26, 2013 at 7:56 am
    That’s pretty spot on. I remember reading that, even if all the Kyoto Protocol countries would achieve their goals, the result would still be zero, because especially China and India would keep pushing CO2 anyway.
    ========
    Actually Kyoto would have made things worse. Kyoto is no different than shipping your garbage to third world countries for incineration, and then claiming you have made the environment at home cleaner.

    However, in the case of Kyoto, you are also shipping jobs and the pollution from the incineration ends up back in your country anyways. The jobs however don’t return. Instead you get mountains of debt to pass along to your children.

  31. Doug Proctor says:
    April 26, 2013 at 10:24 am
    If conventional gas is your reference price for gas-energy, then you must expect at least double that for shale gas: if it weren’t, you’d have it already.
    =========
    Nonsense. A bottle of single malt would cost $5 in the grocery store if the government would get out of the way.

  32. Peter Miller wrote, in part: “…goofy political ‘elite’…”
    What an apt description of most of them.

  33. Patrick thanks for the sillyness video of the power bikers.

    I almost fell off my seat when they showed the amount of coal they COULD have burnt as an alternative…..a small pile about the size of a shopping bag…LOL

    Doesn’t this beg a few questions for them? Other than being miserly with my power usage because its BAD, I could do much much more than would be feasible any other way with a small bag of coal-fired energy….the irony seems to have gone over their heads.

    And the family should have been suitably guilty for making all those bikers work so hard..ha ha

  34. “Japan is likely to abandon an ambitious pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, the top government spokesman said on Thursday.”
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    So much for the global warmers. Global warming is history. Wind power is a money loser and so is solar power, despite the subsidies. Nuclear power has a black eye and coal is the new power king.

  35. Doug Proctor says:
    April 26, 2013 at 10:24 am
    If conventional gas is your reference price for gas-energy, then you must expect at least double that for shale gas: if it weren’t, you’d have it already.

    Doug, I think a hundred years ago drilling in the North Sea for oil/gas would have been considered not worth the candle. But if a privately owned company thinks they can profitably extract shale gas then I see no good reason to stop them even trying to demonstrate their technology is workable.

    A government can, of course, make it uneconomic if it is motivated to do so. They are generally better at screwing things up than they are at producing innovative and profitable solutions.

  36. “Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    April 26, 2013 at 9:06 am”

    I wouldn’t be so sure there are any here in Australia listening to the export potential. I read an article (Which I now cannot find) on the SMH.COM.AU website about “protesters” boarding a coal ship sailing around Australia. It seems there are some who are keen to return to the dark ages.

    There are many here in Australia who wish the Gillard would simply sod off back from where she came (Barry, Wales. And Barry Island is where oil boilers go to get scrapped).

  37. I suspect that this shift to more coal and gas use in Germany and UK has been inadvertently caused by greens. They oppose nuclear thinking that governments would be forced to exclusively rely on wind and solar. What they forget is that almost all governments will seek out hard nosed technicians to tell them what is feasible. Greens can’t fail to see the irony.

    If you thought that co2 was going to cause dangerous warming of the planet then surely you would adopt the lesser of the two ‘evils’ i.e nuclear. I vaguely recall that nuclear power stations in normal operation emit less radioactivity than coal power stations.

    http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

    http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/calculate.html

  38. Here are just a few impoverished people in the UK who receive income from letting out their lands for wind farms. This is an unholy alliance of idealistic greens and aristocratic land owners. By the way the Prince of Wales and his father think they are eyesores yet both of them rattle on about the environment while living it large with lots of bling and hot gas releases of co2.

    Crown Estate (beneficiaries HM Treasury & UK Royal Family)
    Duke of Beaufort (gained planning permission 2013)
    Duke of Gloucester
    Duke of Roxburghe
    Jeremy Dearden, the Lord of the Manor of Rochdale
    Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming
    Sir Reginald Sheffield
    Earl of Seafield
    Earl Spencer (plans 2012)
    Earl of Moray
    Earl of Glasgow
    Prince of Wales (“horrendous blot on the landscape”)

    Read and weep about the fráud.

  39. Looks like demonizing nuclear had a beneficial side effect. Maybe greenpeace should practice demon control.

  40. hunter says:
    April 26, 2013 at 8:26 am

    It would be interesting to do a study to piece together just how AGW managed to destabilize so many well educated leaders into making so many poor decisions regarding energy and environment…. The irony is that not only are those choices not going to impact the stated concern of global warming, they are not even giong to impact CO2 emissions. AGW hypesters have utterly failed in achieving their stated goals of reducing CO2 emissions.
    //////////////////////////////

    Well said.

    I have some slight (although only very slight) sympathy with politicians being duped by the science and not having sufficient scientific intelligence or aptitude of their own to question it, and instead to blindly accept that the science is settled and the debate is over.

    However, what I find totally unacceptable is the policy response. It is so blindingly obvious that the policy response (whether this be CO2 credits/trading or green renewable energy) would not result in any significant reduction in CO2 emissions. This response has only upped the costs of everything without achieving their stated goal of reducing CO2 emiisions. It is because the policy response has been so obviously floored that those in public office should be held accountable for their actions.

    It is ironic that the USA has been amongst the most successful countries at reducing CO2 emissions, not through the roll out of any green schemes, but through the exploitation of shale gas, a fosil fuel industrywhich was deamonised!

  41. Greg says:
    April 26, 2013 at 11:12 am
    //////////////////////
    Greg

    Don’t forget that more coal mines were closed during Harold Wilson’s two tems in government than during Margaret Thatcher’s 3 terms.

    Don’t also forget that there was no need for Scargill to declare the strike. Don’t also forget that Scargill did not have real ballot approval for the strike and that many miners wanted to carry on working.

    Had that strike not been run by Scargill there is every prospect that profitable mines would have stayed in business.

    But there was a wider political point, namely who governed the country – the unions or the elected government. I consider it unfortunate the way that mines were closed but it was largely the consequence of the strike that Scargill wanted to run. There could have been constructive talks whereby the mining industry was rationalised with unprofitable mines closed and profitable mines being developed, but unfortunately Scargill was not up to the challenge and mining communities paid the ultimate price. On the wider political issue, the UK greatly benefitted, the growth of the 1980s to 2007 would not have been possible, and the decline that the UK was in in the 1970s would have accelerated with the result that the UK would have had the worst economy of any developed nation.

  42. Doug Proctor says:
    April 26, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Despite what you have heard from companies in the business and the government, we still have no idea of the true cost and gain of shale gas in Britain or the Continent. The numbers are stupid large as they are gas-molecules-in-the-ground estimates, not gas-in-the-pipeline-with-costs estimates….”
    //////////////////////////////////////////////

    The point is that this is largely immaterial in the sense that the shale gas industry does not require government funding or subsidies and all the costs of development of the shale gas fields and getting the product to market would be bourne by the private sector since this is a real product and a real industry.

    Those in the energy businesss would make the necessary investment and such gas that they extract would be sold at then prevailing market price. If it costs a lot to get it out of the ground, the costs will be high and if too high, there will be few or any buyers and the energy firms will take a hit. If the price of extraction is reasonable then it will compete well in the market place and the energy firms will make a profit.

    From the government perspective it is a win win situation. They will licence fields obtaining a revenue stream. THe energy companies will take on labour paying national insurance tax to the government and there will be fewer people without a job. Those in employment will then be paying tax on their earnings, and of course spending money on the high street and with service industries, thereby resulting in yet more revenue for the treasury. The energy firms will eventually be making profits on the shale gas extracted (assuming it can compete viably in the market place) and the treasury will tax these profits. The consumer will pay less for energy (assuming that shale is cheaper than wind) and this will put more money in their pockets and they will spend more money in the high street and with service industries, again putting more money in the hands of the treasury. Finally, cheap energy will boost industry generally with huge financial benefit for the country.

    There is simply nothing not to like about shale.

    Of course, you are right that the amount of viably extractable gas is not known with precision but that is a risk for the energy firms not the government or the consumer (since no government subsidy is needed so the consumer pays nothing for the extraction of shale).

    The most sensible stimulus package that Osbourne could deliver is to push full ahead with shale and reduce all the surrounding red tape and let private enerprise do the rest. No cost to government, and it would quickly become a revenue earner as licenses are granted and then an employment boom. Later as the gas gets out of the ground other revenue streams would open up.

  43. richard verney:

    At April 27, 2013 at 5:56 am you say of the deliberate closure of the UK coal industry by the Thatcher government

    Don’t forget that more coal mines were closed during Harold Wilson’s two tems in government than during Margaret Thatcher’s 3 terms.

    Don’t also forget that there was no need for Scargill to declare the strike. Don’t also forget that Scargill did not have real ballot approval for the strike and that many miners wanted to carry on working.

    Had that strike not been run by Scargill there is every prospect that profitable mines would have stayed in business.

    Oh, dear. No!
    The closures under Wilson were part of the progressive modernisation and mechanisation of the industry conducted by successive governments – both Conservative and Labour – following the Second World War. The 1976 ‘Plan For Coal’ was agreed by all three main UK political parties, and closure of the economic industry was a reversal of that policy by the Thatcher government.

    I summarised the facts of the matter in a post on WUWT a few weeks ago. I copy it to here to save others needing to find it, but it is at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/13/weekend-open-thread-6/#comment-1274534

    Richard

    ///////////////
    richardscourtney says:
    April 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    troe:

    I am responding to your post at April 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm. Thatcher was – and is – very divisive so several posters have been very partisan in this thread. Others have been more balanced. And I will try to be factual.

    Your post says in total

    Alls fair. It’s true that I am not from the UK and that Thatcher was controversial and all that. Of course many of the coal mines were totally un-economical weren’t they. That was the point then and it’s still the point. The coal mining communities formed at the pitheads to exploit the resource. That boom was long past by 1980. Other than developing something new for the miners to do or paying them out of the national pocket to do make-work what would you have suggested. Ding-dong is a little phrase that can be used in lots of ways.

    Firstly, it was not only the mining communities which were deliberately destroyed by government policy in the Thatcher era because other industries were also destroyed; i.e. steel, shipbuilding, etc. . This was because the Thatcher government decided to switch the UK economy from production industries to “service industries” (i.e. banking and financial services).

    It is a matter of opinion as to whether this was good or bad policy. However, it did have significant immediate and long-term effects. Like all changes, it provided ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ with the result of the extreme pro and anti attitudes to Margaret Thatcher.

    In the immediate term a result of the change was devastation of the towns and cities which were deprived of the factories, steel mills, shipyards and coal mines upon which they depended. Many have still not recovered a generation later. Everybody suffered in such towns: for example, late on a Friday it was announced that Grimethorpe Colliery would close and, therefore, first thing on the following Monday morning Tesco announced it was to close its Grimethorpe supermarket because unemployed people would be unable to buy anything.

    This deliberate closure of industries destroyed 20% of the UK economy and was only possible because the North Sea oil revenues had come on-stream.

    And it was only politically possible because the government bought votes. People were given the right to buy a Council house at well below its market value if they lived in it. This was a direct transfer of capital from taxpayers to those who became owners of the houses for less than their worth. But somebody hoping to buy a Council house or who had bought one would vote Tory because Thatcher’s party would not recover the lost capital. With passage of time it became impossible to regain the lost capital so all political parties now accept it. But the Council housing has been lost with the result that ‘affordable housing’ has become a serious problem in the UK.

    In the longer term this transition from production to service industries greatly increased the UK’s reliance on banking and so banking and financial services became about 40% of the UK economy. ‘All eggs in one basket’ is risky. It took a generation before the ‘basket’ obtained a ‘hole’ when the US had a banking crisis. The knock-on effects of this on the UK were a disaster so the UK obtained a triple-dip recession and still shows no signs of recovery.

    Achievement of this economic transition required closure of the coal industry, and that was only possible if the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) were destroyed because it was the most powerful trade union in the country. Nicholas Ridley (who, coincidentally, was my MP) devised the Ridley Plan for this. It had two basic components which the Thatcher government applied.

    Coal was stockpiled at power stations and ports both in the UK and elsewhere. Any strike or threat of a strike from the NUM would be – and was – capitulated until the stockpiles were sufficient to outlast any NUM strike. The government would then deliberately induce a strike at the start of a summer when need for coal was least. This trigger was assisted by the total incompetence of Arthur Scargill who was President of the NUM. Also, the Thatcher government conducted a successful propaganda campaign which induced a split in the NUM so the Nottinghamshire miners did not join the strike because they were fooled into thinking their mines would not be closed. The strike lasted a year before the miners were starved back to work and, thus, the NUM was broken.

    This removed the NUM as an impediment to closure of the coal industry. And that closure was justified by the tactic of “The Uneconomic Tail”.

    Prior to defeat of the NUM the coal industry was structured in Regions with several mines in each Region. The mines had become highly mechanised. A mine operated retreat or advance mining but in either case this required a development and a production phase. During development the mine created all the tunnels and facilities needed to cut a panel of coal: this had high cost and no profit because no coal was produced. During production the panel was extracted: this had low costs and high profits because coal was being extracted for sale.

    A Region made planned and constant profits because at all times some mines were in development while others were in production.

    The Ridley Plan declared that each mine was an individual profit centre and would be closed as being uneconomic if it failed to make a profit over a financial year. But no mine made a profit in a year when it had a development phase. Hence, by this tactic, each mine was declared uneconomic when it reached a development phase and, therefore, it was closed.

    I hope this explains the issues which you raised.

    Richard

    PS I held office – which I retained in five elections – of being the Vice President of the British Association of Colliery Management (BACM) and, of course, BACM Members had to apply the Ridley Plan.

  44. richardscourtney says:
    April 27, 2013 at 6:32 am
    Not a chip but rather a sack of coal on your shoulder Richard!
    Now remind me, how long did Blair and Brown have in office, what steps did they take to right your perceived wrongs, and why did they promulgate the infamous coal vilification Climate Act in 2008?

  45. roger:

    re your twaddle at April 27, 2013 at 7:39 am.

    I gave a factual account of some history.
    I stated no “perceived wrongs”. That is your perception.

    Your political beliefs don’t interest me.
    Indeed, I fail to understand what relevance Blair and Brown could have had on Thatchers government decades earlier.

    Richard

  46. “roger says:

    April 27, 2013 at 7:39 am”

    Blair ~10 years, Brown ~3 years, Thatcher 12 years alone. Don’t quite see your point.

  47. “richardscourtney says:

    April 27, 2013 at 6:32 am

    richard verney:

    At April 27, 2013 at 5:56 am you say of the deliberate closure of the UK coal industry by the Thatcher government

    Oh, dear. No!
    The closures under Wilson were part of the progressive modernisation and mechanisation of the industry conducted by successive governments – both Conservative and Labour – following the Second World War. The 1976 ‘Plan For Coal’ was agreed by all three main UK political parties, and closure of the economic industry was a reversal of that policy by the Thatcher government.”

    Just like Dr. Beachings “plan” for railways (Labour).

  48. Patrick:

    re your post to me at April 27, 2013 at 11:08 am.

    I have not been involved with railways so I cannot comment on them. I think it is generally agreed that the ‘Beaching Plan’ was a mistake, but I do not know enough to say what would have been better. I do know the ‘Beaching Plan was not a plan to eradicate the UK railways, and many still exist: the Ridley Plan was intended to – and did – eradicate the UK coal industry.

    As you say, all such plans come from governments and no one political party can be said to not apply them.

    Richard

  49. Hector Pascal says April 26, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Rud. The Fukushima failure was putting the backup generator in a tin shed on the beach.

    NEVER MIND that all the large pumps and their electric motors which ‘pump’ seawater used for cooling are located out near the ocean and they and their corresponding AC switchgear were inundated by conductive and corrosive SEAWATER

    .

  50. Bernie McCune says April 26, 2013 at 8:46 am

    It is interesting that Fukushima Daini (2) nuclear power plant suffered almost none of the failures of Fukushima Daiichi (1) …

    Interesting to note, that, the original problems imposed on Fukushima Daini (2) (such as loss of seawater pumps due to inundation) were much the same as at Daiichi (1), but, Daini (2) had access to off-property electrical energy (through the temporary laying of a large cable by hand over a distance of 9 kilometres) allowing control room and secondary emergency cooling systems (e.g. RCIC) to operate … Daiichi (1) did not have power as their generators were non-functional after the Tsunami and no external line was run.

    As Fukushima Daini (2) was under nominal (full) operating conditions at the time of the quake, the shutdown operations at Daini (2) were _no_ cakewalk as detailed here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daini_Nuclear_Power_Plant#2011_earthquake_and_tsunami

    .

  51. “richardscourtney says:

    April 27, 2013 at 11:54 am”

    It’s true the fact mines were being closed in the process of “modernisation” after WW2. In fact the entire industrial base was going through similar changes, it had to. Industry was dragged kicking and screaming all the way. What is also fact is that Winson closed more mines than Thatcher (Regardless of “justification”) and he started the process in 1964. Of course the UK, in the 80’s, being nicknamed “The Dirty Man of Europe” due to coal mining, use and heavy industry was, in part, justification used by Thatcher to swing the wreaking ball through the coal industry again in favour of nuclear power generation, which due to various scares, accidents, protests (Greenham Common, Cold War etc) and politics was, eventually, cancelled. That’s all I know and recall from that time in the UK.

    With rail, I do find it rather ironic that in every country I have lived in that followed a “Beaching” type plan to rail transport, and in fact in some countries preceded it (New Zealand), are all now re-visiting heavy and light rail national and urban rail systems to “solve the transport problem” and reduce CO2 emissions (Rail networks owned by the state leased to private rail operators. Just like it was before the Beaching days in the UK).

  52. @_Jim

    I think we all can agree that the events of that day were no “cake walk” for anyone living on the northeast coast of Japan that were in the path of the tsunami. And especially the staff of the two Fukushima nuclear power plants on that day and the following weeks and months. The earthquake was huge but the tsunami on the coast of Iwate and Miyagi prefectures north of Fukushima was simply unbelievable. It is remarkable that Daiichi was contained to the extent that it was in the face of this decidedly non accidental event. The media even in Japan continues to refer to Daiichi as an accident and most of the global media have forgotten about the many victims of that day. And the survivors continue to suffer. Throughout Japan people continue to face a lack of sufficient power especially at peak periods. I have no horse in the race concerning coal, nuclear, or other solutions to that problem.

    As a trained biologist with a career in engineering I think CO2 is great for biosphere and is decidedly a minor threat to the planet from the point of view of heating it up. I consider a global one degree C anomaly rise over the past 150 years a very stable and remarkably unthreatening condition. If atmospheric CO2 continues to increase at past rates even approaching 500 ppm, I think recent leveling of global temperatures tells me that we have little worry from the continuing “rapid” rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    If the Japanese wish to develop coal power generating systems, I am sure they can do it in a very non polluting way. If they wish to restart their remaining nuclear reactors using the experience from Fukushima, I am also sure they can do it safely. I suspect the present Japanese government will be able to work this out in spite of a continuing media blitz of doom that often has no basis in fact.

  53. richardscourtney says:
    April 27, 2013 at 6:32 am
    /////////////////////////////////////////

    Richard

    I don’t wish to get embroilled in a political debate as I detest politics. I never voted for Thatcher, at the time I withheld my vote because I consider all politicians nearly as bad as one another and that there is no reprentative democracy with politicaians saying one thing and doing another.I note your involvement in the mining industry and therefore I accept that you should be familiar with the issues.

    However, the reality is that by the time Thatcher came into power, UK heavy industry was in terminal decline. The shipbuilding industry had already been lost, so too motorbikes. The car industry was on its knees (largely because of industrial unrest in the 1960s and 70s). Coal and steel was not competitive on the world market, and like it or not industry has to be competitive and in the real world; if it is not, it is living on borrowed time.

    Given that shipbuilding had already been lost and given that the motor industry was already in terminal decline, the domestic demand for steel was already much reduced such that diminishing domestic demand and uncompetitive price meant that the steel industry did not have a rosey future. Markets once lost are extremely difficult to recapture. This is the position that Thatcher inherrited.

    Labour costs in the UK were high compared to say South Africa or Poland, and because of this and because of some open cast mining, imported coal was far cheaper and becoming cheaper day by day. In a nutshell, the position she inherrited was worse than that envisaged in the Plan for Coal to which you refer. The challenge facing the government and the unions was the further rationilisation of the coal industry enedeavoruing to keep a much more streamlined industtry operating where coal could be extracted and supplied at competitive cost.

    It was inevitable that there needed to be far more mine closures. I accept that that is unpalletable and the loss of one’s job, particularly when there is no obvious replacement, is calamitous. Neither the government nor the unions come out of this episode with distinction, but I consider that the unions (not just the NUM) are in denial as to the extent of damage they inflicted on UK indiustry and the part that they played in its demise.

    I fully accpet that had it not been for North Sea oil, the way matters panned out would have been very different. Unfortunately, the UK has largely squandered this asset (no doubt much of it on welfare as a consequence of the loss of industry and manufacturing). Look at what Norway has managed to achieve, although of course, when an asset has to be distributed only between about 4.6 million instead of between 55 million people (now probably over 70 million), the smaller country will always be more wealthy.

    Anyway all of that is in the past. The challenge facing the UK is energy, and in particular cheap energy. Shale has revolutionised the US and has given their industry a real competitive edge. The UK needs to get on with shale. Until this is up and running coal has a role in cheap energy production. It is madness that the UK is closing its coal fired power generators. These should be kept on stream at least until a new generation of gas generators are built to be powered from UK shale gas.

  54. “richard verney says:

    April 28, 2013 at 8:00 am”

    “… I never voted for Thatcher, at the time I withheld my vote because I consider all politicians nearly as bad as one another and that there is no reprentative democracy…”

    Hear hear!

  55. richard verney:

    re your post to me at April 28, 2013 at 8:00 am.

    Various industries were in decline when Thatcher came to power. But it cannot be known whether they would have ended if not deliberately destroyed by her government.

    It is a matter of opinion which includes political values as to whether that destruction was beneficial or not.

    As I said,

    Firstly, it was not only the mining communities which were deliberately destroyed by government policy in the Thatcher era because other industries were also destroyed; i.e. steel, shipbuilding, etc. . This was because the Thatcher government decided to switch the UK economy from production industries to “service industries” (i.e. banking and financial services).

    It is a matter of opinion as to whether this was good or bad policy.

    emphasis added: RSC

    You say

    However, the reality is that by the time Thatcher came into power, UK heavy industry was in terminal decline.

    So Thatcher claimed, but some of the evidence for this is far from certain. For example, as you say

    The car industry was on its knees

    However, the UK car industry was not “on its knees” despite – in common with much of British industry and commerce at the time – suffering from poor management which failed to maintain investment in production technology and product development. This problem was overcome by selling the car industry to foreign companies which imposed competent management.

    Wicki lists UK car production over time at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_the_United_Kingdom

    According to that source (it is only Wicki and I don’t know its validity) car production in the UK grew until 1980, halved during the Thatcher era, recovered somewhat over the following decade, and since 2000 has varied approximately with UK economic performance.

    But the government did not have direct control over car production so could not close it. The government did own the shipbuilding, steal and coal industries, and it closed them.

    With specific consideration of the coal industry which I do know about, you say

    Labour costs in the UK were high compared to say South Africa or Poland, and because of this and because of some open cast mining, imported coal was far cheaper and becoming cheaper day by day. In a nutshell, the position she inherrited was worse than that envisaged in the Plan for Coal to which you refer.

    That is factually not correct.

    The Plan For Coal was agreed by all three main parties in 1976.
    Thatcher came to power in 1979 and immediately started to implement the Ridley Plan for closure of the coal industry.

    UK coal was the cheapest coal for UK power stations because the power stations had been built in the coal fields so transport and handling costs were low.

    The UK coal industry was profitable and there are very good reasons to conclude it would have continued to have a competitive and profitable future if not closed. Indeed, that is why the Plan For Coal was agreed.

    Also, profitability was not a concern of the Thatcher government’s energy policy. The UK was producing more coal-fired electricity than nuclear electricity. And the Thatcher government was subsidising the nuclear power industry. If the coal industry (which was shut) had been given similar subsidy then it would have made a profit if it had given away all its coal for free and had payed those who took the coal £20 per tonne of coal for taking it. Clearly, profitability was not a consideration in the ‘energy equation’, and coal was not closed for that reason.

    As I said, it is a matter of opinion as to whether the closure of UK coal industry was a good or bad policy. But it is a matter of fact that the closure was a political policy and was not affected by any economic considerations.

    But that is all history.

    As you say, present day UK energy policy is a mess which promises to be a disaster. In my opinion, what happened decades ago has less importance than what is being done now.

    Richard

  56. Japan, like Germany, has rejected nuclear energy. At least for the foreseeable future they have. Once a nation goes such a route they inevitably have to build coal-fired stations. Any other option involves de-industrialization.

  57. “richard verney says April 28, 2013 at 8:00 am”

    “… I never voted for Thatcher, at the time I withheld my vote because I consider all politicians nearly as bad as one another and that there is no repre[se]ntative democracy…”

    Patrick says April 28, 2013 at 8:30 am:
    Hear hear!
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    GREAT … now look at the demographic that *does* vote. Is it any wonder we’re on the predicament we’re in?

    .

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