UK Faces Anti-Green Backlash As Energy Prices Rise

Global Warming Policy Foundation

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Newsbytes from Dr. Benny Peiser at the GWPF:

The British government faces a public backlash against its green energy agenda as consumers are unwilling to spend more on power and gas bills to pay for investment in low-carbon forms of energy, a parliamentary committee warned on Monday. An opinion poll published by utility Centrica last month showed only one quarter of respondents thought the government should stick to its plans for a greener economy if it means higher energy price. Reuters, 25 July 2011

Industry faces energy price increases of up to 70 per cent as a result of new ‘green taxes’ imposed by the Government. Studies by the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents industries such as chemicals and steel, show that the extra costs are so high that many companies may be tempted to move to countries that do not have such extreme environmental laws. —Tom McGhie, This is Money, 24 July 2011

There are some wholly implausible assumptions about the pass-through of carbon and renewable subsidy costs. Our suspicion is that DECC has massaged the figures to make the impacts look less severe. —Jeremy Nicholson, Bloomberg, 29 July 2011

If the Prime Minister wants to get involved in climate change policy he should focus on problems closer to home first. Just last week the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published a report which estimated that prices would rise for large energy intensive users by up to 52 per cent by 2020, with a central estimate of a 31 per cent rise. Unfortunately, this may be about as reliable as their farcical estimates for domestic consumers. —Matthew Sinclair, Conservative Home, 1 August 2011

The UK government has welcomed new developments in “unconventional” gas resources. It is largely a let’s-wait-and-see response, which acknowledges the economic, environmental and security benefits of shale gas. Calls from environmentalist campaigners to freeze exploration in the UK have been given the bum’s rush. –Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 26 July 2011

Climate change is far less serious than ‘alarmists’ predict, an eminent NASA scientist has said. Dr Roy Spencer, who works on the space agency’s temperature-monitoring satellites, claimed they showed ‘a huge discrepancy’ between the real levels of heating and forecasts by the United Nations and other groups. After looking at the levels of radiation in the atmosphere over the past ten years, he believes the Earth releases a lot more heat into space than previously thought. This means carbon dioxide emissions do not trap as much heat or force temperatures up as much as global warming bodies fear. —Tamara Cohen, Daily Mail, 30 July 2011

71 thoughts on “UK Faces Anti-Green Backlash As Energy Prices Rise

  1. This is what annoys me most about AGW alarmism-based policy.
    By taxing CO2 emissions by large point sources in rich countries, you push emissions into smaller sources and into poorer countries with weaker environmental policies. From 1GW modern coal plants into wood stoves and Chinese coal plants.
    This may theoretically reduce CO2 emissions, but will unavoidably increase the emissions of every other pollutant and will also move the emissions of those pollutants closer to people – where they do the most harm.

  2. Well I for one am shocked, just shocked I tell you that consumers are no longer willing to drink the global warming bathwater if it means massive price increases on their utility bills.
    Just amazing.

  3. This looks like a cherry picking exerise. For example, in the last article cited this following from the artcile was omitted “Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said: ‘It’s a simplistic theory and we will need to look very closely at these measurements as he is far from proving conclusively that this is the cause.
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2020427/Climate-change-far-alarmists-predict-says-NASA-scientist.html#ixzz1TnD1vZ34

  4. There needs to be large scale rebellion to bring the government to its sense.
    If everyone refused to pay the green tax/subsidy element of their energy bill, there is little that the energy companies could do given the sheer numbers involved. This would act as a wake up call, letting everyone know precisely what the ordinary citizen thinks.
    For, the majority of citizens, energy costs are already a significant proportion of disposable income and I suspect that energy priices will double by 2020. Wages are being squeezed, taxes increased, such that it is not easy to see how the ordinary citizen will be able to afford a doubling in energy costs.
    The UK already has about the worst old age mortality rate in (developed) Europe. This is due to poor housing stock, high energy costs and poor pension provisions. A damp climate further exacerbates the problems. I have little doubt that many people (old age pensioners who are already in fuel poverty) will die as a consequence of the increased energy prices, especially if the UK sees a repeat of the recent cold winters that it has experienced these last few years. If the MSM run with those stories, it will pile a lot of political pressure on the government. Hopefully, this will encourage a rethink.,

  5. Politics, selling you quality false security in exchange for hard earned tithes/taxes since the first superstition.

  6. Forget about all this nonsense. If the world does not get it’s financial house in order, then utility bills, may be the least, of our worries. Dumping trillions into non-return fantasy, is not improving our economic outlook. It takes real wealth, to enable concrete measures, which may mitigate inevitable future disasters, of any kind.
    It seems that “social justice” demands that everyone be equally destitute, unable to respond to nature’s finicky ways. I think mankind has been there before (dark ages) and it wasn’t much of a party. GK

  7. In the UK, the pips are beginning to squeak. I have just been reading an economic report which gives a few recent historical facts.
    First, between 2000 and 2010, real private sector wages rose by about 40%.
    Now, the increases in the price of selected services:
    Domestic gas 131%
    Electricity 69%
    Motor fuel 41%
    The first two have risen in price to a great extent because of hidden government taxes to fund such as windmills – and to increase government revenue. Motor fuel has risen in price, regardless of world prices, because of a government tax ratchet. (Or do I mean racket?)
    Over a whole range of goods and services, prices have risen sharply in ten years, except for consumer goods; but those were imports, financed by borrowing which is now, and for a long time to come, stalled.
    Yet, the three main British political parties propose to keep on raising the price of energy. I think the asylums are missing a few lunatics.

  8. The fact that there’s more to this than just “saving the world”….
    ….should be blatantly obvious to everyone but the brain dead
    The UK, even Australia, are not big enough to save anything..
    Not even the U.S. any more……….
    ..and China, Russia, India, …..most of the rest of the world doesn’t care

  9. The trouble with British politics is that over so many issues – carbon taxes being one – there is complete agreement among the ‘political elite’. So it doesn’t matter how annoyed consumers are about carbon taxes, they’re going to get them. They can protest all they like – not a British speciality anyway – and it won’t make a blind bit of difference. For once, the only body that might make the politicians see sense is ‘big business’, though that depends whether the lobby that will lose out over the nonsense of carbon taxes has more clout that the arm of big business which plans to make a killing from carbon taxes/permits/trading.
    And of course British political elite specialises in not quite telling the truth to the voters, on the assumption that they must be too stupid to comprehend it. In this case, carbon taxes could very well be a mechanism for letting the ‘little people’ have the privilege of paying for the next generation of nuclear power plants, our ‘elite’ not having been quite elite enough to set some money aside for this inevitable necessity. Why not instead tell the little people the taxes are all about saving the planet, polar bears, some other nice story?

  10. I always thought increasing the price of energy was the whole point! How else you gonna force people to go green?
    Imagine this — in the 1960’s, we passed laws and regulations making it very expensive to purchase, own and operate cars on public roadways. What would we have today? Flying cars, of course! After all, if it costs just as much or more to operate a motor vehicle as a flying vehicle, who wouldn’t go ahead and purchase a flying car?
    All you people who think this won’t work — you’re just impeding progress. You’re probably in cahoots with “Big Auto.” You’re counter-progressive reactionaries, that’s what you are.

  11. You knew this had to happen sooner or later. Taxpayers in the UK are already suffering as the government tries to back the country away from being buried under crushing debt. People can’t pay higher taxes for debt reduction at the same time as subsidize uneconomic energy. In that sense, the global recession is the “best thing” that could have happened WRT green energy.

  12. The massive increase in taxation of British energy based industry and the British people will have a predictable consequence. Energy based industry (steel, refinery, chemical, and so on) will leave Britain or go bankrupt.
    The “green” boondoggle “investment” will result in thousands of wind generators with dozens of back-up gas generating power plants. Each gas generating power plant requires a connection to a large high capacity gas pipeline. The gas pipeline cost must be paid for out of the green boondoggle funds as the gas load will vary from low to high depending on whether the wind is blowing as well as seasonal energy demand changes.
    The power generating gas turbines cannot withstand the heat stress cycle of on/off operation, therefore the gas generation turbines will be run in idle with energy loss of 30 to 50%. Alternatives would be massive investment in energy storage such as massive power storage stations with liquid sodium batteries complete with massive power equipment to convert the direct current DC battery power to alternating current. The cost of a liquid sodium battery power storage station is comparable to a power generation station except the energy storage is roughly a factor of 20 less than the power generating station.
    In North America there are suggestions for a “smart energy” grid which means thousand mile high voltage power lines run across the country to move surplus wind power energy or to import energy. Besides the billions of dollars investment for the interstate power lines there is roughly a 30% energy loss for the long distant power lines. The “smart energy grid” requires massive subsidies as there is not surplus energy to wheel interstate so the long distant power lines will seldom be used.
    Politicians and the general public have no idea how much money will be wasted on the green boondoggle. Hopefully Britain and Australia can lead the way to provide news feedback to protect the US and the other Western countries from wasting trillions of dollars to achieve almost no measurable difference in CO2 emissions which are not a problem anyway.
    : http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2018026/Green-targets-force-companies-leave-Britain.html#ixzz1TnQu2M3t
    Green targets ‘could force companies to leave Britain’
    Industry faces energy price increases of up to 70 per cent as a result of new ‘green taxes’ imposed by the Government.
    Energy Secretary Chris Huhne last week boasted that no other country had binding environmental targets as ambitious as Britain.
    ‘In 15 years, our net emissions will be half what they were in 1990,’ he said.
    (My comment: Yes as all of the British energy consuming industry will have left Britain or will have gone bankrupted.)
    The Department of Energy last year admitted that environmental policies had already increased average costs for non-domestic users by 20 per cent. This will rise to 28 per cent by 2015 and 43 per cent by 2020. But those figures do not take into account environmental measures that are in the pipeline.
    Business pays proportionately more for its electricity because it is subject to tax through the climate change levy.
    Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, warned that the Government’s estimates for the effect of their policies on domestic fuel bills were highly unrealistic and ‘need to be taken with a bucket full of salt’.

  13. Even if the public finally realizes how toxic the coming energy shortages will be, it will be too late to prevent unnecessarily high prices. The Sierra Club and others have already done their work to prevent cheap coal energy production from being built: http://beyondcoal.org/act-now/ With the enormous lead times required to build anything in the US and Europe, we will suffer high prices and shortages for a long, long time.

  14. The problem is you do not see carbon tax or green tax when you get a bill. The TV and radio media which is where most people get their news (if they bother at all) do not mention the part green taxes play.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14151032
    As far as the green elite is concerned the way to end fuel poverty is to go green.

  15. Have you had a look at this lately? Fire Mapper. It shows where the real problems are …
    And hear I thought how could anyone deny the efficiency improvements and lower waste products of coal gasification. We have a test plant running in Florida to prove it works. Thanks to Bush for getting it done.

  16. Interesting. From the Reuters piece:
    “‘I don’t think there is enough understanding of the charges that are there and which are coming through, and that is why we want much greater clarity on people’s bills,’ Energy Minister Charles Hendry told the committee in a hearing last month.”
    So, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change is saying that we should be able to see what we are being charged by the energy companies to prop up renewables. He must surely realise that if that happens, people won’t be too happy about having to pay for it. Are the Tories secretly hoping that “the people” will revolt on the subject of renewables, and that will give them the excuse to move to a more sensible economic position?

  17. In light of a glorious posting from BH (http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/climate-thuggery/29919) where the comments were so caustic I could have had my old MG bodywork stripped ready for painting just by pointing my laptop at it and exposing it to some of them – and at the risk of repeating myself across blogs (apologies BH), the worst I could find was this from TennyNaumer:

    “John Mashey does not silence Dr. Mann’s faux critics — he merely exposes them for the low-life scum that they are. You also fall into that camp. You write here the most amazing bunch of lies. I still don’t understand why the Chronicle permits you to post your slander here. I’d really like an answer to that one. Everyone knows what you are.”

    I would really like this posting from GWPF to appear there to see what kind of mindless trollerism it would attract. And by their bile, so shall ye know them.

  18. James Evans says: August 1, 2011 at 11:13 am
    Interesting. From the Reuters piece:
    “‘I don’t think there is enough understanding of the charges that are there and which are coming through, and that is why we want much greater clarity on people’s bills,’ Energy Minister Charles Hendry told the committee in a hearing last month.”

    I’m not sure ‘understanding’ the charges is enough. The many and various ‘green’ schemes have been developed and introduced in a vacuum. Although politicians and green groups such as FoE claim UK ‘grass roots’ support for the sustainability fantasy, ‘grass roots’ support has been a self-referential bubble of activists and their political allies. It’s only now that people are beginning to realise just what a fantasy world it is and, more importantly, just what the fantasy will cost them individually. Don’t forget that it isn’t just fuel prices that have shot up, the price of anything using fuel (almost everything) has too.

  19. vboring says:
    August 1, 2011 at 8:40 am
    “…
    By taxing CO2 emissions by large point sources in rich countries, you push emissions into smaller sources and into poorer countries with weaker environmental policies. From 1GW modern coal plants into wood stoves and Chinese coal plants.
    This may theoretically reduce CO2 emissions, but will unavoidably increase the emissions of every other pollutant and will also move the emissions of those pollutants closer to people – where they do the most harm.”
    Um, not so much. It matters not one bit what western and developed economies do to reduce their “carbon footprint,” whatever we do will be almost immediately replaced by increases in the developing world, e.g. China and India.
    These countries will NOT choose to beggar their growing economies, all for the sake of the myth of blue sky. However, they are more than happy to watch the west systematically dismantle their manufacturing sectors, and will be left staning to pick up the pieces. Remaining on this track, we in the west will be forced to scuttle about like rats in ever crowded and dismal cities.
    Sorry, not for me.

  20. Green taxes don’t prevent pollution, whether CO2 or otherwise, they INCREASE them.
    Green taxes make Western industry uncompetitive, so these industries are shipped out to China instead, where nobody gives a flying-fig about emissions and pollution, and so overall worldwide emissions actually increase. This is the end-result of Green initiatives – an increase in pollution. Clever people, the Greens.
    .

  21. Bystander says:
    August 1, 2011 at 8:47 am
    I note that everyone has just totally ignored your comment and rightfully so. Just the most prattish thing I’ve read in ages. I live in france and know better than you that electricity bills in the UK have already risen at four times the rate in france. They have exceeded 20% over the last year and will gather an extra 20% this coming year from rises already announced by the suppliers.
    The government have been asking the electricity distributers to hide the green taxes in the total rate in order to deflect criticism from themselves. If the UK liberal tories continue their stupidity it willo be even worse next year. Their chancellor added a £16 a tonne tax to fossil fuels at the last finance budget which will not take effect until next year. Drax power station supplies a huge % of the UK’s power from burning coal (mostly) and wood. It’s millions of tons !!! Millions times £16 should be easy to calculate even for you.

  22. “consumers are unwilling to spend more on power and gas bills to pay for investment in low-carbon forms of energy,”
    Consumers are not allowed to buy low-carbon energy–the Khmer Vert don’t approve of nuclear. I would love to buy my electricity supplied by reliable low carbon energy, but instead face ridiculous power price increases for highly efficient wind subsidy farms. It’s a pity they’re not so good for generating electricity.
    I begin to think that the curious 2011 census question about the form of home heating used was to get a preliminary estimate of how big the winter culls will be as the ever increasing numbers in fuel poverty freeze to death, increasing further when the lights start going out in a few years
    If Plod or the press can pay some attention to something other than kicking Murdoch now he’s down, there at least one candidate worthy of a good kicking.
    To paraphrase a famous quote:
    “Will no one will rid us of this turbulent Energy Minister?”

  23. richard verney says:
    August 1, 2011 at 8:47 am
    There needs to be large scale rebellion to bring the government to its sense.
    If everyone refused to pay the green tax/subsidy element of their energy bill, there is little that the energy companies could do given the sheer numbers involved. This would act as a wake up call, letting everyone know precisely what the ordinary citizen thinks.
    This would never happen in the UK! The british are cowardly little sheep. Rebellion is what we do in france. It is our DUTY under the constitution of the republique françaises. That’s why we don’t have a CO² tax, YET.

  24. Latitude says:
    August 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

    The fact that there’s more to this than just “saving the world”….
    ….should be blatantly obvious to everyone but the brain dead
    The UK, even Australia, are not big enough to save anything..
    Not even the U.S. any more……….
    ..and China, Russia, India, …..most of the rest of the world doesn’t care

    Actually, they do care. They care enough to know if they continue stonewalling the CAGW crowd, that crowd will point the climate catastrophe gun at their own head head and pull the trigger. They care enough to know that burning fuels rich in CO2 effluent will make their crops and trees grow faster and with less water. And they care enough to know that they’ll have an economic and strategic advantage when the rest of the world hamstrings themselves with silly notions that their good example will be followed by nations they assume are non-caring.
    It’s a funny world.

  25. Oz has its convoy to Canberra, Uk on the verge or rioting over green taxes. Us Broke, Spain bankrupt. Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Italy gone (financially). You know it would have been a grand plan of the greens if they just had not run out of OPM.

  26. stephen richards says:
    August 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm
    This would never happen in the UK! The british are cowardly little sheep. Rebellion is what we do in france. It is our DUTY under the constitution of the republique françaises. That’s why we don’t have a CO² tax, YET.

    I think someone needs to re-visit their history books. Rioting, revolutions and the chopping off of heads are all very British activities. It’s part of the (very) modern myth that the British don’t rebel. Some of our current parasite class would probably do well to remember that.

  27. malcolm says:
    August 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    To paraphrase a famous quote:
    “Will no one will rid us of this turbulent Energy Minister?”
    May I suggest an amendment
    ” will no one rid us of these turbulent Politicians”
    I can only hope that the UKIP makes a lot of gains at the next election!

  28. Isn’t this what Green Taxes are supposed to do. Make energy consumption so expensive that people cut back on their consumption.
    Its not to reduce CO2 or to help the environment. It is to make people cut back on using fossil fuels (or even more to the point, to get votes from people who think it is actually about helping the environment).

  29. As I sit in my Yurt crouched over the llama dung fire, cooking my rat leg soup, with the kids doing their global warming homework by the flickering light of the ethanol candle, I gaze at my fairtrade, ethically sourced rattan and hemp hoody with the fading greenpeace badges on the sleeves and wish to hell I had not succeeded in preventing those nuclear and coal stations being built. I wish it was more than 6/10ths of a degree warmer this century, even the damned windmill is iced up! I am definitely moving out of Basingstoke before next annual global warming temporary negatve phase. (Much easier when we just called it winter.) Must remember to pay my daily Huhne-tax tomorrow morning for the anti global warming international travel fund.

  30. Ralph says:
    August 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm
    They are not truly “green”, they are “red” in disguise … (aka “watermelons”)
    Green / carbon taxes are needed to cover the costs of political welfare!
    In other words, social welfare for greedy politicians and other scammers …

  31. Bill Illis says:
    August 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm
    Isn’t this what Green Taxes are supposed to do. Make energy consumption so expensive that people cut back on their consumption.
    Its not to reduce CO2 or to help the environment. It is to make people cut back on using fossil fuels (or even more to the point, to get votes from people who think it is actually about helping the environment).

    Maybe the point is to deliberately cause overpopulation by creating an energy grid that can no longer support us? Perhaps they want the human population to crash and burn, so that only the elite remain to build a new society based entirely upon their ideals?

  32. Bystander says:
    August 1, 2011 at 8:47 am
    This looks like a cherry picking exerise. For example, in the last article cited this following from the artcile was omitted “Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said: ‘It’s a simplistic theory and we will need to look very closely at these measurements as he is far from proving conclusively that this is the cause.
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2020427/Climate-change-far-alarmists-predict-says-NASA-scientist.html#ixzz1TnD1vZ34

    Bystander you have a real problem if you pit Bob Ward of ‘Grantham Research Institute’ against Roy Spencer of UAH. Bob Ward is totally wrong that its a ‘simple theory’ – it is a simple FACT the heat leaving the Earth measured by NASA satellites is higher than the models predict.. Observations trump models and hypotheses every time.

  33. Born as I was in Wales it pains me to return to my homeland to find that this once mighty nation has lost the work ethic that created the “Industrial Revolution”.
    Nevertheless, I still believe that the UK is capable of showing the “Renewable Energy” charlatans the door within a year. After that look out for a rebirth of nuclear power that will put the French to shame.

  34. Cameron is a failure. He thinks the UK taxpayer will keep subsidising Green garbage initiatives and we will not! He is a pale spectre of his tough pre election image. Time for some real Conservatives to take over. Eton has failed to produce any political ‘Stars’ for decades now – just Green Hysterical imitations.
    No more Renewable ideas. Back to basics.
    Carbon Dioxide is neither poison nor pollutant, especially to us Carbon life forms!
    All Carbon compensation/footprint/trading schemes are scams.
    Left Wing Academics need not apply or expect any grant monies from now on.
    Pre World War Two, at a Schneider Trophy contest Lady Houston’s huge yacht was lit up with the slogan “WAKE UP ENGLAND!”
    It really is time we did.

  35. Sad. That so many who dared not act on their lawful duty to refuse to support a society that would be party to mass murder, now think that they might drive each other to rebel against a “reality” of their own making . . leaves me laughing . . . and groaning at the absolute and truly perverse stupidity of the reasons they offer for their collective failure to think. Folks . . its ‘too late’ . . . we are now on the slide ‘down’ the Hubbert Curve and you are SCR***D beyond your ability to understand, plan and re-act.
    Such aside, do access http://www.medicangel.com and have a look at someone who ‘planned and prepared’ and continues to do his utmost to help those who suffer due the support of cowards for nations that would use nuclear and / or other weapons of mass murder against defenseless fellow human beings.

  36. gallumphingdromedary;
    Voting whom into office? The pols and greens have made sure there are few or no available alternatives. Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber are your choices.

  37. Coldfinger says:
    “Its not just Hunhe and the Lib Dem watermelons, our Primeminister is as bad:”
    The trouble is that to Cameron and his advisers their energy policy is about “detoxifying” the Tory Party, i.e. making it acceptable to the Guardian and the BBC. Energy itself is not something they worry about because it is a technical matter and can be left, so they think, to engineers – the sort of people who get their hands dirty fixing things. A windmill is much easier to understand than a nuclear power station so if engineers are told to build windmills there should be no problems.
    That’s energy sorted! Now what else should the PM be turning his mind to in order to detoxify his party’s brand?
    Roy

  38. Don’t move to oz – they have insane Carbon “pricing” (known to non-lying scum bags of the Gillard type as taxes) and you won’t be able to afford the currency either!

  39. The British Government has welcomed the unconventional gas exploitation. Has it? Why then have they stopped the fracking?
    The British Government is short of money and has to balance the books. They are also religiously wedded to ‘Green Energy’ and it will take a seismic shift of policy to get them to change their minds(?). To get competitive again we need cheap energy. Piling on green taxes is the worse thing to do for this end.

  40. Recent speech by Secretary of State Chris Huhne setting out the science behind UK energy policy is at
    http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/chsp_artsci_cc/chsp_cc.aspx
    Relevant extract is below:
    ++++++++++
    “The basics
    Nearly two centuries ago, a French mathematician and physicist named Joseph Fourier wondered why the Earth was warm enough to support life.
    We are the best part of 100 million miles away from the sun. The planet ought to be much colder.
    Fourier considered a new possibility: that the atmosphere that we breathe also traps heat. In 1827, he described the greenhouse effect.
    Let me put that into perspective. Our understanding of the greenhouse effect has been around longer than the periodic table. It predates the study of genetics and the theory of evolution.
    It not only well-understood – it essential to life. Energy from the sun passes through the atmosphere and warms the earth. The earth radiates heat, which is absorbed by the trace gases in the atmosphere. The warming is fed back, and amplified. Without it, our planet would be some 33 degrees colder.
    Over millennia, global temperatures and weather patterns vary. A natural equilibrium keeps it all in balance. Given enough time, Nature is largely self-correcting.
    Changes
    But since Fourier made his discovery, things have changed.
    Much of the planet has industrialised. Its population has soared. We have moved from small scale agriculture to large scale industry. We have swapped horses for horsepower. And we are emitting more greenhouse gas than ever before.
    The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is rising. Concentrations of CO2 have grown by 40% since pre-industrial times. Two thirds of that increase has happened in the last 50 years.
    With all this extra greenhouse gas floating about, we would expect the Earth’s surface to get warmer. And so it has: by about 0.8 degrees in the last century.
    Much of this warming has occurred in the last 50 years. From 1960, temperatures have risen at an average rate of 0.13 degrees per decade. The ten warmest years on record were all from 1998 onwards.
    So the basic science is clear. It tells us these three things: greenhouse gases warm the planet. Global emissions continue to climb. And the world is warming up.
    It is a compelling picture, and one supported by a growing body of evidence.
    Arctic sea ice is melting. Since 1900, global sea levels have risen by more than eight inches.
    Severe droughts are now twice as common as they were in 1970.
    Research suggests human action doubled the risk of the 2003 European heatwave.
    And climate change made the autumn 2000 floods in the UK about twice as likely.
    Every major scientific institution in the world concurs: the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Academie des sciences. Change on this scale cannot be explained by anything else.
    There is no computer model of world temperature and climate that can explain what has happened without greenhouse-gas induced global warming. None.
    Unless we act to curb greenhouse gas emissions, continued warming is not a matter of speculation. It is inevitable. And scientists fear it will accelerate.
    Thresholds
    As temperatures rise, so does the risk of crossing dangerous thresholds in the climate system – leading to sudden, irreversible change.
    The Amazon rainforest holds about 10% of all the carbon stored in ecosystems. If it dries out, scientists fear it could release more carbon than it absorbs. Warmer temperatures and more frequent droughts would kill more trees, releasing more carbon.
    Arctic ice helps to regulate global temperature by reflecting sunlight back into space.
    As it melts, it exposes dark ocean beneath, which absorbs more heat, melting more ice and amplifying the warming.
    The dangers
    We cannot risk setting off these climate chain reactions. Let us be clear: the kind of world where global warming hits three or four degrees is not the kind of world we want to live in.
    It is not about sunbathing in the Scottish Highlands. It will likely be a nastier, more brutal world. Climate change above 2 degrees is called catastrophic for a reason.
    Warmer air carries more water. Humidity means storms, hurricanes, flash floods.
    Understanding these risks means setting aside ideology and being clear-eyed about the dangers. Forget the political posturing, and listen to the people who are paid to think about risk.
    In 2009, the Association of British Insurers said – and I quote – ‘our assessment of climate change convinces us that the threat is real and is with us now’.
    Last month, more than 70 European companies, including Ikea and Coca Cola, asked the European Union to aim for more ambitious carbon cuts.
    Scientists tell us we must act. Businesses tell us we must act. Even militaries tell us we must act. We have a democratic responsibility to answer the call.
    Government governs with the consent of the people. That consent is given only in exchange for basic assurances: that government will provide and protect. Climate change threatens our ability to do both.
    Government cannot sit idle. If it were any other threat to our very existence, we would act.
    We would not shirk from our duty to provide our people with clean water, or enough food, or protection from invasion. A stable climate is no different.
    The deadline
    Luckily, there is a growing political consensus, as we saw in Cancun; and a plan. We need to keep global warming to within 2 degrees of pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
    That doesn’t sound ambitious. The kind of timescales used in climate science – looking ahead to 2050, or back to the 19th century – can give the impression that this is all quite distant.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, in our complex climate system, there is a delayed reaction between emissions and warming.
    We could turn off the engine today, but the flywheel is still spinning. It will not come to rest for some time.
    Temperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees already. Even if we completely stopped all emissions, today, they would still rise by about half a degree.
    That takes us more than halfway toward our limit. Next time someone mentions the 2 degree limit, remember that we are already 1.3 degrees along the way.
    So this is not an abstract discussion. There will come a time when it is too late to turn this thing around. That time is rapidly approaching.
    If we do nothing now, it will cost us more to do something later – environmentally, economically, and politically.
    Sticking to our 2 degree limit means global emissions must peak by 2020 at the latest.
    To avoid radical upheaval, we need to shift the world economy onto a low-carbon path by the middle of the decade.”
    (Previously posted to Tips & Notes)

  41. Couple of points.
    Firstly, the British government has belatedly seen the error of its ways regarding the ‘feed-in’ tariff for solar farms – and has slashed the figure by about 80%. Result..? No more solar farms being built from cut-off day (yesterday), because its obvious that the developers weren’t in the least interested in ‘saving the planet’ – they were simply after the money. Incidentally – I haven’t heard anyone explain what happens during the twelve hours of darkness every day – never mind cloudy/snowy days…
    Secondly, surely eventually the government will realise that giving huge ‘feed-in’ payments to wind farms (from our energy bills) is equally daft; I passed a big wind farm in Cambridgeshire the other day where clearly the electricity output was…. zero. The last couple of weeks have seen the contribution from wind to electricity demand (which, being summer, is about 60% of what it is in winter) has been less than 1% – currently 0.3%.
    Finally – different country, but the same planet, when I last checked. In Venezuela, gasoline is – wait for it – 1.4 British pence/2.25 US cents per litre….

  42. Questing Vole:
    Strangely, no where in your essay, do you mention that we have emerged from a very cold period commonly referred to as the “little ice age” (LIA). So your alleged 1.3 degree (unit ??) warming is only global temperatures recovering from the LIA anomaly. When you walk out of a walk-in cooler, do you attribute the warming to CO2?
    Most of the glacial ice that is melting, grew to its observed extent during the LIA period and is merely adjusting to the current milder temps.
    No real student of climate would suggest this recovery is due to man (anthro) causes.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr5O1HsTVgA&w=640&h=390]
    The above CBC video should give you pause, in your rush to certainty. Jumping to conclusions based on present day modeling and NOT empirical or observational evidence is a sure recipe for error and failure. Please pay particular attention to the wider geological time referenced graph. There is much empirical evidence that you are either unaware of or willfully ignoring. GK

  43. Questing Vole,
    Your post is well thought out, if rather wordy. It is interesting in that in encapsulates in one post the complete package of arguments used by the pro AGW. Without wanting to go through your entire post line by line, I would nonetheless like to make some comments.
    Firstly, nobody denies (I hope) that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and increases would lead to rising temperatures. However, the question – which nobody has an answer to – is what is the actual climate sensitivity to a change in CO2 leves? Most scientists do agree though, that based on basic radiative physics, the effect of a doubling of CO2 levels would lead – all else being equal – to an increase in average global temperature of about 1.2C. This arises from the assumed radiative forcing to the doubling of 3.7 Watts per metre squared. The 1.2C increase is as a result of using the Stefan-Boltzman equation to solve for this increase in the radiation budget for black bodies. Where scientists are not agreed though, is the actual sensitivity to CO2 increases in the real world, the world governed by feedbacks of water vapour, cloud etc. The IPCC models all assume that a positive feedback results, which will leverage the effect of CO2. Other scientists such as Lindzen, Spencer, Christy etc, have cited evidence that feedback is net negative which would lead to a lower temperature increase than 1.2C.
    Also, I should add, that your assertion that “none of the models can account for the current warming without CO2. None,” is a tautolgy. It shows either that they are correct, or that there are other forces at work which have not been taken into account.
    There is also a large tranche in your post which amounts to appeals to authority. Of course, all the scientific bodies assert that CO2 increases will lead to dangerous warming, but as you will note, these statements are actually penned by a handfull of individuals – committee members – most of whom are not climate scientists. It is noteworthy that there has been some backlash from paid up members of those societies, such as the APS and Royal Society. The latter has now rewritten its previous alarmist statement.
    Contrary to your believe, the recent speight of extreme weather is not unprecendented. There is evidence that the arctic ice was very low in the early twentieth century; extreme droughts occured in the American mid west in the 1930’s; NASA has acknowledged that there is no connection between last years Russian heat wave and climate change; accurate satellite monitoring of ice has only taken place since the 1970’s. Other citations in the IPCC report were also taken from grey literature. The assertion that the Amazon rainforest (which you mention) is very sensitive to drying out and dying was taken from a paper that actually looking at the effects of grazing, not climate change. A further paper has shown the rain forest to be extremely resilient in the face of a recent drought.
    I hope that you will consider some of these points with an open mind, and take away the thought that the effect of CO2 is not as straightforward or as dire as the IPCC would like us to believe.

  44. G. Karst;
    Yes, the presumption that the late LIA is the “normal baseline” to which we should aspire to return is truly pernicious.
    Thanks, but no thanks. A few degrees of global warming would be loverly. Too bad CO2 can’t do that, but at least it boosts ag production.

  45. Friends:
    I jump in to defend Questing Vole who (at August 2, 2011 at 3:46 am ) provides the text of – and a link to – a recent speech by the UK’s lunatic Secretary of State Chris Huhne. That speech sets out the ‘science’ behind the UK’s insane energy policy.
    Several commentators seem to have assumed Questing Vole wrote to promote this madness, but I think he was reporting the political insanity which we in the UK are trying to cope against.
    I suggest you read what Questing Vole reports because it could be an energy policy that is soon to come to a country near you.
    Richard

  46. Consumer resistance to high energy prices is certainly a step in the right direction but it is not enough. What has to happen is for opposition to green taxes to get organized and vote out the politicians who are responsible for this insanity. There is no anthropogenic global warming now. Any warming that does exist is due to natural causes.

  47. I jump in to defend Questing Vole who (at August 2, 2011 at 3:46 am ) provides the text of – and a link to – a recent speech by the UK’s lunatic Secretary of State Chris Huhne. That speech sets out the ‘science’ behind the UK’s insane energy policy.
    ==============================
    Doh!

  48. The UK is also the country of the Stern Review. This stated in clear terms that global warming could be contained at a tiny fraction (1/5 to 1/20) of letting the catastrophe happen. Even if the catastrophe not a tad overstated, the mitigation costs certainly massively understated in theory – and with no one to manage those costs they just escalate, with zero results. In practice, the British Government has ignored the costs, so my family, like 25 million other households see fuel bills going up by double digit % per year, and we are paying over US$2 per litre ($8.75 per US gallon) for our gasoline. We have a concept of fuel poverty – anyone who is paying over 20% of net income on household fuel – which is over 25% of the population in Wales.
    I analyse why the mitigation costs will be far greater than Stern (or the IPCC claim) and less effective at reducing CO2 at
    http://manicbeancounter.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/climate-change-in-perspective-%E2%80%93-part-2-of-4-the-mitigation-curve/

  49. Questing Vole says:
    August 2, 2011 at 3:46 am
    Recent speech by Secretary of State Chris Huhne setting out the science behind UK energy policy is at:
    Relevant extract is below:

    Did I misconstrue your comment? If so… sorry! Nothing wasted as the comment and video may help others in doubt. GK

  50. Brian H,
    Nice one about the “Gallumphing Dromedary” considering that the “gallopingcamel” moniker relates to my ungainly running style (wing three-quarter).
    Please pardon me for being such an optimist but you folks did elect Boris Johnson (the “Thinking Man’s Idiot”) as the Lord Mayor of London in place of the awful Red Ken Livingstone.
    Assuming that another political miracle takes place to sweep away Huhne and his windmills it will also be necessary to retire the greybeards on the NLL:
    http://energyfromthorium.com/2011/07/07/thorium-lords/comment-page-1/#comment-1763
    That baroness Angela Smith of Basildon is a breath of fresh air.

  51. manicbeancounter,
    Just for a moment suppose that the idea that the sun and cosmic rays have a greater influence on global climate than CO2 does. Wouldn’t that make all this CO2 mitigation look pretty foolish?

  52. I think that Questing Vole is being a little disingenuous when it says the relevent extract is the science. The science is the typical junk spouted by politicians. i.e. Lets forget about emerging from the lowest planetary temperatures for 10,000 years and blame 3/4 of a degree rise in 100 years on a trace gas. Could easily have been written by Gore. The really relevent stuff is the section entitled “Ambition” and particularly the statement,
    “It would mean ripping up that chapter of the social contract which holds that government should exist to protect the people.”
    I cannot believe that any non communist politician since Karl Marx would dare even say such a thing, and then he tops it all off with the following:
    “From today, we commit to work not to the prejudices of the past, but in service of a greater and more lasting good. The planet earth, and the life it sustains.”
    The “Greater Good”…i.e. the justification for every atrocity committed in the 20th century. This man is a dangerous fanatic who would never even have tasted power were it not for the failings of the UK democratic system. I am amazed that no one in opposition, or even his own party can wake up and smell the putrication emanating from this mans brain. Please read this section of his speech (link thoughtfully provided by QuestingVole: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/chsp_artsci_cc/chsp_cc.aspx)
    Mr Huhne may believe in God. The problem is that he thinks he is God himself.

  53. Disko Troop,
    Thanks for that link to Huhne’s speech on climate change driven by CO2. As you say, he may be using the same script writer as Al Gore. Given that this is transparent nonsense, there have to be politicians pointing out more plausible alternatives. Here in the USA, James Inhofe took on the Al Gore carbon offset scam and won without breaking a sweat.

  54. Same problem here in Ireland, and in one of the worst recessions ever, they decide to introduce a C02 tax on fuel at a point when oil prices were low I think 2008? typical sneaky bast***s, anyway it’s just an excuse for revenue, if not C02 it will be something else and it’s going to get a lot worse in order to pay for the huge debt raked up by the banks that the tax payer has to pay!
    2 of the coldest winters on record and people can’t afford to heat their homes and then the fuel to drive to work has 60-70% tax on it!
    Madness, I say L.F.T.R (Thorium) power is the answer for the U.K and Ireland. Norway has thousands of years supply, if only governments spent on research for that instead of pumping billions into wind farms with the least wind this Island has seen in the last 2 years on record!
    Energy independence , well almost, abundant, cheap, safe in L.F.T.R, we could make hydrogen or electricity for E.V’s, I mean this technology has so many benefits I just can’t understand why no one is actually building them??? Am I missing something about L.F.T.R ?

  55. The Brits are their own worst enemies, and there’s precious little that we in the sane countries can do about it. Nevertheless the UK–and to a lesser extent Australia–have important international roles to play over the next several years. Their raison d’être will be to serve as a cautionary tales for the rest of the developed world. Soon everyone will learn that the unbridled, ill-informed Green agenda is economic suicide, and that reckless environmental policies actually kill people.
    Yes, there are legitimate environmental issues out there, like overfishing in most of the world’s oceans, and the unsustainable mining of aquifers in the U.S. However the real environmental issues are all eclipsed by the mythology of the Flying CO2 Monster. The high priests of this secular religion currently have a stranglehold on the British government.

  56. There’s some kind of computer glitch here. On this board, I feel comfortable using my real name, Larry Fields. However I’m getting posted as jabali316, a handle that I’ve used elsewhere, but not here. Moderators, what should I do about it?
    [Reply] Have a look at the bottom of the comment editing box and see which service you are logged in via. You may need to log out, reboot, dance round the computer three times singing the Star Spangled Banner and sacrifice a chicken at midnight as well. Just to be sure. HTH TB-mod

  57. gallopingcamel:
    At August 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm you say of Huhne’s speech:
    “he may be using the same script writer as Al Gore. Given that this is transparent nonsense, there have to be politicians pointing out more plausible alternatives.”
    The problem for us in the UK is that all the major UK political parties support this nonsense: only one MP voted against the insane UK climate and energy Bill. The fringe UKIP party opposes it but the rest of the political spectrum does not. And the media – especially the BBC – continuously pumps out the nonsense of Huhne’s speech as being undoubted fact.
    We need a champion of the calibre of Inhofe. Do you have any suggestions?
    Richard

  58. I regret to say you will probably have to do what I did. Move to France. 82% of our electricity is nuclear, 9% hydro, and the rest is mostly gas. Whilst the French pay lip service to the eco frenzy they mostly think of it as an opportunity to sell more electricity to the Huhnatic fringe, Italy,Spain and Germany. The Germans are clever, they have sneaked a few new coal stations in to “tide them over” as they are next to Poland which produces cheap coal. The French are building new generation nuclear plants, expensive now, but they may run for 80 years whilst the British tilt at windmills. T’was ever thus!

  59. Jo Nova has featured a study saying that upgrading the coal plants to more efficient burn cycles would save 30% of their emissions, or 13% of the country’s total. Far in excess of the most optimistic outcome from throwing many times the expenditure into greenscams. The older the plant, the better the payoff from updating or replacing it.
    Heh.

  60. Brian H:
    I write to provide some information to support th point you make at August 4, 2011 at 9:23 pm.
    Germany has already decided to adopt the use of advanced coal-fired power stations following a decision to close its nuclear power plants. The lowest CO2-emitting option for the transition from nuclear is advanced coal-fired power, so Germany is funding the change to coal from a fund for promoting “clean energy” and for “combating climate change”: this has been reported on WUWT, see
    http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110713-36277.html
    Developments of conventional Pulverised Fuel (PF) technology will dominate coal-fired power station technology for decades to come because of investment risk from novelty. The only way this could be overcome is if a government undertook the risk from novelty. The next paragraph explains this.
    Power stations operate for 30 years or more. A power station makes little profit in the first half of its life because it is then paying off the debt incurred to build it. But it makes large profit over the latter half of its life which is after the debt has been paid. PF has existed in various stages of development for more than a century and hundreds of PF power stations have operated for more than 30 years each. So, PF technology is proved and an investor (e.g. a bank) trusts that a new PF plant will operate for more than ~15 years and, therefore, he will make a profit. But a novel technology for coal-fired electricity generation (such as PFBC or ABGC: see below) is not proved by hundreds of examples each operating for decades under commercial conditions. Hence, the investor perceives he has high risk that he could fail to recover his investment or make a profit: the novel technology could fail to survive long enough for that. So, an investor in a power station using a novel technology puts a premium on the interest he demands for his loan, such that the risk is shared with the operator of the novel technology. This additional cost prevents power companies from adopting alternative technologies to developments of PF: a development of PF could be retrofitted as ‘conventional’ PF if it failed.
    The aim of any power generation technology is to maximise efficiency of the generation. Efficiency is the proportion of available energy from a fuel that is converted into useable form (e.g. electricity). About half the energy from a fuel is ‘lost’ by a power generation system. Improved efficiency means more electricity for the same amount of fuel because more of the energy is converted to electricity and is not ‘lost’.
    Combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) units using natural gas are the most efficient power stations at present. But coal-fired generators could be more efficient. Typically, a CCGT power station burning natural gas as a fuel is ~52% efficient.
    Efficiency is not the only advantage of CCGT burning natural gas at present. A PF coal-fired power station gains efficiency but loses reliability from increased size. Hence, the optimum size for a coal-fired PF plant is ~2 GW. This adds to the demand for CCGT where natural gas is available because CCGT power stations burning natural gas can be small (e.g. 300 MW) at similar efficiency to a 2 GW PF plant burning coal. This small power station size has benefits to the power producer and the grid operator: a power company can obtain small increments of power provision by building CCGT thus spreading capital investment over time, and the grid operator benefits from many small but geographically wide-spread generation sets that can each be controlled.
    One of the advantages of the novel technologies for coal-fired power generation is that several of them (e.g. AFBC, CFBC, PFBC and ABGC but not IGCC) can also be built as 300 MW units or larger with no loss of efficiency.
    I was the Senior Materials Scientists at the UK’s Coal Research Establishment (CRE) and I worked on developing both pressurised fluidised bed combustion (PFBC) and the British Coal Air Blown Gasification Combined Cycle’ (ABGC) systems.
    At Cottbus, Germany, a commercial coal-fired PFBC power station has been operating for over 20 years and at similar efficiency to CCGT using natural gas.
    We developed ABGC to the stage where each component of a plant was tested at full scale then produced a computer model of the system that indicates a coal-fired ABGC plant would provide ~20% improvement in efficiency over CCGT using natural gas (n.b. this is ~20% improvement in output – so ~20% less fuel for the same output – and not ~20% improvement to total efficiency). At that point, in 1995, UK the government closed CRE as part of its closure of the UK coal industry so construction of a demonstration plant for ABGC did not occur.
    The efficiency issues of combined cycles are simply explained as follows.
    A turbine extracts heat energy from its working fluid (i.e. superheated steam or gas) which lowers the temperature of the fluid and uses the extracted energy to provide power (usually in the form of electricity).
    The temperature drop of the fluid increases as more energy is extracted from it by the turbine. So, if the input temperature of the fluid is increased then more energy is potentially available from the turbine. And materials constraints prevent steam turbines having as high an input temperature of steam as the highest input temperatures of gas that can be tolerated by gas turbines.
    But the gas coming out of a gas turbine is still sufficiently hot for it to superheat steam that can be fed to a steam turbine. So, a combined cycle uses both a gas turbine and steam turbine to utilise maximum energy from the fuel. Thus, a combined cycle is more efficient than either a gas turbine or a steam turbine alone.
    However, when used on its own a gas turbine or a steam turbine operates at its maximum efficiency. Each of them obtains the maximum drop in temperature of its working fluid. This is not possible for a combined cycle because the lowest obtainable output temperature of a gas turbine is lower than the highest possible input temperature of a steam turbine. Therefore, in a combined cycle both the gas turbine and the steam turbine are operated at less than their optimum efficiencies but such that their combination has its maximum efficiency (and this maximum efficiency is higher than can be obtained from a steam turbine or a gas turbine alone).
    The efficiency of a combined cycle can be improved by ‘topping’ the steam. Simply, the gas turbine is operated at its maximum efficiency and the temperature of the resulting ‘cool’ output gas is ‘topped’ by heating it to raise its temperature prior to its use to heat the steam for supply to the steam turbine. Thus, both turbines are operated at their maximum efficiency. The ‘topping’ can be achieved by diverting some of the gas from the supply to the gas turbine and burning it as a fuel to superheat the steam.
    The benefit of operating both turbines at maximum efficiency is greater than could be thought because steam turbines are inherently more efficient than gas turbines. This is basically because superheated steam has a higher thermal capacity and is denser than the gas used in gas turbines. And it is why most activity to improve coal-fired power station efficiency concentrates on raising the steam temperature and pressure useable in a conventional Pulverised Fuel (PF) power station. Steam turbines are more efficient than gas turbines.
    In the distant future it may be possible to operate steam turbines at the high temperatures now only possible for gas turbines: thus, efficiency could be greater than achievable using combined cycles. But this is not possible at present basically because superheated steam is very corrosive. Super alloys are being developed (although they tend to be expensive and nearly impossible to weld and machine) but – in my opinion – the best hope is ceramics. But those are issues for the future and here I am talking about the present.
    CCGT power stations burning natural gas operate using the principles outlined above.
    A PFBC is really a giant jet engine with the combustion chamber being the fluidised bed of coal ash burning coal as a fuel (anything that burns could be used as a fuel: we demonstrated operation of a PFBC bed using wet sewage as fuel). The pressurised hot gas (typically ~980 deg. C) from the fluidised bed is fed to a gas turbine to produce electricity. The temperature in the bed is controlled by water and steam pipes (that have very high thermal conduction efficiency because they contact the hot solids in the bed). The resulting steam is then superheated by the output of the gas turbine prior to its being fed to a steam turbine. Thus, PFBC obtains the efficiency advantage of using a combined cycle.
    The ABGC system is a special form of ‘topping cycle’. Coal is converted to combustible gas in a coal gasifier and the gas is burned in a gas turbine to generate electricity. And coal is supplied to a PFBC. This provides two streams of hot gas (i.e. from the gas turbine output and from the PFBC combustor) and a steam supply. The output of the gas turbine is added to the pressurised gas from the PFBC combustor. Some of this gas goes to a gas turbine and some is used to ‘top’ the steam temperature. Thus, all the turbines operate at their individual maximum efficiencies.
    It should be noted that the exhaust gases from PFBC and ABGC are extremely clean. Indeed, they have to be cleaned to be cleaner than the air in a typical office because otherwise they would damage the blades of the gas turbines.
    I hope this is of some interest to you.
    Richard

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