BBC Climate Change: Ukraine War Prompts Fossil Fuel “Gold Rush”

Essay by Eric Worrall

Almost like decades of effort and billions of dollars invested in renewables have done nothing to reduce global dependence on fossil fuel.

Climate change: Ukraine war prompts fossil fuel ‘gold rush’ – report

By Jonah Fisher
BBC Environment Correspondent

The world is witnessing a “gold rush” for new fossil fuel projects, according to a new report by leading climate change researchers. 

Soaring energy prices spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have led to new investment in oil and gas.

A report by Climate Action Tracker (CAT) says the world risks being locked into “irreversible warming”.

“There seems to be really a gold rush for new fossil fuel infrastructure,” Professor Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute, a CAT partner, told BBC News. 

“Supposedly it helps with short-term energy supply, but new infrastructure once it’s built will be there for decades and we will definitely miss the climate targets,” he said.

In the UK, regulators last week approved the development of a gas field in the North Sea, east of Aberdeen, which has the potential to produce 6.5% of Britain’s gas output. Shell’s proposals for the Jackdaw field were initially rejected on environmental grounds in October last year and approval came as the UK government seeks to boost domestic energy output.

We’re turbocharging renewables and nuclear, but we are also realistic about our energy needs now,” UK Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng posted at the time on Twitter. “Let’s source more of the gas we need from British waters to protect energy security.”

Read more:

“… new infrastructure once it’s built will be there for decades …” – I’ve seen this argument before.

The new infrastructure argument could be the driving force behind Biden’s attack on fossil fuel.

When I first saw Biden predictably attacking US domestic fossil fuel production, my first response was a Google search to see if Hunter Biden had scored any new foreign petroleum directorships.

However, lately I’ve come to believe that Biden or whoever is pulling his strings actually believes in the imminent green energy transition. They seem to genuinely believe that once they burned down all the US fossil fuel infrastructure, the new renewable energy age will arise like a phoenix from the ashes of the old world, to propel us into the glorious green energy tomorrow.

Never mind that every previous historical energy transition occurred rapidly without government intervention – the green transition is special, and needs nurturing and protection to bloom into its full potential.

Most of the national leaders who seem to embrace this utopian green fantasy probably couldn’t change an automobile tire, in terms of their personal engineering abilities, their ability to evaluate the issues for themselves.

But I’ve noticed many times in my life that people who have no idea about engineering tend to treat it as a magic black box. This works to an extent, so long as the engineering dyslexics listen to their engineers, but the moment they stop listening, they often start treating the people who are expected to implement their vision as an impediment, if they say anything which seems less than positive.

I suspect we are well into the not listening phase when it comes to renewable energy. And we all know what happens when the king starts shooting all the messengers who bear bad news.

Having said that there are some small signs of hope. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still totally sold on the utopian green energy fantasy, but voter fury and a leadership challenge seem to be waking him up to the reality that the green transition is taking a little longer than advocates like him thought it would.

Bojo is still spending big on renewables – but he is also softening up, ever so slightly, on allowing the development of UK energy sources, like the Jackdaw field in the North Sea.

Biden not so much.

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Bryan A
June 10, 2022 10:13 pm

Time for Yellow Vests and Pitch Forks outside Pennsylvania Ave

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Bryan A
June 10, 2022 10:49 pm

When the Secret Service/FBI comes knocking on your door, be sure to ask them for their names. Politely, of course.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike McMillan
In The Real World
Reply to  Bryan A
June 11, 2022 4:26 am

The Yellow Vests would already be out on the UK streets if the media were to tell the truth , [ or were allowed to ].
At the start of 2021 , there was a huge increase in the cost of the Emissions Trading Scheme .
This is a Carbon tax that large energy users have to pay .
The only mention of this in the media has been the fact that it has made steel production very expensive . But no mention of the fact that it has more than doubled the cost of electric generation , put a large increase on the cost of road fuel at the pumps and made airline flying a lot more expensive .

No doubt lessons were learned from the French events when road fuel taxes were put up , [ the Yellow Vests ], so this huge tax increase was kept very stealthy , and the media have not been allowed to mention it .
Instead the Ukraine invasion is blamed for it all . How convenient is that .

Reply to  In The Real World
June 11, 2022 9:18 am

My brother-in-law in Devon mentioned a few months ago that his electricvity rate was about to double. No outrage (he makes John Cleese look calm), just matter-of-fact.


June 10, 2022 10:48 pm

Good news for the UK – now if only Justin could take some time away from staring at the mirror to really do things to help Canadian energy production and jobs.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  PCman999
June 11, 2022 12:39 am

Even if Castreau did break away from it, his comment on Gov Newsom says it all:

As for the UK being lucky, the pols will do the fossil fuel flip-flop that resembles the Fraudci flip-flop!

Rod Evans
June 11, 2022 12:05 am

The most troubling detail of this article is what Old Kwasi Kwarteng (UK minister for energy destruction) said.
He informed the press, the need to suck gas out of the north sea Jackdaw field, shows how the transition to Green and Nuclear that he is promoting, has to be realistic, hence the need for transition phase gas.
What he failed to do, was to open up the onshore shale gas extraction via licencing fracking. The Tory administration banned fracking here in the UK.
The reason it is banned, is because it would provide so much gas the UK could supply the whole of Europe within a very short period of development time.
That situation of expanding fossil fuel for the benefit of the UK tax payers and home owners struggling to pay for their energy, must be avoided at all cost.
Reliable energy easy to access is not something Kwasi wants to see happen.
The UK ban on fracking continues as oil passes $120/barrel

June 11, 2022 12:15 am

George Eustice refused a government campaign on eating (less or no) meat

Their woke lordships were not happy


Ben Vorlich
June 11, 2022 12:33 am

Then you see this

Octopus Energy intervenes to save Germany from Russian clutches with a huge green deal

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
June 11, 2022 9:47 am

No, I don’t see ‘this’. It was 404 for me.

But thanks, Ben. I got a hint from the wording in the link. So is Octopus going to help Germany double down on unreliables?

June 11, 2022 12:35 am

World of absurdity, while the UK, USA and EU are raising interest rates ‘The Telegraph’ is reporting:
Russia slashes interest rates in scramble to weaken the rouble

Reply to  Vuk
June 11, 2022 12:53 am

… and what is this about:
China threatens Defense Secretary with WAR: Minister tells Lloyd Austin that Beijing will ‘smash to smithereens any Taiwan independence plot’ and will ‘definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost’

Reply to  Vuk
June 11, 2022 9:48 am

[cowboy drawl] Them’s fightin words.

June 11, 2022 12:49 am

Bojo will pretend to have had a change of heart no longer than it takes for us to ‘draw a line and move on’.

Peta of Newark
June 11, 2022 1:12 am

Were we having a discussion about ‘Renewable Energy Costs‘ only recently

Coz I was tempted then to link to this story with especial reference to the misinformation under the big graphic of the wind turbines (the orange sunset with the silhouettes)

It says:Wind and solar power are now cheaper than fossil fuels

By whose reckoning and on what date(s) are we talking – before or after Ukraine

(The really cynical one here is wondering if some ‘really deep greens‘ inside the White House and close to the Oval Office actually engineered this thing.

We ‘know’ the ones:
They completely control Joe Biden, thus also NATO
(An empire building exercise by NATO being the trigger for Ukraine, despite repeated warnings from Putin of how he’d respond)
The ones who suffered Trump Derangement Syndrome and oversaw his removal from office
The ‘Sir Humphreys‘ of this world, the ones who know best what to do, despite what their elected ministerial bosses might know, say or tell them what to do.

(Not dissimilar to those who control AOC,
i.e. single minded deep green misanthropic mad people

Did they set this all off to further their green agenda?
Or is that idea simply too big and waaaay too scary?

Reply to  Peta of Newark
June 11, 2022 8:20 am

At the local camping supplies store, a thousand watts worth of solar panels generation will cost at least $2500 while a thousand watt ICE generator is $700. Given both are mass produced-mass market items, one can’t help but think that at least on the personal use scale, the “solar power is cheaper than fossil fuels” storyline is a fabricated cherry pick mostly of fuel cost. I have solar panels on a shed, and an ICE generator….if grid power goes out during a storm, both work well after nearly 20 years since installation but the 8KW generator can be relied on to run everything, while the solar panels and battery are toast after a few minutes of running just the furnace fan…..So if you run out of fossil fuels, the solar panel can power your radio and keep you current with media reports of how your community is freezing in the dark…..

Reply to  Peta of Newark
June 11, 2022 12:31 pm

Where do you get this Ukraine crap? What did NATO do to incite Putin’s invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. I suggest you read Putin’s speech to the Russian parliament before he invaded Ukraine.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
June 11, 2022 4:50 pm

(The really cynical one here is wondering if some ‘really deep greens‘ inside the White House and close to the Oval Office actually engineered this thing.

Not that deep. “The Great Reset”, “Green New Deal” and other watermelon chants are around long ago. But yes, the effect on oil price probably was a part of the plan. Besides, economic hardship provides an opening for big power grabs — “letting them eat cake” led to Guillotine Day, Witte with his fancy ideas let off the leash led to Red October, and Great Depression led to New Deal.
But dying petrodollar and withering loyalty of all other US protectorates (who watch Orange Revolutionaries being slowly, deliberately whipped and NATO not responding)? Probably not as planned.

Ed Zuiderwijk
June 11, 2022 2:30 am

Unfortunately for the British the brain of Mr Johnson is located between the hips of his wife, a green activist. Skeptics have no chance in his government.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
June 11, 2022 8:12 am

Look out George Eustice

“Government does not plan to tell Britons to eat less meat”

Last edited 11 months ago by strativarius
June 11, 2022 3:01 am

When compared to water vapour and clouds in the atmosphere, CO2 is a minor Greenhouse gas, only contributing ~5-10% of the warming capability of Greenhouse Effect. And its warming effect diminishes with increasing concentration.
Whatever the scale of extra Man-made CO2 emissions those extra CO2 emissions can have very little future warming effect.   On the other hand, higher levels of atmospheric CO2 are already having massive positive effects on plant growth Worldwide.
There are cogent technical reasons why the warming effectiveness of CO2 has diminished radically as its concentration has increased.  At the current concentration of CO2 of ~410parts / million in the atmosphere the warming effectiveness of CO2’s is virtually saturated.  
The IPCC accepted physics indicates that any extra atmospheric CO2 now only can only have a very minor temperature effect, adding perhaps as little as a further ~1% , (~0.33°C) of warming for a future doubling of CO2 concentration.  Listen to the eminent physicist Will Happer, (minute 24 onwards).

Beyond the “developed” Western world, other Nations fully understand this fallacy and have no interest in reducing the advance of their well-being trying to control a non-problem.  So, they will continue to improve their civilisations based on the use of their indigenous fossil fuels. 

The main Western policy to combat “Climate Change / Global Warming / ESG (Environment Social and Governance)” has been to install, heavily subsidise and give massive preferential legal support to Weather-Dependent “Renewable” Wind and Solar power for power generation, in the expectation that Weather Dependent power generation technologies would reduce National emissions of Man-made CO2.  The UK only produces ~1% and EU ~7.6% of World CO2 emissions.

The Productivity of Weather-Dependent power generation is important when comparing the cost of providing an equivalent level of power to the Grid, with conventional power generation technologies.  Since 2011 the installed European Weather-Dependent generators have grown from 145GW to 385GW.  Their productivity has been fairly consistent achieving the following:
·       Onshore wind power     22.5%
·       Offshore wind power     32.7%
·       Solar PV on grid     11.6%
·       Weather-Dependent generation overall    18.7%
·       whereas, conventional power generation working 24/7  achieves ~ 90% productivity accounting for normal maintenance.
When these productivity values are combined with the capital and long-term costs as assessed by the US EIA in 2022, their comparison results are:
·       Onshore Wind power provision is ~8-9 times the cost of Gas-firing
·       Offshore Wind power is ~16-25 times the cost of Gas-firing.
·       Solar power provision is about ~10-12 times the cost of Gas-firing

Would anyone sane buy a car costing 8 – 25 times the normal price that only works one day in five, when you never know which day that might be ? And then insist that its technology is used to power the whole economy.
The resulting excess costs over the use of Gas-firing for power generation and thus the direct fiscal damage that is caused across Europe by the obstruction of Fracking and by mandating Weather-Dependent “Renewables” to date can be estimated at:
·       in capital costs ~630 € billion
·       in long-term costs over a 40-year service life ~2,040 € billion.

If this analysis is near correct, it is clearly fruitless to make massive excess expenditures to avert minor warming in the distant future, especially when there will always be occasions when, whatever the increase in Weather-Dependent their power output will be virtually nil in still Weather and for Solar power on cloudy days and at night.

Not having to react in an economically destructive manner to the non-problem of future Man-made Global Warming can only be the very best outcome both for Man-kind in the Western world and for the Biosphere.

Zig Zag Wanderer
June 11, 2022 3:04 am

Most of the national leaders who seem to embrace this utopian green fantasy probably couldn’t change an automobile tire,

It’s actually very difficult to change an automobile tire. It requires a lot of effort and experience to manage without injury, even if specialist equipment is used.

Perhaps you mean ‘wheel’?

Richard Page
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
June 11, 2022 5:52 am

Bicycle tyres are easier to change, although I suspect some of the woke, green illiterati do know how to change one of those.
I suspect he did mean car wheel, something I’ve had to do on several occasions in the past and now a fading skill – I believe new cars no longer come with spare wheels.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
June 11, 2022 7:24 am

Oh they want to change your tyres alright-
Think Car Exhaust Is Bad? Wait ‘Til You Hear About Tire Pollution (
You won’t be needing the wheels when they’ve finished with their next best solutions.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  observa
June 11, 2022 8:56 am

Their goal is for everyone to get a safe OSHA-approved horse!

June 11, 2022 3:20 am

There are no renewables that do not require fossil fuels.

June 11, 2022 3:31 am

How Was This Mised?

Hugh victory for scientific truth, and empirical proof for scientific fraud…

The revised Second Law of Thermodynamics, where ‘back radiation’ (the foundation upon which ‘climate change’ stands) is present in the Earth’s Energy Budget…

…and missing is the ‘back radiation’ for the incoming radiation (77.1 Wm2) that’s directly absorbed by the atmosphere. Opps!

The following NASA graph of the ‘Earth’s Energy Budget’ affirms the Second Law of Thermodynamics* before that law was updated…
* The reason NASA couldn’t have ‘back radiation’ for that 77.1Wm2 is because any ‘back radiation’ would constitute Sunlight being emitted downwards by the atmosphere. In other words, planets would also be a source of incoming – downwards – Sunlight without the need for an exothermic event (e.g., lightening, vegetation fires, and burning a candle). Stars and other hot bodies would have to share their monopoly on creating such Sunlight!

Let’s Explain…

The 77.1 Wm2 absorbed by the atmosphere is UV radiation. When the electrons that absorb that radiation return to their normal energy levels by emitting the absorbed radiation, a portion of the energy is lost in the process, whereby the energy emitted is now less than that absorbed. In this particular scenario, the energy emitted would be Sunlight, because Sunlight is the next lower energy level on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Last edited 11 months ago by Dean M Jackson
Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Dean M Jackson
June 11, 2022 3:50 am

I recommend reading up on Thermodynamics.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
June 11, 2022 7:13 pm

“I recommend reading up on Thermodynamics.”

Tell that to NASA, the IPCC, and all others that conspire to omit ‘back radiation’ for the 77.1 Wm2 of incoming radiation that’s absorbed by the atmosphere!

Reply to  Dean M Jackson
June 11, 2022 8:18 am

Go back to gaming in your parents’ basement. This is at least your second copy of this off-topic and error-filled post today, including the same illiterate misspellings.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
June 11, 2022 7:11 pm

Go back to gaming in your parents’ basement. This is at least your second copy of this off-topic and error-filled post today, including the same illiterate misspellings.”

We have another Marxist on the thread naturally not shocked to see that NASA’s updated Earth’s Energy Budget forgot to include ‘back radiation’ for the 77.1 Wm2 of incoming radiation that’s absorbed by the atmosphere!

michael hart
June 11, 2022 5:43 am

“We’re turbocharging renewables and nuclear, but we are also realistic about our energy needs now,” UK Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng posted at the time on Twitter.”

Can’t say I’d noticed them turbo charging nuclear. I only know of one, creeping along, when we could do with fifty.

Melvyn Dackombe
June 11, 2022 5:57 am

Off topic, but being British, I’m fed up with the Union flag being shown incorrectly.

Alan Welch
Reply to  Melvyn Dackombe
June 11, 2022 9:46 am

As a fellow Brit the Union Flag can be flown upside down to indicate distress which is probably appropriate under the present circumstances. But it is annoying how many times it is flown upside down by default. I have never seen the Stars and Stripes flown upside down – even Trump gets it right – but are there occasions when it could be flown that way to indicate distress?

Richard Page
Reply to  Alan Welch
June 12, 2022 12:07 pm

When the stars and stripes are flown upside down it causes distress, it doesn’t indicate it!

Ian Johnson
June 11, 2022 6:23 am

Oh noes, not more of the Guardian’s carbon bombs. How will the world cope?

Walter Horsting
June 11, 2022 6:55 am

Taking into account productivity for the same power output the installation and running of:

Bruce Cobb
June 11, 2022 7:22 am

…we will definitely miss the climate targets…

Once they are gone, no we won’t.

Gunga Din
June 11, 2022 11:03 am

Regarding the unicorn picture: Don’t you know that in Fantasy Land unicorn blood is silver?
(I learned that in a Harry Potter movie. I don’t have to prove unicorns exist. I just quoted an award winning fantasy. There’s even an award winning video version! And both were peer-reviewed by those in the same industry!)

June 11, 2022 1:01 pm

Governments should not be in charge of anything. They couldn’t pull off a one car parade. Consumers should be in charge, producers will give consumers what they want and need. Government has a small role to play in the form of regulation. I say that only because no entity should be self regulated. Having said that we need a path to regulate the regulators, they have clearly gotten out of control.

June 13, 2022 2:34 pm

Duck and cover

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