The Effect on Climate of coal, diesel and wood burning

I have written a great deal about my views that particulates are a significant contribution to the changes that our climate are experiencing than we understand, and my instincts seem to be borne out by research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.  If the research has drawn the correct conclusions, then particulates from wood burning, diesel engines and coal burning (which create pure carbon in the form of soot) have twice more impact on our climate than previously estimated. Continue reading

The Renewable Heat Incentive Premium Payment Scheme

On Monday 1st August a new UK government incentive is available for up to 25,000 homes for householders who opt to install a renewable heating system. A householder can get a grant of as much as £1,250 towards the installation costs of solar heating panels, air and ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers. Those who are not on the gas grid network will get precedence as they will almost inevitably be heating their homes and their water using electricity or heating oil, instead of natural gas, which is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly of all the fossil fuels. Continue reading

Forward natural gas prices rise by 25%

Centrica is preparing the market in natural gas for another price increase. Throughout the world energy and fuel is becoming more and more expensive. Of course, from day to day prices fluctuate but the long term forward prices are rising. Continue reading

Methane from cattle

You might have heard that there is no point in doing anything about reducing emissions from energy because cows emit far more greenhouse gas than people. Like many such statements there is a kernel of truth, but not much more. Continue reading

How Green Was the Budget?

On Wednesday the British Finance Minister, who is rather grandly called the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the budget for the coming financial year. I have never understood why it is called a budget because a principle of every budget it that it should balance. The economies of the world’s developed nations rarely have balanced budgets; it is all about borrowing and more borrowing. I always look at the budget measures from an environmental perspective, so how green is this budget? Continue reading

Oil prices and inflation

The price of world commodities is governed by a number of factors. The most obvious factor is the law of supply and demand. An average American manages to get through 25 barrels of oil a year. South Korea, which has a highly developed economy, consumes seventeen barrels of oil per person per year. China at present consumes three barrels of oil per inhabitant each year; in 2006 it consumes only one and a half barrels per person. India consumed four fifths of a barrel of oil a year. Clearly as demand increases with increasing prosperity in China and India, vast nations, so we are likely to expect great upward pressure on oil over the next ten years unless the oil producers can find and bring to market an additional 50% of the oil that they sell each year today. Continue reading

London’s air quality

Air quality is terribly important. There are various ways in which air can be polluted and various ways to test that the air quality is of a sufficiently high standard so as not to present a hazard to human health. One of the most important ways of measuring air quality is to measure pollution particles in the air that have an aerodynamic diameter of less than ten micrometres. If the particulate matter in the air at a given place is less than ten micrometres the measurement of this particulate matter is referred to as PM10. Continue reading

Modern Causes of Inflation

In December inflation in the United Kingdom was running at an annual rate of 3.7%, the highest rate of inflation for some years. The figures do not quite reveal the true position, as mortgage payments are excluded and traditionally in the United Kingdom people spend a significant share of their money on their mortgage repayments. Inflation will rise further in 2001 as the Value Added Tax rate rises to 20%, from 17½%. Continue reading

Mr Obama is hindering the solution of the Deepwater Crisis

It is interesting to see how Mr Obama is handling the Deepwater crisis. There has been a great deal of words, threats and bullying and not a great deal in the way of positive direction. The American President thinks that his job is to snarl and threaten BP, rather than make a positive contribution to sealing the oil leak. It is posturing of the worse kind and I rather hoped that Mr Obama was better than this; clearly he is not. Continue reading

Oil prices – where are they going?

Nearly a year ago, in the summer of 2008, the price of Brent Crude oil was around $148 a barrel. The price then fell to around $40 a barrel in January and is now standing at nearly $60 a barrel. For those of us who live in the United Kingdom and earn our money in pounds sterling, those figures do not tell us the whole story. To get a better understanding we need to translate those dollar prices into pound prices at the exchange rates that prevailed at those times. Doing that, oil was £74 a barrel last summer, £28.50 a barrel last January and is now at around £40 a barrel. Continue reading