Laxatives do not make you thin

A few years ago in the United Kingdom every Energy Minister appointed by the then Labour government could not refrain from talking about carbon capture and storage as a way of declining the rapid onset of climate change. Government time was spent talking about the concept and taxpayers’ money was spent on the idea. I have always thought that investing in carbon storage and sequestration was a bit like an obese person trying to cure obesity by taking an emetic once a year and taking a powerful laxative twice a year. By these means the obese person would remain obese, but still have the pleasure of claiming that something was being done about his obesity. Continue reading

a budget that will harm the environment and those who need to live in it

George Osborne made his annual budget statement in the House of Commons yesterday on the equinox. Days will get longer from now on but following the budget i doubt if they will get brighter.  These are difficult economic times, but they are also difficult times for the environment. While trying to remedy the difficult economy Mr Osborne has taken the opportunity to completely ignore that part of the economy which centres on renewable energy.

While there is less tax to pay for petrol and diesel and various subsidies for fracking shale gas and for EDF’s proposed nuclear power plant at Hinckley (these subsidies being disguised as incentives or contracts) there was nothing for the environment; Mr Osborne’s comment that he would continue to support the Carbon Capture and Storage experimentation was just more of the same, pretending to be a new measure.

The most worrying comment was that “I want Britain to tap into new sources of low cost energy like shale gas. Shale gas is part of the future. And we will make it happen.”

He will be rudely awoken in due course. In Britain shale gas will not be a source of low cost energy. It will be a source of high cost energy, notwithstanding that the shale gas companies will get very generous tax breaks which those in renewable energy can only dream of.

Once again short term takes precedence over the long term, and our descendants will be left to clear up the mess, if they can. It is a budget that will harm the environment and those who need to live in it.

Carbon will not be Captured at Longannet

I have always been realistic about carbon capture and storage. The UK government has always been(in public at least) ecstatic about its potential. Whatever your views it must be wrth trying to see if that is a realistic and cost effective way to prevent emissions from reaching the atmosphere from power stations. Continue reading

Capturing Carbon Dioxide at Longannet

Scottish Power, National grid and Shell are proposing to capture carbon dioxide that would otherwise be pumped into the air from a power station in Longannet, Fife, in Scotland along a natural gas pipe line that runs through Fife, Falkirk, Stirling, Perth, Angus and Aberdeenshire and thence into the old depleted gas wells under the North sea from which natural gas has been extracted. 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

The new coalition’s environmental policies

The new Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition has now published their environmental policies and they make interesting reading. The policy is in terms of its environmental friendliness better than the policies of the three major political parties; here compromise has led to improvement.

I can analyse the policies into four groups, the small, the large, the middling and the uncertain. I do not use these terms in a derogatory sense, Continue reading

The Energy Bill

The United Kingdom Government has published its programme of legislation for this the last Parliament before A General Election. Many doubt whether any of the proposals will be enacted in law before Parliament is dissolved. Many of the proposals are simply window dressing but among the more useful pieces of legislation, if passed, will be some aspects of the proposed Energy Bill. Continue reading

The Government announce that they will announce an announcement!

The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (what a grand title) Mr E Miliband spoke on television about energy. He announced a forthcoming announcement. That is the way Governments do things these days; they throw policy teasers into the wind, then they talk about forthcoming policy announcements and then make the announcement. Having made the announcement they then make it at least three or four times more, so that by the time they are making the policy most people think that this has been the policy all along. Continue reading

Carbon Capture and Storage and Aberthaw power station

You may have heard politicians, energy companies and those with vested interests in coal mining ( mine operators and trade unions) talk about “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) as though it actually exists. It does not exist in any viable form, and you should not be fooled when you hear politicans and power generators talk about CCS. It is a concept, not a consummation, devoutly to be wished.

Continue reading