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Climate talks: To the wire and beyond

Richard Black | 17:18 UK time, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

At the UN climate negotiations in Barcelona.

It looks like the UN climate summit in Copenhagen is shaping up to be another final-night, early-hours, last few seconds kind of affair.

On the surface, what we're witnessing here at the final preparatory session in Barcelona is a stand-off between a pair of adversaries whose positions are both rock solid and un-reconcilable.

Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese diplomat who leads the negotiating team from the G77/China bloc, is adamant that developed nations have to pledge to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% (from 1990 levels) by 2020; otherwise there can be no deal.

Activists present UN climate convention chief Yvo de Boer with alarm clocks symbolising the short time to Copenhagen"Anything less than 40% means Africa's land mass is offered destruction as the only alternative," he said.

And "destruction" included people's livelihoods as well as forests and other ecosystems, he said.

The "at least 40%" demand has raised some eyebrows because it's a deeper cut than the 25-40% figure recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in order to keep the rise in the average global temperature since pre-industrial times below 2C.

But later, Sweden's chief negotiator Anders Turesson expressed some sympathy for the G77 position.

"It's not unreasonable. We say 30% (the EU target in case of a global deal) is within the span of the IPCC in order to meet a 2C target, but we do also recognise that 2C will provide serious consequences for some countries."

But developed nations - the EU, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Canada - have already set out their targets; with or without a big US pledge, it amounts to a lot less than 40%.

So on the surface, no deal is possible in Copenhagen in December, nor in the mooted "child of Copenhagen" conference some time next year that is looking increasingly necessary - nor in any other session thereafter until one side or other drops down from exhaustion.

The same divide appears to be evident when it comes to finance - richer countries paying poorer ones either to help them develop along low-carbon lines, or to help them adapt to impacts of climate change.

Last week, the EU set out its vision for finance. A global pot of 100bn euros per year would be needed by 2020; between a quarter and a half of that would come from the public finances of developed nations, and the EU would pay its fair share.

The EU stopped short of declaring explicitly what that would be; but here, the European Commission's chief negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger clarified that it would be between 5bn and 15bn euros per year - dependent on other developed countries paying their "fair shares" too.

Again, on the surface this is not enough to secure a deal, with various developing country blocs demanding that richer nations contribute 0.5-1% of their GDP, and from public funds too.

Asked how these apparently unbridgeable divides could be bridged, Mr Turesson said it would be wrong to think that final negotiating positions would emerge here in Barcelona, nor in the first week of Copenhagen.

Only when ministers - and possibly heads of government - arrived towards the end of the Copenhagen talks would we really know, he said - and very likely not until the last day, or probably the last night, or the unscheduled early morning beyond the last night.

Later, in a news conference with lead negotiators from the EU, the subject of Canada's emissions reduction target came up - a 20% cut from 2006 levels (or 3% from 1990 levels) by 2020, which the government has declared to be "non-negotiable".

"Negotiators often say things are 'non-negotiable'," said Mr Runge-Metzger. "But if it is really that, why are they here negotiating?"

I asked Mr Di-Aping whether he was sure that no deal was better for the nations he represents than a deal under which developed countries cut their emissions by, say, 30%. He replied by emphasising the arguments lying behind the G77's 40% demand.

I'm sure he wasn't giving away his final negotiating position either, and why would he?

He's probably waiting until the final night in Copenhagen too.

So there are two questions running round my mind.

One is whether it's worth holding the first nine days of that conference. Maybe the thousands of delegates, ministers, aides, campaigners, journalists, caterers and everyone else should spend their time listening to music or watching football with a beer or two before piling in solely for the final night when they'd all be happy and relaxed and thinking of nothing but the good of the planet and its inhabitants.

(Scurrilous I know - and also flawed, because in reality negotiators do have a lot of groundwork to do, including formatting a new draft text that can be used as a basis for the final discussions - but tempting nevertheless.)

The other question is whether this is really the best way to reach a deal that is supposed to have such far-reaching consequences.

After nearly two years of talking, you might think it wouldn't need to come down to another final-night, early-hours, last few seconds kind of affair.

If so, it's looking increasingly likely that you'd be wrong.


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  • 1. At 5:44pm on 04 Nov 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    China and India do not want a deal to be made. China would like to place the West at a competitive disadvantage. The politics have clearly replaced the science and the results will be meaningless. People will solve this problem, not governments and it will probably happen quicker and at less costs. African pirates demanding payments, China riding some moral high horse as they are the worst polluter in the world, India struggling to feed its people while pushing information technology, oil companies raising prices to flex their muscles and coal maintaining that it is somehow clean to burn. This is a circus not a conference. The governments only want to figure out how to walk out of this with a new revenue stream. The world needs to change the current system has lead to a world economic crisis and worldwide climate change and the same systems and people who caused it all are still in charge. Maybe something from space will slam into the planet and wake everybody up.

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  • 2. At 6:00pm on 04 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    I don't remember who said it but it was something like "If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done" :)

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  • 3. At 7:40pm on 04 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    I don't normally get into this type of discussion to much, as I am not an "environmentalist" I am not a scientist, I am not a naturalist / geologist. I am a simple computer programmer. I am just someone who has been observing, a bystander if you like, but...

    We don't need to save the planet, only it's inhabitants, the planet will be here until shortly before the sun explodes or it is hit by a massive asteroid or something. Problem is, to save the inhabitants we have to preserve that planet in a habitable form. I can't keep the planet habitable alone, we all need to do it.

    A 30 trillion tons (which I think is what we need over the years) saving of Co2e is achieved easier if we start earlier. "When in a hole" - stop digging or at least stop digging so furiously! Heard of compound interest? Apply that principle to your thinking on planetary Co2. Then you will see that even if we only put it right by 1% per year, per year it will be back in balance eventually. We need to start and build toward that aim, "Rome wasn't build in a day" etc. But we need a global mechanism - if it's to be carbon permits e.g. cap and trade, there needs to be a Global Recording Mechanism. 100% Today. It's as good a day as any. Next year 1% are withdrawn. The next year another 1% of the original 100% etc. It will take a few years to get to a sensible level but we will get there and along the way probably create the technology for the next steps.

    Given the culmination of evidence of problems in different aspects of life (Temperatures, Oil supplies, Gas supplies, Fishing, Farming, Diversity, Financials, Water, etc) it seems we are on the wrong path and need to make a turn.

    I think (hope) that in the not too distant future the convergence of just a couple of the problems (possibly when the lights start going out) will cause the population to wake up and then we all will make the changes ourselves because it will be necessary. The huge Government and huge Corporations will be powerless to stop it.

    To my mind the politicians stand almost zero chance of making any headway in Copenhagen next month. The people are not yet with them. The urgency is not yet upon them. The threat is as yet perceived to be too weak. Soon the politicians will have to look further ahead than the next election. That day will come when either we get a "convergence of problems" or the, shortly coming your way, next global banking crisis. Personally I'd prefer the convergence - the collapse that might follow a bigger banking crisis I don't want to think about.

    The problems are all interrelated. They can't be ignored. Any one of then would appear to capable of destroying large numbers of us. Two or three together would be cataclysmic.

    Has anyone an achievable plan or suggestion for a way forward?

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  • 4. At 10:33pm on 04 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    To echo the views of most people - there is little prospect on any agreement to actually do anything at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen and even if there was to be an agreement there is even less prospect of the 'leaders' being able to get their countries to actually do anything.

    Strangely I do not look upon this as a very bad thing as I am concerned that CO2 may be a distraction from solving the real issues. Carbon Taxes and Carbon Credit regimes may be of huge benefits to banks that trade in them and exchanger but that may not 'solve' climate variability. (Previously I have stated my scientific view that CO2 is NOT the CAUSE of Global Warming.)

    What I would be far more disappointed about is a lack of progress in fighting deforestation and the amelioration of the impact of drought and flood. Clean energy development and deployment must be a good thing and should be deployed as soon as possible and to as greater extent as possible - because pollution has a terrible impact of the land, sea and people. (Just don't expect reducing CO2 will have any impact on Climate Change, Climate Variability, Climate Extremes or Global Warming! - because in my scientific opinion it will not! I am also not going to justify this statement or engage in discussion about my view - see previous blogs.)

    I am also not very keen on untried schemes of geoengineering such as injecting sulphur into the upper atmosphere as a means of reducing solar heating - what worries me is the potential sulphuric acid that will fall back to earth and destroy the forests, the land and sea.

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  • 5. At 11:55pm on 04 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    I went to a talk yesterday that suggested the best thing for coastal environments was recession! The guy giving the talk was probably right... no money has lead to less development on the coast... but do we want to live in a world which is either altered so that it continues to exist, but as a shadow of its former self or is in depressing recession? I would guess the answer is a unanimous NO!

    I agree with the excellent post by @ChangEngalnd... we need a complete change in thinking. Unfortunately, although Kuhn describes paradigmshifts, history tells us that paradigms never die. Paradigms do need to die now though... and new ones need to be born. New paradigms are needed that are ethically driven ahead of any other driver. The time is now... it is our last chance... I really believe that.

    Also regarding Chang's #2 post I feel very guilty on this and every other issue. I always leave it to the last minute. I must change too!

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  • 6. At 00:09am on 05 Nov 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To ChangEngland #3:

    "Has anyone an achievable plan or suggestion for a way forward?"

    I liked your post. A lot of common sense there, which is not so common, after all.

    I can think of three beginnings to your question. I will list them in chronological order, with the most recent first (I am actually only part way through the first):

    1) "Plan B 4.0", (2009 - updates available online), by Lester Brown, whom E.O Wilson thinks so highly of he suggested that a third recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 should have gone to Mr. Brown.

    - I am just at the 'solutions' part, so no comment yet. But I have read the first three chapters, outlining the planet-wide environmental emergency, and I have never seen it outlined better!

    You can buy the book, or read it free online:

    2) Dr. James Hansen's testimony before Congress, Feb/2009:

    February: Carbon Tax & 100% Dividend vs. Tax & Trade. Oral and submitted testimony given Feb. 25 at hearings on Scientific Objectives for Climate Change Legislation by the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives (see 'Presentations & Links' section for pdf version - excellent, and short!)

    3) "Heat", by the UK's George Monbiot (2006)

    This book is a few years old, but well worth the read, perhaps especially as background for the above two links, and for historical perspective.

    I'm afraid information in this climate change/environmental state of the planet is coming in so fast that three years is now 'historical.'

    If you are seriously interested, I can provide more information.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 7. At 00:30am on 05 Nov 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To ghostofsichuan #1:

    As always, you are 'on message', and consistent.

    It is hard to actually believe our politicians are as morally bankrupt as you suggest, but I am always convinced by actions, by 'walking the walk.'

    I am still in shock that the Copenhagen Conference is operating in the past, by the sound of Richard Black's piece. As I mentioned to 'ChangEngland' in my previous post, two or three years old is a lifetime in climate science these days. Even though the Copenhagen Conference is set to compromise, you would at least thing they could use up to the minute information on the state of affairs vis a vis climate science.

    I realize the public is not on side yet - but I see no good reason the Copenhagen Conference could not at least use its high profile to showcase the most recent scientific findings, and even to paint a worst case scenario for the world. The 'trend' which always jumps out at me with every piece of new information is that most scientists and virtually every model are far too conservative. This sense is reinforced when you see the comments by professional glaciologists, when they use words like 'astonished' etc. when reporting their latest findings on the speed with which glaciers are melting and disintegrating before their eyes. I can furnish details upon request.

    I am awaiting the publication in the journal 'Science' the following article, which is only available now digitally with a subscription - a subscription which neither the University of Calgary nor the Mount Royal University has here in Alberta.

    Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability, Tripati, 2009

    In a nutshell - it looks like CO2 hasn't been this high for some fifteen to twenty million years - not just the last four hundred thousand or eight hundred thousand/ five million... previously documented in the scientific literature. You see what I mean about things changing quickly.

    I hope you are wrong about the lack of courage or lack of moral fibre of our politicians, but I fear you are right.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 8. At 00:56am on 05 Nov 2009, b5happy wrote:

    Since we have gone past: 'A stitch in time saves nine.'

    The sure fire winner could be: 'Necessity is the mother of invention.'

    Hopefully it won't be: 'Too little too late.'

    PS - I liked #1's "Maybe something from space will slam into the planet and wake everybody up." Such directness is refreshing. Thank you.

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  • 9. At 06:45am on 05 Nov 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    I read the following this morning. Maybe it helps give a new perspective?

    Maplecroft have released their new Climate Change Risk Report 2009/10. This assessment is intended to to help businesses, investors and international organisations assess and compare climate change risks across countries.

    It includes a "Climate Change Vulnerability Index" (CCVI) which is their attempt to quantify and map vulnerability to the impacts of climate change at the sub-national level. The index is made up of six sub-indices: economy; resource security, ecosystems; poverty, development and health; population, settlement and infrastructure; and institutions, governance and social capital.

    If the following link is permitted, those interested should be able to access the report from:

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  • 10. At 09:07am on 05 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    Obviously all this has very little to do with 'environment'

    Why not agree to 80% by 2020? Then just ignore it. Most countries could keep increasing emissions - like after all the 'binding targets' at kyoto.

    There would be no need for all these ludicrous 'targets' if people were given the opportunity to live their lives using non-fossil energy. I need my car: it is the car I am commited to, not petrol or diesel.

    They need to start providing viable alternatives to fossil fuel for consumers and we would happily buy them. No targets, no taxes, no eco-religions needed.

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  • 11. At 09:55am on 05 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #7. manysummits wrote:

    "n a nutshell - it looks like CO2 hasn't been this high for some fifteen to twenty million years - not just the last four hundred thousand or eight hundred thousand/ five million... previously documented in the scientific literature. You see what I mean about things changing quickly"

    Sorry, I don't think that your statement is really in accordance with the facts and also the data seems to show CO2 rising AFTER temperatures go up. That is: Temperature drives CO2 and not the other way round.

    Whilst I agree that we need, as a matter of urgency, to tackle the amelioration of the results of climate change I do not think that the facts indicate that anything we do (or have done) with CO2 will have the slightest effect on the outcome. Indeed I am very concerned that the overemphasis on reducing the 1/250 of all planetary CO2 that comes (has passed through) from all post industrial revolution human activities will distract us from doing something about the effects of Climate Change. (Also studies show that CO2 molecules only remain in the atmosphere for about 5 years and are in that time turned into plant or algae or absorbed into sea water etc.)

    This CO2 emphasis I put down to an initial, scientific guess (which subsequently turned out to be wrong!) being turned to a financial trading opportunity and therefore gain a huge level of support from the banks and bankers and the rest of the financial futures and derivatives trading sector. Carbon Credits are free money given by the state to large companies to gamble with through their bankers. (I think the argument by Friends of the Earth and others is absolutely in agreement with my own views.)

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  • 12. At 10:09am on 05 Nov 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    manysummits #7: "I am awaiting the publication in the journal 'Science' the following article, ... Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability, Tripati, 2009"

    Did you see this slightly longer write up? "Last Time Carbon Dioxide Levels Were This High: 15 Million Years Ago, Scientists Report"

    All the best; davblo2

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  • 13. At 10:37am on 05 Nov 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    #12 Davblo (and Manysummits), in a similar vein you may be interested in the following:

    “Recent changes in a remote Arctic lake are unique within the past 200,000 years” by Axford et al, PNAS November 3, 2009 vol. 106 no. 44 18443-18446

    This paper describes research which looks at current environmental changes a site in Baffin Island (in the Arctic) and compared these trends with long-term natural variability at the same site.

    From the abstract:

    “Paleoecological and geochemical data indicate that the past three interglacial periods were characterized by similar trajectories in temperature, lake biology, and lakewater pH, all of which tracked orbitally-driven solar insolation. In recent decades, the study site has deviated from this recurring natural pattern and has entered an environmental regime that is unique within the past 200 millennia.”

    In their discussion section, the authors conclude that “The timing of this shift coincides with widespread Arctic change, including warming attributed to a combination of anthropogenic forcings that are unprecedented in the Arctic system… . Thus, it appears that the human footprint is beginning to overpower long-standing natural processes…”.


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  • 14. At 10:49am on 05 Nov 2009, Trefor Jones wrote:

    Come Richard, it will be ever thus. Both sides ( is it two now - probably three) will posture until the last breath at Copenhagen. ANY agreement will be trumpeted as a triumph and logically a reason for another junket ( preferably to a very nice destination) in a few months time. Meanwhile, the twenty thousand delegates will have to go on a diet following their banquets, and flights amounting to the carbon footprint of sub-saharan Africa. In the meantime the dynamic duo ( Roger and David) will be unearthing footage of melting glaciers( it will be too cold and dark for recent footage). At the very last moment President Onama, still wearing his suit from the Nobel Prize Ceremony will descend on the Conference to break the deadlock on his white charger. Gordon et al, already having "saved" the banking system ( or is it bankers bonuses)will have kicked any real money into the long grass "for further discussion" and India and China will carry on as normal for another X years. I think everyone is getting the message that this is little to do with the quickly unravelling "science" of global warming but has everything thing to do with the economics and politics of climate change. Call me cynical? Never.

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  • 15. At 11:19am on 05 Nov 2009, user1219 wrote:

    As noted by other posters, the early scientific estimates are proving to be conservative. The chances of limiting temperature to 2C are only 50% even with deep cuts in emissions.

    At the same time, AGW denialism is hardening, particularly in the USA, who is the key player in any global agreement. As George Monbiot notes, the public debate on AGW is losing.

    It does seem somewhat farcical that given the recent financial meltdown, anyone would put their trust in a financial scheme to reduce emissions. The CTS is just a spanner thrown in the works by the world's top polluter.

    The Copenhagen talks are just a sideshow. Nothing significant will happen on AGW until the public are hit physically or financially by the impact of AGW.

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  • 16. At 11:24am on 05 Nov 2009, user1219 wrote:

    John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "Sorry, I don't think that your statement is really in accordance with the facts and also the data seems to show CO2 rising AFTER temperatures go up. That is: Temperature drives CO2 and not the other way round."

    I thought you said you were not going to "engage in discussion about your view"?

    It hardly seems unfair to criticise other people's view, while not being willing to discuss your own.

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  • 17. At 11:55am on 05 Nov 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To simon-swede #9 - re 'Maplecroft Report':

    That's quite the map, and using, it would appear, a suite of factors not unlike the 'Club of Rome's' "Limits to Growth".

    And thanks for the link in your #13 to the Arctic Lake:

    To davblo2 #12:

    Yes, I have that report in my binder. Thanks for the link - much appreciated! What I'm really waiting for is the information in that report on the correlation with the ice sheets. From what I can gather, Science usually puts out the print version of 'Science Express' within six weeks - so it should be available before the end of November.

    Ti user1219 #15:

    Agree - agree!

    I've read those reports about public dis-belief in AGW. Very disconcerting. George Monbiot has a recent piece in the Guardian on one psychological aspect of this:

    But psychology or not, this waiting is not good. I am itching to engage.

    It seems to me unilateral actions of all types will be required.

    Off the top of my head, I'd like to see my city council approve the building of just one "Wally Tree' in the downtown core. That's my word for an 'air-capture- device to directly remove CO2 from the air. Global Research Technologies pioneered the idea - Physicist Lackner's idea, Wallace Broecker's enthusiasm and contacts, Wright's building expertise, and Gary Comer's money (Land's End owner - now deceased, but still funding GRT).

    I am wondering how the oil capital of Canada would react????

    Might be worth a shot!

    - Manysummits -

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  • 18. At 11:57am on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:


    ref: "Plan B 4.0" thanks for the link but I am currently on Chapter 2 ( Population Pressure: Land and Water) having started reading last night :) I have also read quite a lot of Hansen's stuff. I will take a look for Heat. I also follow George's blog in the Guardian and on his own site - he is in despair currently :(.

    My "Synopsis" of the inevitable "convergence of problems" is simply based on general reading on-line - The internet/web is truly a marvellous resource these days"! The banking crisis is I believe the current most urgent overhanging threat ( have a google on Ireland's problems - they are in deep deep doo-doo). A new crisis with the banks will accelerate the crises in other areas. We all in the west live only 3 weeks from total anarchy - the time (I think) that supermarket food stocks would last for the majority. The fact that we have only 4 major food suppliers and 4(3) major banks is a knife edge we should not walk along for much longer. If any single link in this Just-In-Time stock-less, Money-intensive, Fuel-intensive chain breaks, well....goodbye money, hello guns :(

    The post @#3 above came about via a comment thread discussion on how I thought that just cutting back our consumerism a bit at a time would not send us back to the stone age. I suggested we could start by making and therefore people buying "better quality stuff". I pointed out that this saved resources/possible warning and possible forest destruction. Simply by not replacing cheap and badly built "stuff" so often.

    I listed 3 items My bedroom Furniture that is now over 20 years old but perfectly serviceable. My CD/Hi-Fi which is 18 years old and still working the same as it ever did and a freezer I bought in 1976! that was only switched off because it was a "gas-guzzler". All were expensive when bought. All have lasted. Noticeably NONE were "made in China/Taiwan/etc".

    I now will only buy quality(at a sensible price) not stuff that will last for 367 days and then I have to buy a new one! This brings me to one of my current favourite sayings: "everyone knows the price of everything but the value of nothing" based on my Granddads saying "If you expect something good for nothing, you will get something good for nothing". If this type of purchase/use pattern could be re-established the that would probably be our first 1-2% saving right there - "Low hanging fruit" as I believe it's called.

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  • 19. At 12:04pm on 05 Nov 2009, PAWB46 wrote:

    Let's hope, for all our sakes, that the Copenhagen Summit is a complete failure since AGW is the biggest scientific scam the world has ever seen.

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  • 20. At 12:17pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    @ John_From_Hendon

    So where do we start? If we allow Co2/Co2e to build as in "Co2 business as usual" we will soon end up quoting not in Parts Per Million but in Parts Per Thousand :( I don't want my Grandchildren to go there and find out what happens! Really I don't.

    I'm a simple person - but I understand that incoming/created heat is now higher than outgoing/radiated heat on a planetary scale. My simple Understanding is based on my reading that in the layers of our atmosphere some atoms/molecules/particles allow heat in. Some Allow heat out.

    I have seen a graph of the effects of several gases/particles (Sorry I can't find a link) that shows at which frequencies/bands which gases do what. The graph is several layers deep. But what struck me as obvious (To my simple mind) is that the gases we are producing in massive amounts are "filling in the gaps" in the outgoing bands.

    Imagine a louvre window where you can open and close any individual louvre at will. Well some are already closed which is why we are nice and warm and not at the the temperature of space. Some are open which is why we do not overheat. What we are doing with Co2, Methane, Nitrous Oxides and a few others is slowly, very slowly, closing the open louvres. Result we get warmer. It really is not rocket science in my mind simple action - opposite action. Newton is still correct you cannot expect there to be no opposite and opposing action to closing all your windows when the sum is shining - you have put a force in the way of the natural air cycle - so you will get warmth - opposing energy action!

    It is worth remembering also that (again in my simple mind) everything that was on this planet 10,000 or 1,000,000 years ago is STILL HERE (Barring a few space probes). All the trees have NOT gone anywhere, All the oil has NOT gone anywhere all the gas and coal - it is still right here - they are just here in a different form - We humans did that. We changed the their forms from solid stuff to gaseous stuff - so the gas must still be here and it is. We have just gotten smart enough to detect it in it's new form, and smart enough (hopefully) to realise what the result of that change of form is creating - a warmer world one which may not be as hospitable to humans as the cooler one.

    Getting back to your post: So just what IS your theory? I see you many times here disputing that Co2 is causing the problems. OK - so which gas is it? What particles/gas is there that all the scientists and measuring instruments have missed?

    We have a majority of scientists pointing the finger at Co2/Methane/Etc from our burning (gasification) of oil, gas and coal. What would put in its place, Fairy Dust?

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  • 21. At 1:17pm on 05 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    The striking thing about environmental sustainability talks is that the subject matter is an urgent issue that threatens the future of humanity and the present state of nature.

    Yet when we have a global economic collapse legislation can change almost immediately and policy moves rapidly.

    How come politicians can agree on financial policy faster than environmental ones? Personal interest? Votes? Politicians need to bring a solution at Copenhagen. If they don't we must punish them for it.

    Anybody else care to talk Copenhagen or we going to go round in circles like the politicians?

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  • 22. At 1:25pm on 05 Nov 2009, nick-ynysmon wrote:

    one has to read between the lines and do some research on what s really happening. after some time thinking about climate change and lapping it all up what the media said and the propaganda by governments, it is apparent to me now that there is absolutely no climate change. Please look up Lord Moncktons video at St Pauls, on Google. Marvelous stuff.
    Also , joining a few dots, and after watching twice, Alex Jones three videos, Fall of the republic, and the two previous ones, -again, read his website, - it become apparent that the climate agenda, is an excuse to hoodwink the public whilst placing a certain framework of legislation at the hands if the UN , and one can only wonder of we are seeing the beginnings of a new world order. There are to many inconsistencies. I will say from all my perspective there is absolutely no climate change and we are facing a massive scientific hoax. Read the blog 'watts up with that'. Instead of listening to the interminable propaganda by the media, the governments. And start thinking for yourself. Again climate change seems to me a giant hoax and pack of lies used to bring in some unpalatable agenda, they are unwilling to talk about. I do hope I am wrong. One final thing, as with all propaganda, the more it is repeated, and made into a 'religion' the more it will be accepted as true even if it is complete lies from one end to the other. This is why Gordon Brown makes so much of it. I also believe all this and swine flu pandemic was possibly planned at the last and previous Bilderberg meetings, Again, just join up the dots. Believe what you want to believe not what is thrust in front of you.

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  • 23. At 1:51pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    @ nick-ynysmon

    "Again climate change seems to me a giant hoax and pack of lies used to bring in some unpalatable agenda, they are unwilling to talk about. I do hope I am wrong."

    So you would rather have climate change than the big conspiracy? Yes? No thanks - all conspiracies must eventually reveal themselves at the "final stroke", we can beat a conspiracy with guns and pitchforks. No so our our climate.

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  • 24. At 2:03pm on 05 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    20. At 12:17pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:
    @ John_From_Hendon

    So where do we start?

    We need to start by challenging the new eco-religion that is demanding massive destruction to our economy and quality of life.

    That's the log jam - obviously people are not keen on seeing their income and quality of life destroyed. They are resisting.

    The real issue is not cars, planes, televisions etc. The real problem is the fossil fuels that power them.

    No more targets and taxes. Governments need to start ensuring the availability of reasonably priced non-fossil fuel energy products: consumers will readily buy them.

    (My prefered supplier of petrol is 10% bio-ethanol at the standard price. Even though I am not taken in by MMGW, why would I have a problem with buying that?)

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  • 25. At 2:12pm on 05 Nov 2009, nick-ynysmon wrote:

    climate change is being used to bring forward an agenda. there are thousands of ph.d scientists who see through this bogus set of beliefs in a changing climate. Again, listen to Lord Monckton, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher. a very very clever man, and very eloquent. Al gore refused to meet him in discussion.
    And, I am quite happy about climate change. Actually, it changed this morning, one moment it was fine, now it is raining!!!!. it is all so easy to garner the data to fit the theory. This is what the politicians do all the time. Also, the medieval warm period and the roman period were both far warmer than now. And the sun has become far less active hence the cooling of the planet. Climate Change?? I am all for it, just get me my summer clothing ready!!!!! And my deck chair!!!! as for conspiracies just follow the facts, don't believe anything, just listen and see what s happening around us.

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  • 26. At 2:48pm on 05 Nov 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:


    There has been this confrontational attitude that has sweep into everything. Cooperation seems to be viewed as a simplistic approach. Arugments have replaced actions. Proposals end up being minimum attmepts to solve major problems. Science defines the problem and politics crafts the solutions. As we have seen with the economist who promoted the financial schemes of bankers saying that they had developed a financing system that would create a continual boom. Of course the result has been a worldwide financial crisis. We may well face the same with Climate Change. As the governments did nothing, and in fact facilitiated the financial crisis, so too are the governments facilitating a global environmental crisis. But we live in a world of no accountability so they have no fear of being held responsible for their actions or lack of actions. It should be clear to everyone that big business and concentrated wealth have corrupted governments with the idea that they can make life better if only left alone. In reality the distribution of wealth is very concentrated, the environmental costs are not calculated in the equations, the social costs are not calculated in the equations and the new term of "personal responsbility", meaning the citizens need to look after themsevles because the governments are in the business of business, is sold as democratizing. There is simply an imbalance in what governments do related to the needs of business and the needs of the people. Things are better when there is a balance.
    Chinese saying: If you have money you can make the devil push your grind stone.
    Chinese saying: The water that floats the boat can also sink it. (this is usually used to say that people who bring a government to power can also cause it to be removed.)

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  • 27. At 2:53pm on 05 Nov 2009, LarryKealey wrote:

    Dear Richard,

    Hope this finds you well. I must say; however, you are starting to sound like a broken record again. For a while there, You were doing some nice pieces related to overfishing, deforestation and other 'old environmental issues" - but it would appear that lately you are simply back to beating the same old "climate change drum'. Is this going to continue through Copenhagen and for months after?

    It is really disappointing that the same environmental, ecological and humanistic issues have changed so little in my lifetime, most all of these issues are well understood - as are solutions - as opposed to climate change and AGW. The real shame is that addressing these "old environmental issues" would also have a significant impact on the poorly understood climate change 'problem".

    Today, as I checked out your blog page, every story was related to Copenhagen and Climate change - please, something new, something real.

    Lets face it, the root cause of our environmental issues the world over is overpopulation and ignorance - and the only cure is development. Development of nations has been shown to be the only effective remidy for curbing population growth. The enissions caps, cap and trade schemes and wealth redistribution schmes and mechanisms currently on the table will do little or nothing to address these issues.

    How about stepping back a bit and looking at the "big picture'. The relationship between CO2 concentrations and emissions / temperatures is a casual one. Have you considered that since 1850, the benchmark so commonly used, we have been recovering from the LIA and at the same time, the industrial revolution has allowed us to rape the natural environments on an ever increasing scale?

    It also requires 10 times as much land for sustainance farming in the third world to feed each person as it does in the developed world. That is a massive and massively growing area which could be restored and preserved and managed in a sustainable manner - which by itself would have significant impacts on the CO2 'problem' - if thats all one cares about.

    Come on Richard, we all know Copenhagen will be an even bigger failure than Kyoto - and if the modest cuts mandated by Kyoto could not even be achieved, how can we expect any empty promises from Copenhagen to be realized?

    Please, something new.



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  • 28. At 3:14pm on 05 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    I think you may as well retire Richard, whatever the blog content the discussion always seems to be continuous debate on whether AGW exists.

    To the AGW believers I suggest that you ignore the "sceptics" on this blog as they will just consume your life (which may be what they want). I doubt some would even change there mind if the temperature was 100 degrees C and the world was underwater. They just like the point of principle. While some of them argue and discuss well, they rarely compromise and rarely debate the blog in question. I think debates of whether AGW exists or not should be kept to Richard's blogs such as the Corbyn one where the debate was precisely about that.

    @The "sceptics". You will have to excuse me for ignoring debates on whether AGW is occuring. My mind is made up and I need to focus my energies on debates on how we can lower our CO2 emmissions. I will remain happy to discuss these issues with your fine selves.

    p.s. Richard - please don't retire. This blog is very good and often has some great debate.

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  • 29. At 3:31pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    As I said in my first post I don't normally get into the discussion directly because once I start... So I just can't leave that to stand


    "We need to start by challenging the new eco-religion that is demanding massive destruction to our economy and quality of life."

    I don't know where you get this idea from. Who is suggesting we destroy our economy? Who is suggesting the we compromise our way of life? If we leave the extreme-Greenie-hippy-back-to-nature-groups out of this discussion who is suggesting this? If these EGHBTN groups wish to pursue that kind of life-style, well, let them, they do no more harm to anyone than any other cult or faction in our society as as far a I am aware. Even they admit to using High Tech products like solar panels, water purifiers etc. Lets leave them to one side as they are an extreme. So with them out, who is suggesting this?

    What most people who recognise the dangers in what we are doing to the planet (even putting "Global Warming" to one side) is that we must change what we are doing to preserve our environment - Richards blog is not specifically about climate change it is about our environment in general. This is obviously in danger of deteriorating to a point where it can't support us all. We can't ALL do this by living in tents and caravans and harvesting berries, there are just too many of us. We will need high technology to change the current balance from taking too much from our surroundings to putting something back or at least leaving what is there for the next generation to use. This seems to me just simple common sense...

    What seems blatantly obvious to me should happen is that having invested umpteen billions in the financial system - when it is taken back (For the money to be vaporised back to where it came from - thin air.) We DO NOT vaporise it but we it start the biggest rebuilding of our transportation system, our industrial base, our scientific community and our personal living conditions since the start of the original industrial revolution. If we can create 500 Billion pounds to give to banks and survive virtually unpunished on the world stage we can do it again to secure our environmental and energy future. We DO NOT wait for the rest of the world, we lead, we invent, we demonstrate as we have in the past.

    We get people working, DOING STUFF that benefits us all, Building, Insulating - tear down the worst - whole towns if we have too - and rebuild using 21st century knowledge and technology. Gut the petrol and diesel cars and retro fit Electric propulsion - don't tell me it can't be done. Why waste what is already there. Invent, Design and build the electrical networks and switching mechanisms that are required to handle disparate, differently sized intermittent AC amd DC power and base load power. Get the FARMS working again get PEOPLE back to farming and being interactive with the land - our farms are dying - the soil is dying from over fertilisation and over mono-cropping(is that a word?). Did you know that birds no longer follow tractors to get the bugs and worms turned up by the ploughing? Why - there are none to get - the birds have given it up as a bad source of food - that worries me that one fact! Get rid of SOME of the problems - Investigate and FIX the problem with the Bees - Surely we could do that?

    We are a small enough, densely populated enough country to make it all viable as an experiment. We do not have the vast distances that need covering in the US or China or Canada or Africa. We are small enough to be the experiment.

    Then we sell our newly gained knowledge and our experience to rest of the world. They are going to need it after peak Oil/Peak Gas if they don't start now. This is the type of "New world" that we can create - get a jump on the competition. This is the type of vision that the UK people need - something to strive for - something that has underlying good at its heart, something to be proud of as a nation. Some thing that will actually pay back to the people not to global banks.

    [Sorry this is so long - but you got me started)

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  • 30. At 3:35pm on 05 Nov 2009, rossglory wrote:

    it's great to have monckton back, i thought you guys had disowned him. a marvellous eccentric with a very personal agenda.

    to get close to avoid revisiting the mid-miocene we'll have to move forward on all fronts so in that respect copenhagen is just a part of the (hopefully) solution.

    i think part of the issue at least is out psychological adaptability. the arctic icecap has been around for 14million years and yet i've seen comments ridiculing projections of a decade before it gone, gloating that it will last several more decades. we have to face up to the scale of the damage no matter how difficult that is (monbiot's article about psychological defences as you get older was enlightening i thought).

    at an evolutionary level we're just big-brained apes programmed to defend the troupe. unless we can convince the generation that's going to be fixing this that the troupe includes all humanity......well not sure what will happen.

    copenhagen should be more like village elders solving a local problem than the high-testosterone battle between super-egos it has turned into. those of us in democracies have a duty to replace them asap.

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  • 31. At 4:37pm on 05 Nov 2009, b5happy wrote:

    I second #28.

    To ask Richard to 'play fair' is dumb.
    He is out there, nose to the ground, and he comes up with his
    conclusions. There comes a point, with any 'seeker':
    You see your path and those that are contrary are simply excess baggage.
    No offense is meant by this.
    'You gotta do what you gotta do...'
    'I'm okay, you're okay.'

    Even though I think humanity is toast...
    I'm for solutions. It's more interesting and challenging (while we're
    toasting, away).

    Enough ludicrous debate concerning: 'Is it is or is it ain't'?

    B O R I N G . . .

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  • 32. At 4:59pm on 05 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @manysummits (and anyone else that buys into the panic over CO2 levels being the highest in millions of years)

    I marvel at the ability of so many to be duped by not JUST a logical fallacy but by a string of logical fallacies. CO2 concentration has as much to do with the stability of the major ice sheets as...well it just doesn't have anything to do with that stbility.

    Ice sheet stabilitiy (most notably antarctic deglaciation) is in no way the result of CO2 levels. Its all just a REALLY BAD idea pushed to absurd extremes. All the math used by people such as yourself starts out with the assumption that 100% of CO2's potential for absorption translates to a real-world gradient change. For a doubling of CO2, this works out to "forcing" of 3.7 watts. Were this 3.7 watt imbalance to occur and there were no positive feedbacks it would take an increase in surface temperatures of 1.2C to restore the balance.

    Due to the logarithmic nature of CO2 absorption of course (ever-decreasing returns) we're currently at 40% of whatever "forcing" we should get from CO2...or 1.48 watts. To offset this supposed forcing would take (being generous and rounding up) a .5C increase.

    So now...bringing it home. Since antarctic deglaciation only seems to happen at something above 5C higher than current global temperatures we can safely assume that CO2 has never contributed in any significant way to antarctic deglaciation because...

    FEEDBACKS ARE NOT 10 TO 1!!!!! Please, please get that through your skulls, people. The higher CO2 concentrations are obviously a result of the oceans degassing due to higher temperatures. Current CO2 levels are caused by our burning of massive amounts of carbon. We have simply broken the proxy relationship...NOT the antarctic.

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  • 33. At 5:02pm on 05 Nov 2009, Kamboshigh wrote:


    I am new here and up until 18 months ago I could not have cared less about AGW. That changed when my 10 year old came in hopping mad about that Gore rubbish film. My son went about presenting a 10 minute piece destroying the whole thing researched from the internet. The teacher tried to have him thrown out of the class fortunately I pay for the education and said teacher is gone and at the time my child was 10.

    So having read the comments for over a year on these threads I see the constant failure of individuals to accept others points of view especially those who beleive in the theory.

    So Simon -swede can you tell me what the report in post 13 actually means, is this a sign of global warming? Man's CO2 is destroying this lake (It is Lake Ayr by the way)or is there a completely different reason. Remember it is per-reviewed.

    To all the other warmists perhaps you can tell us deniers (dirty word)when this headline appeared in the Washington Post "Artic Ocean getting warmer:seals vanish and Icebergs melt"

    I'll give you a 3 year leeway

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  • 34. At 6:08pm on 05 Nov 2009, rossglory wrote:

    #32 poitsplace

    so that's directed at virtually the entire scientific community then. i find it amazing that some people find it so easy to suppose they're experts in a subject they know so little about.

    if i were to have my own views about the dimensions of a black hole singularity and it was totally at odds with all the mainstrem physicists across the world i may just have the humility to accept that i was either wrong or that i would have to do a lot more than SHOUT on a comment board. at the very least i would try to publish some articles on the subject.

    so please don;t shout that i(we) have issues getting things into my(our) skull. the things that need to be there are there, have taken 7 years of hard study and they give me quite a healthy worldview (although the view itself is somewhat unhealthy).


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  • 35. At 6:12pm on 05 Nov 2009, rossglory wrote:

    #33 kamboshigh
    you start by telling us what rubbish al gore's film is, continue by saying you can't understand a post and finish with an insult to others that have worked hard to understand this stuff.

    good start

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  • 36. At 6:32pm on 05 Nov 2009, b5happy wrote:

    Oh, man, I'm dipping-in again...

    I heard, many months ago, the comment: Rather than being concerned with -
    'How can we stop global warming?' - we should be concerned with - 'How do we live with global warming?'

    At the time there was a huge 'panic' about 'stopping GW' going on and I was really struck by this 'wise' concept, because let's face it: We can't stop it. Maybe have an effect, but in the meantime the oceans ARE rising (fact). Holes ARE appearing in Greenland (fact).

    I find this (most continually entertaining, for me) event unfolding as the years go by: Scientists exclaiming how surprised they are at how fast changes are occurring... '50 years, no, 40 years, no, 20 years... I respect these people immensely and I say it amuses me because it surprises me not! I am amazed that they are surprised.
    The earth is big, like the muscles in a leopard's leg, you have NO concept of their power until they grab you and it becomes, "I knew they were strong but I didn't know they were STRONG!"

    So, what do we do?? I read recently that Australia is working on a law
    to stop building on the coasts AND maybe even move people!! Wow!
    Fascinating! Incredible! I mean, the scale! They are serious and I like it...

    So, should we be spending our time preparing responsibly? Or, should we
    be trying to 'stop' global warming?

    Quagmire scenario:
    "Build a flood barrier."
    "No, move people away."
    "Don't do anything... We can stop it."

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  • 37. At 6:53pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:


    Icebergs do melt they float away from the Arctic on currents and err...melt when they get into warmer water. This is the life of an iceberg as I understand it. Like us, mortal, doomed from birth.

    "I pay for the education and said teacher is gone " a bit like our ex-drugs advisor then, which will teach him and your ex-teacher about telling the truth.

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  • 38. At 7:15pm on 05 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:


    I think the Australian plans to stop coastal development are excellent. The socio-economic trade-off of building on the coast is often ignored. Sea-level rise or not, the coast is supposed to move naturally. To build hotels and apartments on the boarder of the sea is asking for trouble... and it is a total waste of money! Also some countries now have close to 100% built up coastlines... what happened to our natural coasts.

    This is quite a nice little idea for built up coastlines that I picked up off a tweet the other day. Happy to share it.

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  • 39. At 7:25pm on 05 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @rossglory on 10 to 1 feedbacks

    If you had any idea what 10 to 1 feedbacks too would be shouting. You'd point out to anyone claiming they exist that they are...without the slightest hint of contradiction...INCORRECT. Go ask a scientist if 10 to 1 feedbacks could possibly exist in a natural system that had remained relatively stable for around 10000 years and they'll answer without hesitation...NO. (if they don't just laugh at you)

    Any feedback over 1 to 1 leads to a system that is inherently unstable. Its quite likely that the feedbacks in the temperature ranges between the glacial/interglacial temperatures were 1 to 1...they MIGHT have even been 2 to 1 for a while(but I doubt it). 10 to 1 cannot be masked. 10 to 1 cannot be stopped. The temperatures never would have leveled off at these levels (interglacial ranges) if the feedbacks were STILL 10:1, 5:1, or even 2:1. The relative stability of the interglacial temperatures tends to point to feedbacks being below 1:1 (increasing as temperatures drop and decreasing as temperatures rise).

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  • 40. At 7:32pm on 05 Nov 2009, xtragrumpymike2 wrote:

    When I read the first few comments on this latest article from Richard (thanks again Richard, there will always be someone out to pick a fight with the messenger but, I guess, you already know that!) I was about to fall into the trap of actually believing we could get through a blog without all the school-boy playground stuff that has blighted every previous article from Richard.
    Is it surprising that our kids behave the way they do when adults cannot behave like adults.
    Once again let me reiterate (from previous blogs under a (slightly) different pen-name.
    I am neither "pro" nor "anti" AGW.
    In my considered opinion there are far bigger issues at stake. the issue re "global warming/climate change" is purely and simply a symptom of the far bigger malaise which can be summed up simply by one word.
    Every single thing on this planet comes from Nature.
    Either in one of two forms. "finite" or "replaceable".
    In terms of fuel for energy (on which the whole of our modern "economy" stands or falls), fossil fuels (and nuclear for that matter) are finite. One day they will be all gone.Alternative "fuels" such as bio-diesel from algae or whatever are considered "replaceable". But if the demand is greater than the supply (ability to produce) we are still going backwards.
    Whether it be our search for more and more "finite" fuel or our research for more and more "replaceable" fuel, demand is leading supply, except in times of a global recession.
    But, as we have just witnessed, when a big recession hits, governments panic and pull out all the stops to return to the status quo. The economics of "growth".
    Anyone bothered to look up "economy" on Wikipedia?
    Quote; "An economy is the ways in which people use their environment to meet their material needs." end quote!

    Note well the words.......USE the environment (nature).
    To meet their >>>>>>>>>>>>>MATERIAL needs.

    Now I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi:-

    "Nature can supply our needs but not our greed."

    Remember, there is ONLY Nature no matter how much technology we apply to it.
    3. At 7:40pm on 04 Nov 2009, ChangEngland asks:
    "Has anyone an achievable plan or suggestion for a way forward?"

    Well, I certainly don't have a "plan" on a global scale achievable or otherwise but I certainly do have a "suggestion" for a way forward and it goes like this.

    There is only one person I can change and that's me.
    I can't change John-from-Hendon nor Mannysummits nor anyone else on this site. Nor should I be so arrogant as to think i could or should.
    I can only change myself.

    What does that entail in terms of what I have written above?

    I must first ask myself to differentiate between my "needs" and my "wants".That will help me to know how to begin to reduce my personal; impact on Nature.Every little bit helps.

    Then I can hope (and I use that word advisedly), that the "hundredth monkey" principle applies.

    That is my suggestion and in the meantime I'm going to agree again with Eddhind and not get hooked into going round and round in ever-decreasing circles by arguing the pro's and con's of AGW. I will be much better off helping with the washing up.

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  • 41. At 7:54pm on 05 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    29. At 3:31pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland

    40%-50%-80% cuts in emissions without any viable plans other than 'we must all use less'???

    Have a look at some of the stuff from 'ethical man' on this site about just how much you have to give up to acheive those sorts of reductions. Basically going back to the dark ages.

    If people want me to live like that on the basis of a religious belief then frankly I will do anything and everything I can to resist.

    If people want to do something sensible so I can carry on with some sort of quality of life AND stop using fossil fuels then no problems. Give me the alternative energy products and I will buy them tomorrow.

    Why can people in scandanavian countries buy E85 fuel at any petrol station, but I can't? How come the French can produce over 80% of their electricity from zero emission nuclear stations, but most of mine comes from gas and coal? Those are just two viable solutions that are being blocked by 'environmentalists'

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  • 42. At 8:01pm on 05 Nov 2009, PAWB46 wrote:

    Richard: In your article "Climate deal 'unlikely' this year" on the BBC "Science & Environment" section you state "The UK government has admitted that a new legally-binding global treaty on climate change is highly unlikely to be agreed this year."

    I would love to know how this new government admission fits in with the BBC report of 19th October: "Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming".

    This sounds like good news. As Gordon Brown now admits we cannot save the world from global warming, the IPCC can be disbanded, the world no longer need waste billions on climate change research and all that hangs on it, like uselesss renewable energy projects. We can all get on with our normal lives and you BBC environmental correspondents can get back to discussing more relevant and pressing environmental problems.

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  • 43. At 8:10pm on 05 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    Not sure if I am aloud to put a company name here... so will just lay out the example.

    1 Irish company is now offering a package that is 79% renewable energy (from wind). It is also 13% cheaper (for at least the 1st 12 months).

    That sounds like the sort of company that should be getting bigged-up. Are their similar companies in the UK and Europe... in the US? The leaders at Copenhagen should be looking at making a positive example out of companies like this and encouraging their corporations to follow suit through business innovation schemes, etc. Come on world... let us be greener and cheaper :o)

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  • 44. At 8:32pm on 05 Nov 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    I have tried a few times to get the enviros to spell out what a "green" lifestyle will be like.

    I never got much response. Just one blogger in fact (yorkurbantree ?) - who explained his own lifestyle but did not say if he was green enough - or not.

    Grumpy-mike pointed me to some hippy communes - but did not give them a green rating.

    It's kind of important to know where all this is heading.

    If we are going to cut CO2 emissions by 40% then how do we do this. Hope and change is not enough - we would need some practical steps.

    Just one simple example: is Guy Fawkes night going to be banned at some time ?

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  • 45. At 8:34pm on 05 Nov 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    @eddhind - what happens to 79% of your electricity when the wind stops blowing ?

    How would a hospital work relying on wind - wind that can and does stop blowing ?

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  • 46. At 9:42pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:


    Which part of #29 "putting "Global Warming" to one side" did you not understand?

    Which parts of #29 the remainder of paragraph 2 and Paragraph 4 did you not read?

    which part of post #3 paragraph 3 did you understand or maybe remember?

    This is supposed to be a conversation, not my listening to a stuck record.

    E85 biofuel - Personally I think biofuels are the stupidest most short sighted way to power a vehicle that I can imagine. We need to eat. We need the water to create food not fuel for cars. 1 billion (approx.) do not have cars or food - do you want drive a car with an engine invented over 120 years ago (in European terms, nearly half way back your dark ages) or do you want to feed them? Don't ask for biofuel ask for an electric car powered by nuclear if you wish, just do not ask for biofuel.

    Stay well, Hope this is as eloquent as I think after 3 Guinness :)

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  • 47. At 9:44pm on 05 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:


    They can't spell out the green lifestyle because they've only thought it out far enough to get the smug satisfaction of make themselves feel good about saving the planet. Most of the "solutions", if looked at from top to bottom, look like that amusing cartoon with the guy solving an equation on a blackboard for his professor (in the middle of the equations it has a bubble with "then a miracle occurs"). The other 21% of the wind power, BTW comes from the grid. In the case of the 79% wind power you have to think about it in terms of their overall scheme.

    First off, they get "incentives" (the government pays them with everyone else's money so its "competetive").

    Second, at 13% below utility rates they're actually charging you quite a premium. However in making sure to charge a little bit less they perpetuate the illusion that it's a magic bullet solution and hopefully they can use this PR as a way to expand and get some extra investment money as well.

    Third, they can only do this service with a certain percentage of their capacity...I'm sure they use lots of statistical analysis to work out their higher profit margins they get from residential rates verses...

    Forth, most of the power is sold off for very little money because it's WAY too erratic and the turbine output needs to be at least partly shadowed by a conventional power plant.

    There ARE however viable solutions. I just don't see anyone proposing them. As I've mentioned plants with oil/natural gas backup are actually base load plants and generate around half their power (possibly more) from renewable energy.

    On homes solar-thermal heating and water heating are incredibly cheap. A simple, forced-air, unconcentrated, solar-thermal setup costs only a small amount more than the cost of just building a home with a normal roof. Solar water heating is only a little more complex.

    Concentrated solar-thermal systems have sufficiently high temperatures to dry clothes and provide the much of the energy for adsorption air conditioners.

    Concentrated Solar-PV offers most of the benefits of both solar-thermal and solar-PV (but requires tracking systems and obviously the mirrors need some cleaning). The heat output can be a little higher than unconcentrated solar-thermal and because it only uses 1/10 (or less) the area of solar cells its significantly cheaper than solar-PV. Also the PV cells actually get more efficient at higher light levels.

    But instead we've got morons pushing for zero-carbon solar (no backup) or in the home systems they just skip over all the solar-thermal options and cover their roof with PV cells at a cost of nearly $10k *shudder*

    I know it seems odd how I go back and forth on these but the problem is that the alarmists generally just go "oh that's nice" and brush off the cheap/practical solutions that would get them immediate results and instead push for stupid, impractical versions without the necessary backups. Obviously the problem there is their own inflexibility...not that its impossible to use a significant amount of renewable energy.

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  • 48. At 10:14pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    @poitsplace #47

    Hurrah - practical comment!

    Hippies and communes are not going to be the answer (I think I said this already) why does every one talk in extremes (the dark/stone ages) we have computers! We have machines! For routine stuff they are brilliant (they are not "clever") They just sit and do the calcs according to the rules laid down by us programmers. If you want to control a power grid and this involves hospitals - then that is how you would program it. Rule one: hospitals stay on line n,n, & n, they get power no question, no overrides, no exception - switch off Guildford, Ipswich, Exeter, all except the hospitals. Computers can deal with this easily.

    What's more they don't fall asleep, they don't go for a coffee. We need to use computers for public good not use them to abuse the public as is currently the case (Don't start me on that!).

    This stuff can be done, variable, constant, intermittent power - we already have the technology to deal with this. We just need to have the will, the vision to implement it.

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  • 49. At 10:20pm on 05 Nov 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @poitspace #47

    Jack's challenge to describe the "perfect green lifestyle" started on the "Biases, U-turns, and the BBC's climate coverage" thread.

    You may be particularly interested in his post #746. He has basically outlined the full answer and only answer that he will accept.

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  • 50. At 10:39pm on 05 Nov 2009, user1219 wrote:

    xtragrumpymike2 wrote:
    "Now I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi:-

    'Nature can supply our needs but not our greed.'"

    Very wise words. AGW is really just a symptom of wider underlying problems; inequal wealth distribution and overpopulation. Unfortunately population and income redistribution are more or less taboo subjects, while they are, environmental problems will never go away.

    There is no doubt that the richest 1% who own more than the poorest 95% do not need all that wealth to live a happy fulfilled life, yet they are not about to give it up any time soon. An Earth with 1 billion humans would have a lot less environmental pressure that an Earth with projected 9 billion. (Just how many humans do we need?)

    We *could* do something about global warming if the will was there, but I believe we *won't* do anything significant.

    manysummits wrote:
    "In a nutshell - it looks like CO2 hasn't been this high for some fifteen to twenty million years - not just the last four hundred thousand or eight hundred thousand/ five million... previously documented in the scientific literature."

    Assuming that is true (and I have no reason to think it isn't) the implications are quite stunning. We have reversed the current Ice Age. Few species in the history of the Earth can make the (dubious) claim of having made such a prolonged global impact. It will take a few million years for natural processes to reverse the effect, so we have earned a significant respite from glaciations, the next of which was due in 30,000 years or so.

    It's quite possible that an ice age is a much worse scenario than global warming, but it seems we are stuck with warming. Let's hope the warming is not the catastrophe some fear.

    Either way, quite by accident we have achieved a pretty major piece of geoengineering.

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  • 51. At 10:54pm on 05 Nov 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    While one cannot help but sympathise with the G77/China position, as articulated here via Mr Black, it is entirely unrealistic.

    Yes, it is exceedingly sad that the destruction of the African continent looms as one of the first of many catastrophes to come -- a dreadful price to be paid for decades of looking the other way, pretending dumping toxins into the biosphere would never actually do any harm, and placing profits and excess ahead of sense, moderation & intelligent coordination.

    Just blaming the rich is not enough. The developing nations of the world, and some of the developed-but-afflicted ones (e.g. Russia, for one), bear some blame for the rampant corruption that makes effective action a monumental effort for all concerned.

    And if we look at the population figures for China, india, and the African continent, amongst others, we have to be able to admit that everyone present today also has to accept responsibility for the other lives they have brought along.

    i have three young people, the first born in 1984. At the time, i already had the facts about global warming. i already knew the timeline.

    The best and only thing i can say in my defence is that i have taught my children to lead lives of moderation and minimize carbon footprints. i am certainly encouraging them to be careful with their own plans for the future.

    But like everyone else worried about what is to come, i have to look to myself and my own household first, rather than proclaim appealing "magic numbers" and expect others to do the work because i feel put upon by them.

    Africa in particular, as a continent, has a great deal of work to do to convince its people to fight the waste that corruption, conflict & violence inevitably impose -- and to agree to collectively work harder to keep women and girls from getting pregnant, or being forced into pregnancy, when what the planet most needs is for us all to slow down the pace at which we make demands of it.

    "350" by the way is also just a slogan: there is nothing about this particular "defining number" that ensures survival or reversal of harm done.

    Realistically, we will be lucky if we achieve a 10% reduction -- and that will only happen if something like 80% of the human population in the developed nations actually seriously reorders their lives in a way that makes it possible to conserve oil, coal and the all-important plastics (including paints & lacquers) that hardly get mentioned in the obsession with animal waste and other bogus factors.

    What is already emerging as one possible "survival scenario" is an acceleration of death rates in some areas, accompanied by the resulting reductions in consumption patterns & birth rates, while other population segments do act with greater speed to conserve & redesign. At some point -- quite soon, we hope, but no one can even begin to say that "2020" is a magic number, either -- changes in consumption in combination with changes in demographic pressures will lead to a kind of equilibrium, in which the rate of trauma impacting the biosphere will gradually begin to steeply decline.

    The planet does have self-healing mechanisms, but in order to enable them to operate humans have to radically alter their priorities.

    Concerns with personal appearance, energy-intensive entertainment (e.g. pornography) and other expendables -- everything from hair colouring to casinos to cosmetic surgery to a new wardrobe every few months or even years -- will have to be jettisoned in favour of simple, inexpensive, undemanding sanity.

    Survival cannot be legislated. Only a concerted effort by several billion souls, acting with enlightened self-interest and resolve, can help us collectively make the journey to the other side of a decade from now (or two). Arguing about it won't get us there faster.

    Keep in mind that even a consensus between world leaders would mean nothing unless populations acted on any such decisions. My suggestion is we skip the artificial consensus and go directly to the people: Everywhere. And with serious Emphasis about the need for them, themselves, to do really basic things that make a difference: such as decide against any more tattoos (electricity involved), hair colouring, nail lacquer, extra cars, extra fertility treatments, extra pets, extra lingerie, extra accessories, extra gift wrap... it all adds up in the end.

    We all have things we can live without that we enjoy indulging in, but actually can dispense with. So act accordingly.

    Governments everywhere should be encouraging free voluntary sterilisation of women who are certain they have had enough children. This is a no-brainer. There is nothing patronising or offensive about it: we need to do everything possible to decelerate population growth, and the least difficult, safest and most energy-efficient way of doing this is by providing tubal ligations to women who understand, without charge and without delay.

    Keep in mind most tubal ligations are reversible. Even if tomorrow by some miracle the policy needs were to change, there would not actually have been any irreversible impairment of the reproductive capacity of most women on earth from any voluntary sterilisation program.

    Unless & until such statements are being made, in Africa and everywhere else, all the bandying about of "magic numbers'" of one sort or another -- all the efforts to make sure one party's "magic number" triumphs over someone else's -- will achieve nothing.

    And let us also note, duly, that mammoth conferences of world leaders to discuss crises of one sort or another also add up to one fairly significant carbon footprint.

    So let's not waste any more time on pretty phrases, and actually get down to work.

    And i, for my part, promise to do so as well. in the search of a permanent solution to the problem, i shall make further cuts in our own private household's emissions & footprint, waste & inefficiency, as well.

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  • 52. At 11:12pm on 05 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    To my fellow bloggers above who seek a fuller exposition of the 'it isn't CO2 scientific position' please see the Richard Black's blog climates magnetic attraction a day or so back - I don't think it is right (or indeed necessary) to repeat the arguments (yet again) here.

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  • 53. At 05:59am on 06 Nov 2009, Crowcatcher wrote:

    maria-ashot - well said

    In a few billion years’ time, when the sun has expanded enough to all but extinguish life on on Earth, the last two humans will sit beside the last pool of brackish water, having eaten the very last rat, and spend their last few hours arguing the pros and cons of anthropogenic climate change!!!

    In astronomical and geological terms AGW is complete and utter piffle especially in comparison with all the other environmental problems – that’s why the politicians have so readily latched on to it. (Richard’s programme on R4 on the “highjacking” by climate change emphasised this only too well.)

    The factors I dislike most about the climate change debate is the monumental arrogance of the protaganists in believing that we are are a species so very special that we should no longer be subject to any sort geological, environmental or economic change so that the status quo is maintained, forgetting that we are just apes with a slightly bigger brain; and that it is only they who care about the environment in any way when the vast majority of them are the biggest wasters of all- i.e. Al Gore.

    To quote Prof. Phillip Stott :-
    “I’ll believe in (anthropogenic) climate change when the glitterati, the popocracy, the metro elite, and all the politicians really do believe that it all applies just as much to them as to the world's bedint.”

    And to quote my elderly friend Stan (who worked in the electricity industry in the 1950s) when asked what he thought would happen when all the oil and coal runs out :-
    “Oh! The world will have dissolved into chaos long before then”

    And, as for me I’ll believe in AGW when all the arms manufacturers and cosmetics companies have gone out of business; the Innuit, who winge about our destruction of their environment, stop tearing round the tundra on their petrol powered skidoos, Richard Branson closes his airline and stops sponsoring Formula One and Prince Charles reduces his carbon footprint to zero.

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  • 54. At 08:53am on 06 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    46. At 9:42pm on 05 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:
    ....E85 biofuel - Personally I think biofuels are the stupidest most short sighted way to power a vehicle that I can imagine. We need to eat. ...

    And that is exactly the eviro-religion I'm talking about.

    The 'environmentalists' say everything has to change because of too much CO2. People come up with a solution that does not release (only recycle) CO2. 'Environmentalists' immediately go into a frenzy to block it.

    Who says bio-fuel has to compete with food? In the UK we have huge areas of land deliberately left unused. Scandanavian countries use waste (saw dust, waste from abatoirs etc) as the biomass. New bio-fuels use non-food crops such as switch grass which can be grown on marginal land. Latest developments use algae grown in the sea - nothing to do with agricultural land.

    Solutions are available but the 'environmentalists' block them.

    That's exactly what I have a problem with. Change will have to occur as era of the old fossil fuels comes to an end. But we need change that preserves our quality of life, not a bunch of religious fanatics using it as an excuse to take us back to the dark ages.

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  • 55. At 09:48am on 06 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #54. jon112uk,
    #46. ChangEngland

    Bio-fuels is a racket!

    One cup full of bio-fuel in a tanker makes all of it a whole tanker full of bio-fuel, apparently!

    Further cutting down virgin rain forest for plantations of plants to provide bio-fuels is insane.

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  • 56. At 10:33am on 06 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    @jack #45

    You have an energy portfolio. That portfolio includes wind, wave and solar and any future renewables. Until renewable energy is perfected in areas such as wave it could also include nuclear (which although not ideal could see us through the next 50 years with lesser consequence).

    Then you don't build your turbines in wind-low locations. You site them in sites where the wind is high enough at least 80% of the time. The data for these decisions is already commercially produced (see - people are doing things)! And for something like a hospital you would have a back up diesel generator which most hospitals already have. Wind plants are just as reliable as conventional fossil fuel plants anyway. There are regular outages at fossil fuel plants all over the world currently... they cause power shortages and cause electricity prices to spike. That data is also commercially available if you have access to it.

    Why keep raising barriers that are not there just to prove a point?

    Also: re biofuels - we must be careful. It depends what we make them from and what sacrifice is made to grow them. If we have to cut-down primary rainforest to produce sugar for ethanol, then that isn't good - kudos to the Brazilian government though who have acted to stop this. If we have to cut down primary rainforest for palm oil plantations in Borneo then that is also not good at all. I think the biofuel industry needs to introduce some sort of "fairtrade" scheme where it can guarantee it's source. If it can be grown on existing farmland without making people hungry, if it can be made from algae produced in a controlled environment, if it can be recycled from chip fat etc. then we should look into producing. At the same time we must keep our fingers in more than one pie and try and produce electric cars (like the new one in China), etc. We need to advance our knowledge on all fronts to find a way to live fairly with nature. The leaders at Copenhagen must find ways to support these nascent industries until they can support themselves.

    Amen enviroevangelists!

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  • 57. At 10:37am on 06 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    5. At 09:48am on 06 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #54. jon112uk,
    #46. ChangEngland
    Bio-fuels is a racket! One cup full of bio-fuel in a tanker makes all of it a whole tanker full of bio-fuel, apparently!Further cutting down virgin rain forest for plantations of plants to provide bio-fuels is insane.

    Well that's the dogma from the 'environmentalists' - desperate to ensure that no one brings in solutions which would impede their real goals.

    The reality is that 85% bioethanol is in the mix in scandanavia. They are doing it NOW with much of the biomass coming from waste, not rainforests.

    Future biofuels would not need to use land at all. Most of the earths surface is water with the sun beating down on it. Algae can provide an extremely efficient biomass. Via waves and tides, the sea can also provide the energy to run the processing plant. The ease of shipping the product is fairly obvious. They can even fuel the tanker ship on biofuel from the same source.

    All entirely practical - unless we allow the 'environmentalists' to block it with a climate of fear.

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  • 58. At 10:48am on 06 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #57. jon112uk wrote:

    Future biofuels would not need to use land at all. Most of the earths surface is water with the sun beating down on it. Algae can provide an extremely efficient biomass. Via waves and tides, the sea can also provide the energy to run the processing plant. The ease of shipping the product is fairly obvious. They can even fuel the tanker ship on biofuel from the same source.

    All entirely practical - unless we allow the 'environmentalists' to block it with a climate of fear.

    I agree No all bio-fuels are a racket - just some are!

    It is nice to be grouped with environmentalists when I am in total scientific disagreement with them on the role of CO2 in climate variability - thanks!

    I am dubious about the way in which the dash for bio-fuels is actually being implemented and that is my main point (also see Carbon Trading etc etc.) Once the government gets at it and subsidises things the rational of everything get perverted to meet the requirements of the bureaucracy! (see single farm payments etc...)

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  • 59. At 11:06am on 06 Nov 2009, user1219 wrote:

    The Copenhagen conference was billed as "X days to save the planet". Now that it seems no legal agreement will be reached at Copenhagen, does that mean the planet is doomed?

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  • 60. At 11:10am on 06 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    58. At 10:48am on 06 Nov 2009, John_from_Hendon


    My heartfelt apologies for mistakenly labelling you as an 'environmentalist' !

    I am happy to agree that the manner of implementation of SOME of the present bio-fuels is seriously flawed.

    My basic point is that there are serious alternative sources of energy that can give a 100% reduction in fossil fuel use, without destroying our way of life. I think bio-fuel is just one of them.

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  • 61. At 11:35am on 06 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    the BBC provides this nice summary where countries stand on Copenhagen.

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  • 62. At 11:46am on 06 Nov 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:


    Welcome back to the blog !

    Maybe just start with one aspect of the green dream.

    Will ordinary people be allowed to fly to Spain for a 2 week holiday every year?

    Just a yes or no will do.

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  • 63. At 11:56am on 06 Nov 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To ghostofsichuan #26:

    Thank you for your reply.

    The tone on this blog is changing - I can sense it.

    And it is changing in the way you would wish, I think.

    Time to throw these people out of office, and while we must await the chance for this (barring revolution), we can and must act unilaterally, on a small scale at the personal level - bigger if time and circumstance permit.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 64. At 12:03pm on 06 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @eddhind who wrote
    "you don't build your turbines in wind-low locations. You site them in sites where the wind is high enough at least 80% of the time"

    If you're talking about the UK you cannot be picky about using ONLY the optimum wind sites. As I have pointed out before...due to the spacing requirements you would have to cover 1/2 the land area of the UK with wind turbines to meet UKs needs through wind. Critics aren't making problems where there are none...they're pointing out that the UK has an absolutely crappy energy portfolio. You don't have a lot of land for wind. You're too far north and have bad weather for solar. You nave no significant hydroelectric power. ...AND you're trying to cut out fossil fuels and cut back on nuclear. WOW!

    I guess wind is the only thing you've got going so you need to push with that if you're going to impose arbitrary limitations like reducing carbon/nuclear...but personally, I think you guys just need to take what you can get.

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  • 65. At 12:13pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    "But we need change that preserves our quality of life, not a bunch of religious fanatics using it as an excuse to take us back to the dark ages."

    Someone jog that record again :(

    I'll rephrase it: Don't ask for biofuel that is grown by either a) causing clearing forests or b) using land that should be set aside for food.

    Also I did not mention "climate change" only the need for food. As I said I am not a fanatic. I don't have a religion. I am just a normal person. I run a car, I eat meat, I drink beer and I still smoke sometimes.

    ButI have made some effort to educate myself on the mess we (worldwide humanity) seem to be getting ourselves into even if we ignore Co2 other signs are in plain sight. I have made some effort to mitigate my personal effect. I have solar (flat plate) hot water (To save some money now, but more in the future) Co-incidentally it needs no more fossil fuels. I built it myself for a couple of hundred pounds. I have some Solar P.V. It powers all my computer accessories, and a few lights. We grow our own veg, or my wife does:). I do not see the dark ages looming in my surroundings. I see the dark periods looming when we run out of power in 3 to 6 years time because of government short-sightedness, I see them looming when there is a hard winter and the Russians decide they don't have enough gas to go around this year or the broke UK can't afford to buy it at their latest price. By then I hope to have enough power generation, storage and conversion to get us through the off periods.

    So I have possible accidentally done my personal percentage towards 2020. I have done it for selfish reasons too. I don't know if it is even truly "green" what with batteries, panels, copper pipes, pumps I couldn't tell you. I am getting older and I do not want to be cold because of someone else's stupidity. And before you say it - I know what I have done would not satisfy the Co2 reduction camp, but it is a step and minuscule step at that. But that's how we get somewhere one step at a time.

    But if every new house and suitable older houses were equipped the same way then intermittent wind-power would be a suitable electricity supply. Some one needs to invent or just create a "House power pack" to store a few hours of energy - it needs to be fully automatic and maintenance free. The householder should not be aware whether they are on-grid or off-grid. Harness a few computers linked via a smart-grid to ensure that everyone gets recharged before they are discharged and where is your problem? You can apply the same principles to charging cars. I can do this now, myself, everything I need is available if (currently a little too expensive).

    Have you made any effort yet? I ask again, have you got a plan?

    I have - even if it's just for selfish little me.

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  • 66. At 12:28pm on 06 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    Jack_Hughes_NZ #62.

    "Will ordinary people be allowed to fly to Spain for a 2 week holiday every year?
    Just a yes or no will do."

    conventional aircraft -- no.
    airships -- yes.


    poitsplace #64.

    "..talking about the UK you cannot be picky about using ONLY the optimum wind sites. As I have pointed out before...due to the spacing requirements you would have to cover 1/2 the land area of the UK with wind turbines to meet UKs needs through wind."

    misleading BS, high-altitude sites apart, off-shore siting is better; besides who'd argue all energy requirements have to met by wind?

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  • 67. At 12:31pm on 06 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:


    As a former (until very recently) UK based energy analyst, let me step in here!

    There are plenty of good sites for wind turbines onshore in the UK. As long as we can site them away from bird migrations and sacrifice a bit of NIMBYism we can suffice much of our need via plentiful wind. Also as an island nation we will be in a superb position to take advantage of future advances in harvesting wave energy. I am glad we don't have much hydro as it brings its own environmental problems (damns just aren't natural!). If we run out of space on land for wind there is scope for increasing off-shore wind farms (of which we already have several).

    Every country has the potential to produce its own renewable energy. It is just the will-power needed to get it done that is stopping us at the moment (although many positive advances are being made).

    I agree that there will be a shorthage of renewables to satisfy 100% of needs in the UK for the next 30 years or so. There are strong hints coming from politicians and experts that this historical period of energy shortfall may be met by introducing new nuclear power.

    Hopefully on top of this we can all help reduce demand and thus need less power anyway.

    It is also highly likely that in Europe some countries will set them up as power exporters (some already are). Electricity is already being imported and exported across europe. Some countries will be able to produce excess from renewable sources and help out those who are falling short... at the same time making money. Free markets and environmentalism hand-in-hand. Now that makes me really happy. It should make you happy too. :o)

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  • 68. At 12:57pm on 06 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    65. At 12:13pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland

    Once again apologies for accusing you of being an environmentalist, but you are going to have to do more than that. Small reductions while you carry on driving, going on holiday etc just won't keep the fanatics happy.

    Ethical man did a great little one man study of what you have to give up to achieve the 80% type reductions. It doesn't make nice reading.

    I agree with you that we have to do something other than the current situation or we will eventually end up sat in the dark.

    Personally I don't want to give anything up. I want to have a good quality of life and power it from something other than fossil fuels.

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  • 69. At 1:17pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    @Jack_Hughes_NZ wrote:

    "Will ordinary people be allowed to fly to Spain for a 2 week holiday every year?"

    is the wrong question, substitue "able" for "allowed" and it's closer.

    No. You will go by high speed electric train, have nice food served, glass of wine or two, watch a movie, buy a 50 Euro train driver teddy bear for your sisters little boy, then have a little sleep.

    You will remember occasionally that people used to think you had to use huge amounts of energy to defy gravity in order to travel the way you are now travelling. But then with the 6 hour check-in, the strip and porno-photo security check and the bombs it all got too be much hassle :)

    No airships required - unless you *want* to travel by airship - might be fun once!

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  • 70. At 1:39pm on 06 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    ChangEngland #69.

    I fear it will be a while before people in New Zealand can board a "..high speed electric train.." into Europe. ;)

    o/wise, agree with your post.

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  • 71. At 2:02pm on 06 Nov 2009, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Jack_Hughes_NZ #62
    (@jr4412 #66)
    (@ChangEngland #69)

    You ask questions with hidden assumptions. So I need to point out hidden assumptions that I think are wrong.

    1. You think that any restrictions will be imposed ("allowed") rather than come about through economic forces such as unmanipulated price rises (price of oil was $140 a barrel before the recession) or future concern for the planet.
    (also spotted by ChangEngland #69)

    2. You assume no techno-fix
    (Partially covered by both jr4412's airships and ChangEngland's high speed trains. Note, checking in at the airport adds significantly to journey time for short haul flights.)

    3. You assume that the majority of carbon emissions from aeroplanes are for the typical working class choice of a week on the Spanish coast. Rather than business flights, long haul holiday flights, or weekly commutes for British people with a second home in Spain but a job in Britain.

    I repeat my comment from a previous blog, I would not want people associated with the initials NZ to be cut off from the rest of the world by clumsy imposition of carbon emission policies on New Zealand.

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  • 72. At 2:37pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    still applies he won't be "able" to - not unless he wants to use a couple of hundred acres of "biofuel" to do it(OK, OK) as eventually there will not be any conventional jet fuel available for this type of activity - the US/current superpower military will have it all. Bio greenie-ism aside eventually it just won't be there - established fact.

    "Personally I don't want to give anything up. I want to have a good quality of life and power it from something other than fossil fuels."

    Just do it then for yourself! You will need a lot of money though currently to go all the way :( All the equipment is out there, you don't even need to rewire your house - some new stuff that you need space for. A bit of plumbing maybe... And a new electric car or electric scooter for getting to the station. I don't know your situation - so it might just be crazy for you to try :( only you know that.

    My view overall (again a technologist type answer) is that we need the remaining easily available oil reserves to create the next generation of power-producing equipment whatever form it takes. If we let it run out we will have thrown away the egg and the chicken and will be looking for a chicken or an egg to get us started again!

    This is why it's my opinion that the current crop of "governments" world-wide are just too short sighted. They must be able to see it coming. They are just not acting - what is stopping them - except for big businesses/vested interests I can't think of anything....

    ... big business in the form of energy companies do not want the types of micro-power schemes that householders and villages can install and why not? They can't charge us a premium for it month in, month out, each house/village/town would become semi-independent possibly fully independent of their valuable profit making grids. The "profits" from the micro-generation would then go where? - back into the upkeep/modernisation/welfare & pay packets of the very village it is powering.

    If too many householders learn that for £250-ish they could wipe a £100 a year off their fuel bill *permanently*. The energy co's would not be happy. Maybe I should market my on-the-cheap solar water heaters. They are pretty simple but fairly effective :) You can learn how to make one in a book published in 1974 - I know, I built one then as well!

    I probably know your next point - most people can't do this themselves, they lack the skills and knowledge. That's the downside of everyone striving/being sent to university to do "media studies" etc., when they should have been taught achievable, useful, practical skills instead. I have been a computer programmer for 27 years now, but I have not forgotten how to measure, saw, drill, align assemble and (crudely) design - that what we were taught at school - I never went to college let alone university.

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  • 73. At 2:51pm on 06 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    ChangEngland #72.

    you're probably in a hurry to get all this typed out, however, please try and get your attributions right!

    your quote comes from #68 (jon112uk), nothing to do with me.

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  • 74. At 3:10pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    jr4412, Apologies - the first paragraph was a reply to your comment.

    Than I continued the conversation with jon112uk without quoting his user name.

    In a hurry - yeah, I'm try to code as well - but hey-ho some times you have a distracted day, lucky I'm self-employed. :)

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  • 75. At 5:17pm on 06 Nov 2009, jon112dk wrote:

    72. At 2:37pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland

    Absolutely no interest in an electric scooter. I would hate to dawdle along in the cold and rain. Train? I would sooner sand-paper my eyeballs than travel by cattle truck.

    I like my comfy and very fast high tech car.

    On the other hand I will be only too pleased when someone offers me a non-fossil fuel for it. I want that because I think the old fashioned oil supplies will become ever more costly and insecure. On the off chance that global heating is actually true, it will answer that as well. Why should I resist it, if there is no harm to my quality of life?

    (I'm sticking to cars/petrol, but same position for the other energy issues)

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  • 76. At 5:34pm on 06 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    re. wind turbines and their manufacture:

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  • 77. At 6:27pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:

    re. wind turbines and their manufacture.

    That is just old-fashioned protectionism and I don't think it will wash in today's markets/politics. Local maintenance jobs will of course be created and these will be permanent jobs - possibly "jobs for life" which is a plus. In China or anywhere else for that matter we can't avoid using the power of coal and oil to produce these new products, eventually of course the new will be used to create the new-new :)

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  • 78. At 6:35pm on 06 Nov 2009, ChangEngland wrote:


    You reveal yourself. A little like me you admit to being selfish, only in a different way, you want someone else to do it all for you.

    I don't have an answer for you. I can only wish you and particularly your descendants the best of luck.

    Stay safe.

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  • 79. At 9:30pm on 06 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:

    @eddhind #67 (Re: not enough renewables for the UK)
    And THAT is the point I've been trying to drive home. Since you cannot possibly meet need might as well get your base load capacity up to the point that it can take all those turbines. Remember, they're wanting to decommission coal plants so you're going to need a LOT of extra power, and it needs to be something stable and (because you've imposed it on yourselves) carbon free. You need nuclear NOW.

    @jr4412 #66 who wrote
    "misleading BS, high-altitude sites apart, off-shore siting is better; besides who'd argue all energy requirements have to met by wind?"

    Heh, unless you're out there saying "We need to start building nuclear plants now"'ve obviously missed my point. As I was pointing out above, the UK (This all assumes you're in the UK) can't realistically meet demand with renewables until some new technologies come along.

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  • 80. At 9:52pm on 06 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    poitsplace #79.

    "As I was pointing out above, the UK (This all assumes you're in the UK) can't realistically meet demand with renewables until some new technologies come along."

    I have to agree -- partially, the short-coming is not lack of alternative technologies though, but rather one caused by an establishment which is mealy-mouthed and doesn't invest (just look at our railways and Lord Adonis' risible proposals).

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  • 81. At 11:22pm on 06 Nov 2009, eddhind wrote:

    @poit I agree we need nuclear for the next 50 years, Just keep it 10 miles away from immediate dense population concentrations (for cancer reasons). But I see a 100% renewable future for the UK. It is very possible. If we need a stop gap until nuclear gets off the ground, let us use gas. I am not against carbon capture coal either... yet I have read "One Night at Bopal". Imagine if all that CO2 escaped at once? Would that be deadly? If engineers can make sure it is safe so be it... that is me totally scare mongering. I know little about the engineering intricacies of carbon capture.

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  • 82. At 07:57am on 07 Nov 2009, poitsplace wrote:


    Of course...if it was one of the safer kinds that can't melt down (or even act up), building it in the middle of a city would provide the opportunity to use cogeneration for a large part of the city's HVAC and hot water needs. That would yield significant increases in efficiency while decreasing the demand for electricity.

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  • 83. At 10:04am on 07 Nov 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Copenhagen is like a global audit. The inspectors are in to search for areas of strength, weakness and areas that need urgent improvement. Like all inspections, everyone rushes around at the last minute in order to tidy up their act. Those who have not got their house in order will naturally take longer to get everything together. Such is the nature of inspection, not necessarily a bad thing as it is a reminder to improve. Like all realities there are those who can't and those who can and this is where a bit of differentiation comes in handy.

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  • 84. At 11:33am on 08 Nov 2009, bandythebane wrote:

    Just for the record. poitsplace, the word cogeneration is normally used to describe the production of electricity using a variety of fuels.

    What you are describing is Combined Heat and Power (CHP) used it to supply district heating. There is technology for doing this from distance. The power station supplying Reykjavick in Iceland for example is more than 30 miles from the city but connected to it by a hot water pipe. The cost of supplying such piping would add less than 1% to the cost of a nuclear power station.

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  • 85. At 12:32pm on 08 Nov 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    Elizabeth Watt #84.

    "The power station supplying Reykjavick in Iceland for example is more than 30 miles from the city but connected to it by a hot water pipe. The cost of supplying such piping would add less than 1% to the cost of a nuclear power station."

    such projects too are often vetoed on grounds of peoples strong (irrational, IMO) beliefs.

    for instance, thirty years ago in (then West) Berlin, district Charlottenburg, proposals were made to heat municipal buildings (a school) with hot water generated as a by-product from effluent heat of the local crematorium, nothing came of it.

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