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Drivel From The Guardian Again – Their Climate Change Plan

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OK, yes, there are plenty who insist that we don’t need a climate change plan at all as there’s nothing either we should, or we could, do about climate change. But step inside this constriction for a moment and just take the welter of claptrap seriously for a moment. OK, so climate change is happening, we’re doing it and something must be done. We’re specifying that as our starting point here.

OK, so, what should be done. Or, given that there really are people talking about ecological Leninism out there, as if war communism worked, what is to be done?

Probably not this list from The Guardian:

A nine-point plan for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions

Is such as massive expansion actually possible? I have calculated that the UK would achieve this target by devoting about 5% of its maritime zone to offshore wind, 2% of the land area to solar panels and about 12% to onshore wind.

If we were to suggest doubling the amount of land given over to housing – you know, to solve that problem of insufficient housing and that we do actually build being the smallest new stuff in Europe – the screams from The G would be deafening. But only some 2 to 3% of the UK’s land area is housing. Yet here they’re entirely happy to have 2% covered in solar panels.

Today, hydrogen is created from fossil fuels but it can be easily made from water using electrolysis. The gas can be stored to make electricity on the rare occasions when the available renewable power is insufficient. Hydrogen is hugely versatile; it can also be deployed to power vehicles, to provide the energy for steel-making and other industrial processes, and to act as the critical raw material for the chemicals industry.

Well, yes, hydrogen might well be useful. The most useful part being as the feedstock to make artificial hydrocarbons with so that we can continue to power cars and airplanes without having to use batteries. Yet later we get told:

The obvious other target is car use. Many European cities have pedestrianised large areas of their centres, introduced better cycling provision and improved public transport.

Quite why we’ve got to do this if we’re already going to solve the CO2 problem with hydrogen isn’t obvious.

As a supplement to decarbonising the UK’s energy supply, we also need to wrest back control of the energy networks from their current owners, often non-UK businesses owned by private equity funds. Many other countries, such as the US, have publicly controlled energy companies that can act to meet local needs and minimise the cost of gas and electricity.

The utilities are the expensive part of the American system. The cheap part is the natural gas supplied by fracking. You know, that thing no environmentalist will allow to happen in the UK?

We need to complement the decarbonisation of energy supply with measures to improve energy efficiency. In the UK the crucial target is the poor insulation standards of almost all our housing. Policy has been lamentably weak in this area over the last decades.

Actually, no, most to much of the UK housing stick is now insulated to the level that it can be without complete rebuilds. Further:

We now require programmes of deep refurbishment, working street-by-street across the country. This may seem expensive and difficult but could provide a much-needed boost to jobs and incomes in deprived areas.

Jobs are a cost of a plan, not a benefit. That claim that lots of jobs will be created is a claim of how expensive it all will be.

Meat production dominates farming around the world and reducing animal numbers will give us space to introduce properly climate-friendly agriculture. That means farming that is less intensive and less dependent on herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers. It will also employ more people.

Laddie really is ignorant, isn’t he? If we don’t use chemical fertilisers then we’ve got to use animal manure. Which we can’t if none of us is eating meat. You can’t have vegetarian and also organic farming at the same time.

And this is where we know that he’s an idiot:

9. Carbon tax
Lastly, we should try to bring the reluctant oil and gas industries onside by instituting a tax on the production of anything that results in carbon emissions.

Because of course the carbon tax is the first thing to be done. Why? Because it’s the incentive to do all the lovely things above as well as the 98,000 other things that suitably incentivised market participants will dream up and Guardian columnists never will. Which is, of course, why every economist has been shouting that if we’ve climate change, if we need to do something about it, then the answer is the carbon tax.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. But we really, really like making big plans and being in charge of the huge State bureaucracy that implements them!

    Note this bit “on the rare occasions when the available renewable power is insufficient” – rare?

    And they very much soft sell getting rid of meat, do they really think the proles won’t mind or notice?

  2. I’m not really convinced about a carbon tax. If we really wish to eliminate CO2 production, a nuke program like that of the French should work. As you point out, extracting H2 and CO2 from the atmosphere or oceans and synthesizing hydrocarbon fuels means the rest of us don’t need to bother about our lifestyles. There’s certainly plenty of uranium around. I understand that about half of global production now comes from fracking.

    But I’m actually much less convinced about climate change than I am about a carbon tax.

  3. If we’re sending everybody to work on the farms, who’s going to provide healthcare?

    As our host has repeatedly pointed out, the invention of the tractor allowed the creation of the NHS.

  4. “Hydrogen can be used to make electricity!”
    Where do you get the hydrogen from?
    “We make hydrogen by splitting water!”
    How do you split the water?
    “We split water using electricity!”
    Where do you get the electricity from?
    “Hydrogen can be used to make electricity!”

  5. OK, fast forward to 2030 and we’ve decarbonised our domestic electricity supply. All our electricity is coming from windmills and PV panels (and maybe a bit from tidal and hydro). So what do we do when (as regularly occurs) we get four consecutive dark, cold, still days during winter? “Easy” say the proponents, “we’ll have grid-scale energy storage”. But there are a couple of teensy problems with this ‘solution’. The only currently demonstrated (i.e. working) methods of energy storage are pumped hydro and batteries.

    Pumped hydro is used in the UK at Dinorwig in Welsh Wales. It’s a tremendous feat of engineering, and can deliver 1.7GW for 5¼ hrs. The UK grid is ~34GW*, so to supply it for 4 days (100 hrs) is going to need nearly 400 Dinorwigs. Apart from the minor detail of where could we site them (Dinorwig was chosen because it’s the best location in the UK, with nature having done half the work), Dinorwig cost £425 million (in ’80s £s) and took 10 years to build.

    So maybe batteries, then? The largest battery power station in the world was built by Tesla in S Australia, to help handle the grid instability resulting from large amounts of wind generation (a whole ‘nuther problem) and can generate 100MW for an hour. It cost £125 million and we’d need a mere 34,000 of them to bridge our energy gap. Anyone else see a tiny problem, here?

    Magical thinking.

    * that would need to increase to ~50GW if we want to electrify all our vehicles, and probably >>100GW if we want to use electricity for domestic heating. Oh, and every house in the country will need a new supply, too – 100A won’t cut it. And all new substations to handle the increased load. Easy peasy.

  6. @ Esteban
    “rare” as meaning “less than 95% of the time”. The Guardian employs Newspeak when it suits itself to do so. Windpower in the UK (including the so-called “reliable” offshore windfarms) has an inter-day-average variation of 144 to 1 (this year .095GW to 13.761GW – source gridwatch.co.UK).
    To get average windpower to meet average (windpower + fossil fuels) production would require a 180% increase which would mean its peak production would be 30% greater than average demand or 40% greater than (peak demand less nuclear less solar) .

  7. Meat production dominates world agriculture by area utilised because three-quarters of “agricultural land” is not good enough to grow crops.
    Arable land prices are far higher than grazing land – Savills says that poor arable land is worth 60% more than poor grazing. The amount of arable land used for grazing is – apart from the fallow year in crop rotation – negligible because crops pay far more without the need for a seven-day week looking after the animals.
    So it is just plain idiotically wrong to say “reducing animal numbers will give us space to introduce properly climate-friendly agriculture.” Reducing animal numbers will give us space to bury the millions who will starve to death as a result.

  8. Reducing animal numbers will give us space to bury the millions who will starve to death as a result.

    Maybe “The Elite” like Sir David Attenborough thinks there are simply too many peeps (especially the wrong sorts of peeps like those who object to paying the Telly Tax and those who vote BRExit) and we need a lot less. About 95% less in fact. The Chinese Bat Plague didn’t work, so how do you off 7½ billion people or so to get your desired result?

    The best way they’ve found is Stalin’s, basically setup the entire economic (and especially farming) infrastructure to fail and then wait. A few winters of starvation and Zimbabwe levels of power / gas supply will give you what you need.

    As per usual, the Nomenklatura (like Sir David) will be treated as being “more equal than others”.

  9. a) OK, so unicorns are real and unicorn poo is becoming a major problem and something must be done about it.

    b) The Energy Returned on Energy Invested of hydrogen is low and may even be negative.

    c) If farmers don’t use herbicides, pesticides and fertiliser, agricultural yields drop severely, making food more expensive and requiring more green fields to be ploughed.

  10. The Energy Returned on Energy Invested of hydrogen is low and may even be negative

    Sure, but in all the situations I’ve seen hydrogen is just used for either intermediate storage (similar to a battery) when available supply exceeds demand or to fit in with our liquid based fuels transportation system.

  11. @John77

    The way to make a wind turbine grid work is as follows:

    Maximum daily demand (UK, Before Covid Era) 50GW.

    Minimum wind turbine production as a percentage of capacity (let’s be generous) 5%.

    Therefore grid capacity, after transmission losses etc has to be 20 times 50GW or one TeraWatt. Which is quite a lot.

  12. Therefore grid capacity, after transmission losses etc has to be 20 times 50GW or one TeraWatt. Which is quite a lot.

    Alternately go nuclear and remove the bureaucratic and NIMBY blockages preventing new nuclear power stations being built. That would give us a reliable base load that can be flexed for peak/off-peak usage and is carbon neutral.

    When the eco loons start bitching about “Nuclear ain’t safe”, show the comparative statistics versus all other forms of power generation (they’ll ignore it because they’re actually just Marxists disguised as environmentalists)

  13. Didn’t Matt Ridley about 10 years ago come up with some stats and numbers this wind power nonsense would require? Boris must be counting on getting his hands on some snazzy alien technology.

  14. That means farming that is less intensive and less dependent on herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers. It will also employ more people. Peasant farming?

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