Friday 11 November 2022

COP27: Contradictions Foretold

The other day I was looking back at the C@W "predictions 2022" compo.  En passant, it seems that back in January, none of us could believe Putin would actually invade ...

Anyhow, I offered "it's not a prediction, it's a cert; 2022 will be a year when the contradictions in energy policy will truly make themselves felt" - and now, as then, I claim no credit because it was already obvious for all to see.  You could argue - certainly in the case of Germany - it had been obvious for years.

Anyhow, fast-forward to COP27, and much blathering about the wicked oil and gas producers limbering up to produce ... more gas!  And - shock, horror

The push is coming from the host Egypt and its gas-producing allies amid a global energy crisis compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Well yes.   And of course benighted Germany is well to the fore in stimulating the producers' revived development activity.  As the Grauniad callously puts it

Panic over keeping people warm in winters to come, and keeping the lights on from gas-fired power generation, has led governments in Europe that previously relied on gas from Russia to push for new supplies from a range of other sources.

Well, errr, yes again!  'Panic', of course, is a loaded term in progressive circles, generally coupled as "moral panic", which is always a thing to be derided.  That really is a nasty little insinuation.

Yup, gas it is.  Nature's most all-round effective off-the-shelf fuel offering, certainly in the context of today's technology - while we patiently await practicable nuclear fusion, and/or serious electricity storage capability.  What wailing and gnashing of teeth there will be if Egypt engineers a COP27 resolution which labels gas as "sustainable" ...



Caeser Hēméra said...

I don't think I'm doing too bad on the predictions front.

Matt Hancock has been unexpectedly helpful in that department.

dustybloke said...

Of course gas is green.
Dopey Joe and Grrreta emit gallons of the stuff and they’re both melons.

dearieme said...

Gas for the kitchen, petrol for the car, diesel for the lorry.

Wonderful stuff, hydrocarbons.

It's a great pity, mind, that decades when new nuke designs might have been developed and tested were days of the locusts.

Don Cox said...

North Sea Oil was one of those blessings that turn out to be a curse.


lilith said...

I can see them setting up banks of bicycles and treadmills for the unwoke/unvaccinated/climate deniers. Misgender someone? Off to the generating workhouse for you....

Anonymous said...

In terms of preventing climate change and energy efficiency, how about banning social media and the energy it wastes. After all what is the use of it?

Present company excepted, of course.

jim said...

Of course gas and oil are the go to products - except they are not Green. We might like to be Green but we can't afford the cost - the physics of Green are difficult/expensive/non existent.

I am prepared to believe we ought to go Green but see a lot of Greenwashing and faux propaganda. Growing a few saplings somewhere really obscure does not really offset planeloads going to COP27 - or the Greek islands. Too much double counting and dodgy arithmetic and incentives to lie.

So what about the cost. Nuclear looks attractive until you see the snags in building for dismantlement in 50 years time. All very messy and fearsomely expensive. Solar is nice until you look at the production cost in fossil fuel burnt to cook up the silicon. And northern Europe is not much of a place for solar and running high voltage cables from Morocco looks a bit iffy.

Fusion might run for more than a few seconds in say 5 years time. But extracting the heat from a boiler that can stand up to gigawatt fusion plasma disruptions 365/24/7 looks as much of a challenge as the last 60 years effort. Not holding my breath.

My engineer's nose tells me electric cars cannot progress to match the hydrocarbon kind. I am sure they will plateau out and we will be forced to accept a dual electric/hydrocarbon market whatever the politicians say. The oh so delicate streets of Western cities are one thing, the backroads of Guatemala etc something entirely different.

so what to do? Our old friends the Romans had a good idea - decimation. I leave the details as an exercise.

Don Cox said...

"Fusion might run for more than a few seconds in say 5 years time. But extracting the heat from a boiler that can stand up to gigawatt fusion plasma disruptions 365/24/7 looks as much of a challenge as the last 60 years effort."

A properly designed fusion device doesn't use boilers and turbines, it generates electricity directly.


andrew said...

Commercial fusion power has been 20 to 30 years in the future since the early 1960s. I have my dad's mechanix illustrated from 1962. With the flying car that would be widespread by the mid 80s.

The answer is obvious.
Invent time travel. Go forwards 20 to 30 years.

Matt said...

Just me for who the "predictions 2022" link didn't work?

Nick Drew said...

Thanks, Matt - corrected now

Bill Quango MP said...

The first edition of ‘The Ecologist’ (1969) warned of the coming ice age. Caused mainly by too much food farming and too many people. It recommended the China, one child only, method for saving the planet. Every nation would introduce population de growth.

It also was very concerned about central heating and welfare payments. Suggesting that was keeping old people alive for far too long. All of the owners of the Ecologist wanted to head to a primitive, tribal, society, model.

Did they mean as that practiced by Cambodia communists in the 1970’s?
Something that caused the largest population ‘de growth’ percentage in all history? 30%-40% of the total population were killed between 1975-1979. 2.5 - 3.5 million people.
Another 2 million would certainly have perished, if the brutal, but not insane, Vietnamese Communists had not invaded the country to topple the Khmer Rouge

In true communist fashion, the khemer Rouge did admit that perhaps 2 million had died. Killed by the Vietnamese invasion.

Don’t recall much of that in The Good Life (1975)

Don Cox said...

I wonder if the person who wrote that article in The Ecologist is still alive, and whether he or she thinks they should be dead.


Nick Drew said...

When I were a 6th-former in the early '70s, & a proud member of the Environmental Action Group (or EnvoActoGroppo as we styled ourselves when we conducted a sit-in at the local sewage works, for reasons I can't recall: it was a 70's vibe), we solemnly watched two films:

one (starring Carl Sagan) majored on the greenhouse effect and global warming

the other film predicted global cooling. IIRC, this was to do with dust particles from industry, plus the whitening effect of aircraft contrails being painted across the whole sky, reflecting solar energy

boy, were we confused? So confused, we didn't even split into two factions! We were just ... puzzled

I think we all joined Keep Britain Tidy instead. It was a much easier sell, and the girls looked great in the tight T-shirts we were issued with. (No such thing as XXL in them days: the Fat Lady was a circus exhibit, not an everyday encounter)

Wildgoose said...

@Don Cox That is only applicable to aneutronic Hydrogen_Boron fusion which results in charged particles (i.e. electricity). I have donated money in the past towards its research. If the Bremsstrahlung (electromagnetic braking radiation) losses aren't too great then our energy needs will be solved permanently.

However. Hydrogen Boron fusion is even further away than Deuterium/Tritium fusion which is still nowhere near - it needs to be at least an order of magnitude more efficient to be viable in a commercial power plant.

On the other hand we could build Molten Salt Thorium powered fission reactors right now. Consume nuclear waste as a neutron source and we have easily accessible known thorium reserves for at least a thousand years.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush...

E-K said...


Per mile and per passenger, bicycles are a highly inefficient use of energy.

There may not be emissions at use but there certainly are in the paltry numbers of miles and loadings produced per calorie, which need carbon emissions and water to produce at source, ie lots of rice, which will soon be our staple diet along with the boiler suits to complement the gender neutral future.

My point.

Greenism is a cover (not denying global warming) for Credit Crunch 2 of which we are in the midst.

Our leaders have made catastrophic economic decisions (mainly outsourcing to China) and there is endemic Hedge Fund corruption and insider vibes emanating from Tory government.

They don't care if you aren't warm. They don't care if you have no pension. They don't care if you aren't free and they don't care if you have no freedom of movement or are hungry.

Both Lockdown and Greenism happen to be *for our own good* - meaning that getting poor is *for our own good.*

How convenient is that ? Especially seeing as one of the bum-grabbing rats is in The Jungle at this very moment having deserted the ship he, more than anyone, scuttled. Well, not quite, he didn't even have the guts or decency to resign that post and has tried to monkey-branch his way into a new career without loss of pay. He, the man who was loving the lockdown, that was forced on the rest of us (scrutinising every detail to make it so) and tried to kybosh the vaccine to extend the concealment of his affair too.

YES. He really is that nasty, shallow and sociopathic.

E-K said...


I always used to say a hand in a bush is always worth two birds.

If you can't have the one you want, want the one you're with.

E-K said...


Our people DID opt for population reduction, therefore carbon reduction. The Tories and Labour told us we couldn't have it and so started up mass immigration and the Tories turn out to be worst of the two.

They are generating false 'growth' and collapse while tipping off Hedge Fund mates about policy in advance.

jim said...

Sorry my predictions were no good. But I blame irrational politicians.

Moving on, I am looking forward? to the budget Thursday and the reaction of the markets. Leaves me pondering 'what's wrong with this country?'. Who is not pulling their weight - or p**ssing our resources up the wall.

Hard to blame the nurses or train drivers or posties. Or many of those earning in the £25K to £60K bracket. And probably those pulling down say £200K to £500K+ are worth their money to someone else someone would spot their scam. Wouldn't they?

I would put my microscope on those in the £80K to £180K bracket. Not so high as to be real movers and shakers but have blagged their way up to 'a position' but not necessarily a worthwhile one. Now what did you do to earn your corn last week Mr Raab?

Anonymous said...

It's all down to employers love of cheap labour hence mass immigration.

Of course the last thing an advanced modern society needs is cheap labour. Thanks to that the natives are exiting the cities and moving out to the sticks, and every village has a hundred new houses tacked on. My village has gone in 40 years from being full of locals to full of London refugees.

Unless you are in the Cotswolds or Dartmouth of course.

Sackerson said...

@Don Cox 7:30 pm: North Sea Oil bonanza for HMG analagous to giving banks money...

".. allow me to remind you of Sibley's Law. Giving capital to a bank (said that worldly banker, Nicholas Sibley) is like giving a gallon of beer to a drunk. You know what will become of it, but you can't know which wall he will choose."

- Christopher Fildes, Spectator magazine, 15 December 2007