Climate, the science, politics, economics and anything else

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  • This topic has 417 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 6 months ago by Clark.
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  • #79012 Reply

      Michael norton, Oct 7, 14:44

      “Too useful, at the moment to leave in the ground.oilfield. We are running out of energy; just look at people waiting for diesel at fuel stations.”

      There isn’t a global shortage of petrol and diesel like there is for natural gas; it’s just the UK having delivery problems.

      #79014 Reply
      Pigeon English

        Brexit dividend. Pigs culling!
        Industry experts said the carcasses would most likely be turned into biodiesel and other non-food products, because they cannot be classed as fit for consumption.
        Can’t the Army send cooks to slaughterhouses to help slaughter pigs or pay idle Brexiters to do it?

        #79036 Reply
        michael norton

          “Beijing has reportedly ordered China’s coal mines to boost output as an energy shortage across the country has seen millions of homes and businesses hit by power cuts in recent weeks.

          Three major coal-producing provinces have pledged to increase production, Chinese news agency Caixin said.

          Several provinces across the country have been suffering from blackouts since the middle of last month.

          Demand for electricity is soaring as the country emerges from lockdowns.

          North China’s Inner Mongolia region has told more than 70 mines to boost annual output capacity by nearly 100 million tonnes, according to the Reuters news agency, citing a government official and coal traders.

          The area is the country’s second-largest producer of coal.”

          Looks like they do not give two monkeys for the climate emergency, no doubt they will not bother coming to Glasgow.

          #79037 Reply

            Pigeon English, channels like Just Have a Think and Undecided show that there are solutions to the energy / emissions crises, and that more solutions are emerging and being developed all the time. The problem is that finding the optimum balance of solutions lies in the future, but the crisis is now, and indeed has been getting worse for decades.

            There is an ideological conflict about how to address this. The ‘socialist’ approach is that governments should choose certain solutions, and fund and subsidise them.

            The ‘capitalist’ argument is a bit more complicated because it is split between letting market forces determine how much each solution gets funded, and denying that the problems exist or matter at all, with an added hypocrisy that governments already fund, subsidise and empower the industries that are worsening the problems.

            I got cynical about the capitalist-socialist conflict very early in my life because one seemed to boil down to “more money for the rich” and the other to “more money for the poor”, whereas neither was asking whether the pursuit of more money might itself be a fundamental problem. Simplistic thinking on my part, but I was only in my mid teens. But I think I was onto something. Money plays no part in nature; it has no physical existence, and affects nature only via its massive influence upon human behaviour.

            Thanks to Robert Persig’s books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila, I started to think more in terms of values, and how they can be organised into groups and hierarchies. It now seems to me that politics needs to balance three kinds of values, which can be grouped conveniently as Red, Green and Blue. With a nicely satisfying symbolism, these also happen to be the primary colours of light as discriminated by normal human eyes.

            Blue values are the ‘right wing’ values that are based upon individuals, such as personal freedom, individual ownership, entrepreneurship and the right to organise other people to help develop a personal idea or goal, etc.

            Red values are the ‘left wing’ values that are predominantly social, such as community, collective ownership, mutual support, and cooperation towards shared goals etc.

            Green values are politically the most recent; the realisation that both individuals and communities have developed within a natural environment upon which we are dependent and which we disrupt at our peril.

            Clearly, all three sets of values are interdependent in that fully maximising any one would completely negate the other two, so some adaptation of Spreng’s Triangle would seem applicable.

            Considering Spreng’s Triangle with its original parameters: we need to cut both emissions and energy consumption, to buy the time we need in which to develop more knowledge. So we should economise now. The longer this is left the harder we’ll need to economise, or the worse the disaster we’ll precipitate.

            #79039 Reply
            michael norton


              India is running out of COAL.
              India is running out of electricity.
              Inflation is baked in. Some say India has overtaken the U.K. in GDP to become the 5th largest World Economy.
              The whole World seems to be short of energy.
              All growth requires more energy.
              Maybe the answer is less growth?


              #79041 Reply
              michael norton

                Let us see if this works.

                America had been a net importer of Carbon. Somebody invented Fracking.
                America started Fracking like crazy for Oil and Gas.
                America started to export LNG.
                Suddenly the arse dropped out of the Natural Gas market, there was too much of it coming to market, then the pandemic hit.
                Requirement for fuel subsided.
                Now the World is warming up from covid, the World needs power, any power.
                The Fracking was shut down as uneconomic, so now Methane has gone through the roof, Coal is back in business, everyone wants Coal because it is cheaper than gas.
                Then there is not enough Coal and the price of Coal goes through the roof.

                #79060 Reply

                  There can’t be a shortage of coal to extract; from memory, the known reserves far outstrip oil and gas combined – like, centuries’ worth. India must have a shortage of available coal. The trouble is, if it gets burned, our world will undoubtedly cook.

                  Fracking always struck me as scraping the bottom of a barrel. When you have to fracture the very ground beneath your feet to squeeze some more gas out, you must be getting desperate.

                  Yes, “economic growth” (whatever that is) has reached its limits, at least in its current form – the following all link each other:




                  #79070 Reply
                  Ginger Ninja

                    Rambling Two Penneth:

                    There’s an awful lot of methane being generated by households and businesses in the form of food waste. Rather than send it to the dump we could be sending it to ‘methane digesters’ for electricity/gas generation or to ‘Black soldier fly’ farms (converting it to animal feed.)

                    I’m wondering if it would be economically viable to collect this from people’s doorsteps in a similar way to how milk bottles used to be collected. People would leave their waste on the doorstep in a sealed, twist top, recycled-plastic bin/bucket that could be hoovered out daily(ish) by the waste-dude.

                    We connect a series of hydrogen tanks/generators to wind-farms to capture the free wind supplied that can’t go to the grid. Various supply vehicles could be powered in this manner including waste-dude’s “waste-float”. Black-soldier-fly turned to feed could be delivered by hydrogen-cell-powered river barges since it stores well it’s perfect for slow moving deliveries.

                    #79073 Reply
                    michael norton

                      When I was at school, it was said there was enough coal in Britain to last for three hundred years, at the rate we were consuming it, then. We now only burn a fraction of coal that we did, so if we want virtually unlimited fuel, start digging, in the U.K. for coal.
                      But we have been told coal is bad, so we moved to clean Methane from the North Sea, Boris Johnson is going to build back better with British busses running on Hydrogen manufactured from Methane, is he a lunatic. How could that ever be economic? Now the mad nuclear lobby is saying, again, it is now time for new nuclear, where does the poison go, nobody knows. Use battery cars to solve the crisis says Elon Musk but he gets his Lithium from the Atacama and surrounding dry lands, all the water for hundreds of miles is needed to process the minerals, then there is the dust, ordinary peasants, who will make nothing out of it will be turned off their land.

                      #79076 Reply
                      Ginger Ninja

                        M.N. There’s no point converting methane to hydrogen unless you really need to. Methane can power Sterling engines if electricity generation is the goal. Hydrogen has its uses though, in a lot of cases it’s a better fit than lithium powered batteries.

                        Anyway on with spewing forth the penneth:

                        If anyone is interested, there are some great videos regarding greener farming methods on youtube by the Savanna Institute, Richard Perkins, the late Martin Wolfe (RIP) and Joel Salatin. If we were to adopt the greener methods we’d use less fossil fuels, fertilizers and fungicides, making for a healthier more productive (in some cases) food chain.

                        In all honesty I’ve become a right Debbie Downer of late when it comes to managing the environment etc. The sticking point is the US and their ruthless, money-grabbing hegemony. They seem more concerned with keeping the competition down than they do of making any real progress in the field of climate change.

                        #79085 Reply
                        michael norton

                          Ithaca Have one third and B.P. have two thirds of the Vorlich site off Aberdeen. Close up to the sea border with Norway.
                          They have pushed this through, in the teeth of the pandemic.

                          #79118 Reply

                            Ginger Ninja:

                            “The sticking point is the US and their ruthless, money-grabbing hegemony. They seem more concerned with keeping the competition down than they do of making any real progress in the field of climate change.”

                            I very much agree. The US has both the highest energy use and highest emissions per head of population by far, and it repeatedly devastates other countries or subverts their governments to seize control of their hydrocarbon reserves, to turn into yet more emissions. The highest-emitting, most energy-hungry sector of the US is the very military used to accomplish this, and it is exempt from declaring its emissions.

                            Madness. Sheer insanity. Yet the complicit “news” media forever point their finger at Russia, and especially China.

                            #79142 Reply
                            michael norton

                              “Nevertheless, someone is speculating big time!”

                              Pigeon English

                              “are you sure Natural gas price went 32 times since April 2020?”

                              The Americans and the Chinese have both been quite on this, they are the two BIG culprits in energy use.

                              This is moist likely about repositioning.
                              Switching for geopolitical advancement or at least so you not retreat – too much.

                              The U.S.A. was a net importer of energy, they punished Venezuela for not letting the U.S.A. control or buy cheaper, their massive oil deposits, since then Venezuela has become a basket case.

                              #79146 Reply
                              michael norton

                                U.S.A. Fracking

                                “An imbalance in the supply-demand dynamics for the oil and gas produced by hydraulic fracturing in the Permian Basin of west Texas is an increasing challenge for the local industry, as well as a growing impact to the environment. In 2018, so much excess natural gas was produced with oil that “prices turned negative” and wasteful flaring increased to a record 400 million cubic feet per day. By Q3 of 2019, the wasted gas from this region alone, almost doubled to 750 million cubic feet per day”


                                “Proponents of hydraulic fracturing touted its potential to make the United States the world’s largest oil producer and make it an energy leader, a feat it achieved in November 2012 having already surpassed Russia as the world’s leading gas producer. Proponents say that hydraulic fracturing would give the United States energy independence.”

                                So a couple of years ago, there was not a fuel shortage.

                                Looks like covid stopped the fracking.

                                Maybe if covid calms down, fracking will be kick-started in the U.S.A.
                                This is one of the reasons Putin wants an early opening of Nord Stream Two with long contracts, his best option.

                                #79154 Reply
                                michael norton


                                  H.G.V. drivers deliver stuff. As Clark has suggested, if there is a tightness in availability of drivers, then drivers catch covid or are self isolating because of covid, or new drivers cannot be buddied up with experienced drivers because of covid, then there will be an operational shortage of drivers. Or new drivers can not take an H.G.V. drivers test because of covid. Or the Swansea lot do not issue new licenses because of covid there will be big problems.
                                  I also think it is the delivery of Natural Gas, world wide that is a problem caused by the pandemic.
                                  Things should shake down, in a year or two.

                                  #79155 Reply
                                  michael norton

                                    Russia is going to step up Natural Gas exports to Europe.

                                    “Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom has raised its forecast for gas export prices in 2021 and called for changes to the gas pricing mechanism in Europe to avoid further crises.”

                                    #79172 Reply

                                      Electricity went off all over Lebanon yesterday. All I have heard is that this is due to a shortage of fuel oil. Rolling electricity blackouts on the Indian subcontinent are being caused by a shortage of coal.

                                      “Maybe if covid calms down, fracking will be kick-started in the U.S.A. […] Things should shake down, in a year or two.”

                                      But we don’t have “a year or two”. All of humanity desperately need to reduce burning of all fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. We need to at least halve emissions in the next ten years; we daren’t try to get back to “normal” in the next year or two, or we’ll have only eight years left. We have to transition to a post-combustion industrial strategy, or nature will collapse our civilisation in the hardest way imaginable:

                                      IPCC report 2021Code Red for Humanity

                                      We have to find ways to make less go further, by cutting back on everything unnecessary, and fairly sharing necessities. Why, in a fuel shortage, has a formation of four US fighter jets started circling my house once a week, sweeping the land as they work their way north? I hear and see them pass three times before their sweep pattern takes them too far away. This lunacy is new, and obviously counter-productive.

                                      #79219 Reply
                                      michael norton

                                        Climate cutting up rough in China.

                                        “Shanxi is a major coal producing province and the Chinese government was forced to halt operations at mines and chemical factories as a result of the rain.

                                        China is already facing an energy shortage which has caused power cuts. The government has been limiting electricity usage at ports and factories.

                                        The local government said it has suspended output at 60 coal mines, 372 non-coal mines and 14 dangerous chemical factories in the province.

                                        Operations had already been stopped at 27 other coal mines on October 4th.”


                                        Millions displaced because of massive rains and floods. Rainfall seven times higher than normal.

                                        #79474 Reply

                                          Here’s a very detailed article I find convincing, and it helps explain a lot. It’s by Vitaly Yermakov, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, though it is his personal ‘comment’ and not necessarily the position of the Institute as a whole:


                                          The main points as I see them are that the major ‘supergiant’ Russian gas fields first tapped in the Soviet era are in terminal decline due to depletion; their output has fallen and cannot be increased. Other supergiant fields in Russia have started to be tapped, but they are further north and more remote, in colder, more challenging conditions. This means that the gas has to be pumped further, and the infrastructure to link into existing southern pipelines to Europe is still being expanded. From the conclusion:

                                          – The big bounce in Russian gas production in 2021 has proven to be insufficient to meet the simultaneous spikes in demand at home and abroad. Russian gas output has risen robustly and has been close to its maximum productive capacities but the necessity to fill the depleted domestic gas storage facilities in [the third quarter of] 2021 limited the availability of Russian gas for Europe when it was most needed. The market tightness in Europe stems from a combination of demand-side factors such as weather and economic recovery, alongside supply-side factors including declining indigenous European gas production and reduced supply from other exporters of gas to Europe (except for Algeria), including [liquefied natural gas].

                                          – Russia is not running out gas and its prolific gas reserves allow Russia to meet much higher overall demand, but this requires time, money, and contractual assurances of offtake. In addition, the geography of Russia’s future spare productive capacity has changed: a lot of new reserves are available and ready for development on the Yamal peninsula, whereas legacy production in the NPT (the old Soviet-era fields) is declining. This tectonic shift in Russia’s production base has been accompanied by a change in the configuration of the gas transportation system and gas flows within Russia and abroad. And given the regulatory uncertainty around utilization rates on Nord Stream 2, Gazprom seems to be reluctant to add new productive capacities on the Yamal Peninsula proactively for fear of idling the investments.
                                          – Will 2021 with its energy insecurity and record gas prices in Europe be a harbinger of things to come? Will higher gas prices lead European power plants to switch back to coal, resulting in a setback for European climate policies? Or will 2021 have been a perfect storm that will not be repeated? To be sure, the start-up of Nord Stream 2 could lead to higher Russian gas flows into Europe if the regulatory hurdles are overcome, but the ramp up of flows along this line is going to take time and the initial volumes this year, as Gazprom indicated, cannot exceed around 5 Bcm, even if Gazprom receives all necessary regulatory approvals in record time. This is not sufficient to turn the tide, and the fundamentals indicate extremely tight gas markets in Europe this winter.

                                          #79485 Reply
                                          Pigeon English


                                            I would like to add few more things

                                            Russia wanted to have long time contracts but Eu forced them to provide part of gas supply on short term/Spot market (more competitive). Gazprom is honouring it’s contracts but will not provide extra gas to Spot market until they fill up their own reserves.

                                            Were gas providers speculating on Spot market and not getting long term(safer but more expensive) deals?

                                            #79491 Reply

                                              Pigeon English #79485:

                                              “Russia wanted to have long time contracts…”

                                              Yes, from the article: [Russia’s] prolific gas reserves allow Russia to meet much higher overall demand, but this requires time, money, and contractual assurances of offtake. […] Gazprom seems to be reluctant to add new productive capacities on the Yamal Peninsula proactively for fear of idling the investments.”

                                              “…but Eu forced them to provide part of gas supply on short term/Spot market (more competitive).”

                                              Yes, the EU’s reserves are depleted so the EU can no longer produce fast enough to meet its own peak demand in winter. But the EU wants to have its cake and eat it – it wants to be able to rely on gas from Russia, but also buy from elsewhere if that’s cheaper.

                                              That’s not fair, because to supply the EU Russian suppliers need to drill more wells and construct more pipelines. The EU should recognise this and either negotiate a contract that’s long enough to cover construction of the new infrastructure, or offer to help construct it.

                                              “Gazprom is honouring it’s contracts but will not provide extra gas to Spot market until they fill up their own reserves”

                                              I absolutely don’t blame them; it gets bloody cold in Russia! And Gazprom is Russia’s state gas company; its first responsibility is to Russians.

                                              “Were gas providers speculating on Spot market and not getting long term (safer but more expensive) deals?”

                                              I would have thought so, but I know nothing about markets. But try the hashtag #ONGT on Twitter; I think that stands for “Organisation of Natural Gas Tweeters”. A lot of them seem very excited about making lots of money. I find that very distasteful because people’s lives depend upon gas to keep warm, to generate electricity, and to make fertiliser – and to avoid burning more coal with its higher emissions.

                                              #79496 Reply

                                                ET, and everyone – but especially ET,

                                                here’s a pre-print I think you should look at. From the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey Team (GOES), Roslin Innovation Centre, The University of Edinburgh:

                                                Climate regulating ocean plants and animals are being destroyed by toxic chemicals and plastics, accelerating our path towards ocean pH 7.95 in 25 years which will devastate humanity.

                                                Abstract etc:


                                                Full article

                                                #79536 Reply
                                                michael norton

                                                  Hello Clark, I can not see China turning up at Glasgow for them to be told stop burning ever more coal.
                                                  Australia Prime minister is not likely to show as Australia mines coal to sell to India and China.
                                                  Mr. Putin said a long time ago, the Future is Methane, he is laughing at Europe as there has been almost record low wind, this year. He thinks Europe should be burning Russian Methane.
                                                  The new Prime minister of Norway, is going to go flat out in the Arctic to exploit Natural Gas fields. Melkøya Island, near Hammerfest, Finnmark, is going to be the LNG teminal/processing island for the Northern Norway Gas Fields, it is ready to go flat out.

                                                  #79538 Reply
                                                  michael norton

                                                    I am not actually sure if Europe’s most Northerly LNG plant is in operation or not, in Two Thousand and Twenty there was a big fire on the island and they had to shut the gas processing down. This was the most expensive project of any kind undertaken by the Nation of Norway, the gas pipeline and the processing plant on the island and the tunnel to Hammerfest.

                                                    “The LNG plant was shut down in accordance with emergency routines, the company informs.

                                                    Fire crew spray water on the plant from boats on the water and from shore. Also, other parts of the plant, not visibly harmed by the fire, is sprayed with water, likely to avoid overheating at other vital parts containing highly flammable natural gas.

                                                    The police first said there is a risk of the fire being spread, but wrote in an update tweet early evening that the danger of fire spreading is reduced.

                                                    Hammerfest LNG started production in 2007 and process gas from the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. The LNG is then shipped to markets in Europe and Asia.”


                                                    Snøhvit, Albatross and Askeladden are a few miles North of Hammerfest, in what is known as the Norwegian Barents Sea.

                                                    The other country sharing this sea is Russia.
                                                    The New Prime minister of Norway, took on the job, today.

                                                    #79544 Reply

                                                      Michael norton

                                                      “Mr. Putin said a long time ago, the Future is Methane, he is laughing at Europe as there has been almost record low wind, this year. He thinks Europe should be burning Russian Methane.”

                                                      That matter is addressed in considerable detail above. It’s as if you’re not reading other people’s comments. “Mr. Putin”, or rather the Russian government and Gazprom, are reluctant to sell more gas to the EU until Russian storage is full. Beyond that, they want firm contracts to fund long-term infrastructure expansion because their old gas fields are in terminal decline and their new fields in the north will need extra pipelines southwards in order to meet European demand.

                                                      I fully expect China to be represented at COP26 in Glasgow. China leads the world in renewable energy, and I expect they will negotiate hard for other countries especially the US to match their investment. If you read (or even just skim, as I did) the article I linked above, by a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, you’ll see that Russia is looking to supply China with natural gas, so I expect that China is planning to phase out its coal generation like almost everywhere else has been doing.

                                                      China is huge and its internal politics are complicated. The provincial governments don’t always enforce the policies of the national government. It is some of the provincial governments that are continuing to increase coal consumption, in opposition to the national government’s policy.

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