Climate, the science, politics, economics and anything else

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  • This topic has 416 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 2 months ago by Clark.
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  • #77109 Reply

    Michael, I sense that you value British innovation.

    In the 1960s and ’70s, the British nuclear industry collaborated with the US Oak Ridge National Laboratory to design a power reactor to burn the UK stockpile of around 100 tonnes of plutonium, which we have no other way of getting rid of. Politics 🙁 – its funding was cut, whereas that of the nuclear subs and missiles was increased. Think where we could have been by now. Way ahead of its time; take a look:

    The Weinberg Foundation at

    #77113 Reply
    michael norton

    Clark, I am now going out to dig a pond.

    This site seems very clunky, I am on here a lot and I find it difficult, not exactly easy to use, especially notification.

    In the time of the Tudors, Graphite was made a strategic resource, probably a first for Britain. The story goes they coated the gun barrels and the canon balls this was to mean that the Royal Navy could knock out the Spanish or French because we had greater range. Probably not fully understanding, they were experimenting with Graphene.
    Rosalind Franklin was doing work on the structure of Graphite, when, I think, she moved on to study viruses?
    Two chaps, although not born here were given the Nobel prize for developing Graphene.
    Almost certainly, soon there will be Graphene windows, so if you can have Elon Musk solar roof tiles and Graphene windows, why not also solar tiled walls.
    New houses are to be fitted with connector boxes for battery cars.
    You do not need much imagination to understand that houses can be constructed to use very low levels of imported energy. Same with expansive business, like factories producing washing machines.

    How much longer will base-load be needed?

    #77129 Reply

    Graphene has been promising great things for a few years now. Sadly, no one can produce consistently pure graphene crystal structure sheets of any useful size yet except where it’s inordinately expensive at hundreds of thousands of dollars per gram. Silicon had issues that were overcome but graphene is required to be one molecule thick with a consistent crystal structure to do the magic it’s purported to do. We may well get there, there is a lot of investment, but we are not close yet.

    Michael, you keep praising solar energy. I keep repeating that it doesn’t work at night and doesn’t work well unless there is good unclouded sunshine. It’s effectively useless in northern Europe for most of the year (when we need and use the most energy) whilst being relatively expensive in terms of actual monetary cost and in terms of manufacturing the panels, disposing of them when they reach end of life and in the rare earth metals used in them as dopants. I’ve also pointed out that currently solar (which includes solar thermal) provides 0.6% of the UK’s total energy requirement. You haven’t addressed any of those points.

    #77142 Reply
    Pigeon English

    Amount of solar energy hitting the Earth is colossal so using it in theory makes more than sense but

    in reality things are not that great. I do not understand details about electricity transportation but according to one komentator, having massive solar plant in Sahara and transporting el. to Europe would not be that “easy” because of distance and losses it occurs and other issues. This explanation was in comment section on the youtube video on implication and impact if we covered part of Sahara in solar panels.I belive it is this video
    What seemed to me common sense turned out to be not that smart as I thought🥲, Our eco system is so complex that ordinary people have no idea what is good or counterproductive

    #77167 Reply
    michael norton

    Maybe not yet anywhere near cheap or plentiful for graphene solar but almost ready for structural building materials

    gram-scale bottom-up
    flash graphene synthesis

    #77176 Reply

    There are all sorts of technologies that look likely to help us next decade, or the decade after that. Nuclear and solar are both in this category; solar because, although it’s getting cheaper, more efficient and multiplying rapidly, as yet it’s expanding from a very small base, and nuclear because the technology was permitted to stagnate, and we seem unable to build installations fast enough these days.

    Unfortunately the emergency won’t pause right now just because we’ll have solutions some time soon. The obvious interim measure is to reduce our energy usage until our clean energy technologies catch up. But this requires global cooperation rather than the current fetish for competition and haggling over national quotas. The most developed nations are best placed to do this, and must lead by example.

    The British government can start by fulfilling its own building insulation commitments:

    All the most developed nations could institute job-swap and local resource schemes to minimise commuting and transport. But everywhere we look, government is dysfunctional and beholden to commercial profit motives and vested interests, so it’s going to take people power to change things.

    #77198 Reply
    michael norton


    The U.K. has ordered a security review into the planned China-linked takeover of a Welsh graphene firm.

    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has told the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate the takeover of Perpetuus by a firm called Taurus International and a Chinese academic.

    Mr Kwarteng issued the public intervention notice “on the public interest ground of national security”.

    The CMA has until 7 February next year to report on the planned move.

    Quote Kwasi Kwarteng “The U.K. is open for business, however foreign investment must not threaten our national security”

    Indeed if Graphite was made strategic in Tudor times, surely the development of Graphene techniques, should also be made strategic, if we are to really become Global Britain.

    #77205 Reply

    So Michael, you think that graphene could help with the global emissions crisis, but you think the UK government should have a stranglehold over its deployment? You criticise China for its rising emissions, but you think technology that could help should be kept from China? These are my questions about your arguments; please correct me if I’ve gained an erroneous impression.

    This isn’t about national security. With a third of the UK’s entire energy supplied through a single North Sea pipeline, the UK has no national security; a single well-placed depth charge could bring the UK to its knees. No, this is about money and trade wars.

    #77245 Reply
    michael norton

    in the land that is now to be known as the United Kingdom, much has been discovered, invented and developed but as we are all aware, much has been filched by the Americans.
    We should not let the Chinese Communist Regime steal any more of our developing technologies. I am aware they claim 3,000 patents for Graphene technologies. They will choke the World with their insatiability. Tricky Dicky has a lot to answer for and I do not mean Watergate.
    Desalination, most likely will become very important, Graphene may be one of the answers.
    A sprinkle of Graphene in concrete may be able to greatly increase the strength of concrete, thus reducing the volume of concrete needed, thus reducing the amount of CO2 put in our atmosphere.
    A sprinkle of Graphene make be able to strengthen steel, offering the chance to use thinner steel, thus reducing the amount of CO2 put in our atmosphere.
    A sprinkling of Graphene between sheets of ply, may offer the chance to have thinner ply or less sheets of ply to perform the same job, thus reducing how many trees need to be cut down, thus allowing trees to soak up and temporally store CO2 from out atmosphere.
    Super-thin film Graphene will allow electronic components to run using less electricity thus reducing the CO2 into our atmosphere. Lighter vehicles – less fuel needed and so on.

    #77250 Reply

    No country has any national security in an insecure biosphere.

    #77283 Reply

    China has over twenty times the population of the UK, twenty times as many people to do research and innovate. If the UK closes off its technology to China, China is likely to close off its technology to the UK. China will lose a twentieth of what it can do for itself, and the UK will lose twenty times what it can do for itself.

    Sounds like a very bad deal to me.

    #77293 Reply
    michael norton

    Armed police will be visible like never before in Scotland when world leaders arrive in Glasgow for COP26 at the end of October.

    The UN climate change conference is expected to see the biggest ever deployment of arqmed officers in Scotland.

    Police Scotland has 500 officers trained to use guns and they will be joined by many others from around the UK. The exact number is not being released but one former chief constable has suggested it could be about 1,000.

    A taste of things to come?
    Quite frightening.

    #77307 Reply

    COP26? More like Cops, 10,000.

    Yes it does sound quite scary. I’m planning to be there :/

    #77319 Reply
    michael norton

    Yippeedo for biofuels
    In 2020, Los Alamos National Laboratory reported that it would use corn ethanol to produce domestic fuel for Tomahawk missiles, which also does not require harsh acids to manufacture, compared to petroleum-based JP-10.
    At least Raytheon are being climatically responsible?

    #77329 Reply

    Globally, the US military is the biggest carbon dioxide emitter of any single organisation:

    July 23, 2015
    Elephant In The Room: The Pentagon’s Massive Carbon Footprint
    by Lisa Savage – Link

    Of course, most of the US wars and covert operations are for control of hydrocarbon resources – ‘cos you can’t run a military without liquid fuel. It’s Mad Max, but real life.

    #77364 Reply
    michael norton

    The reason I looked up Raytheon Tomahawk is massive coverage of the U.K. submarine fleet and bases. The Astute class are having their Tomahawk missiles upgraded to “V” specification. They are still building Astute boats. Faslane is not far from where COP26 will take place.
    Last night there was a programme on the T.V. about an Astute boat going into the Atlantic to “mind” an unnamed U.K. ballistic submarine. We were treated to how vital this was for the U.K. I had not known that the Royal Navy SSBNs have to be minded by a nuclear powered Astute, armed to the teeth submarine hunter at all times.
    Then there is the programme on Sundays about life on an SSBN.

    We are probably being buttered up for something?

    #77365 Reply
    michael norton

    The cost of Natural Gas has increased by fifteen times in sixteen months as the World Economy recovers from the pandemic.

    The United Kingdom imported more than half its gas supply in the first three months of this year, the industry has said. Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater told BBC Scotland it was time to turn to sustainable energy sources.

    Ms. Slater, whose appointment as a junior minister in Nicola Sturgeon’s government was approved in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, said oil and gas needed to be “phased out”.

    Her sentiments were echoed by Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon who said: “Burning fossil fuels is the key driver of climate breakdown and every extra barrel of oil and gas produced speeds us closer to greater devastation.

    On 29 May 2020 the cost of Natural Gas was 9.63 pence/therm, today it has risen to 165.00 pence/therm, so countries like Germany, must want this stuff desperately?

    #77376 Reply

    Michael, can you link the site you are taking your data on gas prices. As far as I can tell, it is the spot price that has risen so high, that is, the price per therm for gas to be immediately delivered (ie. Today, right now). It has been this high before 16 years ago. I want to see an historical chart of price. I think that, say, if you wanted gas delivered in 3 months it’s not that high.

    #77381 Reply
    michael norton

    Yes, ET.
    BBC webpage – Business, Market Data, Five Year Graph for Natural gas, last item as you roll down

    #77408 Reply
    michael norton

    (UK Natural Gas Futures)
    Inflation is rising, apparently some wages are rising. This massive increase in the cost of Natural Gas, will almost certainly open up more fracking in America.
    They were really expecting to boost LNG shipping to Europe.

    #77426 Reply

    I am struggling to find a chart that shows historical data going back to the early 2000s. I read that this is the highest price since 16 years ago so I want to see the historical data. I am also struggling to understand that market and the differences between spot prices and later delivery prices.

    #77435 Reply

    “I read that this is the highest price since 16 years ago…”

    So the price was this high, sixteen years ago, or it’d be “a record high”.

    The spot price for gas has done this sort of thing before, much more recently than sixteen years ago. In 2018, while everyone was distracted by the Skripal fiasco, the UK nearly ran out of gas:

    The reason is that, uniquely in Europe, the UK no longer has any long term gas storage. It used to; a depleted gas field at a place called Rough in the North Sea. Rough could hold enough gas to supply the UK for about a week, with no other sources of supply. But Blair’s mob sold it off, to Centrica Storage, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centrica the energy company.

    The contract specified that the new owners would maintain it, as a “strategic” facility of the UK, ie. as important as nuclear weapons. But they didn’t. Instead, Centrica used Rough for playing the market; they pumped it up when gas was cheap and sold it off again when the price was high – which shouldn’t be done with an old gas field, it should be kept pressurised, as a reserve for times of emergency. After a decade with no maintenance Rough fell into disrepair. Instead of suing Centrica for breach of contract, the government let them close it.

    The 2018 UK gas crisis went almost entirely unreported except by the Financial Times.

    #77438 Reply
    michael norton

    Algeria is or was a big gas producer. A large-scale LNG reception plant was commissioned on Canvey Island in 1964, this received LNG from Algeria.
    The In Amenas hostage crisis began on 16 January 2013, when al-Qaeda-linked terrorists affiliated with a brigade led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar took expat hostages at the Tigantourine gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria.

    Gas plants and distribution of gas is always going to be vulnerable to terror.

    #77439 Reply
    michael norton

    Algeria’s prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in a press conference on 21 January praised the decision by Algerian special forces to storm the site, adding that the aim of the kidnappers was to “blow up the gas plant”. He stressed that “The terrorists also shot some of the hostages in the head, killing them”.
    There has been quite a bit of trouble in Algeria/Libya/Tunisia/Egypt/Israel/Palestine/Lebanon/Iraq/Kuwait/Syria/Iran over the last few years, most of these places produce gas.
    I wonder if all the troubles of the last twenty years has made Natural Gas more expensive?

    #77441 Reply
    Pigeon English

    I found this chart which is in USD which might reflect global situation in general.
    It looks to me that there is steep rise from low bottom and we are not close to 2005 or 2006 hights.
    Statistics can be so abused (something just trebled)

    #77444 Reply
    Pigeon English

    BTW in next few weeks China is going to test small Thorium nuclear reactor

    #77452 Reply
    Pigeon English

    M N

    China is the biggest CO2 producer but it is also the biggest renewable producer.

    The following chart is interesting:

    #77457 Reply

    Pidgeon English, I have seen that chart but it relates to American futures and not UK or Netherlands. Generally it seems natural gas is a lot chaper in USA. Like oil there seems to be lots of different natural gases to buy and it relates to where you are buying it. I guess that reflects on how you get it there. It’s complex I am finding out.

    #77462 Reply

    The UK wholesale price of electricity just went through the roof, up by over a factor of thirty, though I expect this to be transitory. The UK has a lot of its modern gas-fired power stations offline for maintenance, and European gas storage is unusually low for this time of year. The UK is very vulnerable now; not only are we out of the EU and the mutual obligation treaties that protected us, we’re also at the arse end of the European supply networks. Things had better improve or we’re in for a rough ride this winter.

    #77466 Reply
    #77509 Reply
    michael norton

    Gareth Stace, the director general of trade group UK Steel, said the “extortionate prices” were forcing some steelmakers to suspend work during periods when electricity prices were at their highest. He called on the government and the industry regulator to “take action as this situation continues”.

    How come World prices for fuel have gone up so dramatically?

    The U.K. has turned some coal fired power stations back on because the cost of Natural Gas has skyrocketed.

    Global Britain ought to be capable of keeping the electricity running?

    #77513 Reply
    Pigeon English

    Where was I posting comments last 10 minutes
    This “Climate, the science, politics, economics and anything else” sections is not wide enough.

    Let’s start 10 more

    #77527 Reply
    michael norton

    A large remit indeed.
    Where to start. Chemistry, Geology, life and climate are linked.
    Some of the first organisms – Cyanobacteria – Stromatolites, Oxygenated the World.
    Take it from there.

    #77649 Reply
    michael norton

    The U.K. government is to hold urgent talks with representatives from the energy industry amid growing concern about a spike in wholesale natural gas prices.

    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will talk to gas suppliers and others on Saturday to hear how wide-reaching the impact of the surge in prices could be.

    High global demand, maintenance issues at some gas sites and lower solar and wind output are blamed for the rise.

    The high prices have already led two large UK fertiliser plants to close.

    Clark was right, we are in a bit of a pickle.
    However we do get Natural Gas from the North Sea, can’t they shift some more or import more from Norway?
    Very, very soon the North Sea Link should go live.

    #77726 Reply

    “can’t they shift some more or import more from Norway?”

    In the 2018 UK gas crisis, we were drawing gas from Norway so fast that production had to be reduced to avoid causing earthquakes.

    #77727 Reply

    ET, are you still here? I’ve remembered some more problems with nuclear.

    #77740 Reply
    michael norton

    In the U.K. we are running out of Methane, CO2 and Electricity and it has not rained much, it is from rain we get our water.
    The British Meat Processors Association has now warned that the industry will only be able to continue for two weeks at most before stocks of CO2 run out. You could not make this up. First the Green People tell you Carbon dioxide is the Devil incarnate, now we will run out of food if we don’t get more Carbon dioxide.
    Then we were told Methane is bad because after you burn it Carbon dioxide is produced or if Methane escapes to the atmosphere it will eventually break down to Carbon dioxide.
    Is this the best Global Britain can manage?

    #77741 Reply
    michael norton

    As well as the food and drink industries, CO2 from the plants is used by hospitals and the nuclear power industry.

    So, no fizzy drinks, no beer, no cheap wine, no frozen food, no chicken, no pork and we may have to turn off the reactors.
    I blame the French.

    #77752 Reply

    Michael! 😀

    Think of CO2 like a genie. Very useful until you can’t get it back into its bottle 😀

    #77762 Reply

    “ET, are you still here?”

    Yes, I am. Premeptively, I’ll state I know there are many problems with nuclear. Right now and in the forseeable short term (10–20 years) it’s the only reliable, scalable source of CO2-free energy and only electricity at that. Electrcity is only a part of the total energy we currently use and we need to transition heating homes and businesses and vehicle engines, both of which use far more total energy than our total electricity output, to using electricity.

    “This “Climate, the science, politics, economics and anything else” sections is not wide enough.”
    “A large remit indeed.”

    I apologise. My intention was to create a topic where people could debate the issues and hopefully give us all some greater insight.

    “if Methane escapes to the atmosphere it will eventually break down to Carbon dioxide.”

    It’s not only that Michael, Methane itself is a far more potent green house gas than CO2, 28–84 times depending on your timescale (it’s complicated). How Potent Is Methane?. The leaking of methane itself is a problem even before it breaks down.

    I see an article in the Guardian today “Majority of UK’s small energy suppliers could be left to collapse this winter.”

    “By the end of winter the industry may shrink to as few as 10 energy suppliers, according to analysis from experts at Baringa Partners for the Times, from about 70 suppliers at the start of the year.”

    I don’t know how relaible that assessment is but it makes me think some companies are going to benefit from this crisis. Which makes my conspiracy theorist self wonder if it were not designed to do so and if not so, is the response designed to do so.

    I want to note, I am not against solar and wind or other renewables. They will surely have a significant role to play. How significant is the question and where should we be putting resource to reduce emissions as effectively and quickly as possible.

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