Climate, the science, politics, economics and anything else

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  • #78750 Reply
    Pigeon English

    what you mean by sky rocketing energy prices in EU compared by skyrocketing in UK?
    Or you just notice/exaggerate EU problems and ignore UK.
    Engaging with you is waste of time!

    ET & Clark

    I will ignore (misunderstood) original purpose of this forum and will post anything to do with climate or politics or economics on this thread.

    #78759 Reply

    Pidgeon English, it is the science, politics and economics as those relate to or surrounding the climate debate/global climate change etc I was trying to refer to in the title and obviously didn’t do a good job :D. Or maybe we are just getting our wires crossed. I was hoping to learn something from others, good sources of information, different angles an so on……..

    Btw, what has happened to SA?

    #78762 Reply
    michael norton

    O.K. some are saying that most problems are caused by Brexit, others say it is because of pandemic or both.
    The price of Brent Crude is the same for all, it is the traded price. However, individual governments can add tax to the cost of fuel.
    However, the cost of Natural Gas has increased by twenty five time in eighteen months. That is not because of Brexit. If one thing has made it skyrocket, it is more likely to be the once in one hundred years pandemic. But underlying everything is the global increase in human population. Richer people want to use more power. Other people aspire to becoming richer and using power. If I could try to put my finger on it, I would say it is the people of Asia becoming richer and wanting more power. If we look at China, the individual people have become richer, so that means they come to desire more stuff, more stuff needs more energy. Same with India. Are we to guess that there is a finite amount of fuel?

    Maybe the cost of Natural Gas, will come down a little, in the medium term, if the U.S.A. resume fracking and Nord Stream Two flows reliably. However, the problem will resume.
    Ever more people, wanting ever more stuff and ever more power.

    #78808 Reply

    Michael norton, Oct 4, 19:36 (previous page):

    “too much demand or not enough energy?”

    Not enough gas. I don’t think energy demand has risen above pre-pandemic levels. Gas flow from Russia is down while Russia refills its storage ahead of winter, but Russian storage should be full this time of year, so it looks like Russia could be running into production problems, indicating depletion of reserves. European storage is also low for the time of year. The UK gave up on storage, so we’re up shit creak and we threw our paddle overboard in 2016.

    The world could have just passed global Peak Gas, in which case, humanity is in deep shit.

    #78809 Reply

    Europe has a gas shortage problem and their gas prices are way up, but it’s twice as bad in the UK because Blair’s mob sold off our long term storage and Cameron / May’s mob let Centrica Storage get away with not repairing the facility, in breach of their contract.

    Michael – “That is not because of Brexit.”

    The even higher prices in the UK are partly to do with Brexit because when the UK was in the EU, treaty obligations required our EU partners to supplement our gas if we ran short – though the UK was in breach of its obligations by letting UK storage fall to ruin – all EU nations are required to maintain a long-term gas reserve.

    These economics are all related to climate change because now everyone has insufficient gas, they’re burning more coal instead, which releases over twice as much carbon dioxide.

    #78810 Reply

    With UK gas costing the equivalent of $230 per barrel of oil (typically about $70, and gas is usually cheaper) I think this just about sums up our predicament:

    Yes that really is the UK Prime Minister’s Twitter account.

    #78838 Reply
    michael norton

    Mrs. Hilda Thatcher went for “The North Sea Dash For Gas”. This had, for her, the added bonus of stiffing the coal unions.
    Being a chemist, she thought it would be cheaper and less damaging, if we transitioned away from Big Coal into using North Sea Gas (essentially Methane) that at one time was just flared off.
    So, in the U.K. we started winding down our indigenous coal industry and made an indigenous Natural Gas Industry. So our base line electricity feedstock became North Sea Gas, rather than British Coal.
    The North Sea Gas also became a feedstock for many other chemical industries, including fertiliser. One of the consequences was mass layoffs in the coal, coking and steel industries. No more gasometer construction, less coal and less steel needed, more layoffs.
    Welcome in mass unemployment and many pissed off people.

    #78850 Reply

    Michael – “So our base line electricity feedstock became North Sea Gas, rather than British Coal.”

    That didn’t happen until later, under Blair, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. After Thatcher decimated the UK coal industry Britain continued mostly on imported coal, and new US-licensed pressurised water nuclear reactors.

    #78856 Reply
    michael norton

    What is now happening in Europe, partly because of rocketing fuel prices, is return to inflation and that means Interest Rates will go up. How could the price of Natural Gas go up 32 times in eighteen months? It just does not seem realistic, could part of the reason be the abandonment by countries of both Coal and Nuclear, simultaneously?
    Take Germany, they are divesting themselves of both Coal and Nuclear, that is why Nord Stream Two is going from Russia to Germany, they wish to use Methane as their house heating and also for Electricity Base Load. However not everyone has the money to get Nord Stream to their door. What do the poorer countries/people do, freeze to death, this Winter?

    #78853 Reply
    michael norton

    (Future price of) Natural Gas is more than 32 times what it was eighteen months ago.

    “An underpinning factor in the dash for gas was the recent development of North Sea gas.
    In 1990, gas turbine power stations made up 5% of the UK’s generating capacity. By 2002, the new CCGT power stations made up 28% UK generating capacity; gas turbines accounted for a further 2%. It is estimated the Dash for Gas cost £11bn.”

    The conservative government was in power from 11 February 1975 till 2 May 1997.

    #78877 Reply
    Pigeon English


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

    #78860 Reply
    michael norton

    Things have to go together.
    For example in England, the Bank of England had to be put in place. This allowed virtually unlimited borrowing, the freeing up of money.
    There had to be an enthusiastic scientific base, there was. Then there had to be the Agrarian Revolution. Agriculture had to first become efficient, so less human bodies were needed. Transport needed to be made much easier, hence the development of the canal system.
    Without all these prerequisites, the Industrial Revolution would not have happened, first, in the U.K.

    Natural Gas for Electricity Base Load.

    The desire to kill the coal industry.
    The discovery of North Sea Oil & Natural Gas.
    Natural Gas was at first, a waste product. In industry, they always find a profitable way of utilizing waste products.
    The Methane had to be cheap enough to change power in the U.K.

    All these things came together.
    The U.K. Continental Shelf Act came into force in May 1964. The Three-Day Week of 1974, was what helped to set this transission in motion.

    #78863 Reply
    Pigeon English

    MN 78853

    Where did you get this 32 times more than 18 months ago(April 2020)?
    It sounds outrageous or hard to believe. Triple quadrouple or whatever yes but 32X

    #78887 Reply
    michael norton

    29 May 2020 it was 9.63 pence / therm

    currently it is 266.41 pence / therm
    only 27 times but was more earlier today.

    #78895 Reply
    michael norton

    RUSSIA to the Rescue

    “U.K. wholesale gas prices hit a record high before falling after RUSSIA said it was boosting supplies to Europe.

    Russia President Vladimir Putin appeared to calm the market after gas prices had risen by 37% in 24 hours to trade at 400p per therm on Wednesday.”

    Remember that a few years ago, Mr. Putin said ” The Future is Methane”

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by modbot.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by modbot.
    #78900 Reply
    michael norton

    “As the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is almost finished, the Saint Petersburg-based company believes that it would be much more profitable to deliver gas to Europe through the new pipeline system directly from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea rather than using old transit route via Ukraine, Putin said.

    The president added that he is aware that, according to Gazprom’s calculations, it would reduce CO2 emissions from gas transit and would be around $3 billion cheaper per year. However, Putin believes that honoring long-term commitments is more important than quick financial gain.”


    so it would seem to amount to win, win for Russia.
    That Putin is the Ultimate Stratagest.

    #78916 Reply

    Pigeon English, michael’s about right, try this chart:

    Michael, thanks for the correction; considering the time scale, the conversion to electricity generation by gas must have started under the Conservatives. Blair’s lot continued and expanded it, and rolled out the gas boilers in homes though. Maybe British Gas should never have been privatised?

    “What do the poorer countries/people do, freeze to death, this Winter?”

    How about we Insulate Britain? It’d stop those protesters from blocking the motorways too.

    But that’s too slow, it’s too late for this winter. Many deaths from freezing can be avoided if more people congregate in fewer buildings.

    #78935 Reply
    michael norton

    “Energy bills could rise by hundreds of pounds”

    On Radio Four just now they claimed that household gas bills would probably rise by four hundred pounds.

    It seems, that just with Mr. Putin saying he will look at the possibility of increasing Natural Gas to Europe, has started to calm the market.

    #78949 Reply
    michael norton

    Mr. Putin has claimed by using the new pipeline directly from Russia to Germany, Carbon waste will be reduced, over increased pumping via old infrastructure passing through Ukraine.
    However he will allow the present gas flow from Russia, via Ukraine to continue, so as to not upset Ukraine, too much but he does not see increase of flow through Ukraine, without new infrastructure. Putin claims there is only a small difference between gas production and sales, he thinks the current problems are mostly speculation. They are already supplying Europe with slightly more than last year.
    What he has not claimed, is that gas flow from Russia to Europe is back up to pre-pandemic levels?

    #78951 Reply

    Natural gas – understanding the massive variations in demand:

    “We often think of gas as balancing intermittent renewables, and sure it can do that. But its chief function in many modern economies is to manage seasonal variations in demand. And these can be huge.”

    In this thread, note the graph comparing UK demand for natural gas, which varies by a factor of 4, against demand for electricity, varying by less than a factor of 2.

    #78961 Reply
    michael norton

    “Environmental group Greenpeace has lost its case against the UK government over a North Sea oil field permit.

    Permission to drill the Vorlich site off Aberdeen was given to BP in 2018.

    Greenpeace argued in Scotland’s highest civil court there had been “a myriad of failures in the public consultation” and the permit did not consider the climate impacts of burning fossil fuel.

    The Court of Session ruling means operations will continue at the field. Greenpeace plans to appeal.

    The U.K. government welcomed the outcome.”

    “Ruth Crawford QC for Greenpeace said UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had been “deprived” of information about the environmental impact of the development.

    Miss. Crawford said Greenpeace wanted proper public participation in important developments such as the Vorlich”

    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.

    #78985 Reply
    Pigeon English

    While the UK is 50% self sufficient in gas, storage of gas is bad.
    In the market you use reserves to mitigate shortage and create “extra supply”.
    In the following link there is a chart with storage capacity:

    Nevertheless, someone is speculating big time!

    Is it Russia, to put pressure on Germany and EU to approve/certify North stream 2?
    It is completed but not “certified” OR
    is everyone counting that when NS2 gets done, gas will be even cheaper and not buying reserves on “high price”?

    #78994 Reply
    Pigeon English

    About 20% of UK gas imports are LNG.
    The biggest LNG importers are Japan, China and other Asian countries.
    The supply of LNG is stable if not increased, so there is no justification for such a massive increase!

    #78999 Reply

    ET, you started this thread with a concern that renewable electricity generation would use too much land area. Here’s a possible solution – agrivoltaics; using spaced solar panels to help protect certain crops from wind, storms and excess solar heat:

    Solar Panels Plus Farming? Agrivoltaics Explained – YouTube, 12:52.

    That video references another by Just Have a Think which I haven’t yet watched.

    #79011 Reply
    Pigeon English


    “Undecided”and “Just have a think” always make me excited

    #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:

    Sustainable Means Bunkty to Me

    Can Economic Growth Last?

    Galactic-Scale Energy

    #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.

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