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  • #97979 Reply

      “Madness is doing its rounds, it is as if all knowledge and intelligence has been sucked out of people.”

      Thanks michael; I really appreciate that comment. I see the error of my ways now. From whom or where should I attempt to suck my knowledge and intelligence back?

      #97997 Reply
      michael norton

        one third to one quarter of the entire production of electricity of Belgium would be needed just to run their Ghent blast furnaces, if they stopped using coal and instead used electricity.


        Does not sound that realistic?

        #97998 Reply
        michael norton

          Clark, currently about 2/3 of the world’s electricity is produced using fossil fuels, mainly coal.
          Germany has moved back to burning brown coal, apparently the worse type of coal.
          Germany is a modern country with a long history of steel making and chemical engineering, they are back sliding. The German economy is going down the tubes, since they stopped importing Russian fossil fuels.
          Why should Nigeria or Sudan or Indonesia expected to behave better to the environment, than Germany?

          #98004 Reply

            70% of US-made steel is made with electric arc furnaces. Now, they still import a lot of steel from countries that don’t use EAFs and I don’t know how much fossil fuel is used to generate that electricity but it shows that the steel industry can convert.

            Another couple of articles from Newatlas. Yes, I know it’s not a science journal but here they are anyway:
            ‘Absolute miracle’ breakthrough provides recipe for zero-carbon cement using old concrete waste as the coking material in steel production;
            and Ridiculously simple idea cuts cargo ship emissions by 17.3% in first trials.

            The second one really surprised me as you’d have thought they’d have worked that out decades ago just to save on fuel costs alone. Don’t they have logistics people working this stuff out?

            According to Our World in Data, approximately one-seventh of the world’s primary energy is now sourced from renewable technologies.

            #98005 Reply

              Primary energy mix being all energy used across transport, heat, industry and electricity.

              #98040 Reply


                “Why should Nigeria or Sudan or Indonesia expected to behave better to the environment, than Germany?”

                I entirely agree; this is what is meant by climate justice, which you’ll see on hundreds of banners and placards carried by environmental protesters.

                The countries that are now rich built their – “our” – wealth on fossil fuels; first coal, then oil, then gas. Now the rich countries continue to emit greenhouse gases, while telling less industrially developed nations to limit their emissions. For fairness, we have to consider cumulative emissions. This is why campaigners are calling for reparation payments – the wealthy nations that industrialised early must pay some of their wealth to help those that industrialised later to leapfrog over combustion as an energy source.

                And climate justice applies within nations as well. The richest ten percent are responsible for half the emissions, or something like that; various studies have been done and many are available online. Frequent flyers, private jets, luxury yachts, multiple mansions, conspicuous consumption; in general, the richer a group is, the more emissions they produce and have already produced.

                “Greed is good” said the neoliberals. Yeah, right. Now us ordinary folk are supposed to buy our way out of “climate guilt”, with electric cars we can’t afford, expensive heat pumps, and solar panels on our little houses – unless you only have a rented flat, in which case you’ll just be a dirty, carbon-emitting oik until you can afford to join the virtuous property owners. It’s bloody sickening.

                Climate change is caused by inequality. Where I can’t agree is that by pretending there isn’t a problem it’ll just go away.

                And I don’t like being thought of as an “environmentalist”, as if the environment was something humans are separate from, something that can be degraded for the sake of human prosperity. Humanity exists within the “environment”; we’re all dependent upon it. The “environment” supplies our food, water and even breathable air. If it dies, we die, and to whatever extent industrialism and industrialised agriculture damage it, us humans suffer that damage too.

                And of course there are time lags. Emissions now mean more heat later. It takes time to melt the great continental ice sheets, time for sea level rise to engulf great cities and agricultural land. It takes time for insect populations to fall and pollination to be degraded, time for oceans to acidify and deplete the base of the food webs. “Buy now pay later” with a globally catastrophic interest rate. The time lags are what make it an emergency.

                #98042 Reply

                  Michael, it’s a bit frustrating for me, answering such objections. I’ve known there was a problem for decades, and I’ve watched it get worse and worse, political decisions digging humanity ever deeper into its own grave. I’ve written to my MPs, voted as intelligently as I could, spoken to folk and posted hundreds of comments, and so have countless other people, but nothing has halted society’s slide into insanity. I remember in 2006 when the Stern Review was published. I thought thank God, someone has described the climate change in terms of how much money it will cost, the only language politicians seem to understand. But no, even that didn’t cause a change of direction, the problem just kept getting worse, ever faster.

                  Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry has spent millions, a billion, lying to people that there was no problem; distorting, corrupting and undermining science. They have a far bigger, better funded platform than the “environmentalists” could ever hope for, far more influence over media and politics; predictably, as liquid fuel is the most essential resource for fighting these wars the political class are so keen on.

                  Have you seen the two-part BBC documentary, Big Oil Versus The World?

                  #98064 Reply
                  michael norton

                    Clark, do you think anyone has priced how much building out the United Kingdom Electricity Grid – will cost?
                    I guess it will cost several trillion pounds, equivalent to several years of U.K. GDP – if no money was put to any other cause.
                    So essentially, it might take at least thirty years to achieve.
                    Then you have to build out the power stations.
                    Then you have to build out the E.V. Charger points.
                    Then you have to price in and fit the Electrically powered heat pumps to most properties.
                    Then you have to build out the electrified railway system, they have already cancelled that as unafordable.
                    Meanwhile the homeless numbers go through the roof and the U.K. becomes a basket case of unaforability.

                    Then you have to factor in Democracy.

                    General Election.

                    Would you vote for Net Zero
                    if it meant you had no chance of affording a home or ever having a family?

                    #98065 Reply
                    michael norton

                      “What is net zero?
                      We’ve all heard the term net zero, but what exactly does it mean?

                      Put simply, net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) that’s produced and the amount that’s removed from the atmosphere. It can be achieved through a combination of emission reduction and emission removal.”

                      and there you have it – put simply to simple people.

                      So, what is emission removal and how is that going?
                      At least for the next thirty years, this is essentially fantasy world.
                      Woke crap.

                      Yes, we can build some wind turbines, yes, we can build some solar farms but all this stuff is not base load and it will need to be replaced. So, compare replaceability with renewable.
                      Is there a difference, yes, there is. Renewable electricity is (I guess) electricity that gets its energy from the sun.
                      However, that energy-getting system will not last long, and it will need to be replaced.
                      Think of it like a car.
                      That car may last ten or twenty or thirty years but it will not last for ever.
                      All renewable energy-getters will have to be replaced.
                      Nuclear power, requires Uranium fuel.
                      Tremendous expenditure is needed to construct a nuclear power plant.
                      The fuel is constantly being used up, leaving spent fuel that might need thousands of years of care – to look after.
                      No nuclear power station has ever lasted more than sixty years. Then it might take one hundred years to dismantle that power station – who pays for that? Now wind farm lasts more than forty years.
                      How do they dispose of the blades? They go into landfill.
                      Most solar farms do not last twenty years.
                      Only the Aluminium frames are (so far) recycled.
                      So, what’s next?
                      Wood pellets?

                      #98073 Reply

                        In what way is it “woke”? I ask that seriously, because as I understand “woke” originally it meant alertness to racial prejudice and discrimination. It later came to encompass a broader awareness of social inequalities such as racial injustice, sexism, and denial of LGBT rights. Woke has also been used as shorthand for some ideas of the American Left involving identity politics and social justice, such as white privilege and reparations for slavery in the United States according to the wiki on “woke”. I can’t see in what way the physics of electromagnetic wave energy absorption and re-emission by certain molecular structures has anything to do with “woke.”

                        Michael, I am not trying to be condescending at all. It’s a physics problem not a social justice problem though I agree it has huge implications for society. Do you agree that CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the property of absorbing (which isn’t technically the correct term) and re-emitting EM radiation? Do you agree that there is such a thing as the greenhouse effect? Do you accept that matter, specifically electrons in atoms and molecules has the property of interacting with EM radiation as physics describes it? I’ve pointed to some of the early physics that absolutely shows On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours, and on the Physical Connexion of Radiation, Absorption, and Conduction (though not at the molecular/atomic level at that time), from the 1860s on the climate denialist thread. That was long before anyone was considering possible impacts on climate and thus was unencumbered with political bias. Now ask if 40-50 gigatonnes per annum might have an effect? I was also very skeptical 15 or 20 years ago but I investigated and come the conclusion, based on physics, that there is a huge problem. Have you worked through the science or do you frame it all in terms of anti-wokism? That’s a serious question, I’m not trying to pigeon-hole you or provoke an accusations of ad hominem. Have you worked it out from first principles whether physics has some cause for concern?

                        I get that you are arguing genuinely for recognition of the likely huge impacts on how the world runs now. But what if this whole climate thing IS correct. What then? Will there be a habitable world? What is more calamitous? A societal/economic/cultural upheaval or an uninhabitable planet?

                        #98079 Reply

                          I don’t own a home and I haven’t had children – precisely because in the 1980s I saw what was probably coming. And now it’s here. Nightmare.

                          We’re going to have to learn to make do with less energy, whether we cut back on fossil fuels voluntarily, by economic crash, or by depletion. Here is the fossil fuel ‘blip’ in a 16,000 year time-frame, with our position marked in red:


                          #98072 Reply
                          michael norton

                            I am angry that we have been sold a renewable pup.
                            That pup may be replaceable but each time, massive amounts of energy and materials and fresh water will be required.
                            Even a hydroelectricity plant is not expected to endure, more than one hundred and fifty years. Concrete gains its working strength, after six months.
                            That concrete, continues to harden for the next one hundred years. After that time the concrete gradually loses its resilience. After two hundred years, it is past its working life.
                            All this is predicated in top notch people behaving in a top notch manner with top notch original materials and full disclosure of all provenances.
                            So, in the best world outcome, even a perfect hydro plant, will not persist more than two hundred years.

                            So, before that hydro plant reaches its working life span, that dam will have to be removed, broken up.
                            That will quite expensive.
                            That concrete will require stunning levels of power to crack it to dust.
                            No money will result from these activities – who will fund these activities?
                            Everything will need replacement.
                            Nothing is forever. So perhaps, rather than renewable we should imagine sustainability?

                            #98104 Reply

                              Isn’t it the same for all infrastructure Michael? Roads, bridges, houses, buildings, Schools, hospitals, power plants, turbines, vehicles, ships, aircraft, power lines etc etc. Doesn’t everything have to be refurbished, renewed or rebuilt or replaced eventually? It isn’t just renewable energy resources it applies to everything. We have been doing it for centuries.

                              I asked you some questions about the physics related to global warming above. Are you going to answer?

                              #98105 Reply
                              michael norton

                                Hello ET, yes you are correct.
                                Our main hospital, Frimley Park is to be replaced because of RAAC concrete.
                                It was only built with a life span of 1/3 century, now it has reached 1/2 century.
                                The government will supply the money partially because it is a military training hospital.
                                I wonder who thought this would be a good idea, RAAC Concrete? Lets hope our Hydro Electricity dams last a lot longer.
                                The oldest ones in the U.K. are reaching their first century.
                                ET you asked me what I thought “woke” means.
                                Well I am not exactly sure. Could it be some sort of word salad – lots of things you personally don’t agree with, jumbled up into a single word?
                                Yes, I do think there is a Greenhouse effect. I understood that in the far-distant past – maybe more than a billion years ago – there was a huge volume of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Just outside of one of the caves I helped excavate, in Somerset, there are fossil Stromatolites – the only place I have seen them. They still exist as living organisms in Shark Bay, Australia. They are single-celled, photosynthesising, held together by glue and grit.
                                The glue is their jell, probably the jell from their dead cells. Anyway the story was they could have been the first photosynthesisers, putting free Oxygen into the atmosphere, for a couple of billion years. About one and a quarter billion years ago, free Oxygen stayed in quantity in the atmosphere, so the atmosphere had been changed by life.
                                This opened the way for Eukaryotic cells.

                                #98106 Reply
                                michael norton

                                  ET the cave with the Stromatolites is called “Upper Canada Cave”. It does not have an entry in Wikipedia, but it is on Bleadon Hill.
                                  Having been a caver for fifty years, being immersed in Limestone, you do get a sense of long stretches of time and changing climates. For ice to be that far South in England shows it can get very cold. The Stromatolites show that they lived on a tropical or semi-tropical beach. So two very different climates.

                                  #98107 Reply
                                  michael norton

                                    Many decades ago I worked at a place called Contest Instruments, we made presses/instruments that crushed concrete cubes, these were mainly for hydroelectric dam projects.
                                    Some of the cubes from each pour are retained for six months, then these retained cubes are crushed; this shows if that pour was up to specification.
                                    When the concrete is first poured, a slump test is done; this gives an immediate view, if that pour was good.

                                    #98108 Reply
                                    michael norton

                                      I would also like to point out, that when a Hydroelectric dam installation comes to the end of its working life, no electricity is being produced. The water must carefully be let out; that might take more than a year. When the concrete in the dam is removed, probably by explosives, Carbon dioxide will be moved into the atmosphere. If the concrete is crushed fully down, that residue should not be used to make a new dam; it can be used as the base of a new road but not for load-bearing structures, like bridges or dams.

                                      #98121 Reply
                                      michael norton

                                        My neighbour has told me that he saw a programme on TV which was thinking through how to deal with a hydroelectric project that was nearing its working end.
                                        He told me that it was suggested that after the last turbine was switched off, the next phase would be to slowly and carefully empty the lake. The next phase would be to build a new dam several hundred metres upstream, not taking the old dam down as that would be very costly, also reducing the possibility of re-using the concrete on the new dam, which you should not do.
                                        So if this method is used, every 100-150 years you turn off your electricity supply and construct a new project slightly up stream. Mind you, we are assuming the first dam would have been sited in the optimal position.

                                        #98124 Reply
                                        Fat Jon

                                          I’m sorry Michael Norton, but I don’t understand what you are getting at. Yes, replacing a dam will stop hydroelectric generation at that location, but will all dams need replacing at the same time? I doubt it, and so the replacement process will be structured in a timely fashion, as not to disturb the generation capacity.

                                          How much CO2 is emitted by concrete crushing, compared to the production of concrete?

                                          Are wind turbine blades really sent to landfill? If so, that idiocy can be stopped pretty quickly and the blades recycled into something else.

                                          I understand that if we were to replace all gas and oil powered machinery with ones run on electricity, the demand would rocket upwards; but surely this process is also going to be a gradual one over many years?

                                          Presumably, you have read this – https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050

                                          #98125 Reply
                                          michael norton

                                            It seems sometimes wind farms are paid money not to produce electricity.

                                            “The Beatrice wind farm has been operating for five years and can generate enough power for 450,000 homes.

                                            It sells power into the U.K. electricity grid, but at times when the network is over-supplied Bowl is paid to switch its power off.

                                            Ofgem ruled that Bowl had been charging the grid’s operator excessive amounts for doing this.”

                                            This renewable stuff seems quite difficult to integrate, there is scope for fiddling the books.

                                            #98135 Reply

                                              Decentralised grids will be more resilient because generation is distributed in a network. Store excesses as heat (preferably latent heat) at places of heat demand.

                                              In an evolutionary perspective, it is yet to be seen if humans will pass the test of time; we are surrounded by species far older than us, and we might go extinct before we even approach their degree of endurance.

                                              Modernity is a flash in the pan, and the common faith in human progress is absurd, delusional. Let everyone in the world live our energy-intensive ‘Western’ lifestyle, and let’s do it with renewables! On the same time-scale as above, that looks like this:

                                              Western lifestyle for all may require a vastly larger renewable footprint still.


                                              #98137 Reply

                                                To be honest, I don’t consider money much, because governments can create or destroy any amount of it at will, if they choose to. Money is subservient to law, which is written by governments.

                                                Nature doesn’t give a damn about money, and natural law cannot be broken or rewritten.

                                                #98138 Reply

                                                  To me, that story Michael tells me we need energy storage solutions which might be lithium-ion batteries, or more experimental designs like iron-air, water-in-salt, flow batteries, or a variety of gravity-based systems or heat. Eventually the base load can be catered for with storage and wind and solar farms can off load any energy produced into them and won’t need to be paid to switch off. As the piece says, a number of producers have been fined for over charging (pun intended).

                                                  Electricity grids are difficult to manage and it isn’t straight forward connecting renewable sources to them, but it can be done. Check out “Practical Engineering” YT channel for some primers on the grid here.

                                                  #98136 Reply
                                                  michael norton

                                                    Complexity baffles recycling. Somebody on here has claimed that in Lead Acid batteries, almost all the weight is recycled, that’s because of a lack of complexity. A normal Lead Acid battery only has three parts, the plastic case, the electrolyte and the Lead. In a modern EV vehicle there may be twenty different parts to the battery.
                                                    There could be the Aluminium alloy case, then inside the complex stuff.
                                                    Every time you add another level of complexity, you decrease the economic options for recycling, that battery or wing structure. Fat John finds it hard to understand why most wind turbine blades are not recycled; I think it is cost but as the biggest weight is glass – glass is relatively cheap and not in short supply, so why would you spend many thousands of pounds to regain one thousand pounds? If a blade was made, say, from Graphene, then it would be such a tremendously expensive material, that it would be recycled. Some blades have been repurposed as footbridges, or cycle sheds.

                                                    #98155 Reply
                                                    michael norton

                                                      Yes, ET.
                                                      I think multiple different types of energy storage.
                                                      As a child I was fascinated by gasometers, I remember my grandfather (who fought with teams of horses in France in WW1) explaining to me how they worked. The National Grid needs to grow multiple times, new pylons have been built for Hinkley Point C.


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