The UK's climate act is "all but certain to fail" and alternative approaches should be considered, according to a new study. The act commits the UK to cut its CO2 emissions by a third in just 13 years, and by 80 per cent by 2050.
Roger Pielke Jr is a professor at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and a visiting professor at University of Oxford's Said Business School who has accepted the case for cutting carbon emissions. However, in a new journal article he says the Act is unrealistic, setting symbolic and therefore meaningless targets instead of practical policy.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
"Europe should scrap its support for wind energy as soon as possible to focus on far more efficient emerging forms of clean power generation including solar thermal energy, one of the world’s most distinguished scientists said yesterday.
Professor Jack Steinberger, a Nobel prize-winning director of the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, said that wind represented an illusory technology — a cul-de-sac that would prove uneconomic and a waste of resources in the battle against climate change.
“Wind is not the future,” he told the symposium of Nobel laureates at the Royal Society. Instead, he said, technologies such as solar thermal power — for which parabolic mirrors reflect the Sun’s rays to generate heat and electricity — represent a more promising way of supplanting fossil fuels. “I am certain that the energy of the future is going to be thermal solar,” he told The Times. “There is nothing comparable. The sooner we focus on it the better.”"
He said that intermittent energy sources, such as wind, required back-up power generation, which undermined their contribution to emissions reductions. In contrast, solar thermal power could generate heat energy that could reliably generate 24-hour electricity.
"The lions share of the 2020 of 20% of energy generated from renewables target will have to be generated from wind, anticipated to be around 33GW of additional capacity. The plans will see an additional 4,000 onshore and 3,000 offshore wind turbines. It is expected the plans will cost the country around GB£100bn"
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Why wind? As a giant wind-farm opens in Scotland, it should be obvious that wind power is not the future of energy supply in Britain or anywhere else. Wind-turbines are expensive and inefficient, they ruin the landscape, they are noisy when they work (which isn't very often) and they kill birds. In Taiwan, noise pollution from a wind farm has been held responsible for the death of four hundred goats. The amount of electricity they generate, even now, is negligible. It is said that the vast new Eaglesham Moor plant could potentially power the whole of Glasgow - but that is only when it is operating at full capacity, which even in a country as windy as Scotland is not even half the time.
Even as the new plant opens, plans are announced to expand it still further (although it already covers 55 sq. km), while over in Shetland an even more elaborate wind-power scheme is attracting increasing opposition. A BBCreport quotes Professor David MacKay of Cambridge, who said that a "100-fold increase" in wind farms in Britain would be necessary to achieve the government target of a complete decarbonisation of our electricity supply system by 2030. The only other alternative to carbon generation he mentioned was nuclear power - itself an outdated and non-renewable technology that brings with it its own problems.
They make their supporters feel morally superior to their opponents, who can be dismissed as selfish Nimbys. The uglier the wind farms are, the more they ruin the environment, the better: for their very unattractiveness draws attention to the sacrifice that they represent. They are Gaia's temples. The clacking of their sails is like a prayer offered up to Nature to forgive our environmental sins. It's mad.Greens may be fanatics, lunatics, anti-technology, cruel to children or bad in bed : but what has this to do with the merits and demerits of wind power? I also think persons with scientific pretentions ought to support remarkable claims - for example, that "the more [wind farms] ruin the the environment", the better Greens like them - with evidence. Also, if you're going to run with "T3h wind-farms r prayer-weel 4 Gaia worshippers" you'd be well advised not to quote so liberally from James Lovelock.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
One recent study published in the May issue of Energy Policy looked at major energy accidents from 1907 to 2007. The major accidents were defined as incidents that resulted in either death or more than $50,000 of property damage. The study identified 279 incidents totaling $41 billion in damages and 182,156 fatalities, with the number of accidents peaking in the decade between 1978 and 1987, which had more than 90 accidents. In terms of cost, nuclear plants ranked first with regard to their economic damage, accounting for damages equivalent to $16.6 billion, or 41 percent of all damages during the past century.
Contrary to the industry´s claim that nuclear facilities are safe, 63 major accidents have occurred at nuclear power plants. Twenty-nine accidents have occurred since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, and 71 percent of all nuclear accidents, that is, 45 out of 63, occurred in the United States, refuting the notion that severe accidents cannot happen within the country or that they have not happened since Chernobyl.
Using extremely conservative estimates, nuclear power accidents have also killed 4,100 people. The nuclear power accidents have involved meltdowns, explosions, fires, and loss of coolant, and have occurred during both normal operation and extreme, emergency conditions such as droughts and earthquakes.
Sounds scary. How odd that Greenpeace forgot to include the previous paragraph:
While responsible for less than 1 percent of total energy accidents, hydroelectric facilities claimed 94 percent of reported fatalities. looking at the gathered data, the total results on fatalities are highly dominated by one accident in which the shimantan dam failed in 1975 and 171,000 people perished.
Personally, I would have also noted that the number of people killed in coal mining accidents in China alone in 2005 was 5986, in excess of that for nuclear power in the entire period studied, in order to provide some context for the figure.
Unfortunately, Dr. Sovacool (or his editor) neglects to give the full citation, or even mention the paper is by him, but for the partial citation in the text you can deduce that it is Sovacool, "The costs of failure: a preliminary assessment of major energy accidents, 1907-2007", Energy Policy, Volume 36, Issue 5, p1802-1820 (2008) and is available here thru' Science Direct.
SATs (UK) - The union's outgoing president, Bill Greenshields, said he was confident a boycott would be successful."We will end this child abuse," he said. - [source]
Sunday, May 17, 2009
How I love it
The Amateur Transplants destroy an Easter egg by accident. I don't think there's any lensing going on - the plastic is flat - but the point closest to the light presents a smaller surface area to the sun, and therefore recieves a higher power/ unit area. [This is the same reason that you want to locate solar cells as close to the equator as possible]. The burn through looks cool, tho'.
[via Dr. Crippen]
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"Since then, Americans have dreamed of exotic nuclear
possibilities. Early advocates promised a future of electricity too
cheap to meter, an age of peace and plenty without high prices
and shortages where atomic energy provided the power needed to
desalinate water for the thirsty, irrigate deserts for the hungry,
and fuel interstellar travel deep into outer space.‘‘carbon-free electricity source’’ (1998). Patrick Moore, co-founder
of Greenpeace, has publicly stated that ‘‘nuclear energy is the only
non-greenhouse gas emitting energy source that can effectively
replace fossil fuels and satisfy global demand’’ (EnvironmentalNews Service, 2005). The nuclear power company Areva (2007) "
Monday, May 11, 2009
On the expenses scandal
Emma Bradford, from Harrow, said: "I'd like to designate him as as my 'second MP', just for a couple of weeks, so that I can claim twelve grand to have him refurbished and then sell him to some really nasty Russian pimps."
Roy Hobbs, from Oldham, said: "I'd like to buy one of those four-slot Dualit toasters from John Lewis and spank him across the face with it so hard that I break both my wrists."
And Tom Logan, from Salford, added: "If you know that it's wrong now, then surely you knew it was wrong when you were spending my money doing up houses you bought with my money and then dodging capital gains tax even though you'd still have made a tidy profit and would, at least, have been able to return some of my money. You nauseatingly rancid lump of pox-ridden, cock-sucking pigshit." - [source]
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Yesterday we brought you the fantastical tale of the Brazilian government announcing their ambition to build 50 new nuclear reactors by 2050. No sooner had the disbelieving laughter died down here at Nuclear Reaction, along came the World Nuclear Association (WNA) with an amazing fantasy of its own. Wait until you see this – it’s amazing. There are comedians who would kill for this ability to make people laugh…
In its Nuclear Century Outlook report, the WNA has an upper ‘outlook projection’ of 11,000 new nuclear reactors being built by the end of the century.
Read that again. The WNA can envisage a scenario in which 11,000 nuclear reactors will be built in the next 92 years.
That means starting to build this October 120 reactors a year…
…which is 10 reactors every month…
…which is one reactor every three days.
I suppose that's why washing lines are an impossible technology: after all, if a sweater takes two hours to dry, all my laundry will take weeks...