Bonfire of insanity

by Judith Curry

Biomass pellets transported from North Carolina, U.S. are shipped 3800 miles to the UK and burned in Drax power station.  Drax is switching to pellets as it is deemed ‘carbon neutral’,  even though it belches out more CO2 than coal.  - from David Rose

David Rose has a new article The bonfire of insanity.  Excerpts:

But North Carolina’s ‘bottomland’ forest is being cut down in swathes, and much of it pulped and turned into wood pellets – so Britain can keep its lights on.

By 2020, the proportion of Britain’s electricity generated from ‘renewable’ sources is supposed to almost triple to 30 per cent, with more than a third of that from what is called ‘biomass’.

The only large-scale way to do this is by burning wood, man’s oldest fuel – because EU rules have determined it is ‘carbon-neutral’.

So our biggest power station, the leviathan Drax plant near Selby in North Yorkshire, is switching from dirty, non-renewable coal. Biomass is far more expensive, but the consumer helps the process by paying subsidies via levies on energy bills.

That’s where North Carolina’s forests come in. They are being reduced to pellets in a gargantuan pulping process at local factories, then shipped across the Atlantic from a purpose-built dock at Chesapeake Port, just across the state line in Virginia.

Drax and Enviva insist this practice is ‘sustainable’. But though it is entirely driven by the desire to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a broad alliance of US and international environmentalists argue it is increasing, not reducing them.

Only a few years ago, as a coal-only plant, Drax was Europe’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, and was often targeted by green activists. Now it boasts of its ‘environmental leadership position’, saying it is the biggest renewable energy plant in the world.

It also gets guaranteed profits  from the Government’s green energy subsidies. Last year, these amounted to £62.5 million, paid by levies on consumers’ bills. This is set to triple by 2016 as Drax increases its biomass capacity.

Mr Burdett admitted: ‘Our whole business case is built on subsidy, like the rest of the renewable energy industry. We are simply responding to Government policy.’

Company spokesman Matt Willey added: ‘We’re a power company. We’ve been told to take coal out of the equation. What would you have us do – build a dirty great windfarm?’

Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire, the sheer scale of Drax’s biomass operation is hard to take in at first sight. Wood pellets are so much less dense than coal, so Drax has had to commission the world’s biggest freight wagons to move them by rail from the docks at Hull, Immingham and Port of Tyne. Each car is more than 60ft high, and the 25-car trains are half a mile long. On arrival, the pellets are stored in three of the world’s largest domes, each 300ft high – built by lining colossal inflated polyurethane balloons with concrete.

Even if all Britain’s forests were devoted to Drax, they could not keep its furnaces going. ‘We need areas with lots of wood, a reliable supply chain,’ Mr Burdett said.

As well as Enviva, Drax buys wood from other firms such as Georgia Biomass, which supplies mainly pine. It is building new pellet-making plants in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change issued new rules on biomass sourcing, and will insist on strict monitoring to ensure there really is ‘sustainability’.

But wouldn’t a much more effective and cheaper way of cutting emissions be to shut down Drax altogether, and replace it with clean new gas plants – which need no subsidy at all?

Mr Burdett said: ‘We develop  our business plan in light of what the Government wants – not what might be nice.’

JC comment.  Another installment in the biomass fuel follies.  The involvement of the southeast U.S. is of particular concern to me.  Different states (and even cities) have vastly different policies regarding cutting down trees.  In Atlanta, a lengthy process is needed to cut down a tree with trunk diameter exceeding 6″, and the answer is usually no.

The challenges that regional power providers face are not simple.  About a month ago, I spent a day at Southern Company in Birmingham Alabama, discussing the issues that they face.  They are under heavy pressure to decommission their coal plants, and are switching to natural gas.  They have made a huge financial investment in clean coal/carbon sequestration technologies, but they don’t see this as economically viable in the next few decades.  They are contemplating de-activating their coal plants (not decommissioning them), since they might be needed in the future, so they would incur extra costs to keep the plants capable of being activated in the future if needed.  If burning wood pellets made any sort of sense, presumably this would be used by southeast U.S.  regional energy providers?

How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.

383 responses to “Bonfire of insanity

  1. Bish adds fuel to the fire. Can’t wait for the Josh cartoon to flare up.
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    • David Springer

      Usually if it’s US private land not in endangered species habitat and no city ordinances then there’s no restriction on land clearing. Many if not most cities regulate removal of trees with trunks over 6″ but enforcement is sometimes nil. Only cities have such rules AFAIK.

    • “Hey, Gates, how many of these types of schemes do you see involving skeptics and deniers? Oh wait, they’re the ones urge inaction.”

      Sweet point, hard to see how many schemes and scams can come out of doing nothing.

      Although Gates has the usual strange fixations common to alarmists, about the big oil funding of The Heartland Institute, GWPF, and global warming skepticism in general. Of course he can’t quite articulate how this all works.

      Some day I might teach him the skeptics secret handshake so he can start receiving his big oil checks along with the rest of us.

    • Speaking of fuel to the fire, I missed this when it happened:

      “FEB 2012 – A massive fire blazed Monday at RWE npower’s wood-pellet-fired Tilbury power station, the largest biomass plant in Europe, the Financial Times writes.

      The fire started in the fuel storage area, igniting the biomass fuel in storage cells, Reuters reports. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer David Johnson said on the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service incident page that it was one of the most challenging fires of his 20-year career: the fire was fed by 4,000 to 6,000 tons of biomass positioned high in the building, and the biomass became increasing weighted by the water, threatening the structure of the building.”

      http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/02/28/fire-rages-at-europes-largest-biomass-power-station/

    • Robert I Ellison

      Quite apart from unintended consequences – this is a demonstration of precisely the wrong approach to energy policy. Expensive energy is produced with technology that has no chance of ever being cost competitive.

      The rational way forward is with strategic investment in a broad range of technologies that have at least some chance of being low cost sources of energy within a decade or two. There are two reasonable approaches. The first is with funding for fundamental research and development and the second is with technology prizes.

      There are no guarantees but this is a whole lot cheaper than any alternative and the possible returns are immense. I have an idea however that the optimum green strategy is for expensive energy and radically reduced economic productivity.

      ‘The Jevons Paradox is based on a foundation principle of Economics: Any time one reduces the cost of consuming a valued resource, people will respond by consuming more of it. Or people will consume more of something else, resulting in perhaps no net savings or even greater overall consumption.’ http://ourenergyfutures.org/page-titre-The_Jevons_Paradox-cid-25.html

      The problem with this is that greater consumption is absolutely required by billions in need today and the billions to come – and cheaper energy is the way to increased productivity and consumption.
      Expensive energy adds to the challenges humanity faces. Cheap non-carbon based energy solves only a minor part of multi-gas emissions, land use and conservation problems and population pressures that is the bigger picture . It is essential but not sufficient to finding a way forward to a bright future for global humanity this century.

    • Spartacusisfree

      We are now seeing eco-fascism in action as the distorted economics, designed to enrich the Mafia and politicians plus relatives creates this ecological disaster in the US and the economic disaster in the UK.

      We need to put those responsible on trial for malfeasance in public office.

    • michael hart

      Last year, an old school friend who is a lumberjack/tree-surgeon came trim a tree in my parents garden. More of a bush, 20 feet high, to be honest. He said his trimmings were now required to be shipped to Drax power station.

      That’s at least three separate journeys, presumably by road and rail, and a journey of over 150 miles. I doubt the energy content of the twigs would cover the use of the energy used in transport.

      The last thing to be burned at Drax will probably be this green fig-leaf. It is sad to think that this was once the land of James Watt.

      • David Springer

        @hart

        Where did the tree trimmings go before your professional tree trimming aquaintance was required to save them for DRAX?

        Where I live they can put out to the curb in [sub]urban areas if you do it yourself, pros will usually cart them away in a flatbed to a landfill, and in rural areas you can usually just collect them into a pile and torch ‘em yourself. In any case the pros in the burbs cart the stuff off anyway so that’s one trip that is redundant. A landfill has heavy equipment moving and covering the waste so the fuel needed for that is probably not much less than that required for pelletizing. Rail transport per ton is so fuel efficient it’s probably not even a factor. So instead of guessing and writing your guesses down as facts… do a little research and find some real facts.

    • michael hart

      David, you didn’t see the small mass of twigs and small branches. I did. You often write a lot of sense, but not today.

      • David Springer

        So he puts them in a reusable sack and throws them into the back of his truck. You still failed to identify and quantify the energy you claim is wasted by burning unwanted biomass at Drax. You failed to answer my question of what happened with such waste before Drax regs or provide any data of how it gets there after the new regs. Do you understand the difference between the handwaving you did and the facts that I asked for?

    • Oft turned to mulch, as can be trimmings of loose blog threads.
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    • michael hart

      David, you also forgot to ask how far he had to drive his truck to the house.

      And did he have to drive it through stop-start traffic?

      You also didn’t ask whether he brought his heavy duty petrochemical-powered wood-chipper with him?

      You also didn’t ask how long did he use his petrochemical-powered chainsaw for?

      There are more things you didn’t ask.

  2. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    Interesting post. I would be curious to know which elected officials from which states pushed this wood pellets to Britain scheme. Obviously it is profitable for someone.

    • “Interesting post.”

      What a tepid response from the avowed skeptic. It’s a dumb thing to be doing. Whyncha just say so? Could it be because it’s emblematic of the lunacy of “green” initiatives to combat “climate change?”

    • RGates depants himself. The ones whose pants are on fire are in Great Britain and the conflagration threatens their pockets fattened with wallets.
      ===============

    • “The ones whose pants are on fire are in Great Britain and the conflagration threatens their pockets fattened with wallets.”

      The fatted calf skin wallets.

    • Hah, Phantomsby @ The Bish’s links Chris Huhne to the wood chip corruption, through zilkha.com.
      ==============

    • Heh, pg, suppose the National Health Service collects cadaver leather from the old and frozen?
      =========

    • Oh God that’s funny, Kim. And yes, I sure wouldn’t be surprised..
      “Carrying renewables to a whole new level.”

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Stupid decisions are oddly almost always made with someone getting wealthy along the way.

    • Welcome to our world, RG

    • The warmist brain surely is wired oddly. False claims of the potential for environmental damage at the unseen ends of the earth – such as the lies told about the possibility of a future decline in polar bear populations – elicit frothy mouthed screams demanding the authority to turn world economies on their heads.

      Meanwhile, demonstrable environmental damage occurring right in their own back yards – be it

      *the conversion of tropical forests to oil palm monoculture for “biodiesel”,

      *the clearcutting of temperate forests for “biomass” to burn in powerplants halfway around the world,

      *the conversion of millions of acres of US Conservation Reserve Program habitat to automotive fuel ethanol production,

      *the burying of thousands and thousands of acres of sensitive marine, prairie and desert habitats beneath high-impact, low-productivity wind and solar powerplant eyesores that have the side “benefit” of chopping birds and bats out of the air or cooking them alive as they fly by, and

      * etc, etc, etc. And every bit of it subsidized with their tax remittances.

      The best reaction that these actual environmental tragedies can evoke from the otherwise wild-eyed warmist is a disinterested “interesting”.

    • R. Gates says:

      “Stupid decisions are oddly almost always made with someone getting wealthy along the way.”

      which is partially true, but neglected to add “or getting elected” after the word “wealthy”.

    • catweazle666

      “Obviously it is profitable for someone.”

      Oh yes, you can guarantee that, as with all the rest of the AGW scams.

      This may shed some light on such matters.

      The recent revelation that former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne has secured a job worth £100,000 a year with Zilkha Biomass Energy has been met with cynicism by bioenergy campaigners.

      http://bio-fuel-watch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/biofuelwatch-chris-huhnes-new-job-sheds.html

      Chris Huhne has only recently been released from prison after being sentenced to 8 months (and serving less than 9 weeks) for perverting the course of justice – possibly one of the most serious crimes a man in his position can commit, carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

      Nice work if you can get it.

    • “Stupid decisions are oddly almost always made with someone getting wealthy along the way.”

      Gates shows signs of awakening from his coma.

      Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket,” Eric Hoffer

    • k scott denison

      Hey, Gates, how many of these types of schemes do you see involving skeptics and deniers? Oh wait, they’re the ones urge inaction.

    • Drat. I keep misplacing comments. This should have gone here…
      *****

      “Hey, Gates, how many of these types of schemes do you see involving skeptics and deniers? Oh wait, they’re the ones urge inaction.”

      Sweet point, hard to see how many schemes and scams can come out of doing nothing.

      Although Gates has the usual strange fixations common to alarmists, about the big oil funding of The Heartland Institute, GWPF, and global warming skepticism in general. Of course he can’t quite articulate how this all works.

      Some day I might teach him the skeptics secret handshake so he can start receiving his big oil checks along with the rest of us.

    • “Stupid decisions are oddly almost always made with someone getting wealthy along the way.”

      Yes, like pimping the ACO2GW.

    • Jim Cripwell

      pokerguy, you write “Some day I might teach him the skeptics secret handshake so he can start receiving his big oil checks along with the rest of us.”

      (Tongue in cheek)., No fair. You are supposed to look after the skeptics first. You ought to teach me the secret handshake. My cheques have all disappeared in the mail.

    • R Gates – smart capitalists capitalize on socialism.

    • R. Gates

      Hurrah!

      Your skepticism is starting to show when you write of recent silly wood pellet coal replacement mitigation schemes:

      Obviously it is profitable for someone.

      Face it, Gates – ALL loony mitigation schemes will be
      “profitable for someone” (even if they cost the average guy an arm and a leg).

      That’s the insidious aspect of the whole boondoggle.

      Max

    • Robert I Ellison

      No one says no to free money. The problem starts with government.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “which is partially true, but neglected to add “or getting elected” after the word “wealthy”.

      _____
      Getting elected and getting elected are often exactly the same thing. The circle is fairly small:

      Wealthy get elected and get wealthier and get relected and get wealthier and get relected etc. etc. etc.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      ““Hey, Gates, how many of these types of schemes do you see involving skeptics and deniers? Oh wait, they’re the ones urge inaction.”
      ______
      For the same reason I’m politically independent, I also know that “skeptic” or “warmist” or “alarmist” etc. etc. etc. all like money. All that it comes down to is who can get their guy or gal into office who will vote for their economic interest, pet project, pet technology, pet industries, and so forth. Judith got “tapped” to come and testify in D.C. because there is big money at stake. The actual science is secondary or not important at all. It really is about who get the money, how it is divided up, who get rich and who gets hurt is the name of the game in D.C.

      You can well imagine that there are some elected officials who will privately tell you that they think AGW is a bunch of nonsense, but in public they’ll say how wood pellets are saving the planet (when what they really mean is they are making someone lot’s of money).

    • k scott denison

      Nice dodge Gates, but please answer the question: how many of the schemes you’ve seen to date are to benefit skeptics and deniers?

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “The problem starts with government.”
      _____
      Convenient scapegoat this “government” abstraction can be. Rather, economic systems and systems of government represent collective human will and desires. These systems prevent the battle of “all versus all”, a social contract as it were, as described well in:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leviathan_(book)

      The price the poor and ignorant pay is to let the rich rule them and get richer from them. And to make things worse, while the real game is always about power and money, the rich will toss out those little little red herring emotionally charged issues (like abortion, climate change, gun control, etc) to keep the powerless fighting a false flag fight (sort of “look, squirrel!”) knowing that the real battle is always about money and far from the false battlefield the pissants and peasants are fighting on.

      • David Springer

        “the rich will toss out those little little red herring emotionally charged issues (like abortion, climate change, gun control, etc)”

        R. Gates just called climate change a little red herring.

        Freudian slip? Is Gates rich? Enquiring minds want to know.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist | March 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      Stupid decisions are oddly almost always made with someone getting wealthy along the way.

      Hay, watch it: quit talking about Al Gore like that!

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      It’s a human volcano of money.

    • tingtg gets the subthread volcano of guffaws.
      ================

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “the rich will toss out those little little red herring emotionally charged issues (like abortion, climate change, gun control, etc)”

      R. Gates just called climate change a little red herring.

      Freudian slip? Is Gates rich? Enquiring minds want to know.

      ______
      Gun control, abortion, climate change are all real issues but they are not what the majority of politicians actually care that deeply about—which is actually about making themselves and their cronies rich. They use these issues to drive their voting block to the ballot box. For professional career politicians it is all about money for them and their cronies, but that toss out the “look squirrel” issues to keep their lemming voters interested and distracted from the underlying real focus of money.

      Is R. Gates rich? Yes, I’m wealthier than the majority of the people on the planet– but then again, so is nearly everyone reading this blog.

  3. Complete and total insanity.

    • This pretty much sums up my response. The subsidies and levies are designed with good intentions and with the idea of improvement. But, certainly in this case, this is not what happens. The difference between the plans and claims, and what actually occurs, is striking.

  4. The further we get from the principles of capitalism the quicker we depart from the finance function– i.e., the maximization of net present wealth.

  5. Reblogged this on Colder Air and commented:
    “How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.”
    David Rose reported on the continually unfolding biomass debacle this weekend with “The bonfire of insanity…” and Judith Curry’s commentary here is particularly relevant as it comes for the U.S. southeast – although no commentary on the topic should omit noting Will Boisvert’s “Harmonic Destruction: How Greens Justify Bioenergy’s Assault on Nature”

    • ‘A little learning is a dangerous thing;
      Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring:
      There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
      And drinking largely sobers us again.’

      H/t Pope – Alexander I mean.

  6. The Wall Street Journal had a similar piece several months ago.

    The same soft headed pseudo environmental logic leads to wasting water in the west to protect the delta smelt and the silvery minnow instead of using the water for agriculture or recreation.

    I wonder if Steyer/Gore/Kerry have investments in wood pellets.

    • Mark, a mix of issues. Letting northern california water flow to the sea is very different than shipping north carolina forests to England. Looking at the 85% of subsidized water going to grow alfafa and cotton in a desert vs salmon fishing industry are legitimate competing demands. Water costs $10 per acre foot to spray into the air on the crops. Residents pay over $100 per acre foot. The farms don’t on the whole drip irrigate. Water is too cheap to invest in conservation equipment. Salman and smelt need water flowing down at nature directed rates, not manmade ones.

      Let the rivers run unvexed to the sea.
      Desalination is the future way but can’t subsidize corporate farmers in the desert. Capitalism directs efficient use of resources but is distorted by water regimes that pump it across mountains to the south and cities in the desert. Even residential use down south is not realistic priced because the pump power is also subsidized. Let water prices reflect the cost of transportation and modify the old laws of groundwater and first riparian rights.

      Lots of problems but there are solutions.
      Scott

    • Scott, has there been any demonstrable benefit to the smelt in the water exercise. My information is nada.

    • Scott,
      You have lost the bubble on this one. The river flow originally was seasonal with spring flooding and dry river beds in most of the delta in the summer. The dams were installed to stop Sacramento and the surrounding areas from flooding in the spring. The state aqueduct was built to make use of that water, delivering it south to the Los Angeles area and farms along the way. The current environmentalist scheme is to maintain an artificial year round controlled flow of the artificially captured spring run off water to preserve fish that would not be there if the dams and aqueduct were not built.

  7. Is the ‘war on carbon dioxide’ net CO2 positive with this example;Keystone XL substitutes (higher-emitting rail and barge);ethanol renewable hype (life-cycle emissions analysis);and more nuclear capacity being shut-down that wind and solar additions from eco-activism?

    Such is keeping James Hansen awake at night:

    http://www.masterresource.org/2014/03/game-set-match-fossil-fuels-hansen/

    • Jim Cripwell

      Rob, you write “ethanol renewable hype”

      There are two types of “renewable” ethanol; food and cellulosic. Which are you referring to? Or do you include both?

    • Curious George

      Jim – it turns out that the fuel needed to make “renewable” ethanol outweighs the energy that the ethanol provides. We are not there yet. Maybe tomorrow converting wood pellets from old growth forests will actually decrease total CO2 emissions.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Curious, you write “Jim – it turns out that the fuel needed to make “renewable” ethanol outweighs the energy that the ethanol provides. We are not there yet”

      Again, you have not specified whether you are talking food or cellulosic ethanol. I have reservations as to how much fuel should be charged to the production of corn stover. The framers have agreed that 1 ton pre acre is not required for ploughing back into the ground. This is a waste by-product of producing the food. So, I suggest that there is, in fact, no fuel used in the production of the corn stover used to produce cellulosic ethanol.

    • Curious George

      Jim – I don’t have any knowledge of an industrial scale production of cellulosic alcohol. I’ll be grateful for a link. I agree with your statement “there is no fuel used in the production of the corn stover used to produce cellulosic ethanol” – but it seems that no corn stover is used for that purpose yet. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Curious George, I am aware of two cellulose ethanol plants, now in the final stages of completion. The first production should be Poet/DSM. See
      http://poet-dsm.com/news The second is Dupont and is easy to google The Poet plant is due to start production in 2014 Q2; in other words any time now.

      The key issuers are, is commercial production feasible, and if it is, is it profitable? We should know the answers to these questions by the end of 2014. If the answers are favorable, then :Poet estimates there might be an annual production of cellulose ethanol of 16 billion gallons per year.by 2020.

      The large unknown, is that Shell owns the Iogen technology, developed in Canada. If they decide to get involved, then who knows what will happen..

    • Marlowe Johnson

      so goes the acid wash jeans market so goes iogen. shell transferred its stake in iogen to raizen, a brazilian joint venture between it and cosan. IOW they got out of dodge and headed south.

      cellulosic ethanol in n. america is far behind other approaches (e.g. thermochemical) when it comes to 2nd gen ethanol commercialization. google enerkem, which is already making ethanol from MSW, for example.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Marlowe, I went to the enerkem website, and they have one demonstration plant in operation, producing 1.3 million gallons per year. There are 4 other plants under construction. So there is no commercial production at the moment.

    • Marlowe Johnson

      Jim,

      once the supply agreements are signed it’s pretty much a done deal, but fair enough; they’re at the ‘imminent’ stage of commercial production.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Marlowe, I don’t what to you get the wrong impression. I am very much in favor of any process that produces usable energy from what is now waste. But it remains to be seen which ones are going to actually be successful commercially. However, this is not a contest. I don’t think it matters who “wins”. Just we need them all.

  8. I did construction work at Drax in the 70′s. Seems incomprehensible that such an undertaking could be reduced to this. Gesture politics that make a mockery of engineering and economic sense to say nothing of poor science.

    • Mr Burdett of Drax says, ‘ We develop our business plan in light of
      what the government wants – not what is nice,’

      Case of build upon subsidy.

  9. Jim Cripwell

    Our hostess writes “How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.”

    Where Judith makes her mistake is including the phrase “makes sense …….for the environment”. Adding lots and lots of CO2 to the atmosphere is an extremely sensible thing to do. As has been stated over and over again, CO2 is NOT a pollutant, it does no harm, and is plant food. Hopefully we are slowly getting to the stage where a politician, who is really important, WANTS to believe that CAGW is a hoax. Then, if governments can be persuaded likewise, all this nonsense will stop. I would point out that the situation in The Crimea is not dissociated from this same problem.

    Who is going bell the cat?

    • CO2 is NOT a pollutant, it does no harm, and is plant food.

      Weeds are plants.

    • Ah, yes, biomass. Those brainy, mobile, animals all love it.
      ==========

    • Jim Cripwell

      AK, you write “Weeds are plants.”

      I agree. What is your point?

    • Climate change impact on weeds e.g.:

      “The impact of climate change on single species and ecosystems are likely to be complex. However, opposed to crops, weeds are troublesome invaders, ecological opportunists and resilient plants with a far more genetic diversity. Weed populations include individuals with the ability to adapt and flourish in different types of habitats. Weeds benefit far more than crop plants from higher levels of CO2 and the implications of this for agriculture and public health are grave. Weeds are able to respond rapidly to disturbances giving them a competitive advantage over the less aggressive species, most crops.”

      [...]

      Most plants use some sort of long-range spore dispersal mechanism to achieve gene transfer among isolated populations (e.g. symbiotic insects, windblown pollen, or water-born microspores for ferns and other “lower” types). When formerly isolated populations of marginal, niche and opportunistic species undergo widespread expansions due to global changes (in e.g. CO2), this long-range dispersal will result in large amounts of natural hybridization. Some of these hybrids will probably be better pre-adapted to the new conditions, moving into highly invasive niches formerly not occupied.

      [...]

      The key question is to what extent species that are “pre-adapted” for explosive expansion due to increased pCO2 act the same as newly introduced species. [...] there could easily be hundreds of latent “sleeper weeds” busily adapting, soon to break out and invade agriculture.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Thanks, AK. I ought to have guessed that the warmists would have a pal reviewed article to “show” that greening the planet was a bad idea.

    • Steven Mosher

      The point is cripwell that you cannot be certain that increasing co2 will be beneficial to the plants we rely on. It may be more beneficial to weeds. Look you havent measured the benefit to all types of plants in the wild.
      Extrapolating from a few lab experiments to all plants and concluding that the benefits to crops will outweigh the benefits to weeds is going beyond what we have actually really measured. Co2 may be plant food but the net benefit is indistinguishable from zero because it hasnt been measured in a controlled fashion in the real world

    • Steven Mosher

      Im a co2 is a plant food skeptic. Hehe

    • Steven Mosher:

      Co2 may be plant food but the net benefit is indistinguishable from zero because it hasnt been measured in a controlled fashion in the real world

      Why do you imagine that is?
      One would have thought that something like that would have been thoroughly investigated long ago.

    • “Im a co2 is a plant food skeptic. Hehe”

      Had trouble with biology class?

    • @phatboy…

      Why do you imagine that is?
      One would have thought that something like that would have been thoroughly investigated long ago.

      I’ve done a fairly extensive literature search on the subject, and found very few that actually said anything useful on the subject. I did note a few papers suggesting that a handful of known weeds may not respond as positively to enhanced CO2 as crop plants, thus my reservations in my comment about the blanket “[w]eeds benefit far more than crop plants from higher levels of CO2″ in the abstract.

      But AFAIK there has been no known research into the effects of short-term in-species evolution on the adaptive fitness of opportunists and other “sleeper weeds”. Thus, it represents a risk of unknown magnitude.

    • @Jim Cripwell | March 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm |

      Thanks, AK. I ought to have guessed that the warmists would have a pal reviewed article to “show” that greening the planet was a bad idea.

      What “article” are you referring to? The comment of mine I linked to here? Or the conference paper I linked to in my comment? How much do you actually know about the quality of the review? Personally, I couldn’t even find evidence the papers had been reviewed at all (not that I looked very hard). Can you prove your claim that these papers were “pal reviewed”?

      To all appearances, what we have here is typical denialist’s behavior: denigration of some paper that presents inconvenient conclusions with no reference to the science. If the subject gets discussed, and nobody else does it, I may spend the time to track down and link to the (few) papers I found that raise questions about some of the abstract’s claims. But I doubt you actually looked at the comment I linked to, else you would have noticed that two of the blockquotes were part of my own comment, not even “pal reviewed”! (And after all the trouble I go to formatting my comments so you can see which words are mine, and which quoted!)

      This would seem to indicate a lack of understanding of the science involved on your part, which in turn renders your dismissal and denigration of the paper as “pal reviewed” nothing but a specious excuse for denial.

    • Jim Cripwell

      WOW!! The warmists are really getting desperate. I make an off the cuff remark on a blog, and you would think I have committed some heinous crime. No, I have not done any sort of research on to the effects of weeds that might grow as the result of more CO2 in the atmosphere. I know nothing about the subject. And I am not in the least bit worried about it. The benefits of cheap fuel, I am sure, far outweigh any minor effect weeds may have on food production.

    • Latimer Alder

      I’d love to know the mechanism by which an individual plant – or whole species – gets to know that it is thought by us to be a weed rather than a crop and so alters its biochemistry accordingly to respond more or less to increased CO2.

      Reminder: A rose bush in a field of corn is a weed. A corn plant in a field of roses is a weed.

      Any suggestions?

    • AK

      Weeds are plants

      Yes.

      And fortunately most weeds are of the C4 type of plant, which benefits far less from increased CO2 concentration than the C3 types of plants, which include most major human crop plants (except maize).

      So weeds will benefit less from higher CO2 than crops.

      And that’s good news.

      Max

    • Jim Cripwell

      Latimer, you write ‘Any suggestions?”

      There is a paper on WUWT comparing warmists to Whack-a-Mole. One part of the doom and gloom turns out to be untrue, and another issue is raised. That turns out to be nonsense, and yet another one comes up. The latest here is weeds. So far as I can see, you are correct, the warmists have not thought this through. It is merely another doom and gloom story as to why CO2 is evil

    • Latimer Alder

      On C3/C4 crops and C4 weeds:

      http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/two-rival-kinds-of-plants-and-their-future.aspx

      So whereas rising temperatures benefit C4, rising carbon-dioxide levels do not. In fact, C3 plants get a greater boost from high carbon dioxide levels than C4. Nearly 500 separate experiments confirm that if carbon-dioxide levels roughly double from preindustrial levels, rice and wheat yields will be on average 36% and 33% higher, while corn yields will increase by only 24%.

      Another complication is that C4 has a larger share of the market in weeds. Of the 18 most pestilential weeds that trouble farmers, 14 are C4. So, all else being equal, and especially in temperate regions where C3 crops dominate, the battle against weeds should get easier as carbon dioxide levels rise-because C3 crops can accelerate their growth more than C4 weeds can.

      Last year, Qing Zeng of the Institute of Soil Science in Nanjing and his colleagues published the first test of this prediction on a real farm. By emitting carbon dioxide over plots of rice, they enriched the air to almost twice the ambient level of CO2. They then measured the growth rate of both rice and its worst weed, barnyard grass (a C4 plant), in the experimental plots, compared with control plots nearby.

      The ear weight of the rice was enhanced by 37.6% while the growth of the barnyard grass was actually reduced by 47.9%, because the vigorous rice shaded out the weeds. So the good news is that rising carbon-dioxide levels are, on balance, slightly helping crops (mostly C3) compete against weeds (mostly C4) rather than vice versa.

      Max

    • @manacker…

      And fortunately most weeds are of the C4 type of plant [...]

      Like waterhemp? E.g. Waterhemp rears its ugly head … again

      “A fifth example of resistance in one weed species is overwhelming evidence that resistance to virtually any herbicide used extensively on this species is possible,” said Aaron Hager, U of I Extension weed specialist.

      [...]

      In an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Hager and Pat Tranel, a U of I professor of molecular weed science in the Department of Crop Sciences, shared the results of a survey of multiple-herbicide resistance in waterhemp. The results showed that all populations resistant to glyphosate were also resistant to ALS inhibitors and 40 percent contained resistance to PPO inhibitors.

      [...]

      “We are running out of options,” Hager said. “This multiple-herbicide resistance in waterhemp has the potential to become an unmanageable problem with currently available postemergence herbicides used in conventional or glyphosate-resistant soybean.”

      And so on.

      Go ahead; tell me waterhemp is a C4 plant. Make my day.

    • Steven Mosher

      Phatboy. I am using cripwells argument about climate sensitivity against his position on co2 as plant food.

      That is I take his exact argument structure where he argues that sensitivity has not been measured and is indistinguishable from zero and I substitute co2 effect on plant growth in its stead.

      Pretty funny

    • @manacker…

      So the good news is that rising carbon-dioxide levels are, on balance, slightly helping crops (mostly C3) compete against weeds (mostly C4) rather than vice versa.

      Well, it’s true most of the traditional weeds are C4. But the potential for “sleeper weeds” is highest in C3 plants, whose ability to compete will be enhanced by additional CO2.

      Presumably, most existing C3 plants will not gain competitive ability as fast as crop plants do (based on what studies have been done), but the risk is that there will be some that gain more competitive ability, and many more that have some chance of evolving it over periods ranging from years to decades.

    • Steven Mosher

      Eunice.
      I dont deny that in the lab we can see the effect of co2 on plants. Same as we see the effects of co2 on the transmission of radiation in the lab.
      But as cripwell points out we havent done controlled experiments of the effect of doubling co2 in the real world. We have no real measurements of the effect and only have estimates. Estimates dont count as knowledge. By the same reasoning we haven’t done a controlled test in the real world of the effect of doubling co2 on plant growth. So we only have estimates and guesses not real science.

      Hehe

    • @Jim Cripwell | March 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm |

      WOW!! The warmists are really getting desperate.

      I’m not a warmist.

      No, I have not done any sort of research on to the effects of weeds that might grow as the result of more CO2 in the atmosphere. I know nothing about the subject. And I am not in the least bit worried about it.

      Which is why your denialist dismissal as “pal-reviewed” is so clearly stupid and counter-productive. The most “heinous crime” was the way the antics revealed in Climate-gate allow fake “skeptics” like you to dismiss any science you don’t like as “pal-reviewed” when you don’t have the faintest idea whether it is or not.

      The benefits of cheap fuel, I am sure, far outweigh any minor effect weeds may have on food production.

      Probably, which is why I’m so opposed to anything that might raise the price of energy. But the risk remains, which is why I favor low-regrets options such as increased focus on long-term R&D for carbon-neutral energy and technology for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

    • @ Steven Mosher

      ” Co2 may be plant food but the net benefit is indistinguishable from zero because it hasnt been measured in a controlled fashion in the real world”

      Tell that to commercial greenhouse operators (and serious home gardeners who grow indoors) who are spending millions of dollars of their own money for the empirical benefits of enhanced CO2 in their growing facilities.

      To get you started, try here:

      http://www.novabiomatique.com/hydroponics-systems/plant-555-gardening-with-co2-explained.cfm

      It includes the following:

      “How much CO2?
      It is well known that a CO2 level in the garden’s air between 700 and 900 ppm improves crop development and yield. Most plants grown for their beautiful flowers or foliage optimally develop at about 800 ppm. Roses are distinctive as they require about 1200 ppm in carbon dioxide concentration for best results. For many fruits and vegetables, the ideal CO2 level in the garden should be at least between 1000 and 1200 ppm.”

      As for AK’s worry that the additional CO2 will selectively enhance the growth of weeds, while providing little or no benefit to ‘food plants’, he should keep in mind that the greenhouse operators who routinely run 800-1200 ppm CO2 in their facilities are, as far as I know, concentrating their efforts on food plants and have not experienced problems with them being swamped by weeds which have OD’ed on CO2.

    • Steven Mosher

      Bob,
      the issue isnt greenhouses which are a controlled experiment. The issue is what happens in the real world. And there, as cripwell would note, we have no real measurements of the effect outside laboratories. Who knows,???

    • @Bob Ludwick…

      As for AK’s worry that the additional CO2 will selectively enhance the growth of weeds, while providing little or no benefit to ‘food plants’, he should keep in mind that the greenhouse operators who routinely run 800-1200 ppm CO2 in their facilities are, as far as I know, concentrating their efforts on food plants and have not experienced problems with them being swamped by weeds which have OD’ed on CO2.

      Greenhouses naturally control the ingress of airborne weed seeds, pollen, and insects/birds carrying seeds, pollen, and spores. Are you suggesting all agriculture should be done in greenhouses? How much would that cost?

    • @ AK

      ” Are you suggesting all agriculture should be done in greenhouses? How much would that cost?”

      I actually wan’t making any suggestion, only saying that food plants demonstrably respond favorably to enhanced Co2 atmospheres. I don’t know about weeds, since few commercial greenhouse operators produce them. And I have no idea how much it would cost

      I do know that it makes economic sense to a large number of businessmen investing their own money to grow a SUBSET of our food supply indoors, in a controlled environment (with extra CO2, of course). I also know that it is much more efficient in resources consumed per food item produced and that the ‘turnaround time’ is greatly reduced. An example in the link I provided for Steven was romaine lettuce. Outdoors, it typically takes 60+ days; indoors around 42. And the product is higher quality and brings higher prices than that grown outdoors. Only one data point, of course, but if resources become limited, more output for less input sounds pretty attractive.

    • I suspect that we will see a huge increase in green house agriculture and much of it will be solar powered. In North African and the Middle East, rising population, water stress giving rise to saline aquifers and lots of sunshine all favor greenhouses. The smaller Gulf states and Israel are already into this in a big way.

    • @Bob Ludwick…

      I don’t know about weeds, since few commercial greenhouse operators produce them. And I have no idea how much it would cost

      Well, I don’t know that much, although I do know a fair amount about evolution, and I’ve spent some time with peer-reviewed science regarding weeds. I see a risk. Not a certainty, but a risk that an outbreak of “sleeper weeds” could impact agriculture. As well as a more distributed risk of other types of catastrophic (in the mathematical sense) eco-reorganizations. Such things could potentially have major impacts on our (world-wide) economic system, perhaps even to the same extent as a collapse caused by dramatic rises in energy prices. Both risks should, IMO, be reduced, by keeping the price of energy low, while pursuing “low-regrets” options to minimize the risk from fossil carbon. As Steven Mosher has pointed out, any (unquantified) benefit to crops from increased atmospheric pCO2 can be balanced by a(n unquantified) risk from newly evolved “sleeper weeds”. This was, of course, implicit in my original statement that “weeds are plants”.

      &@DocMartyn…

      More greenhouses are a good idea, since it would probably reduce humanity’s agricultural footprint on the planet, as well as making an enormous contribution to adaptability. And not only regular greenhouses, but especially seawater greenhouses.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: Extrapolating from a few lab experiments to all plants and concluding that the benefits to crops will outweigh the benefits to weeds is going beyond what we have actually really measured. Co2 may be plant food but the net benefit is indistinguishable from zero because it hasnt been measured in a controlled fashion in the real world

      they have not done controlled experiments on every plant species, but they have done controlled experiments on major crop varieties and on the trees found in N. American forests. With CO2 enrichment, the plants grow faster (increased net primary productivity), withstand drought better, or both. Not all the increased growth in the crop species translates directly into increased nutrition, but into woody material and (possibly in excess compared to protein) carbohydrates.

    • Trouble with renewables they run out.

      In the industrial Revolution imagine what would have happened
      in Britain, pre-railways, if there was no accessible coal reserves
      close to navigable rivers asks Matt Ridley in ‘The Rational
      Pessimist.’

      The harvesting of water power soon experienced diminishing
      returns as it reached saturation point in The Pennines and
      there was no renewable fuel that could supply the need. In
      the first half of the 18th century even the small English iron
      industry was close to moribund for lack of charcoal fuel in
      a largely deforested island. There was never going to be
      enough wind, water or wood in England to power the new
      factories. Only coal could do that.

      Moreover a fact greenies prefer to ignore that fossil is that
      fossil fuels have spared much of the landscape from the
      ravages of industrialization. It takes a LOT of acreage to
      supply current energy production by renewables.

      A-serf-glad-that-ol’-King- Coal-released-the-serfs-from-
      laborious-poverty.

    • John DeFayette

      Jim C.,

      One of my favorite examples of the Whack-a-Mole phenomenon is the “poison ivy (and bears) will kill us all because of global warming!” news that pops up from time to time. I suppose these stories add balance to gloomy items such as bumper crop yield reports.

      Typical example: http://www.post-gazette.com/health/2013/07/22/Climate-change-is-making-poison-ivy-grow-bigger-and-badder/stories/201307220149#ixzz2ZsS2UBZl

    • Oops. how dumb are serfs…
      The Rational “Optimist” Matt Ridley.
      Got my lines crossed with the rational
      pessimist, Michel de Montaigne. Tsk!

    • Mosher writes:

      Co2 may be plant food but the net benefit is indistinguishable from zero because it hasnt been measured in a controlled fashion in the real world

      Oh yeah? What about the thousands of greenhouses here in Holland who raise the CO2 level to 1000ppm to achieve increased yield from tomato-, paprika-, flower- and cucumber plants?
      Weeds my ass.

    • Oops,
      Note to self: read downthread a little before posting…

    • Jim Cripwell and Steven Mosher

      When it comes to the impact of higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations on plant growth, Mosh is an “empiricist”, who rejects the results of controlled greenhouse studies and demands empirical data in our whole biosphere instead.

      Yet when it comes to the impact of higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations on global temperature, Mosh accepts model outputs as “evidence” and even chides Jim Cripwell for being an “empiricist” who insists on empirical data in our atmosphere.

      How do you two explain this?

      To me, the experimental results from controlled greenhouse studies are far stronger empirical evidence than the results from climate model runs.

      Can either of you explain to me where I am wrong here?

      Max

    • AK

      For some unknown reason, an earlier response to your statement:

      tell me waterhemp is a C4 plant. Make my day.

      Got caught up in the system.

      So I will repeat

      Yes. water hemp is, indeed, a C4 plant. And I hope I made your day.

      I will post the link to the article and the quote from it separately, since this may have caused the holdup of my post for some reason.

      Max

    • AK

      Here’s the quote:

      Palmer amaranth ["waterhemp'] is a summer annual C4 weed that is one of the most problematic weeds of cotton and soybean production in the southern United States.

      Max

    • AK

      Judith’s system apparently does not like the scientific name for “waterhemp”, which I will abbreviate in the quote from the article I posted:

      P….a…. ["waterhemp'] is a summer annual C4 weed that is one of the most problematic weeds of cotton and soybean production in the southern United States.

      Hope it gets through this time.

      Max

    • @manacker…

      I stand corrected. Forgot that there are a few genuses of dicots that have evolved the C4 metabolism.

      OTOH, the plant has become a particular problem during the last century, and may well be responding to increased CO2.

      And, of course, that doesn’t invalidate my point regarding the risk from C3 “sleeper weeds” as pCO2 rises.

    • AK

      You undoubtedly know more about plants than I do, but from the limited literature I have read:

      - C3 plants respond more to higher CO2 concentrations than C4 plants.

      - They seem to not only grow faster, but are also less sensitive to droughts

      - Most human crop plants (except corn) are C3 plants

      - Most common weed plants are C4 plants

      - Satellite observations indicate that plants are indeed growing faster globally

      - Studies have shown that some desert regions are “greening”

      - Overall crop yields of the main human crop plants (wheat, rice, corn, etc.) have increased by 2.4 times from 1970 to 2010, while human population increased by 1.7 times over the same period

      - Overall, human affluence, quality of life and average life expectancy at birth have increased and starvation rates have declined over this period

      - Atmospheric CO2 concentration increased by around 20% over this period

      - Global average temperature increased by a few tenths of a degree Celsius over the period

      - These observations tell me that the impact of added CO2 has (if anything) been beneficial for mankind

      - A study by Richard Tol estimates that the past warming (and CO2 increase) has had a net beneficial impact for humanity, and that the next 2.0C warming above today’s temperature would continue to have a net beneficial impact.

      From all of this input, I have concluded that added CO2 from future fossil fuel combustion over this century (as economically competitive and environmentally viable alternates to fossil fuels are developed) are very likely nothing to worry about

      I also see that, while there have been some specific “no regrets” initiatives, which could theoretically avert a couple of tenths of degree warming by 2100, there have been no actionable mitigation proposals as yet that would have a perceptible impact on our planet’s future climate

      Tell me where my logic and conclusions are wrong, AK.

      Max

    • @manacker…

      - C3 plants respond more to higher CO2 concentrations than C4 plants.

      So C3 plants that until recently couldn’t grow fast enough to compete with crops will now grow faster. Some (probably most) not as much faster as crop plants. A few (probably, IMO) faster.

      - They seem to not only grow faster, but are also less sensitive to droughts

      Thus, some C3 plants that currently can’t compete with crop plants will now be able to.

      - Most common weed plants are C4 plants

      This has the potential to change, with rising pCO2.

      - Studies have shown that some desert regions are “greening”

      Mostly with “wild” plants. And few ecological studies have been done WRT the actual species composition of these “greener” desert regions.

      - Overall crop yields of the main human crop plants (wheat, rice, corn, etc.) have increased by 2.4 times from 1970 to 2010, while human population increased by 1.7 times over the same period.

      There are many reasons for this, with little evidence that increased CO2 made much contribution.

      From all of this input, I have concluded that added CO2 from future fossil fuel combustion over this century (as economically competitive and environmentally viable alternates to fossil fuels are developed) are very likely nothing to worry about

      Perhaps.

      I also see that, while there have been some specific “no regrets” initiatives, which could theoretically avert a couple of tenths of degree warming by 2100, there have been no actionable mitigation proposals as yet that would have a perceptible impact on our planet’s future climate

      Depends on what you mean by “actionable”. Lomborg’s recommendation of “more research” is actionable, would cost (comparatively) little, and would arguably be likely to produce enough value in “spin-off” technology to pay for itself even if the outcome wasn’t needed for CO2.

      My own suggestions build on this:

      - Use modifications of IP laws, and perhaps tax breaks, to incent massive independent R&D by diverse businesses (etc.)

      - Focus on large-scale bio-tech development using alkilinophile methanogens which can draw CO2 out of sea water at ambient concentrations, and combine it with hydrogen at high energy efficiencies to produce methane, hydrocarbon fuels, and carbohydrates. IMo this is a natural direction that bio-tech will evolve, as prices for solar PV continue to decrease exponentially. I’m proposing a deliberate acceleration of this evolution.

      - Don’t raise the price of energy!

    • AK

      Thanks for your response.

      Your comment does nothing to make me pessimistic regarding the potential impacts on crop/weed growth at higher CO2 concentrations.

      There can always be “black swans”, of course (C4 weeds changing to C3 weeds at higher CO2 levels, for example), but worrying about these is futile IMO.

      Whether the 20% increase in atmospheric CO2 from 1970 to 2010 had much to do directly with the 2.4 times increase in crop production over that period is anything but certain (some papers think it might have) – but it certainly did not hurt crop yields.

      Agree that research work on the type of biofuel processes you mention would very likely be a good investment. They could open the door to a truly cost competitive and environmentally acceptable alternate to the fossil fuels we now use to ensure the quality of life we now enjoy.

      Industrial companies usually like to make good investments. They arguably have a better nose for this than governments. But I would certainly agree that basic research work on these types of opportunities could get a valuable head start with tax-payer funding.

      Also agree with you that we should keep energy prices as affordable as possible.

      Let’s do what makes sense (Lomborg’s premise), rather than arbitrarily do things in order to reduce future CO2 emissions out of irrational fear.

      The Tol study shows we have plenty of time to do exactly that, and that we will very likely benefit from the added CO2 and slight warming we are likely to see over the next several decades, as these new technologies are developed and commercialized.

      So you see that you and I likely agree on more points than we disagree on.

      And our exchange has been interesting and informational for me.

      So thanks.

      Max

  10. There is another angle on this story. European countries have regulations about clear cutting forests:

    The logging is perfectly legal in North Carolina and generally so elsewhere in the U.S. South. In much of Europe, it wouldn’t be.

    The U.K., for example, requires loggers to get permits for any large-scale tree-cutting. They must leave buffers of standing trees along wetlands, and they generally can’t clear-cut wetlands unless the purpose is to restore habitat that was altered by tree planting, said a spokesman for the U.K. Forestry Commission.

    Italy and Lithuania make some areas off-limits for clear-cutting, meaning cutting all of the trees in an area rather than selectively taking the mature ones. Switzerland and Slovenia completely prohibit clear-cutting. It is a common logging practice in the U.S.

    U.S. wood thus allows EU countries to skirt Europe’s environmental rules on logging but meet its environmental rules on energy.

    The full article is here:

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324082604578485491298208114

  11. It is amazing that the biomass geniuses do not fear the huge release of heat of burning wood — let alone the resulting CO2 — as a cause of global warming. It must be a convenient moment of lucidity about the irrelevance of human activity to climate change.

  12. This has been the problem with the whole CAGW enterprise from the beginning: “Hurry, Hurry!! Do Something!! Do Something!!” The chickens are running around with their heads cut off and we are ending up with these ridiculous solutions.

    The war on global warming is being waged against an enemy whose strength we cannot accurately determine, whose location cannot be ascertained, and who may not even have declared war on us. And it may be that the enemy’s intentions are entirely benevolent. Maybe we should put down the sword until we can see that there is an actual threat.

    • Jim Cripwell

      pottereaton, you write ” Maybe we should put down the sword until we can see that there is an actual threat.”

      There IS an actual threat. The sheer waste of taxpayer dollars, making many of us so much poorer.

    • Green plowshares are rusting to red.
      =============

    • @ pottereaton

      I agree with Jim:

      ACO2 driven CAGW poses an existential threat to western civilization.

      The threat has nothing to do with actual changes in the climate, whatever the ‘driver’; ONLY from the political actions being taken to ‘control’ ACO2, citing CAGW as justification.

  13. Scott, I understand that California is a special case (isn’t it always).

    In New Mexico we pay between $1000 and $2000 per acre foot of water.

    My point is that the endangered species act is being used by environmental activists to impede human progress of any kind in the name of protecting the environment in the same way they use CAGW.

    • Mark,
      That is a good point. My issue is rational choice in competing alternatives for water. Externalized costs should be considered and more dams, tunnels and subsidized water exports to the desert destroy rivers and SF bay.

      I am surprised at the cost you quoted for New Mexico water and I will look into CA pricing again. Pumping the water over the mountains and killing salmon at the same time destroy two economic pedestals of CA.

      Desalination can work but it’s costs are directly charged to the users, not subsidized in hidden formulas. These are secret deals that externalize the water transfer costs to the fishing and river based industries. They totally dry down to the riverbed the San Jaquin river. They have to truck salmon around the dry channel.

      I think the CAGW meme will continue to discredit the activists. I can’t believe the President and Secretary of State have signed on in the midst of the chilling weather in the East and Midwest. They should be ridiculed in cartoons until they restrain themselves to rationale postitions.

      Scott

    • Curious George

      Scott – many years ago I met a biologist from a fish hatchery. He told me that in the past salmon had disappeared from Sacramento river at least six times and later repopulated it again. Droughts, maybe.

  14. Goodness gracias I am all in favor of the US reducing it’s foreign trade deficits. But, doing it by sending wood pellets to England so that the UK electrical energy generation mix meets a Renewable Energy Standard seems like a rather CO2 intensive way to meet both of these goals.

    It doesn’t look like the state of CA would find the UK’s approach to meeting it’s RE standard sustainable as we require shorter supply chains for our NEW biomass electrical generation facility- http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/dte-energys-northern-california-biomass-170000884.html

  15. Grotesque, but it’s the EU, and grotesque is all they do.

    What beats me is why the poms couldn’t just join with Germany, Poland and other coal states in fiddling the carbon price down some more. I mean, nobody wants to make Germany so poor it stops paying for the drinks.

    What? Hydro and nuke rich France going to be sugar daddy to the rest of Europe? Will she be donating nuke power to Spain in gratitude for the one day the weather was perfect and a trickle of wind power actually went north of the Pyrenees? Poland going to leave its coal in the ground and depend on Gazprom and its old buddies to the east?

    • I’m from the government, and I’m here to bulldoze your Christmas Tree.
      ============

    • I think France already does – check this site for details of electricity generation and distribution in France:

      http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/

    • Pretty much. Brussels is vaingloriously insane

      But:

      “What beats me is why the poms couldn’t just join with Germany, Poland and other coal states in fiddling the carbon price down some more”

      Good question on the surface. The answer lies in the peculiar composition of the current UK body politic – vanity with stupidity. I do think that within 5 years or less we will see the actual results of “decarbonising” an advanced economy. This is an instructive experiment

    • David L. Hagen

      Bjorn Lomborg: Germany’s energy policy is expensive, harmful and short-sighted – Berlin is failing the poor while protecting neither security nor the climate

      High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9d6ba56a-a633-11e3-8a2a-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2wLDs9Vtm

      6.9m households live in energy poverty, defined as spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy. This is largely a result of the surcharge for renewable energy. Between 2000 and 2013, electricity prices for households have increased 80 per cent in real terms, according to data from the OECD and the International Energy Agency. . . .most of Germany’s money was spent, not on research into future technology, but on buying existing inefficient green technology. . . . High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9d6ba56a-a633-11e3-8a2a-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2wLEDyoHf

      German energy policy is an expensive way to achieve almost nothing. For solar alone, Germany has committed to pay subsidies of more than €100bn over the next 20 years, even though it contributes only 0.7 per cent of primary energy consumption. These solar panels’ net effect for the climate will be to delay global warming by a mere 37 hours by the end of the century, . . .

      This is the epitome of good intentions resulting in major public harm, especially for the poor.

  16. Yes, insanity grips the globe yet nobody wants to hear that they believed a falsehood to be an established scientific fact for the past seven decades.

  17. 1. While CO2 will back-radiate to ground, what isn’t established is H2O feedback making this phenomenon catastrophic.
    2. It hasn’t been demonstrated that warming is a net negative – it could very well be the best thing to happen.
    3. This demonstrated the idio see of government meddling in the energy market.

    This wood pellet thing is more ohn ick. But every time you turn around, there is a CAGWer advocating for carbon taxes. Id jits.

  18. This looks like the kind of free-market solution that the UK Conservative government would endorse, or turn a blind eye to. Clear-cutting is, of course, not sustainable. You have to be growing trees at the rate you are cutting them down for that to be true, and that seems to be far from what is happening here. It looks like another case of profit-making from weak regulations and incentives. The free market finds these kinds of loop-holes very efficiently. This is not to say that all biomass is bad, but it has to be done at a sustainable rate, using forests as an effectively infinite resource, but this is also a self-limited resource proportional to the sustainable forest area. I don’t see anyone supporting this, as it stands, except for those making profit from it. If they can switch their biomass source for this plant to something sustainable, it would be a step in the right direction, but at the moment, they are using it wrong, and in a way that doesn’t help the planet.

    • How did you think this was all going to go?

    • Jim D. –
      From the post:
      There are several reasons why socialism, and specifically wealth redistribution by means of taxing the rich, does not work. All of these reasons stem from one important fact of life:

      People have a strong desire to do whatever is in their own perceived self interest!

      The following are detrimental unintended consequences of socialism that stem from the above fact and undermine everything socialism is meant to accomplish:

      ■Much of the money that goes to the government ends up being wasted, resulting in ineffective government programs, and less wealth for EVERYBODY. Learn more.
      ■Many are tempted to assume that money collected by the government goes to help the poor and downtrodden. However, much of that money ends up in the hands of the rich and politically connected, those who have the most resources and ability to lobby for it. Learn more
      ■Socialism concentrates money and power in the hands of the government. When government grows, the greedy and corrupt don’t go away. Conversely, they now have a more powerful tool in their hands, the government itself. Learn more
      ■The richer you are, the easier it is for you to avoid increasing taxation and leave the bill to the middle class. Learn more.
      ■A soak-the-rich, high tax strategy inhibits the economy. And who is hurt the most by a slow economy? Not the rich! Learn more
      ■The transfer of earned wealth that socialist policies mandate are a detriment to entrepreneurship and innovation. Entrepreneurship and innovation are driven by the potential for material rewards. If we take away or reduce the material rewards, we’ll have less innovation. Less innovation means less of all the cool, useful, and life-saving stuff we all love. Learn more
      ■High taxes and government regulations make it more difficult to start and grow a business, thereby leaving much greater opportunities for those who are already rich and have the resources to overcome those difficulties. Learn more
      ■Social programs create more demand and need for those very programs in a self perpetuating cycle because given government handouts, people come to expect and rely on them. And therefore, you can never spend enough, because the more you do, the greater the need to do so becomes. Learn more
      ■Social programs are a disincentive to work and act responsibly. After all, if some or all of your needs are taken care of, and if someone else picks up the tab whenever something goes wrong, why would you worry about such minor details as work ethic, productivity, financial responsibility and family obligations? Consequently, when productivity takes a downturn, leading to a shrinking economy, guess who suffers… everybody! Oh and as always, the rich suffer the least. Learn more
      ■A combination of the above points causes a vicious cycle of decreasing revenues and increasing demand for social spending that results in a socialist government running out of money and having ‘no choice’ but to perpetuated tax increases to every level of society, rich and poor. Learn more
      Because of the avalanche of problems socialist policies cause, no amount of social spending and taxation will ever overcome the problems it is supposedly set out to solve.

      http://socialismdoesntwork.com/why-s…m-doesnt-work/

    • Poverty, like every other commodity, obeys the ‘Law of Supply and Demand’.

      The more resources that are made available to purchase poverty, the greater the supply of poverty.

      Empirically.

    • phatboy, I think everyone agrees here that profit-making at the expense of the environment is bad. This is capitalism where the few profit, in this case, the US south-eastern forest cutters, who found a willing market. It is wrongheaded for any taxpayer money to go to people with an unsustainable practice. This is the kind of thing that needs to be regulated better.

    • Do you really think that this debacle was planned in the last four years that we’ve had a conservative government over here?
      There are some decidedly socialist snouts in this particular trough.

    • phatboy, are you going to defend the current government for allowing this? Could they have done better? Yes, and it is clear how. If the regulations allowed an unsustainable source, they need to be tightened. Will the Conservatives have the will to do that? We’ll see. Their conversion from coal is just starting. There should be better routes than this which looks like a leap of faith, from what I see (and I am only looking at the Rose article which is a major caveat).

    • You evidently know very little about British politics.
      What’s happening now was decided on and approved many years ago.
      And tightening the regulations now will be tantamount to turning the lights out – and no government wants that to happen on their watch.

    • Bob L is exactly right. There isn’t demand for people who sit around, play video games, and smoke dope – therefore, they are poor. This seems fair and just.

    • Jim D says:
      It is wrongheaded for any taxpayer money to go to people with an unsustainable practice. This is the kind of thing that needs to be regulated better.
      *****
      Jim D is a good example of how too many regulations lead to even more regulations. Citizens make the most rational decision on how to abide by the regs at the least cost. That won’t always conform with the intent of the regulators, who then write even more regulations. As this continues, more personal freedoms are taken away and more people become criminals, many for breaking the many laws they don’t even know exist and don’t really have a snowball’s chance in hhhh e ll of even knowing about.

      This is why few and simple regulations are desirable.

    • phatboy, the policy to go away from coal is a good one. What to go towards and how fast is the question. Rose says those woodchips are unsustainable. Maybe so, maybe not. We would have to look at his claim more closely, but given his past pronouncements, I don’t trust what he says without an independent source. Sustainable wood chips are better than coal for the environment, so were the UK government victims of a simple loophole in their policy? I don’t know at this point. If the biomass policy didn’t include sustainability, it was a dumb one, and it allows schemes like this to be legal, so go ahead and replace coal with those chips because it is the right direction, but modify the policy too if it is wrong in this way.

    • It is worth reading this which conflicts with what Rose tries to imply.

      http://www.drax.com/biomass/sustainability-policy/

      One of the bullet points is
      -Not result in a net release of carbon from the vegetation and soil of either forests or agricultural lands.

    • @ jim2

      “As this continues, more personal freedoms are taken away and more people become criminals, many for breaking the many laws they don’t even know exist and don’t really have a snowball’s chance in hhhh e ll of even knowing about.”

      Headline from ‘Drudge’ today:

      “Man faces $75K a day in EPA fines for building pond — on his property!”
      (link didn’t copy)

      Does this sound familiar?

      “We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them…you create a nation of lawbreakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden.” Dr. Floyd Ferris

      Have you noticed that while there is no reason to believe that ANY policy advertised to ‘control ACO2′ will have any MEASURABLE effect on the Temperature of the Earth (TOE), the ostensible reason for their implementation, they ALL have the common ‘feature’ of vastly increasing the size, power, and cost of government while they decrease the freedom and autonomy of individual citizens? If the plan is to tax and/or regulate ‘carbon signatures’, which of our daily activities will remain untaxed and unregulated?

    • Jim D, you would have noticed that they don’t say anything about increased carbon emissions from shipping or processing the stuff.
      As for increased carbon emissions from forests, well they do plant new trees – but they fail to mention that burning the old ones releases all that ‘saved’ carbon back into the atmosphere.

    • phatboy, so your logical conclusion is that they can’t use woodchips because they don’t have carbon-neutral transportation yet? Fair objective, but a bit steep at this point. What fraction of the fossil fuel burning of coal is due to its transportation? I suspect not much. One thing at a time. First reduce the net fossil fuels burned.

    • Jim D, they’re not telling us, are they?
      You would have thought that, if overall CO2 emissions were less then they would have told us about it, wouldn’t you?

    • I would guess that the fossil energy used to extract and transport fuels like coal is in the 1-10% range of its burning cost, so extracting and transporting other fuels would always be a significant net win.

    • Why should you have to guess?

    • David L. Hagen

      Profitable Economics?
      For the gory economic details of pelletizing and relative profitability, see:
      The Wood Pellet Value Chain An economic analysis of the wood pellet supply chain from the Southeast United States to European Consumers, Yifei Qian, Will McDow, March 20, 2013

      we found that the main driving force that boosts the pellet demand is the competitive costs of wood pellet fuel under European countries’ support schemes. As the prices of traditional fossil fuels continue to rise at a sharp rate, the cost advantage of burning biomass would be more obvious. European power utilities would enjoy the direct benefits from burning fossil fuels, but it might be difficult for the added value to flow back to landowners, since the value system is complex and includes many different players, which are across industries and geographical boundaries.

      So share holders hope the subsidies do not drop.

      Liquid fuel or carbon credits?
      Of far more importance is to focus on ways to deliver liquid fuel cheaper than OPEC. Otherwise countries will see their economies declining even when they have plenty of coal fired power. See actuary Gail Tverberg Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending summarizing Global Oil Market Forecasting – Main Approaches, Key Drivers by Steven Kopits, Managing Director, Douglas-Westwood.

      A person would normally expect that crude oil production would rise as Capex rises, but Kopits shows that in fact since 2006, Capex has continued to rise, but crude oil production has fallen . . .Nearly half the industry needs more than $120/bbl. The 4th quartile whre most US E&Ps cluster needs $130/bbl or more. . . .
      Shell is cutting back.. . . it will focus on generating cash flow, at least partly by selling off existing programs. . . .

      The biomass pellet growth will soon be a curious sideshow compared to the major issue of supplying liquid fuel.

    • David L. Hagen

      Ref: Global Oil Market Forecasting: Main Approaches & Key Drivers
      Steven Kopits, Managing Director, Douglas-Westwood
      Presented February 11, 2014 at: Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University

    • k scott denison

      Jim D | March 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      phatboy, I think everyone agrees here that profit-making at the expense of the environment is bad. This is capitalism where the few profit, in this case, the US south-eastern forest cutters, who found a willing market. It is wrongheaded for any taxpayer money to go to people with an unsustainable practice. This is the kind of thing that needs to be regulated better.
      ———————–
      You seemed to have missed this quote:

      Mr Burdett admitted: “Our whole business case is built on subsidy, like the rest of the renewable energy industry. We are simply responding to Government policy.”

      So capitalism isn’t the issue… poorly thought out government regulations are the issue. Without the government regulations the cutting of forests to inefficiently provide power wouldn’t occur.

      The answer is simple: fewer (not more) regulations.

    • phatboy, well you can reason it out too. Like what percentage of its cargo weight is a ship or a train’s fuel? Probably quite small, I would say.

    • ksd, the subsidies are to drive the correct environmental behavior. If businesses can benefit from them, good for them, it will employ people too. Now it’s me sounding pro-business or capitalist. Why begrudge these entrepreneurs moving away from old energy, if they can profit from it?

    • the subsidies are to drive the correct environmental behavior

      The subsidized solutions are the problem ie the destruction of the sinks.

      This is clearly evident in the 1.3 billion euro subsidized Palm oil deforestation and draining of tropical peatlands or the removal of cover for maize cropping in the UK as evident in the recent flooding.

    • Jim D, you miss the point – why are they not TELLING us? Why should we have to guess, or reason, or anything else? If it’s such a good deal, why are they not shouting it from the rooftops?

    • Marlowe Johnson

      precisely Jim D. trying to tar all biomass to energy pathways with the same brush is the hallmark of an ignorant and lazy mind. our host comes to mind. take Diamond Green for example. they make renewable diesel using mainly used cooking oil and rendered animal fat. soylent green is diesel! some might be surprised to learn that they’re partly owned by that marxist eco hippie co-op otherwise known Valero, the largest non-integrated refiner in the u.s.

      now I don’t know much about allowable harvesting practices or the specifics in terms of how Enviva’s methodology for estimating the GHG LCA for its pellets, but I’m fairly certain it’s not worse than coal.

      for an alternative view to assess David Rose’s latest steaming turd, the interested reader could go right to the source:

      http://www.envivabiomass.com/wp-content/uploads/Sustainability_USPellets_11.20122.pdf

  19. John DeFayette

    Burning trees is such a safe solution, too. We’ll just have to make gov’ment a little bit bigger so they can regulate the filre and CO hazards.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-24498774

  20. I bow to no one in my fear of Anthropogenic CO2 as an existential threat to civilization.

    Not because of any effect it has on the climate, of course, but because off the political policies that are being implemented in the name of combatting it.

  21. Of course this is insane. It is insane for people to believe in an endless supply of fossil fuels. The UK has gone through their North Sea oil allotment and our now suffering the decline. I did simulations several years ago and you will find that the UK is now in a predictable state :

    In 2005, the prediction:

    http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2005/10/uk-north-sea-simulation.html

    Now:

    Same goes with their coal. All they have left is a crapshoot for fracked natural gas, and the option of buying expensive imported fossil fuels.

    What did you people expect? Ponies and unicorns?

    • For some one who is supposed to specialize in the subject you should try doing some more research.
      The UK only has about 250 years worth of Coal and Coal gas underground, it was a political decision not to take it out when the country went for the “Dash for North Sea Gas”.
      As for world resources of Natural Fuels they are virtually unlimited when you consider all the possibilities, which you obviously haven’t done.

    • ACO, Some could say that the UK squandered their North Sea oil (and the NG that came along with it). Compare the UK situation with Norway, who seem to be feeding the profits back in to their energy infrastructure for the day that their declines become severe as well.

      As far as your coal reserve assertion, one only has to look at the data:

      This isn’t climate science where we are looking at a fraction of a degree change in temperature. The native coal production in the UK is way down and this is a property of the geological processes. Do you not realize that you are commenting at a blog run by the head of an Earth Sciences department at an engineering university? They do realize that non-renewable resources are limited in supply. Why don’t you understand this?

    • Your supercilious tone and appeal to authority do not cut any ice with me.
      Your stupid and irrelevant graph is a complete straw man and you know it, that reduction in coal production is purely a political decision and has nothing to do with “RESERVES” of coal and gas.
      You are obviously small minded and have never read any Science Fiction otherwise you would be capable of thinking outside of your tiny box.
      Let’s start with what we currently have and do.
      Hundreds of years of Coal reserves in most Continents.
      Many years of conventional Oil on most Continents and under many seas and oceans.
      Currently unknown Quantities of Shale Oil & Gas under most Continents and in many seas, for instance Australia is self sufficient in Shale gas for 300-1000 years.
      Next we have Methane Hydrate and Clathrate, which has more energy than all the rest of the hydrocarbons put together.
      Plus ordinary Methane.
      When all of that has been exhausted we can move on to plain common or garden old WATER, we already have the Fuel Cell technology to turn water directly in to Hydrogen and Electricity. New “under the crust” water is being found all the time, under Asia alone is as much water as the Arctic Ocean. Plus you have all the water tied up in the Ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.
      When all of that energy is exhausted (leaving enough water to keep us fed and hydrated) we can move on to Geothermal burrowing deep in to the earth’s crust.

      All of this without Nuclear Fission and Fusion, moving in to space and Asteroid and Comet Mining, Beamed Solar Energy and any new technology that is developed over the next few hundred years

      All it takes is political will, Man has the Technology and the Science all it needs is the “Necessity” as in the “Necessity the Mother of all invention”.

      You see you think small and i think BIG.

    • @A C Osborn…

      You see you think small and i think BIG.

      Reading science fiction doesn’t really help unless you understand the Science. The only known way to get energy from water is nuclear fusion, and if you’ve got that the amounts used are so small in relation to the energy produced that you could run it off rainfall, although you could also distill a little sea water.

      For terrestrial power, long term, solar power from space is obviously the best answer, although most industry could be productively moved into orbit, along with most agriculture. Leaving the surface for more natural processes.

      But this is a longer-term process, and the expense of space solar power in the near term is probably higher than solutions based on surface PV.

    • AK | March 17, 2014 at 8:00 am |
      So you have never heard of splitting water in to Hydrogen and Oxygen then?
      Or Hydrogen Fuel Cells?
      Like I said it is all about Political will and of course the cost of Fuel as fuels get scarcer and more expensive processes that you currently wouldn’t use become effective.
      I did not even touch on Microbial energy.
      What do you think Science fiction was looking at 150 Years ago?
      Did they envisage Jet Engines, Rockets, Transistors, computers?
      With the amount of energy still available to us do you really think that nothing else will be developed over the next 300 Years.

      • So you have never heard of splitting water in to Hydrogen and Oxygen then?
        Or Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

        But splitting water requires energy, and while I’ve heard there might be ways to to split it with less than it’s binding energy, I’ve not heard it’s in production use anywhere. So for now, running split water hydrogen in a fuel cell requires more energy than you get out due to heating losses. Also commercial hydrogen is made from natural gas in a steam reactor.

        Lastly again so far, fuel cells are expensive because they require fancy expensive materials to work, and foul out far to soon. Other wise we’d be seeing more of them.

    • Plus of course there is Nuclear Energy, another political decision, it could power the whole world, but it not considered “Green” or safe.
      Try telling that to the French.

    • @A C Osborn…

      So you have never heard of splitting water in to Hydrogen and Oxygen then?
      Or Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

      Of course I have. But there’s a distinction between sources of energy, and storage media for energy. The energy has to come from somewhere, other than the water.

      And anyway, relative to the energy necessary to distill it from sea-water, the amount of energy that can be stored through hydrolysis is enormous. And, of course, the water is (in principle) re-usable, so there’s no need for ‘“under the crust” water is being found all the time, under Asia alone is as much water as the Arctic Ocean. Plus you have all the water tied up in the Ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.’

      And, “the Fuel Cell technology to turn water directly in to Hydrogen and Electricity” doesn’t even seem to make sense. A fuel cell can burn hydrogen (with oxygen) to create electricity (and water). A fuel cell can burn other fuels, creating electricity that can be used to electrolyze water to create hydrogen. I suppose, with a sufficiently electropositive fuel, it would be possible to produce both electrical energy and hydrogen from water, but even in that case it really couldn’t rationally be said to “turn water directly in to Hydrogen and Electricity.” And you’d still need to explain where that electropositive fuel came from.

    • AK | March 17, 2014 at 9:41 am |
      I agree that I was missing out a step when I wrote “the Fuel Cell technology to turn water directly in to Hydrogen and Electricity”
      Do you have any argument with the rest of it though, especially the Methane and future technology?

    • Do you have any argument with the rest of it though, especially the Methane and future technology?

      It sounded like a garbled version of what I’ve been saying. So garbled as to be a caricature.

    • AK | March 17, 2014 at 10:04 am |
      ” It sounded like a garbled version of what I’ve been saying. So garbled as to be a caricature.”

      Well I find that amusing, as I do not see anything you have said Up thread other than talking about weeds.
      I was responding directly to WHT and have no idea what you have been writing about.

    • Well I find that amusing, as I do not see anything you have said Up thread other than talking about weeds.

      Try some of the older threads.

  22. Back when our country did sensible, especially regarding energy, it commissioned 3 power stations to be fired from a massive Selby Coalfield. The stations were Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax. The coal seems were underneath the power stations. Distance from pit to furnace 25 miles.

    Under the greens 3,800 miles. I really have to try hard these days not throttling the next green I find.

  23. Pingback: Paradokset | Klimagrasrota

  24. Here in Finland (also in Sweden) biomass (wood) is used extensively. However, compared to British Drax operation, there are notable differences.

    1. Biomass is local, distances short and it is not in short supply. On the whole, biomass (wood) in Finnish forests has been increasing.

    2. Biomass fuel is mostly produced as a byproduct of forestry industry processes. Bark, black liquor, sawdust etc. belong to this category. No waste.

    3. Thinning of forests and leftovers from clearcut areas (surplus to industry requirements) are the other source of supply. Many people in the countryside still make their own firewood. Plenty of wood there which is not suitable for industry.

  25. Pingback: Et eksempel på «bærekraftig klimapolitikk? | «Klimagrasrota

  26. Burning wood for energy is just an extremely inefficient method of harvesting solar energy.

    It has one advantage over other methods as the solution to the ‘storage’ problem’ is intrinsic to the process–the energy is available 24/7/365, just like any fossil fuel.

    Just as a matter of curiosity, I wonder if anyone has done an efficiency budget for wood pellets: What is the ratio of the energy delivered to the grid by burning pellets harvested from a square km of forest compared to all the solar energy that falls on the forest land from the time that the tree is planted until the tree is harvested for pellets?

    How does that total delivered energy compare to the energy that would be delivered to the grid over the same period using a process similar to this:

    http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/ibm-solar-collector-magnifies-sun-2000x-without-cooking-itself.html

    which is claimed to be 80% efficient, installed on a square km of land adjacent to the ‘wood-for-pellets’ forest?

  27. catweazle666

    Ironic really, as one of the most important causes of the shift to burning coal in Great Britain – and hence initiating the Industrial Revolution – was the fact that we had chopped down all the old forests that had covered practically the whole of GB, for fuel, and to build naval vessels and burn for charcoal to make gunpowder for the wars with Europe.

    Amazing how the environmentalists have willingly permitted themselves to be exploited by the scammers such as Gore in the biggest con trick ever perpetrated.

  28. There are a few items that David Rose does not bring out very well:-
    The cost and Co2 released in
    Actually making the pellets.
    Shipping them to a Port
    Storing them in the correct conditions as they are a fire hazard.
    Shipping by Dirty Engined Ships.
    Shipping to the Power Stations Storage Facility, plus the cost of said storage.
    Plus you have to use twice as much Wood by Volume to generate a Mw of electricity as it takes with Coal.

    Utter, utter insanity paid for by the poor Electricity Customers.

    • Biomass burns cooler than coal and more of the aromatics make it into he environment; so you are increasing the general carcinogen background.

  29. written as a true skeptic….

    biomass burning. may seems smart from the inside, but take a step back and it seems silly and counterproductive.

    discussing this issue, therefor not focusing on the real issue, seems smart from the inside, but take a step back. It then seems silly and counterproductive.

    solve the real issue, the unraveling of the detailed workings of the climate, and such silliness as biomass burning, will take care of themselves.

  30. John DeFayette

    I especially love the business model. It’s called subsidy harvesting. The only thing that makes it work at all is when some enlightened government forces our common wealth into this rathole. Don’t take my word for it; check out page 18 here http://www.apsaf.org/meetings/2013/ppt/2013-02-01-0915-Sontag-Slides.pdf. Here is US demand for industrial wood chips:
    1) Nonexistent because “No national environmental / carbon policy so market is fragmented” and
    2) “Some state level mandates provide one-off opportunities for utilities.”

    No free money, no arm twisting, no business. That’s the local, low-km market we’re talking about, with no oceans between source and sink.

    Why is it that the word “sustainable” never applies to business anymore?

  31. Drax is switching to pellets as it is deemed ‘carbon neutral’, even though it belches out more CO2 than coal.

    They may have learned that CO2 is causing no problems, but it is making green stuff grow better with less water.

    GOOD MOVE!

    • WHT: “The UK has little coal left compared to what they had.”

      As we have been burning it for a bit longer than most and are on a tiny island as well I don’t think we’ve done that bad.

    • Daniel Defoe, from Letter 12 of ‘A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain’:

      ’1. There are great quantities of white fish taken and cured upon this coast, even within, as well as at the mouth of the Firth; and, as I had occasion to inspect this part, I took notice the fish was very well cured, merchantable, and fit for exportation; and there was a large ship at that time come from London, on purpose to take in a loading of that fish for Bilboa in Spain.

      2. There is great plenty of coal in the hills, and so near the sea as to make the carriage not difficult; and much of that coal is carried to Edinburgh, and other towns, for sale.

      3. The coal being thus at hand, they make very good salt at almost all the towns upon the shore of the Firth; as at Seaton, Cockenny, Preston, and several others, too many to name. They have a very great trade for this salt to Norway, Hamburgh, Bremen, and the Baltick; and the number of ships loaded here yearly with salt is very considerable; nay, the Dutch and Bremers in particular, come hither on purpose to load salt, as they do on the opposite side of the Firth also(viz.) the shore of Fife, of which I shall speak in its place.’

      I’m amused by his ‘several others, too many to name’.
      ==============

    • I’m remembering him describing this practice as originating where coal seams met the sea, the coal was burned to make salt, which was used to cure the harvest from the blooms of herring, which could be caught by the gazillion, but would be wasted without the means to preserve.

      But, I haven’t found that explicit reference, yet.
      ===================

    • Marlowe Johnson

      you’ll of course back up the claim that wood pellets emit more co2 than coal on a lifecycle basis with evidence right? oh wait. you can’t. shocked i am that someone would just make stuff up.

  32. Ah well, at least the Coal we do have will be there for later (and we do have quite a bit of it left).

    • I suppose that RLH will put his 60-year filter on this chart and show that UK coal production is cyclic

      Oh yeah, the UK coal production nearing zero after 2000 is merely a minimum in the sinusoidal signal, isn’t that right RLH? :) :)

      And I realize that this sarcasm will be lost on most people, as they think “hide the decline” applies to something completely different.

    • WHT: Looks up from his potato peeler and offers some useless comment as usual.

      There is a surprising amount of coal underground still in the UK. As I said, it will wait for later when everybody has decided it might be useful.

    • http://www.ukcoal.com/world-coal-statistics.html

      “UK coal production – 16.8 million tonnes:

      UK coal reserves – Underground, surface: 3,196 million tonnes”

      Should last a few years. It’s just cheaper to import it right now.

      “UK coal imports – 44.8 million tonnes:”

    • Web, it costs too much to send men underground to dig coal in Britain, the environmentalists make it impossible to strip mine, so the UK leaves its coal underground and imports it from countries that don’t have such powerful loonies.
      The British have the means to generate coal gas, hydrogen and CO, in situ, by burning seams underground and hydrating. They are not allowed to do this because of the mellons.
      The UK will be able able to supply all its electrical power generation and domestic/industrial natural gas needs for about 100 years if it fracked the 170 trillion cubic feet of recoverable, proven gas in England.

    • RLH can’t integrate under a curve. The UK has extracted over 30,000 million metric tons of coal so far:

      So he thinks that the 3,000 million tones hard-to-get remaining reserves is the UK’s salvation.

    • WHT: UK coal consumption. In 2012 the UK consumed 64 million tonnes.

      The reserves are not that hard to get at, just needs the right price. Cheaper at present from abroad.

      As I said, it will wait for later.

    • That’s what makes deniers deniers. They have to deny everything otherwise their very being is threatened.

      In summary, the UK has coal reserves that amount to 10% of the amount that they have used cumulatively in the past. And this 10% left is not the most easy to get at, given that the easy pickings were tapped long ago.

      So they scramble to find alternatives, leading to suboptimal solutions such as burning processed wood pellets. Like, who didn’t see this coming?

    • Webby, if it’s only 10% then why don’t they simply burn the stuff and be done with it? Why leave it in the ground, when the alternative of shipping vast quantities of wood pellets from across the ocean is hugely more expensive?
      And 10% is still an awful lot of coal.


    • phatboy | March 16, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
      Webby, if it’s only 10% then why don’t they simply burn the stuff and be done with it? Why leave it in the ground, when the alternative of shipping vast quantities of wood pellets from across the ocean is hugely more expensive?
      And 10% is still an awful lot of coal.

      Phatboy, Ain’t it phunny that I can take on all you Brit deniers, RLH and Doc included, and rip your arguments to shreds.

      OK, so burn the coal that you have left. Then what?

    • WHT: You do need to study some political history to understand why the UK coal is mainly still in the ground. And money (or access) is not really the key.

      Well we lucked out with North Sea Oil. Now we have some frackable gas and still got the coal to fall back on. Not bad for the nation that started burning the stuff in large quantities at the start of the industrial revolution.

    • Right, Webby, why don’t you rip my argument to shreds then?

      And you ask, and then what?
      Ok, I’m waiting, and then what?

    • Web, like a good many people Warmistas uses words to mean what ever he wants them to mean, so rip to shreds an argument means make a statement as fact.
      The “proved recoverable coal reserves” were of the United Kingdom were reported at 45 billion tons in 1980.
      In 2004 the figure was reduced to 0.22 billion tons.
      We will not send men underground, and in some cases under the sea, to dig the rich coal seams. Modern health and safety regulations will not allow it. Nor will Britain ever hand over its economy to a single group of workers.
      It takes about 20 years to get permission to open a new open cast coal mine in Britain and at the end of the costly legal process, you have less than 50% chance of getting permission.

    • The UK has little coal left compared to what they had.
      That is a fact of geology and how non-renewable resources work.

      We face the same problem in Pennsylvania
      Anthracite coal

      Bituminous coal

      The good stuff goes first, then the lower quality, then the hard to extract stuff

      What makes you different, eh?

      Like all deniers, you are a delusional bunch.

    • WHT: “The UK has little coal left compared to what they had.”

      As we have been burning it for a bit longer than most and are on a tiny island as well I don’t think we’ve done that bad.

    • WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | March 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
      RLH can’t integrate under a curve. The UK has extracted over 30,000 million metric tons of coal so far:
      So he thinks that the 3,000 million tones hard-to-get remaining reserves is the UK’s salvation.

      Another non argument, have you actually looked at the history of the World Power that used to be Britain?
      Britain not only used that coal for 150 years to power
      The whole of it’s burgeoning industry
      All of it’s Gas production
      Every Fire Place in the country to keep it’s people warm
      Every Steam Train
      Every Canal Boat
      Every Ship
      and on top of all that at it’s height in the early 1900s it exported 25% of all the coal we dug up.

      Now all it would be needed for is to Generate some electricity.

    • Canal boats? Steam trains?
      And what’s with that capitalization?

    • WHT: Actually the list is much longer


      Pumping Engine
      Steam Hammer
      Mill Engine
      Traction Engine
      Road Roller

      We were quite creative with steam, and that was ALL coal powered (well a few were Wood powered but that brings us back full circle to the article :-).

    • The UK is seeing a rapid decline of their North Sea oil and a long ongoing decline of their native coal, and you complain about wood pellets? Get real.

  33. Wood pellets shipped across the Atlantic to displace coal burning for electricity is almost as lame brained as burning coal in the first place.

    http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy11osti/46586.pdf

    Liquefaction of biomass by fast pyrolysis and subsequent upgrading of the resulting pyrolysis oil (bio-oil) by hydrotreating and hydrocracking—refinery processes that use hydrogen to remove impurities and break large molecules down to smaller ones—is a promising means for producing renewable transportation fuel.

    For corn stover: “The study results indicate that petroleum fractions in the naphtha distillation range and in the diesel distillation range are produced from corn stover at a product value of $3.09/gal ($0.82/liter) with onsite hydrogen production or $2.11/gal ($0.56/liter) with hydrogen purchase. These values correspond to a $0.83/gal ($0.21/liter) cost to produce the bio-oil. Based on these nth plant numbers, product value for a pioneer hydrogen-producing plant is about $6.55/gal ($1.73/liter) and for a pioneer hydrogen-purchasing plant is about $3.41/ gal ($0.92/liter). Although these results suggest that pyrolysis-derived biofuels are competitive with other alternative fuels, the technology is relatively immature, resulting in a high level of uncertainty in these estimates.

    Waste wood can competitively be converted to liquid fuels and gas in the form of biodiesel, pyoil, pyrolene, pygas and producer gas if you take into account that it also accomplishes waste disposal and produces biochar, itself a valuable by-product. What’s more, all forms of organic waste be treated like this.

    These processes can themselves be done using solar, wind, hydro or geothermal energy, at off-peak times essentially acting as a form of energy storage. So, yes, subsidies that divert inputs from the far cleaner (and more useful) production of transportation fuel and high hydrogen-content gas stationary fuels is just foot-shootingly wrong.

    Now, except the biogas, this doesn’t solve the UK stationary energy problem; though it does entirely fix their problem with transportation fuel and disposal of organic wastes, as well as everyone else’s. If the UK overbuilt capacity of wind and tidal, and imported overbuilt solar from Spain, the overcapacity stored by converting wastes to transport fuel and high-hydrogen gas fuels would however more than make up the coal difference, and be far more economical.

    A shame David Rose can’t dig deep enough into the story to figure this out. Then again, no one expects depth there.

    • Well at the rate that the Chinese and elsewhere are adding new Coal plants anything we do here in the UK hardly makes a dent.

    • k scott denison

      Yup, almost being the most important word in your opening sentence Bart. Leave it to warmists to find an even dumber way to fuel power plants the coal. Bunch of rocket scientists, eh?

    • RichardLH | March 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm |

      Blah-blah-blah China blah-blah-blah..

      The same China that’s invested over FIVE times as much into alternate energy in the past decade as the USA and the UK combined?

      If the UK wants to make a dent, it could do like it did up to a century ago, and lead the world by investing in new ideas and spreading them globally, instead of sucking its thumb doing nothing new for a hundred years.

    • We did kinda do some stuff in the last hundred years or so. Other may have then used the ideas but a lot of it came from here.

      What was the last invention you had? I have three so far and more that weren’t available for patent for other reasons.

    • The first bonds the Chinese let go blooie were for a solar adventure. Last week.
      ===========

    • Or was it flailing after windmills? It’s hard to differentiate them for power density.
      =========

    • RichardLH | March 16, 2014 at 8:18 pm |

      Five, this year.

      Hard to say which was most recent what with the paperwork overlapping.

    • Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. just defaulted on a bond, the first major default in modern Chinese history.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-07/chaori-solar-fails-to-make-interest-payments-on-bond-wsj-says.html

      The Chinese solar sector is massively in debt, has an economic model of continued expansion based on cheap credit, is in an oversupplied market and is facing a huge drop in demand as European Governments slash subsides.

      The Chaori default has caused a slump in the Metals markets,

      http://www.mrw.co.uk/news/metals-prices-fall-as-china-firms-default-on-loans/8660200.article?blocktitle=Latest-news—recycling-and-waste-management&contentID=2182

      The Chinese solar companies are likely to fall like dominoes, taking their suppliers with them, until there are just one or two big survivors left.

    • DocMartyn | March 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm |

      *yawn*

      It’s a moribund company producing decade-out-of-date technology in a world that’s moved on under the force of Moore’s Law as it applies to solar energy. And the same will likely happen to Chinese companies that have failed to keep up with technology in other sectors too.

      Hardly a sign that solar, and especially Chinese solar, where there is actual investment in moving the technology forward, is in trouble, any more than the shut down of a buggy whip factory was a danger sign for the automobile.

    • For reference, for those of you who unskeptically believe everything some know-nothing hack at Forbes or FT opines:

      Compare http://www.krajiczech.cz/files/katalog/Chaori.pdf vs. http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/concentrated-pv-solar-set-to-boom_100013699/#axzz2wBokKCEv and figure out for yourself why no one’s buying inferior Chaori products.


    • Bart R | March 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm |

      RichardLH | March 16, 2014 at 8:18 pm |

      Five, this year.

      Hard to say which was most recent what with the paperwork overlapping.

      Zing!

    • WHT: And your contribution was what? A lot of my work never saw patent possibilities.

      I still believe that the UK fights above its weight in the ideas battle.

    • TBE drops the second penny. Bits of hail of solar ingots shatter panels.
      ================

    • kim | March 17, 2014 at 10:23 am |

      RichardLH | March 17, 2014 at 7:53 am |

      The bonfire of national vanity aside, who cares how many patents for curry combs and buggy whips garage inventors procure in the UK?

      You’re still a nation that shares the same disgrace as too much of the world in the costly and primitive burning of dirt and burying of waste, instead of leaving dirt in the ground and using pyrolysis to dispose of waste by making it clean net carbon neutral fuel.

      Being proud of being backwards is no virtue.

    • Bart R: I would never stoop to denigrate any nation in such a fashion. It reflects badly on you and your opinions.

      The UK still continues to invent and have those inventions used round the world. Of that I can rightly be proud.

    • RichardLH | March 17, 2014 at 8:12 pm |

      All nations are above reproach, and it is denigration to criticize even their most flagrant faults in any way?

      My, my, how lovely North Korea is this time of year; the perfect destination for a flight for Kuala Lampur.

      And the Crimea is a terrific place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

      Syrian coffee is such a treat.

      Is that fashionable enough for your wounded pride?

      What was the last UK patent that did half so much good for the world since its application date as UK coal burning causes harm in a year?

      Was it this year?

      Five years ago?

      Ten?

      Twenty?

      Is it expired?

      Stop wandering all over weeping nostalgically for a bygone glory that ceased before Wilfred Owen was out of short pants, and stay on topic.

      What could and should the UK be doing differently about energy and fuel?

    • By the quality and content of your arguments, your opinions and prejudices will be displayed. As they are.

      The UK (and the whole world) would be well advised to concentrate on energy use efficiency.

      That includes energy transport efficiency. The argument for local heat and power is getting much stronger. Significantly less losses all round. And insulation, above all insulation!

    • RichardLH | March 18, 2014 at 5:54 am |

      Local energy production? So.. you are arguing for the UK to go back to mining its own coal instead of importing it (in most cases quite similarly silly distances to the wood pellets)? Or pelletizing its own forests and peat bogs?

      UK coalmines wouldn’t last a decade before essentially tapping out at current UK burning rates. It’s forests and peat would become extinct in half that time. How much longer than that is North Sea oil going to last, even if exclusively used in the UK?

      However, the UK has an unending resource of local organic waste it could easily fast pyrolyse, hydrolyse, and drop in to replace oil, gasoline and natural gas. It has more than enough local wind and tides to power this transformation, Icelandic geothermal and Spanish solar are mere a stone’s throw away storing geology and sunshine as hydrogen bonds in net carbon-negative fuel while disposing of noxious wastes and creating biochar and other valuable byproducts. Patent that.

      Since 1972, laws on the books required high levels of insulation and draft-proofing of new buildings and extensive renovations; regulations allowing home inspectors to ignore these legal requirements allowed your British construction industry to continue building drafty under-insulated third-rate shacks to the point the UK requires one extra nuclear plant just to power the difference in home heating between what it could have been and what it is. Insulation is great. Enforce that standard.

      You’re not getting the broad strokes entirely wrong, but up close on the details you’re missing the big picture.

  34. John Robertson

    We go mad in mobs, return to practicality as individuals.
    This CAGW hysteria, the fear of the magic gas, is just another episode of mass hysteria.
    That the solutions all cost more energy, than they produce is just fine with hysterics.
    As the costs come home to the many, as the rewards accumulate to those well connected few, the harsh reality will settle back in.
    Impoverished citizens are very unreasonable.
    Next stop, scapegoating, sacrificial “culprits” and massive finger pointing and collusive, selective silence from our “media”.
    This time one new tool, this internet.
    Will the same game play out again or will the wayback machine destroy the liars?

    CAGW was an intelligence test.
    The fools and bandits inhabiting our governments have clearly failed that test.

  35. Lessons from our British cousins (we covered this insanity before):

    Cadman, Emily. “UK Sees Steep Increase in Winter Deaths.” Financial Times, November 26, 2013. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/763fcb26-5681-11e3-ab12-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2luySfQ2W

    Hope, Jenny. “Fuel Poverty Britain: 24,000 Will Die from Cold This Winter and 3m Worry about Heating Their Home.” Mail Online, January 19, 2014. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2478114/Fuel-poverty-Britain-24k-die-winter-rising-energy-prices.html

    Vulliamy, Ed. “Cold Homes Will Kill up to 200 Older People a Day, Warns Age UK.” The Guardian, October 22, 2011, sec. Society. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/oct/22/older-people-cold-energy-bills

    But pellets are less favored in the United States: /sarc

    AP. “EPA Proposes Restrictions for New Wood Stoves.” Text.Article. FOXNews.com, January 7, 2014. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/01/07/epa-proposes-new-restrictions-for-new-wood-stoves/

    So, let’s limit supply:

    Poulter, Sean, James Chapman, Nick Mcdermott, and Peter Campbell. “Electricity to Be Rationed: Power Cuts in 2 Years Unless Industry Cuts Back, Warns Regulator.” News. Mail Online, June 27, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2349719/Blackout-alert-Electricity-rationed-Power-cuts-2-years-unless-industry-cuts-warns-regulator.html

  36. Jim Cripwell: Why is it that people cannot make the connection that fossil fuels are burned for heat and emit CO2 as a (useful/detrimental) by-product, but it is heat that makes temperatures go up. The amount of heat emitted annually from energy use was four times the amount of heat required to raise the atmospheric temperature the measured annual amount (before melting glaciers at a rate of a trillion tons a year reduced the rate of rise). If CO2 adds any it must be very small because the increase in the land,water, and air temperatures are well within the ballpark of calculable heat emissions. Fossil fuel energy is well known. Nuclear energy emits at least twice the total heat as its electrical output. Trying to capture CO2 after the heat has already been released is just a ploy to delay the serious implementation of energy sources that do not add more heat to the environment than they have removed. If anyone can explain how the heat emissions do not cause the disruptions we are experiencing, give it a try.

    • Latimer Alder

      @phlip haddad

      ‘ If anyone can explain how the heat emissions do not cause the disruptions we are experiencing, give it a try.’

      Which ‘disruptions’ do you have in mind? Please be specific and be prepared to demonstrate that any incidents are truly exceptional rather than just BAU (same old, same old)

  37. Latimer Alder

    For those who express surprise that we in the UK are doing something so patently dumb, let me point out that the last two UK energy ministers got their jobs not from any talent or ability or experience but simply to help create our coalition government.

    And there is little so stark staring bonkers as a well-paid, unsackable EU bureaucrat/commissioner who thinks his mission is to save the world.

    The combination of the two is a toxic cocktail.

  38. Mr Burdett said: ‘We develop our business plan in light of what the Government wants – not what might be nice.’

    This is the biggest problem with the Government decreeing anything (HealthCare and Green Energy come to mind), sometimes these rules are just stupid, and they’re still hard to get rid of even when most people would say they need removed.

  39. Pingback: New Life Narrabri

  40. Mosher, “Im a co2 is a plant food skeptic. Hehe”

    Then your are a science denier. Get real.

    • Steven Mosher

      we havent done measurements in the real world using a controlled experiements. Its all extrapolations from lab experiments.
      And yes, C02 has gone up and the planet has greened, but you havent proved that it wasnt something else that caused the added growth so you just have a correlation. Plus c02 is a tiny fraction of the atmosphere..
      and we had planets before when c02 was lower. The increase in plant growth is due to natural variation.. The null hypothesis stands.. you havent proved its anything out of the ordinary, therefore c02 has no effect on plant growth

      how are my skeptical arguments working?

      hehehehehe

    • Steven Mosher

      and we had plants…. i hate no edit function

    • Mosher, you are arguing just for the sake of arguing. Just as you default to radiative transfer physics for all CO2 warming, you should probably spend some time with plant biochemistry and you’ll sound a tiny bit less silly. Must be a dull night in SF.

    • Robert I Ellison

      “Our work was able to tease-out the CO2 fertilisation effect by using mathematical modelling together with satellite data adjusted to take out the observed effects of other influences such as precipitation, air temperature, the amount of light, and land-use changes.” http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Deserts-greening-from-rising-CO2.aspx

      There are many uncertain effects – but CO2 fertilization and reduced water usage are not two of them. What remains improbable is that people can imagine that ecologies and hydrology can be altered across the planet with no risk of unforeseen consequences.

    • @ Bob…

      Mosher, you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.

      No, he’s engaging in a reductio ad absurdum WRT a long-running argument.

    • Bravely constructed moshe; I’m so glad the greening effect is even more beneficial to the biome than the warming effect.
      =============

    • k scott denison

      Steven Mosher | March 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
      we havent done measurements in the real world using a controlled experiements. Its all extrapolations from lab experiments.
      ————————–
      I would say large-scale greenhouses are moving the experiments up from the “lab” a bit. Certainly more so than any experiments on the ability of CO2 to impact temperature.

  41. S.C. Schwarz

    Before I retired last year I was an environmental engineer specializing in renewable energy. I did plants like this one for Palm Beach County:

    http://www.swa-wteproject.com/

    These plants were fired by municipal solid waste which would have been landfilled if we didn’t burn it for energy. Pretty green you say? Well no, the environmentalists were and are violently opposed. Growing trees to burn them is OK. Burning waste is not OK.

    It all makes no sense to me.

  42. Stephen Segrest

    Upfront, I’m a supporter of renewable energy. I also understand (as Judith says) that us supporters need to put on our “big boy pants” as to criticism. Funny thing though, when I put in the term “Vogtle” into this blog’s search engine — the results show nothing, nada. While folks become crazed over things like solar as socialism, you same folks become the three monkeys (see, hear, speak no evil) over subsidies to things like nuclear power. About one-third of the DOE Loan Program (over $10 billion) goes to nuclear power — most of which is to Southern Co.’s Vogtle nuclear plant. So with solar, the pitchforks and torches come out. But with things like Vogtle’s Federal loan guarantee, the Price-Anderson Act, and tax credits for nuclear power — its the 3 monkeys. In Florida, ratepayers were required to pay upfront (for about 5 years) the cost of building/upgrading new nuclear power plants. The plants were cancelled, and were refunds made? Nope.

    • You’re full of it.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Dear AK — Well, that didn’t take long. Thanks for your “enlightened science, economics, and energy policy” comment.

    • Steven Mosher

      i dunno most of the skeptics (libertarian bent ones) oppose subsidies.

      the devil in the details is agreeing what constitutes a subsidy

    • Not, actually, your claims about subsidies to nuclear power, but your claim that the subject has never been discussed.

      Personally, I tend to mute discussion of this issue except when certain nuclear supporters start whining about subsidies for research into other energy sources. After all, I sympathize with, and support, the military objectives that actually drove the push for nuclear power. But it’s been discussed, even if “Vogtle” never came up.

      Oh, and BTW, while our hostess may never have mentioned it, I got 11 hits with a site-specific Google search for the term. That search includes comments (more than a day old, IIRC) while the search engine here only looks at the original posts.

    • the devil in the details is agreeing what constitutes a subsidy

      Intellectual Property is a subsidy. Try that on the Randites around here.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Dear AK — OK, I’ll bite. Which blog entry does Judith criticize subsidies to nuclear power like she does with renewables? The only point in my blog entry is the “selective” outrage. While I disagree with with folks like Dr. Ron Paul, I can absolutely “respect” his views that “all” energy subsidies should be eliminated. Its all about consistency.

    • While folks become crazed over things like solar as socialism, you same folks become the three monkeys (see, hear, speak no evil) over subsidies to things like nuclear power.

      “Folks” is plural. Presumably it includes me. You can find my comment about nuclear subsidies using Google, I’m not going to waste time with it.

    • Chinese pebbles lie not in a militant bed.
      ========

    • Robert I Ellison

      I defended subsidies to both the new generation II+ AP1000 nuclear plants and the Nevada solar thermal plant jus yesterday. Although nuclear is much closer to being cost competitive than solar thermal – or indeed solar PV – this is the way that potentially competitive technologies are brought into production.

      What we are talking about instead is a production (rather than a development) subsidy for a dinosaur technology that is not cost competitive and that will never be viable on a wide scale – there is simply not enough biomass. We could start burning whale oil again I suppose. That would help a bit.

    • Robert I Ellison

      whoops – that’s Gen III+

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “I can absolutely “respect” his views that “all” energy subsidies should be eliminated.”
      ______
      Yep. Every last one. The real costs of any technology should be 100% paid for by the end user– no artificial picking and choosing of winners. But the issue really comes down to really identifying real “costs”. Pollution, sustainability, and long-term impact on the environment must be included under real costs and also not subsidized.

    • Yep, every last one of them – except for most of them

    • Steven Mosher

      yes AK you dont need to tell me about IP

      http://www.openbusiness.cc/2009/08/20/interview-qi-hardware/

    • Theory of the second best says that the subsidies to nuclear power are small and partial compensation for the excessive regulatory costs built into the NRC system. Net of all government intervention, nukes are disadvantaged by public policy and solar and wind are massively advantaged. If you just take away the nuke subsidies, you make the government distortion of the market worse, not better.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Kim — you just seem like an interesting person — especially your Zen type quotes. Your latest, “Chinese pebbles lie not in a militant bed”, I’m still trying to figure out. On the Web, I found the story of two pebbles (black and white) — is this what you are referencing?

    • I’m a chatbot moshe thought up thirty years ago, but didn’t patent.
      ==========

    • Naw it was just a reference that the Chinese lead on pebble bed technology is industrial policy, not military policy. Of course, with The Militant Kingdom, who’s to say what, when, where, why, or who?
      ==============

    • Flying this plane on another board, I’m playing with ‘The Meddle Kingdom’, ‘The Mettle Kingdom’, and ‘The Muddle Kingdom’. We live in muddlesome times.
      ===============

    • Naw it was just a reference that the Chinese lead on pebble bed technology is industrial policy, not military policy.

      Given the tradition in post-medieval Europe that the commercial civilian sector supports military capacity (steel, coal, oil, etc.), it’s hard to say that such industrial policy is independent of military. You might suppose that the Chinese have just adopted another Western tradition, OTOH a similar dependence may have existed during the Warring States.

    • Is a license to practice medicine a subsidy?

    • About Nuclear subsidies: the regulatory cost required before building a new plant are such that they really cannot be built without a guaranteed price above market. In the UK there are two plans to build new plants. One seems to have stalled completely, the other is still going forwards. I used to work for a company which has a 20% stake in the New Nuclear. R
      There ware two ‘break points’ when they could decide to pull out, and they did so at the second, after they had spent 250M GBP (the ‘senior’ partner has spent 1B GBP at that point). That was about a year ago, and it will be a year at least before any actual building is started. My guess is that they will have spent between 2B and 3B GBP before any building happens,

      Given the costs involved, if they just get the projected market price for power over the next 2 or 3 decades, no way they will make any money and no way will anyone invest in it.

  43. Carrying Colas to Newcastle at last sounds sensible

  44. Importing biomass is the new evil.

    What about shipping non-renewable coal from the other side of the globe – that was the height of sanity??

    • k scott denison

      Do the math on the energy density and cost of shipment. Then come back and tell us why it makes sense. Take out the subsidies for both the biomass fuel and the coat and then come back and tell us why it makes sense.

    • You do have to remember that the UK imports coal from Russian (18.3Mt), Columbia (11.9Mt) and the USA (10.5Mt) and even some from Australia (2.3Mt) so this just replaces some of that (slightly inefficiently for bulk true).

    • “Do the math on the energy density and cost of shipment”

      Yes

      It is obviously so that when a thread on *actual* “decarbonisation” of base load appears (and this not nearly often enough from my viewpoint), the CAGW advocates here (Gates, silly Jimmy D, Michael, WingNUT etc) show themselves as truly ignorant – as useless as used loo paper

      Nuclear power (Gen3+) for city base loads. Just don’t build ‘em on the San Andreas. CH4 generators work ok too although they more expensive than coal, but sourcing the gas supply is fraught with wilfully ignorant resistance

      Transport is way more difficult, since electric cars have no useful distance range and the population living outside cities quite rightly regard their ability to move around freely and economically as sacred. Pretending that trains or buses can cover the myriad of daily journeys is utterly stupid

    • k scott – renewable vs 100% non-renewable. Factor in reality, eg. a carbon-price and, yeah, do the maths.

      Ian – funny that in a post bemoaning subsidies we have the advocacy of the most subsidy intensive energy type.

    • @Michael

      I’m *not* advocating subsidies for nuclear power. I’m pointing out its’ suitability for base load due to its’ reliability

      “Renewabubbles” have both very high cost and unreliability issues which the CAGW advocates always avoid discussing wrt base load. That includes you, unhappily

      Pretending that forests can re-grow as quickly as Drax will burn them (at highly subsidised cost) for critical base load is utterly stupid; transport issues abound with the Drax situation (this was discussed over 12 months ago) yet people’s lives are consigned to this knife-edge

      Try to grasp what happens when base load fails in a city. From the 1st second you cannot access your money (ATM’s, banks, cash registers, petrol pumps and so on don’t work). From day 2 food in the supermarkets spoils as it does in domestic fridges – most jurisdictions have legislated the destruction of refrigerated supermarket food supplies past 8 hours of no power. In any case, you can’t buy the food – money is useless even if you had some

      Relying on huge amounts of continuously imported wood pellets to supply reliable base load for large UK cities is insanely risky. Gas, coal or fission, please. No amount of special pleading about “unintended” consequences will hide this risk

    • ian,
      the only person rasing ‘baseload’ was you.

      It would be a more sensible discussion if nuclear proponents didn’t pretend that nuclear ‘baseload’ is some kind of magic that never fails.

  45. Stephen Segrest

    When Judith vilifies biomass co-firing (bringing out the pitchforks and torches) — the full story is a little more complex. Perhaps most importantly, co-firing occurs only in very old coal power plants that are very inefficient and no longer meet clean air regulations, like NOx emissions. Biomass co-firing high in the boiler re-burn zone is an engineering approach to reduce NOx emissions (with a small unit de-rate) without major pollution control retrofits to keep the coal plant commercially viable to operate.

    • k scott denison

      Let’s see. Current cost of electricity in the UK is 50 pounds per MW-hr.

      Cost from this plant is dictated by the government at 105 pounds per MW-hr.

      This plant will not have any beneficial impact on CO2 emissions and will cause a lot of damage to forests in the US.

      Yup, nothing to vilify there.

    • Robert I Ellison

      No one vilifies biomass as such. In it’s purest form it is quite competitive with coal – and there are not merely sustainable but large potential sources of ecologically damaging woody weeds. That is – if these were not being counted towards carbon offsets.

      What is a little dodgy is a production subsidy foisted on the public for a dinosaur technology that burns old growth forest.

      It is a matter of misplaced priorities I suppose.

    • Stephen Segrest

      k. scott denison — The impression that pristine U.S. forests are being clear cut for UK biomass co-firing is just not true. This practice has been used for a hundred years in the forestry and pulp and paper industry. Tree thinning and using cull trees (non commercial grade) for fuel. The pellet industry here in the Southeastern/Gulf Coast U.S. has increased as pulp and paper plants have closed (non competitive with foreign).

    • Robert I Ellison

      Does this not support clear felling rather than selective logging?

      Greenies seem to have a selective environmental awareness.

    • Stephen Segrest

      k scott denison — I’m certainly no expert on the UK. Do you live there? My understanding was that the Drax units supply about 10% of all electricity in the UK. A lot of these units were very old — not complying with scheduled air regs (NOx), and with low efficiency (making them uneconomic). But if they simply closed the units down, this would have had dramatic economic impact to the UK’s coal industry — with skyrocketing unemployment. My understanding is that Drax, their engineering firms, and Government found a way to keep the coal units operating (rather than handing out unemployment welfare checks).

    • k scott denison

      Forcing the public to pay 2x for power is enough to vilify I believe.

    • “Does this not support clear felling rather than selective logging?”

      Yes, but it is clear cutting thick planted pine. It is called tree farming. For saw lumber pine there is selective clearing in with a 30 to 50 year crop cycle and the thinned trees go to pulp or pellets. For straight pulp and pellets the harvest cycle is around 16 years and that would be a true clear cut. You also have burn damage where the trees have to be harvested quick or there is no value. Since pulpwood prices are around $7 per ton and saw pine around $30 per ton, I imagine that once the thinning has reached a limit that the UK might experience a price shock.

    • Did you captain the Ark? You seem to know a lot about fires on forested mountains.
      =========

    • “Did you captain the Ark?”

      They say I am old as dirt, so maybe. Been trough a few fires, a bunch of blows and currently dealing with the south Florida spring pestilence, swarming carpenter ants and termites.

    • “co-firing occurs only in very old coal power plants that are very inefficient and no longer meet clean air regulations, like NOx emissions”

      Drax is a modern power station, having rebuilds in the mid-80′s and again in the late 90′s; capturing NOx/SOx and particulates.
      The turbine hall was given its last full upgrade 18 months ago.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Like I said, I know very little about Drax in the UK. I have been involved with about a dozen biomass co-firing projects here in the States. With only one exception (TECO’s IGCC coal gasification unit) all the coal units were old (typically PC and Cyclone units).

    • Robert I Ellison

      The Carolina coastal forests are not pine plantations.

    • Stephen Segrest | March 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
      I’m certainly no expert on the UK.
      That is obvious.
      The Drax is a purpose built Coal Fired Power Station, built on a Cola Mine, under EU regulation happily adopted by UK politicians Coal Fired Power Stations either have to fit CCS (a non proven technology with a nightmare of disposal) or pay massive fines.
      The alternative if you had read the whole article is to have subsidised conversion to wood chip (£700m) plus subsidised burning of those chips because the are so called “Carbon Neutral”.
      Again if you read the article the carbon neutrality only works in the magic of the “Green Mind” and not in the real world.
      Which is why it is utter madness.
      Of course by contrast by using various rule stretching Germany is building and using Coal fired Power Stations burning of all things Lignite one of the dirtiest forms of coal.

    • “The Carolina coastal forests are not pine plantations.”

      There are planted pines all over the southeast. Sustainability of the US forests really isn’t the point. Drax is paying about 3 times the cost of coal for wood pellets based on a low quality softwood product that sells for about $7 a ton at the pulp/pellet plant., If the Brits are dumb enough to buy it, the southeast will sell them all the slash pine they can handle.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘The Wall Street Journal has documented that Enviva, the South’s largest exporter of wood pellets, sources wood for its pellet-manufacturing mill in Ahoskie, North Carolina, from clearcut wetland forests in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal ecoregion. This mill produces approximately 400,000 tons of wood pellets per year for export to Europe as fuel for electricity.’

      http://www.nrdc.org/energy/forestnotfuel/enviva-wood-pellets.asp

  46. Another triumph of bureaucratic self-righteousness over reason. It’s akin to suicide by good intentions.

    • @ jbmckim

      “Another triumph of bureaucratic self-righteousness over reason. It’s akin to suicide by good intentions.”

      Actually, it is suicide by BAD intentions.

      Don’t forget that this whole ACO2 driven CAGW goat rope is a subset of the drive for ‘sustainability’.

      And that, per the sustainabilists, to become ‘sustainable’ the population MUST be reduced to 1 +/- 0.5 billion. If they can reduce ACO2 by 90%, while continuing to block nuclear (or any other technology which promises to meet base load requirements), as is apparently their intent, they will have taken a giant step toward reaching sustainability.

  47. More invasive weeds = more goat food = more goats = cheaper curried goat.

    Funny old world isn’t it?

  48. Yes, biomass makes sense, but only if you believe the predictions of the IPCC sponsored models concerning higher CO2 concentrations. Every year that passes shows how those models continue to exaggerate average global temperature.

    This charade will continue until people understand the on/off nature of climate change. There have been two “on” periods: 1910 to 1940 and 1970 to 1997. The Royal Society come close to the truth when they look hard at the vibration modes of the CO2 molecule. See my theoretical model underlined above.

  49. Political Junkie

    S.C. Schwarz – yes, “environmentalists” are adamantly opposed to municipal waste to energy projects, regardless of the elegance of the particular technology. Why would that be?

    Well, in order to make the investment pay, one needs to be assured of a guaranteed source of garbage for some period of time.

    The eco-nuts believe that there should be zero garbage. A good solution is rejected in favor of the impossible perfect one!

    • John DeFayette

      Heh. My city, population 200.000, just fired up a brand new garbage incinerator last year, putting out 120 GWh/year electric and 160 GWh/year thermal. The electricity goes straight to the grid, and the heat is sold through the city’s capillary network heating system to high-rise apartments and offices.

      The flue gas has five levels of scrubbing, so pretty much all that comes out the stack is CO2 and water vapor. Anyone who wants to see for himself what’s going on can check the flue emissions in real time on line. Or he can check the network of government regulator monitor sites that surround the neighborhood.

      The project was nearly killed just as the plant was being completed, when a revolution swept through our local government (ousting the cocaine-tooting mayor we had previously–a story in itself). The loudest voices behind the new green junta, which was brought to power on its call of “NO INCINERATOR”, belong to the national and local “Zero Waste” movement.

      Gotta love the unreality of it all.

      Here’s the kicker. This is Parma, Italy. Our biggest industry after food is packaging machinery.

  50. Your belief in David Rose without any scepticism is odd.

  51. Jim Cripwell

    Let me bring this out as a new piece, because it is important. Steven Mosher simply does not understand what I claim.

    @@@@@

    Steven Mosher | March 16, 2014 at 5:35 pm |

    Eunice.
    I dont deny that in the lab we can see the effect of co2 on plants. Same as we see the effects of co2 on the transmission of radiation in the lab.
    But as cripwell points out we havent done controlled experiments of the effect of doubling co2 in the real world. We have no real measurements of the effect and only have estimates. Estimates dont count as knowledge. By the same reasoning we haven’t done a controlled test in the real world of the effect of doubling co2 on plant growth. So we only have estimates and guesses not real science.

    Hehe
    @@@@@

    Where Steven is wrong is his statement that I believe “Estimates dont count as knowledge.” That I have NEVER claimed, and it is simply downright untrue, Estimates are excellent to support hypotheses. The estimates of climate sensitivity are quite good enough to show that CAGW is a very viable hypothesis.

    What I object to is the IPCC claiming that there is a 95% certainty that things about CAGW are correct, when there is no measurement of climate sensitivity. But then, Steven always seems to be able to misinterpret what I write.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim Cripwell: Where Steven is wrong is his statement that I believe “Estimates dont count as knowledge.” That I have NEVER claimed, and it is simply downright untrue, Estimates are excellent to support hypotheses.

      I am glad you clarified that.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Matthew, you write “I am glad you clarified that.”

      What amazes me is that I need to write it; again. I have been writing the same thing for years. And it is not even as if it were new or original. It is merely a statement of the scientific method. This has been around since the 17th century, and has, recently, been elegantly explained by Richard Feynman in simple language.

      It is just that Steven Mosher does not seem to understand the scientific method. He keep accusing me of writing things that I have never written. And I keep on having to write the sort of thing that I just wrote.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim Cripwell: . I have been writing the same thing for years.

      This vitiates the difference (which I claim doesn’t exist anyway), between “measurement” and “estimation”: both provide evidence of what is there when it isn’t being estimated or measured.

    • “What I object to is the IPCC claiming that there is a 95% certainty that things about CAGW are correct….” – JIm

      So you object to things that occur only in your imagination.

      Fine.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Michael, you write “So you object to things that occur only in your imagination.”

      I don’t imagine what is written, IIRC, in Chapters 9 of the AR4 and AR5..

    • David Springer

      CO2 enhancement for plant growth has been out of the lab and into practical horticultural applications for a very long time. Unknowns exist in crops not typically grown inside a greenhouse where CO2 injection is not practical due to lack of confinement.

      http://tinyurl.com/msljbk3

    • Jim,

      ‘IIRC’ – you don’t.

    • An enclosed greenhouse is not a field or a pasture. The science on fields and pastures is mixed:

      Our results for 20012010 are consistent with the idea that
      ambient N availability will dampen the capacity of land ecosystems
      to sequester large amounts of C in the coming century2, below
      that predicted by models that assume no N constraint on
      CO2 fertilization, as some recent models also are beginning
      to suggest8,9,12. Although widespread incorporation of such N
      constraints into models is recommended, it will first require the
      development of a robust understanding of the long-term CO2
      fertilization impacts on a range of systems and under a range
      of N supply rates. Although our study suggests that caution is
      necessary in assuming strong CO2 fertilization effects in a world
      with chronic soil nutrient limitation, more long-term studies such
      as BioCON will be needed to adequately inform the development
      of realistic Earth system models. Unfortunately, funding for such
      studies is scarce, suggesting that this key knowledge gap will not
      be filled anytime soon.

      • David Springer

        “An enclosed greenhouse is not a field or a pasture.”

        Yup. And soil with insufficient NPK isn’t a farm. Did you somehow believe that readers here don’t realize that plants need more than CO2 in order to grow? They need soil with pH in the right range, adequate water (extra CO2 reduces water requirement), proper drainage, sunlight, NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), and warmth. This is taught in elementary school in the US. Maybe you were too busy staring at the buxom blonde farm girls to make much note of what was being taught in ninth grade, eh? I can sympathize with that but some of us can lust and listen at the same time.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Michael, you write “‘IIRC’ – you don’t”.
      I looked it up. See

      http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-7.html

    • “IPCC…95% certainty that things about CAGW are correct…” –

      JIim, thanks for link demonstrating that your statement above is nonsense.

    • JCH,

      The true believers in CO2 fertilization seem to forget that toxic algal blooms will likely be favoured by increased CO2.

      But hey, let’s role the dice and hope for the best.

  52. Looks like Congress let wind have a late Christmas gift. Without this subsidy, the only birds would be enjoying wind energy. $23 per megawatt-hour is what’s insane here.

    CORRECTED-Vestas December orders hit monthly record in rush for U.S. tax credits

    Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:45am EST

    (Corrects 11th paragraph to say share price has quintupled, not quadrupled)

    By Shida Chayesteh and Ole Mikkelsen

    Dec 27 (Reuters) – Turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems has received its highest ever monthly total of orders in December as wind farm developers in the United States rushed to meet a year-end deadline to qualify for a tax credit.

    The Danish company booked orders for capacity of 1,346 megawatts (MW) in December and is set for its second-best sales ever in the United States this year, according to Nordea Markets analysts.

    The Unites States has been offering a Production Tax Credit (PTC) to help finance wind farm projects to promote renewable energy. Last January, the U.S. congress extended the credit for one more year.

    While the wind energy sector is seeking a further extension, many developers are keen to ensure they qualify now for the credit, which is worth $23 for every megawatt-hour of electricity a wind farm produces over its first 10 years.

    In previous years, projects had to be in commercial operation by Dec. 31. This year, they need only to have begun.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/27/vestas-orderstatus-idUSL6N0K21QV20131227

    • Stephen Segrest

      Jim2 — My question continues to be: Why are you and others so upset over tax credits to wind energy and then go silent on the benefits given to sources like nuclear or oil? Why is $10 billion in current DOE loan guarantees to nuclear not important, or Price/Anderson, or nuclear tax credits, or oil depletion allowance, or . . . . ?

      • Because of the huge difference in subsidies per unit of energy. But I suspect you knew that.

    • See above on nukes–the subsidies only partly compensate for massive over-regulation. But it is true that without subsidies or carbon taxes, nukes would not be competitive with fossil fuels. Without subsidies or carbon taxes, solar and wind and biomass would not be remotely competitive with nukes, much less fossil fuels, for any electricity customer attached to the grid. The subsidies per kwh for so-called renewables vastly exceed those for other power sources, not even counting the regulatory favoritism they receive.

    • Stephen – show me the special subsidy for oil. There aren’t any. The accounting and tax regs for oil applies to other businesses. Wind and solar subsidies are off the charts. Nuclear is regulated to death. If not for that, there wouldn’t be any need for special insurance regs for nuclear.

      Get a clue Stephen.

    • If you are interested in introducing some facts and figures to the subsidy discussion, the following 2 articles have been in the WSJ in the past year and a half. I have checked Phil Graham’s numbers by accessing the EIA web site. Lomborg’s analysis goes further.

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324481204578179373031924936

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324432404579051123500813210

  53. The skeptics need to examine their own views on this a little. If it was just a US company selling woodchips to the UK for fuel, I think most would be OK with it. The big deal is because this fuel is replacing their beloved coal. Right?

    • Robert I Ellison

      Don’t be silly. It is about large production subsidies while perversely clear felling old growth forest.

    • I posted the Drax sustainability policy above, and this includes carbon-neutral sustainability of forests front and center despite what Rose implies. What else do you have? If carbon-neutral wood could replace even just some coal, would you not do it? PS, it is helpful to read around Rose because he distorts things.

    • In the USA the vast majority of old-growth forest is either state forest or national forest. And much of the old-growth existing outside of those confines has been purchased by preservation groups like Nature Conservancy.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Clearly the problem is with 100% production subsidies in this case – rather than with research and development funding. EIA levelised costs for biomass for instance is on a par with coal and wind – but well above gas for stationary plant. If it can compete on a no regrets basis – by all means. The source of the energy is irrelevant – only the cost.

    • I have no problem with people cutting down their own private forests. Nothing immoral about clear-cutting. Especially in the U.S. Southeast, where pine grows like crazy. Little-known fact, but the dramatic forest scenes in the movie Last of the Mohicans were shot on private timberland in the region. There is a LOT of acreage in this category and I bet the vast majority of it is tree-covered at any given time.

  54. Stephen Segrest

    stevepostrel — “Without subsidies or carbon taxes, solar and wind and biomass would not be remotely competitive with nukes”. Where in the world are you getting this from? — sure isn’t the USDOE or EPRI.

    • Even so, most of the cost of nuclear is politically manufactured. Its excessive regulatory burden is what makes it so expensive.

    • All quite cute; the government is now the insurer of last resort against guess what, government unpredictability and capriciousness.
      ================

    • Try the EIA. Or James Hansen. Or the very useful work by Severin Borenstein of the Energy Institute at Berkeley ( a pretty hard-core Urgent Mitigationist), e.g.

      http://ei.haas.berkeley.edu/pdf/working_papers/WP221.pdf

      Subsidies to fossil fuel are so small (probably less than $0.0011/kwh) as to be negligible in any serious cost comparisons with renewables:

      “Excluding direct subsidies and tax breaks from levelized cost analyses is relatively straightforward, though it can be challenging in practice.
      Indirect subsidies that occur upstream and affect the price of inputs are somewhat more difficult to sort out. Advocates for renewable electricity argue that fossil fuel extraction receives special tax treatment in the United States. While that is likely true, and subsidies for fossil fuels are larger than
      for renewable energy in aggregate, the subsidy per kilowatt-hour for fossil fuel generation is quite small. Adeyeye et al (2009) estimate that total subsidies for fossil fuels from 2002-2008 were $72 billion in the U.S., of which about $21 billion plausibly went to domestically produced coal and natural gas that went into electricity production (most went tooil production).

      Even if these subsidies were passed through 100% to consumers, which
      seems highly unlikely in these internationally traded goods, that would amount to $0.0011per kilowatt-hour of generation over this period. Other estimates of subsidies to coal and natural gas for electricity generation are substantially lower (EIA, 2008) or many times higher (Koplow, 2010), but over the range of subsidies claimed, the impact on electricity generation costs will not materially affect their comparison to renewable sources.”

      Contrast these tiny numbers with the vast feed-in tariffs and guaranteed take up for intermittent solar and wind and it is clear that the latter are receiving massive subsidies. Borenstein goes into the justifications for such subsidies in great detail, and finds that only the CO2 externality argument holds up at all, although this policy is far inferior to a carbon tax.

      • Thanks for that Steve. That point needs to be hammered home at every opportunity. It’s not about the aggregated total it is about the cost per unit of energy delivered. Renewables are alarmingly over subsidized and the customer pays in the rate or in his tax.

    • Continuing: Borenstein’s analysis, which gives every possible break to solar PV in terms of its availability during peak A/C loads, possible economizing on transmission lines, etc., finds that its pre-externality, pre-subsidy cost per kWh is $0.240 vs. $0.08 for combined-cycle natural gas. I’ve never seen an estimate for nukes that comes anywhere close to 24 cents a kWh.

  55. Stephen Segrest

    stevepostrel — I’m pretty sure that when the new units at Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear units come on-line, they will get the same tax credit in value as wind.

    • Stephen – stop talking and supply some proof for these nuke subsidies that are the same as for wind. I think I now understand where the wind originates.

  56. Stephen Segrest

    stevepostrel — What’s your views on Price/Anderson (especially after what happened in Japan)?

  57. I suspect all the alarmist CO2 cultists are in the pay of Big Wood (no pun intended).

  58. Stephen Segrest

    Some of you folks are funny as to your perceptions. Here in the South — No, we are not clear cutting 1,000 year old sequoias for wood chips to burn in the UK. We view trees (mostly pine) as a crop for the pulp and paper industry. Tree growth is a log function, and to maximize our economics (as a crop) we harvest when the growth curve flattens out (called the Sigmoid curve) and then re-plant:

  59. Stephen Segrest

    Jim2, OK I’ll go look up the new nuclear tax credit (passed a couple of years ago and never of course yet taken). But where is “your proof” on your statement that wind, solar is not competitive with nukes? But even when I link to DOE and EPRI sources, I don’t think this will matter with you.

  60. Stephen Segrest

    Jim2, Well that was pretty easy. The Nuclear Production Tax Credit was in the 2005 Energy Policy Act: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/USA–Nuclear-Power-Policy/

    • As far as this 2005 act, I would be happy if they dropped all that and just made a much greater effort to license newer designs. That’s what we really need – not subsidies. (And anyway, as the link you supplied noted, the wind-like subsidy is limited in the case of nuclear, unlike wind which is lifetime. Drop em all, I say!)

  61. Stephen Segrest

    Jim2, the oil depletion allowance is something that immediately comes to mind: http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/26/news/economy/oil_tax_breaks_obama/

    • Stephen – so you would value an oil field that has been half emptied as one that is full?

    • Depletion Allowance

      If you are looking for general gas royalty tax help please visit our Royalty Tax Guide.

      Depletion is the using up of a natural resource by mining, quarrying, drilling, or felling. Depletion allowance, then, is the allowance available through the IRS code allowing an owner to account for the reduction (production) of reserves as a product is produced and sold. For purposes of this article, the depletion allowance we are concerned with is the depletion allowance associated with the production of oil and/or gas. The depletion allowance, like depreciation, is a form of cost recovery for capital investments. There are two ways of calculating depletion allowance: cost depletion and percentage depletion. Oil and gas royalty owners have the availability of using either, yet for mineral properties you must generally use the method that gives you the larger deduction.
      Who Can Claim a Depletion Allowance?

      If you have an economic interest in mineral property (which includes royalty income), you can take a deduction for depletion. You have an economic interest if both of the following apply:

      You have acquired by investment any interest in mineral deposits
      You have a legal right to income from the extraction of the minerals to which you look for a return of your capital investment

      Cost Depletion

      With cost depletion, a taxpayer recovers the actual capital investment throughout the period of income production. Each year, the taxpayer deducts a portion of the original capital investment, less previous deductions, that is equal to the fraction of the estimated remaining recoverable reserves that have been produced and sold that year. The cumulative amount recovered under this method can never exceed the taxpayer’s original capital investment.
      Percentage Depletion Allowance

      Under percentage depletion, the deduction for the recovery of one’s capital investment is a fixed percentage of the gross income (sales revenue) from the sale of the oil or gas. For oil and gas royalty owners, percentage depletion is calculated using a rate of 15% of the gross income based on your average daily production of crude oil or natural gas, up to your depletable oil or natural gas quantity. An attractive element of percentage depletion is that the cumulative depletion deductions may be greater than the capital amount spent by the taxpayer to acquire the property.
      Taxable Income Limit

      There is a taxable income limit for oil and gas royalty owners. Your annual deduction for percentage depletion is limited to the smaller of the following:

      100% of your taxable income from the property figured without the deduction for depletion
      65% of your taxable income from all sources, figured without the depletion allowance.

      More specific details on this topic can be found in IRS Publication 535.

    • So you see, the depletion allowance is analogous to depreciation on capital equipment in other businesses. It keeps the oil company in cash as it is a cash intensive business. Note that cash wouldn’t be a problem in the first place without taxes.

    • One thing renewable energy can’t get a tax break for is depletion. Perhaps a competitive disadvantage, unless other ways are found to compensate them, e.g. a reward for not depleting anything.

  62. Stephen Segrest

    Jim2, An argument to eliminate the oil depletion allowance is — with a wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, fossil fuel power plant you are allowed to write off your capital investment. With an oil depletion allowance (it is argued) that an amount more than the capital investment for oil production can be written off over the project’s life.

    • I believe all oil and gas majors use cost depletion, which is tied to the checkbook. Percentage depletion is used by smaller operators, and it’s nothing like depreciating any building I’ve ever heard of. With percentage depletion many end up taking a tax deduction well in excess of what the mineral investment cost.

  63. Stephen Segrest

    Jim2, the point in all of this is that “everybody” is getting goodies. If you want to get upset at wind, solar, biomass, that’s fine. Just don’t be the 3 monkeys (not see, hear, speak no evil) when it comes to the other stuff.

  64. Languishing in a hotel lobby awaiting an international flight home, I am internet connected for the first time in weeks. You see, third worlds like Myanmar, Burma really, electricity is a rare commodity. Rangoon apartments cost more for the ground floor as there are no lifts, elevators. Imagine a six floor walk up in 40 C or 106 F day time temps. Or imagine villages along the Irrawaddy River with five minutes of electricity sometime during the night or day. Solar panel seen atop a bamboo house on stilts with family pig wallowing in the dust below. Mom cooks daily meal in a open pit fire in a corner of their plot to prevent sparks from burning down their dwelling. The hot air has an acrid smell that stings the eyes. Here along the road to Mandalay are close to sixty million people, 80% of whom live on less than a dollar a day, without consistent energy, gather such wood, oxen dung and what biofuel is handy. To make a daily meal. The Soviets and East Germans and their egalitarian societal influence have long departed after their financial collapse leaving in their stead, a Communist military elite and now the fourth most corrupt nation in the world behind Somalia, Afghanistan , North Korea. What does the final withering away of the state look like? Come to Burma and see guilted pagodas, picturesque women off loading 49 kg bags of rice on their heads across a 2 x8 gangway up the River embankment disappearing into the country side on a dust road. I guess, during the rainy season, when the Irrawaddy River rises 7 meters, the trek up the embankment is less arduous but more slippery. Don’t get me wrong, there are electric poles and wires with electricity pirating lines going to homes, it’s just that there is no electricity to steal. People await the snapshot of energy from the government or, in the Buddhist tradition, when some rich merchant uses his diesel generator, he shares with the other villagers his liter of power. He gets merits towards Nirvana. The decaying Soviet & East German infrastructure remains, but there is no energy. The ruling elite have contracted with the Chinese to dam the head waters to the Irrawaddy and ship the hydroelectricity to……..China. So what do 2 billion people need? As they have already tried sustainable biofuel for thousands of years and healthy outdoor living and a nutritious vegetable diet, some may wish to try a decadent lifestyle made possible with cheap and abundant electricity. Burma, a Greenies’ sustainability wish list come true.

    • RiHoO8.

      The next UNFCCC conference should be held there –
      out of doors, so the elites experience the non-secluded reality
      of top-down power and no-switch-on power.

    • @ RiH008

      You have seen the future, and it is Burma.

      Here in the US, buried in all the hullabaloo over ‘Global Warming’, we have a couple of things proceeding merrily along, all parts of the same elephant that the blind populace can’t recognize as a single entity. There are a myriad other parts to the progressive/green elephant of course, but these are simply two examples.

      The first is the ongoing drive to bankrupt the coal industry and shut down coal fired base load generation. With potential replacements being protested to the point of threatened, if not yet actual, violence. In other words, a drive to reduce our base load capacity.

      The second is the introduction of ‘smart’ power meters and ‘smart’ appliances. If a customer agrees to have a smart meter installed and/or use smart appliances, which the power company can turn off remotely to balance their load, the power company will reduce the price of electricity. Currently, this is currently optional but (naturally) the green progressives are demanding that they be made mandatory (Google ‘smart meters mandatory’).

      So, what is the connection to the green elephant?

      The drive to reduce base load capacity is proceeding apace, through regulation and executive order. The base load requirements are expanding. Inevitably, the two curves, base load going up while capacity is going down, will cross. At that time, the power companies will have to reduce the load or crash the national grid. As it stands now, the load can only be reduced by taking substations off line. This has the unfortunate consequence of interrupting power to EVERYONE served by the substation, hoi polloi and nomenklatura alike. Not good-if you are nomenklatura.

      Enter the smart meters and smart appliances. Problem solved. When the power company computers can interrupt service to customers on an individual basis, you can absolutely guarantee that there will be a file on said computers that contains a list of customers whose power is not to be interrupted for anything short of armageddon. An then, only if signed off by God himself. The list will be compiled and administered by the nomenklatura. Completion of the exercise is left to the student.

    • Interesting. Don’t forget Polywell:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell

      I think that has to be one of the most exciting fusion projects. Not least because one of the other applications of it apart from as an energy source is that it could be used as a form of long-distance propulsion for space vehicles.

  65. JC Comment:

    How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.

    True. And the ever increasing government regulations are largely driven by vocal ideologues in the public. Several of them are blogging on Climate Etc. They are the renewables advocates, anti-fossil-fuel and anti-nuclear ideologues. They have negligible appreciation about the costs of the alternatives they want. They do not understand the physical limitations in what they push for and are not interested in trying to understand them. They simply don’t care about the consequences of their actions.

  66. Weighing in on Renewable Energy Efficiency
    David Pimentel
    Harvesting the energy of a piece of wood in a tree requires cutting the tree down and then into pieces. Then the wood pieces must be transported home and eventually placed into a furnace or fireplace. That harvesting may take, say, 10,000 kilocalories of energy, including the gasoline and oil used to operate the chainsaw. The fuel wood placed in the furnace might contain 220,000 kilocalories (there are 30,000 kilocalories in a gallon of gasoline). Thus, for every 1 kilocalorie invested in harvesting wood for the furnace, about 22 kilocalories of wood energy was harvested. This calculation translates to an energy efficiency ratio of 1:22.
    This type of “input versus output” analysis is applicable to all energy resources, as all energy production requires energy in the first place. In this balancing act, some resources fare better than others.

    http://www.geotimes.org/aug05/feature_pimental.html

    Combined heat and power production in Sweden
    Click a link and read more about our combined heat and power production plants in Sweden.

    http://www.fortum.com/en/energy-production/combined-heat-and-power/sweden/pages/default.aspx

    Using locally available biomass to displace fossil fuel in space heating can make sense both short and long term. The key in using for space heating is that one gets a high efficiency (with good design) because the sink temp is low (room temperature). CHP at a high combined efficiency can also be considered as noted in some schemes in Scandinavia.

  67. David Springer

    Here is an example of alarmist chickens coming home to roost. Putting financial burdens on fossil fuel makes heretofore uneconomical energy sources, like the US southeast’s wetland forests, suddenly worth more as firewood than anything else. As the SNL “Church Lady” would say ‘isn’t that just precious?’

    I’m not going to jump on the tree hugger bandwagon immediately though. I’d have to first know at least the rate of harvest vs. time for regrowth. If it’s a sustainable rate then no harm no foul AFAIC. But again, make no mistake, the root cause of this is climate alarmism for which blame should be firmly placed in the dishonest laps of global warming “scientists” and opportunistic politicians who support global warming science.

  68. In the Netherlands this issue was raised already about a year ago, where like in the UK pellets from the USA are used as “green” energy (biomass). It even got some attention in the mainstream media, and both national and European agencies (including the EU) have reported about its pros and cons.

    It is big (billion dollar) business in Europe – it is not for nothing that pellet traders have set up offices in the Netherlands and the UK (www.apxendex.com/).

    Nevertheless, despite it being big business and many questions that could be asked, for unknown reasons it has never really surfaced as a political issue.

    Maybe with the report by David Rose it get some deserved attention.

    • Perhaps installation of incinerators in public schools should be subsidized– trash burning could be the next big green biomass business…

  69. Where Did All The Wood Pellets Go?
    VPR News (02/22/2014)

    “It’s hard for either retailers or manufacturer to stockpile pellets, Brooks pointed out, because over time, they’ll begin to absorb moisture, making them less efficient. After about two years, or if their moisture content is more than 10 percent, the energy needed to burn pellets is more than they produce.”

    On a small scale like a home stove, the use of a waste product like wood chips to pellets makes some sense but these Vermont homes can also use passive solar etc.

    Deforestation for wood pellets to power large scale power plants is ludicrous for obvious business reasons.

  70. Whole tree fuel for electricity generation was at one time seriously considered. Google: “whole tree energy” EPRI

    The tree farm, however, was onsite, not thousands of km somewhere else.

    Here’s a status report from April 2013: http://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe/Corporate/Corporate%20PDFs/FarmtreeRDFCyc2EPS_Milestone_27.pdf

    • Dan,
      Thanks for the interesting paper.

      EPRI should have a full overview assessment in the recent annuals for coal, nuclear, bio mass and renewables. They develop one annualy.
      Scott

  71. “How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.”

    Becoming?

    Becoming?!?!?

    Only someone who has been getting their news from approved progressive sources could actually think this is a new development. You folks really need to expand the sources you look to for your information about the rest of the world. There’s all kinds of stuff going on out there.

    Roughly the last 30 years is clearly a mystery to many of you.

    Seriously, someone should do some actual research on the FDA, the EPA (other than climate), the FCC, and the rest of the anti-democratic, bureaucratic leviathan that has been built by the politicians you all vote for in such sweet oblivion. The challenges of doing anything in this rube goldberg regulatory environment have been “increasing” dramticaly for decades.

    “Still, the CFR ‘Archive-Of-All’ is big. Very big. Back in 1960, the CFR contained 22,877 pages in 68 volumes.

    The pace picked up. The CFR stood at 71,224 pages by year-end 1975, in 133 volumes.

    Now, new data from the National Archives shows that the CFR stands at 175,496 at year-end 2013, including the 1,170-page index.”

    http://www.openmarket.org/2014/03/17/new-data-code-of-federal-regulations-expanding-faster-pace-under-obama/

    Which all just goes to show that the propagandistic filtering and demagoguery that poses as news – works.

    All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to let themselves be suckered.

  72. “If burning wood pellets made any sort of sense, presumably this would be used by southeast U.S. regional energy providers?”

    Massive taxpayer subsidies for inefficient, wasteful alternative energy makes perfect sense, as long as your true goal is not the production of energy, or protecting the “climate.”

    The UK program allows government to control the energy sector. More bureaucrats means a bigger budget. More regulations means more power for both politicians and the bureaucrats. Massive subsidies mean large profits for crony capitalists who can then make massive campaign contributions to the politicians who got the whole thing rolling,

    This program is a resounding success, if your goal is the accumulation of power, and the exercise of control over others.

    At some point, when what people say and what they do “diverge” far enough and long enough, you are a fool to continue judging them based on what they say.

    • This may be occurring in the UK in large plants because of their carbon credit schemes.

      The cost per ton for wood pellets for winter heat in remote area homes or homes requiring oil heat appears to be cost competitive. It actually appears to be cheaper than oil heat depending on how many tons are required for the winter.

    • Solid Biofuel: Wood Pellet Boilers

      http://www.ecoheatsolutions.com/heatingsolutions/woodpelletboiler.html

      “Wood pellet boilers are used to heat homes and businesses with all the comfort people have come to expect from their traditional heat source. One million units are now in service throughout Europe, proving this to be a well-established way to heat. Suitable for hot water (hydronic) radiant systems, hydro-air, or forced hot air systems with the addition of a hydronic coil, wood pellet boilers function much like oil and propane boilers, with fully automatic operation, domestic hot water heating, and zoned comfort control.”

      As much as 60% cheaper than oil heat.

      Disadvantages
      - Pellet fuel is bulkier than oil [one gallon (7.2 lbs) of heating oil = about 17 lbs of pellets.
      - Ash disposal required

  73. Claude Harvey

    I once operated four wood-burning power plants in Northern California. When urban wood waste became too difficult, expensive and scarce to sustain the plants, whole trees from salvage and thinning operations that were chipped into manageable fuel became the primary fuel source. Wood is terribly abrasive an awful fuel to handle and burn in a power plant. It will grind the belly-pan off a Cat handling the fuel pile and wear the tubes right out of a conventional boiler.

  74. R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

    Perfect example of the rich controlling government for their own greedy ends:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_COAL_ASH_SPILL_THE_TWEAK?SITE=CODEN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

  75. This is Obamacare for the environment. Stupid, incompetent, expensive and sold by a massive crock of lies told by egomaniacs who think they know how to save the world.

  76. Well if it wasn’t sustainable they wouldn’t be in business long. If it grows as fast as they remove it then it is indeed carbon neutral too. The subsidies part is the main issue. Paper suppliers just need to find some other crop to use – hemp maybe. But then we waste too much paper already: It’s yesterdays tech.

  77. More threads on hard-edged topics like this, Judith

    Particularly as the UK energy “policy” runs its’ course

  78. Stephen Segrest

    One of the things overlooked by folks is the potential dramatic impact of soil carbon sequestration in growing short rotation trees for energy crops. About 60% of the volume you see above ground is also contained below ground (in clayey soils) in the root systems.

  79. Priceless, being a fan of irony & gross human stupidity, this ranks up there with the best, its truly insane.
    This boondoggle folly could never have been conceived of, let alone occurred without the limitless stupidity of the Political/Bureaucratic class of non-producing parasites & their unholy & corrupt alliance with crony capitalist, trough gouging pigs, who grow fat on consuming the tax monies of hard working free people.
    Is Enron still around ?

  80. Whilst Drax have no doubt done their numbers when it comes to making a profit from this rape of the US countryside, I wonder if they have done their numbers when it comes to working out whether more or less co2 is produced. Has the fossil fuel use in planting, harvesting, processing, transporting, shipping, transporting the wood pellets been calculated ?

    Is any co2 saved at all, or is in fact more co2 produced compared to generating that energy by coal ?

    If the ship were burning the wood pellets instead of fuel oil as it was transporting it’s wood pellet cargo I wonder what percentage would be left by the time it had crossed the Atlantic, the same amount again must be allowed for the ship to return to the US.

    Does anyone know what the numbers might be ?

    This farce might come to an unexpectedly early halt if environmental concerns in the USA come to the fore about the damage being done to North Carolina’s countryside and wildlife habitats.

    • Rape would be if you told the landowners they can no longer cut down their trees.

    • michael hart

      J Martin, I’m fairly sure it produces more CO2 emissions per kW, as others have commented up-thread. But the regulations have apparently defined at least some of those those emissions as “sustainable” and so escape punishment.

      Drax management seem to be being admirably forthright and open about it all. If the legislators and law tells them “burn wood, not coal, or go bankrupt” they say “OK, we know the government can bankrupt us if they really want to, so we’ll burn wood.”

    • Marlowe Johnson

      j martin,

      the short answer is yes. it’s called a lifecycle assessment. see my previous link. now whether or not you agree with all of their assumptions and sources of data is another story.

      here is another study that assesses the GHG benefits of using biomass in lieu of coal.

      http://www.pfpi.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/McKechnie-et-al-EST-2010.pdf

    • J Martin,

      Does anyone know what the numbers might be ?

      I don’t know the numbers, but I’ll hazard a guess that the companies are not much interested in the CO2 numbers. Their interest is in the finance, and that is what they should be interested in. It’s not their job to second guess the basis for the laws and regulations being as they are..

      The objective of business is to make a profit and to reward investors for their investment in the company. So the business managers would be looking at the return on investment and financial risks. That is what capitalism is about, as it should be.

      Governments respond to the will of the people and pass laws and regulations to implement what the people want. Good governments try to inform and guide the population to good decisions, but they can only go so far. Once the population adopts a religious like belief, as they have with CAGW, it is hard to inform them they are wrong for some considerable time.

      So governments pass laws that are designed to encourage businesses to do what the people want. if the people want CO2 reduction and the people believe pelletised trees from USA replacing coal for electricity generation in UK will cut UK’s CO2 emissions, and if the businesses believe it is worth the cost to change their fuel to meet what the population want, then business does and should do exactly what they are doing – cut down trees in USA, pelletise them, and send then to UK to burn in UK power stations.

      The fault is with the vocal loonies who demand such laws, and those who know better but don’t speak out sufficiently loudly and persuasively to change the peoples’ beliefs and demands before it is too late.

    • More CO2 is produced, just in the combustion process without all the felling, pelleting, storing and transporting.

    • But it is OK because it is Carbon Neutral CO2 and Sustainable.

  81. “How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.” Just so. Especially since greenhouse warming of the atmosphere this is supposed to fight does not even exist. I will not go into details but simply outline the big picture. First, some terminology. The greenhouse warming everyone speaks of is not greenhouse warming but enhanced greenhouse warming. The terminology was changed by IPCC because it seemed cumbersome. Enhanced greenhouse warming is that part of greenhouse warming caused by addition of greenhouse gases to an existing atmosphere. That is the only way you can get it. We know from the Keeling curve that carbon dioxide is slowly increasing because we constantly make more of it. According to theory it is that increase which generates enhanced greenhouse warming. Problem is, it is not working, and has not worked for the last 17 years. Suddenly, in the nineties, it seems to have stopped. But that is not how laws of nature operate. If a theory does not work now it never did in the first place. It follows that any previous warming designated as greenhouse warming more than 17 years ago is simply misidentified by over-eager pseudo-scientists anxious to point to a predicted source of warming. Come to think of it, IPCC has never gone on record with any specific greenhouse warming. All they do is grandly claim all warming as greenhouse, case closed. When you look at the history of the twentieth century you find that there were just two warming incidents (three if you want to include the Arctic). The first one started from scratch in 1910, raised global temperature by half a degree, and then stopped in 1940. The second one started in 1999, raised global temperature by a third of a degree in only three years and then stopped. I mentioned their starting dates because they determine what kind of warming we have. If there was a simultaneous increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide it signals enhanced greenhouse warming. That is because this “enhanced” business comes from the addition of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. If none was added, it was natural warming.. To find out whether or not any carbon dioxide was added you simply consult the Keeling curve or its extensions. I did that and found that no carbon dioxide was added to the atmosphere either in 1910, or in 1999, or when the Arctic warming began in 1900. That makes the entire twentieth century greenhouse free. The twenty-first already is greenhouse free thanks to the hiatus-pause. Hence, there has been no greenhouse warming for the last two centuries and AGW is nothing but a pdeudo-scientific fantasy. But wait – didn’t Hansen prove the existence of greenhouse warming in 1988? No, sorry, he did not. He showed a rising temperature curve whose peak warming he said was the warmest in the previous one hundred years. Only one percent of the time could this happen by chance alone, he said. Hence, to him this meant that greenhouse warming has been observed. Unfortunately he was wrong because his hundred year warming peak was nothing more exotic than an El Nino peak. The 1987/88 El Nino peak to be precise. You can’t call it a hundred year peak if there is a new El Nino out every five years. But he was innocent of this because his temperature graph had a resolution of one year and was noisy as well. With such a graph it is impossible to even recognize the positions of El Nino peaks or distinguish them from background noise. Poor technique combined with hubris thus gave us Hansen’s greenhouse warming and the IPCC to exploit it. In the past tou have made several presentations about climate to Congress. I suggest that should you be called upon again you should share this picture with our elected representatives. After, of course, you have had time to check out what I said and think about it.

  82. Marlowe Johnson

    one last point. emissions related to transportation of fuels generally account for less than 5% total lifecyle GHG emissions, particularly when the bulk of transport is done by marine.

  83. Claude Harvey

    I once had four wood-burning power plants in my stable of “renewable” operations. Miserable fuel for a boiler in almost every regard. The Drax plant is in for a very unpleasant education.

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