Reality Checkpoint 2019
News from previous year

The car industry seems to be in a very confused state. Are we going electric? If so, why? Diesel and petrol vehicles have reached a very high standard of development. Unless we have plentiful nuclear power, and very soon, electric transport will not be a practical possibility, and in any case its performance is greatly inferior: in range, in performance and in winter.

I note that Bristol is introducing a ULEZ - an Ultra Low Emission Zone. Go there with the wrong vehicle and you will face a hefty surcharge. A large part of the London area is now subject to a £12.50 charge, per day. Petrol cars from the last 14 years are exempt, but diesels have to be autumn 2015 or newer (Euro 6) to avoid the charge.

The rules for each area are, it seems, being decided locally. There is much opposition to the attempt to demonise diesel. It seems to me to be is a political decision without any scientific basis. Coventry City Council is arguing about it; Birmingham and Leeds are talking about starting a CAZ (Clean Air Zone). Plans have been approved by DEFRA for these two cities. It looks like the charge will be £8 for private cars and taxis, £50 for buses, coaches and HGVs, and the rules are currently intended to be introduced on 1 Jan 2020.

If you wish to oppose it, there isn't much time.

10 Nov 19

This is from grandma’s cookery book and uses common everyday ingredients. It will be useful for those people who live in countries which God has not blessed with having oil deposits. Feel free to use it with no obligations.

(1) One pile of scrap iron, coarsely chopped. Use old cars and bicycles, with tyres attached. To scale up the recipe use old bridges and ships. Don’t use discarded aircraft because they are made of aluminum.
(2) One pile of marble chips, to one inch size. Actually, any carbonate rock will do, such as limestone, chalk, dolomite, even magnesite, but marble is best.
(3) One pile of quartz rock chips, or a mixture of quartz sand and river pebbles, maximum 1 inch size.
(4) Throw in a few bags of coal for good luck (flavoring)
(5) Add a tanker full of sea water

Method: Stir all ingredients to make a nice slurry. Then tip the mixture down the bore hole that you have already prepared. This must be at least a foot in diameter and 70 kilometers deep. Seal the borehole and wait 2 days, or preferably a week; this is just like making ginger beer. Cooking temperature may be up to 1500 C, with a pressure of 70 kilobars at the borehole bottom. After one week, carefully release the seal on the borehole and stand back, for there will be a great gusher of shiny black petroleum going sky high, for you all to collect and send to the refinery.

This recipe is a copy from Nature. It happens all the time now in active subduction zones of plate tectonics, like in Indonesia and Venezuela, and in past ones like Texas, the Middle East.

The Earth has an iron core (Fe and Ni) and a mantle of olivine rock, and a crust of lighter silicate material and sediments. There is enough metallic iron in the upper mantle to reduce a mixture of carbonate and water to methane CH4 and higher hydrocarbons to form oil, leaving ferrous iron to combine with magnesium, calcium and silica to form olivines and pyroxenes, of which the upper mantle is composed. The hydrocarbon gas and oil seeps upwards and is trapped in the overlying sediments where it is extracted today by drilling. The Russians figured out the recipe ages ago and successfully use it as a guide to find oil deposits in Nature.


10 Nov 19

Interesting letter in the DT, 5 Oct 19. A chartered engineer for 39 years writes in and expresses despair when politicians claim that renewables will provide most of our energy by 2030.....

Renewable generation is by definition non-synchronous, and a grid can't be operated solely on non-synchronous generation. The system goes unstable when non-synchronous generation goes over 30% at any one time.

The recent National Grid report on the major outage a few months ago makes numerous references to a lack of inertia in the system. This resulted from insufficient large synchronous generators (nuclear, coal and gas) being connected.

Given that there is a need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (...whatever one may think of that - Ed) the only option is a significant expansion of nuclear. Labour and Tory governments have been unwilling to face this, which has led us into the problems we now face.

It is unfortunate that politicians and environmental campaigners are ignorant of the technicalities of energy supply, or wish to ignore them. MPs may have the power to change the laws of the land, but not to change the laws of Physics.

[summarised from a letter by SP, Swansea.]

7 Oct 19

Renato Angelo Ricci, professor emeritus of Physics at the University of Padua, former president of the Italian Society of Physics and of the European Physical Society, is among the signatories of “Climate, a counter-current petition” published a few days ago.

The letter, addressed to politicians, contains the signatures of scholars, professors and specialists in “anthropic global warming”. Their goal is to recall everyone to healthy realism in the face of increasingly frequent and exaggerated climate alarms.

Ricci is baffled that we can no longer discuss anything. Anyone who raises doubts about climate change of anthropic origin is banned. It is absurd. Scientists now have to wait for retirement in order to be able to say what they think because if they questioned the IPCC view, they would be pointed out as denialists, imbeciles or even criminals. The result is that decision makers take actions based on unproven assertions. Complete article here .

10 Aug 19

Note received from an engineer friend: ....."My senior son has a Mercedes hybrid which he got because he saves an awful lot of money in taxes due to an advantageous rate from government. However, it does use far more fuel than its conventional model because he is carrying so much extra weight in batteries. As a hybrid, he only can do a max of 25 miles on one charge, so most of the journey is powered by the engine".

30 Jul 19

According to Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, who has analysed the latest data for wind farms coming on stream in the next few years, the British public is facing a doubling of electricity prices to bail out new wind farms. The wind farms are built to meet carbon dioxide emissions targets, a consequence of the Climate Change Act, the most expensive Act ever to be passed by Parliament. “A number of large wind farms have contracts to supply power at extraordinarily low prices”, says Hughes,“but the cost and performance data suggest that they will be unable to cover their costs”.

28 Jul 19

To understand our otherwise incomprehensible energy policy you need to regard it as a story - a narrative. It's not necessarily true, but once you accept it, everything follows. We are destroying the planet; the sky is falling, climate catastrophe, we must do something; let's do anything - ok guys it's CO2; ok that'll do; let's go!

That's how humans operate; they prefer stories and plots to facts. That's why engineers and scientists rarely reach the top levels of politics.

3 Jun 19

There are a few places in the world with very large electricity grids and low emissions. Germany, in spite spending enormous sums of money on renewables, is not one of them. The main ones are France, Quebec (Canada), Ontario (Canada), Sweden, Norway, British Columbia (Canada), Paraguay and Switzerland. How? Because they use a large share of nuclear and/or hydro to generate electricity. This can be seen by visiting Electricity Map: www.electricitymap.org.

3 Jun 19

I was asked recently if I thought nuclear power was the answer to our 'climate worries'.

Nuclear energy would certainly enable us to meet climate targets, but we all know that the targets are arbitrary and meaningless anyway, apart from the carbon tariffs linked to them and the fines imposed if they are not met. But within the rather silly rules, nuclear IS the answer. It would also be the answer if the rules were logical and based on science.

Government policies which assume continuous global warming expose our society and economy to huge risks for no measurable benefit when that forecast proves disastrously wrong.

In a technological society we need enormous amounts of energy, and that supply has to be reasonably priced and available 24/7.

1 Jun 19

Lord Haskins wrote to the DT (letters, 4 May) referring to the work done at Drax power plant, where coal burning is being replaced with biomass to meet environmental targets.

He seems unaware that this involves cutting down trees in America and converting them into wood pellets for shipping to the UK for burning. The process involves delivering the wood to US ports in diesel-powered vehicles, then shipping across the Atlantic in diesel-powered ships, and delivering to Drax in diesel-powered lorries.

This is not environmentally friendly.

7 May 19

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom has begun an inquiry into the impartiality and depth of its news and current affairs coverage. I have commented repeatedly, over the last decade, about its misleading coverage of alleged man-made climate change.

This inquiry began a few days after the release of an independently-made documentary 'Panodrama' which exposed certain irregularities in the way the BBC Panorama team operated in making a programme about a well-known political activist whom I will refrain from naming.

The video, on youtube and elsewhere, has gone viral; over a million people watched it in the first fortnight. Youtub then removed it, but other people have since re-posted it and it remains visible. I recommend you watch it and come to your own view.

Perhaps this is what has led to the inquiry.

10 Mar 19

It is becoming increasingly clear that Parliament will not implement Brexit. It's now nearly 3 years since the referendum and no action has been taken. The 29 Mar deadline is approaching and those who lost the first referendum are now shouting loudly for a second one.

None of this is good news in any way, shape or form, but it is especially bad news for those who believe in 'no taxation without representation'.

Expect your freedoms to disappear, gradually, under the pretext of necessary environmental regulation, unless you are prepared to become involved in politics and oppose it.

Private motoring is now in the gunsights of people you have not voted for. Already you get surcharged for driving cars near London. There will be self-driving cars which you'll have to hire; no decent cars of your own - no diesels, no petrols; the only vehicles you'll be able to buy will be electric cars of inferior performance at three times the price.

7 Mar 19

By now, all voters will understand that the EU Commission is anti democratic. Fundamental differences exist between traditional UK democracy and the version of "democracy" as practised by the EU.

It would seem many in the UK are quite happy to lose their right of "no taxation without representation".

The obvious question is - Do you want democracy, or do you want the EU?

7 Mar 19

The ‘green jobs’ stuff was predicated on a foolishly literal application of simplistic Keynesian economics, “if we do this much public spending it will stimulate this much growth”. The trouble is, with Globalization and the EU, that growth is likely to be in someone else’s country. As the UK has few players in the ‘green’ industry it clearly wasn’t going to be in the UK.

Worse than that, a company installing a wind farm in Scotland refused to employ the son of a friend of mine on safety grounds – he didn’t speak Polish so not allowed to work on the site. The guys on site brought all their food and drink with them, they spent nothing locally, all the parts were shipped in from Denmark and Germany, they even shipped in the building materials. All that didn’t stop the Scottish Govt from enthusing about ‘stimulating the local economy’.

EJ, commenting on a Paul Homewood article.

7 Mar 19

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advert by Smart Energy GB for misleading customers. The advert said that smart meters saved money and came "at no extra cost".

Smart meters actually cost about £600 per household, paid for in our energy bills as a 'green tariff', hidden in the small print..

6 Mar 19

A formal investigation has been launched into claims that John Selwyn Gummer, a.k.a. Lord Deben, chairman of the Climate Change Committee, failed to declare £600,000 of payments made to his private company.

The CCC has backed taxpayer-funded subsidies for renewable energy projects, and Gummer’s family consultancy firm Sancroft International has been paid by businesses working in renewables. According to the Mail on Sunday, the payments included approximately £300,000 over five years from Johnson Matthey, an engineering firm making batteries for electric cars; £50,000 from Temporis Capital, venture capitalists with interests in windfarms and solar energy; and £15,500 from Drax, a green energy producer receiving £700 million a year in Government subsidies.

25 Feb 19

Our friend Allano comments: Well, well, well : I thought Australia had the dumbest energy policy in the World, but maybe I was mistaken. Under Merkel's guidance, Germany has been closing down its nuclear and coal power plants and intends running its economy using wind farms and solar panels. As the engineers know, this doesn't work. Ask South Australia.

There is a book titled "Green Tyranny" by Rupert Darwell highlighting just how expensive and damaging Germany's green energy policies have been. It's a fascinating read.

15 Feb 19

A recent scientific paper making the national headlines claimed that a rapid decline in insect populations in a rainforest in Puerto Rico was the result of rising temperatures. The Washington Post called the study hyperalarming, while the Guardian talked about climate change causing insect collapse.

However the paper was based on data known from a single weather station, known to be unreliable because of undocumented changes to equipment and location. This resulted in a sudden apparent increase in recorded temperatures in September 1992.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation has issued a formal complaint to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the journal publishing the article, asking that the paper be withdrawn.

Meanwhile the slogan 'insects are dying out' travels unhindered around the planet.

11 Feb 19

The West Coast Regional Council has said it will not support the proposed Zero Carbon Bill until the science behind human-caused climate change is proven.

In its submission on the Bill, the council focuses on fairness and justice for a largely remote region dependent on mining, farming and forestry.

Alan Birchfield said that to ask the people of the West Coast to commit to an emission target, the evidence proving anthropogenic climate change must be presented and proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Any move away from mining and using coal as a fuel could cause substantial job losses, with coal mining employing more than 900 people. It would also affect tourism and would impact on day-to-day life for rural West Coast communities; the increased costs in going 'carbonless' would have to be passed on to the public.

Asking for the evidence before committing the funding seems reasonable to me - Ed.

30 Jan 19

SMRs are the likely future of the next generation of nuclear power all over the world. If the US wants it to happen quickly, Bill Gates, Congress and the big investment institutions need to get behind GE-Hitachi's BWRX-300 SMR.

The BWRX-300 is the simplest ever possible design of a utility sized npp and is therefore the cheapest. The USA uses 4,142 TWh of electricity every year. At $2,000/kW overnight cost, 1750 BWRX-300s would supply 100% of this use, as 24/7 electricity, without any need for backup, for $1,050 billion - for 60 years.

A mixture of solar-pv, onshore and offshore wind with CCGT backup, would cost between six and eight times as much and would supply intermittent energy for only 25 years. Associated with wind and solar would be scenic degradation, habitat destruction and loss of rare species.

Colin Megson, engineer & energy specialist

28 Jan 19

The Australian Energy Market Operator has asked Victorians and South Australians to keep their energy use at a minimum over the following days, as energy shortages cripple the states.

They've asked people to avoid using dishwashers, washing machines, pool pumps and keep air conditioners at minimum levels with AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman saying "Don't run appliances you don't need to run. Keep comfortable, but don't freeze yourself. Be aware the system is under stress."

The South Australian Government has confirmed that back-up diesel generators are on standby due to a lack of wind. The system resembles a third-world energy supply. This is what happens when you have a grid where many of the reliable power stations (coal) have been closed down before a reliable alternative has commissioned.

Our Australian friend Allano comments - It is not difficult to provide a region with reliable cheap electricity. Why do we have to put up with the lunatics who want to run the State on windmills so as to conform with the anti-carbon mythology promoted by the UN? These idiots should be rounded up and tossed into the Torrens River.

    Habitat21 comments:
    Renewables are now being recognised as an environmental liability and a serious threat to economic stability. South Australia is an indicator of this impending, renewables-driven disaster, relying on wind power for 40 per cent of its electricity; a ridiculous decision which has led to rationing, power cuts and economic disruption. This won’t continue; South Australians are not peasants living in a communist state but sophisticated consumers in a free market economy. Rationing and black outs are unacceptable in such a culture. The carbon-reducing green schemes introduced by well-meaning politicians are now backfiring - as engineers and physicists predicted all along. - Ed.

25 Jan 19

One exciting development in the energy sector is the possibility of small modular nuclear reactors, similar to those which have been used to power nuclear submarines for decades.

Small Modular Reactors are being developed to pursue economy of scale and more flexibility in the building and the operation of nuclear reactors

For those who are interested in learning more about them, and spreading the word, here are two youtube videos where engineers discuss the possibiilities:

The BWRX-300 SMR at 32:10


21 Jan 19

I was recently contacted by a friend living in the London area who wrote as follows:

"From 8 April 2019, if I want to drive into London *anytime*, it will cost me £12.50. And that will be extended from the 25 October 2021 to anywhere within the North and South Circular roads. So, I may as well get rid of my car. That will leave just one friend I can visit without it costing me money."

This is part of the green agenda. It applies to residents, not just visitors, so you can multiply that by 5 for your weekly emissions bill if you have a car which is pre Euro-6. Greater London will become, very soon, a ULEZ (Ultra-Low-Emissions-Zone).

The new rules, which will empty our wallets rapidly unless we move house or buy a new car, ignores the fact that most nitrogen oxide emissions are produced by industrial plant and by domestic heating boilers.

The Press has been full of anti-diesel propaganda for the past 2 years - preparing the way for rules like this to be introduced. It is an European Union emissions regulation. No doubt our government, if it had control of its energy policy, would have made foolish decisions of its own, but this as I understand it is an EU directive, not a British one. As implied by the name Euro5 / Euro6 diesel standards.

If you wish to check whether your vehicle complies with the standard, there is a website. Just Google 'ULEZ'.

There are also murmurings that the next target in the government's sights will be wood-burners.

20 Jan 19

wysokienapiecie.pl - extract from a piece by Bartlomiej Derski, 26 Dec 18.

All wind farms operating today in Poland will be scrapped by 2035, with no new turbines built to replace them, according to the document “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040” presented by the Polish Ministry of Energy a few days ago. The Minister explained that this was a political decision.

On Wednesday the government contracted with investors the construction of several hundred new wind turbines (with a capacity of approximately 1 GW). The average prices offered by investors, at which they committed to sell electricity, barely reached 197 PLN/MWh. This is less than the current market price (250 PLN/MWh) and much less than the total production cost in new coal-fired power plants (350 PLN/MWh).

8 Jan 19

India is to bring 21 new nuclear reactors with a combined generating capacity of 15.7GW into operation by 2031. This was reported in Parliament by India's minister of state for the Department of Atomic Energy and the Prime Minister's Office.

In a written answer, Jitendra Singh said that there are currently nine nuclear power reactors at various stages of construction.This includes two in each of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana, plus three in Tamil Nadu. The units are scheduled to be completed by 2024-2025.

12 more nuclear power reactors have been approved. Mr. Singh also said that five sites have been granted "in principle" approval for 28 more reactors. The sites are Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, Chhaya Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, Haripur in West Bengal and Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh.

4 Jan 19

Judith has put together an 80-page report on sea level rise. It can be seen on her website: https://judithcurry.com

28 Dec 18

Unconcerned with reality, some incoming members of the new Democratic majority in the House are calling to create a select committee to map out an astonishing “Green New Deal”. It will be designed, if that is the correct word, to move the U.S. toward using 100% renewable energy for the electric grid whilst guaranteeing jobs for everyone.

In Australia, the Greens have recently announced they want to make coal mining an illegal act, saying that coal kills. They have already called for the shutting down of all coal mining by 2030. Now they want to make miners into criminals for providing the coal used to generate 80%+ of NSW electricity.

Unless they are stopped, these activists will wreck the economy. Coal is the main export in Australia.

15 Dec 18

Extract from The Washington Times, by Roger Bezdek and Paul Driessen, 2 Dec 18

If you like power when it’s available, instead of when you need it; having your lights, heat, computer and TV go off and on 30 times a day; and paying 78 cents a kilowatt-hour, instead of 9 cents, you’ll love Dominion (Virginia) Energy’s plan to install two Washington Monument-sized wind turbines off the Norfolk coast.

Virginia lawmakers recently approved an offshore wind project, with no competitive bidding and an estimated cost of $300 million. Virginians will pay 25 times the U.S. market price for the turbines,and then pay 78 cents/kilowatt-hour for their intermittent electricity. That’s 26 times the 3 cents per kWh wholesale price for coal, gas, hydroelectric or nuclear electricity in the Commonwealth.

State utility regulators criticised the decision. The legislature nevertheless enacted it at the behest of Gov. Ralph Northam, to demonstrate his commitment to “fighting climate change.”

After the two “demonstration” turbines run awhile, they could be joined by hundreds more.

3 Dec 18

    2018 saw people waking up to the fact that they were being conned. The people who are taken in by man-made climate change propaganda are the sort who believe there really are millions of pounds sitting in Nigerian bank vaults waiting to be claimed - Ed.

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