I have just seen an article about an incident, which could have been the North Seas’ Deepwater Horizon, but for favourable winds. The article in the Guardian does mention petroleum condensate causing damage to marine life: Total fined 1m North Sea gas leak. But the official press release from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) does not mention any environmental impacts of the release: Total ep UK ltd., received record fine following largest ever North Sea gas release. There was another incident reported earlier this year: Shell fined. This is how the incident was reported in the Guardian, which includes other failures by Shell: Shell North Sea oil leak. Another major incident in a mature oil and gas field, by a major oil and gas company. There a numerous incidents that occur in the oil & gas fields, that the public never hear about: HSE offshore statistics. So how can any politician allow oil and gas production in environmentally sensitive areas or even unconventional sources, with a clear concisions?
Stranded carbon assests
Even before the COP21 Paris event, some UK investors were calling on companies and local authorities to divest from fossil fuel companies. With groups such as Go fossil free and Friends of the Earth (FOE) pushing the message to divest.
Also with organisations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calling for most of the remaining fossil fuels to remain in the ground in their latest report IPCC 5th report. And Carbon Tracker’s report on Stranded assets danger zone, as well as others. The UK Government has increased subsidies for fossil fuels and pushing ahead with ‘fracking’.
The Government states it needs ‘fracking’ to ensure security of supply. But has shut down the last deep coal mine, in favour of imported coal? It is also heavily reliant on imported biomass, for incineration and co-firing? And new nuclear will be dependant on imported uranium imports?
Reforming harmful fossil fuel subsidies
We constantly hear from our politicians, mass media and climate change denialists, that renewables are heavily subsidised. When the truth is exactly the opposite, with fossil fuels and nuclear being heavily subsidised at the expense of the tax-payer and energy customer.
Burning our way towards the ecocide of the human race
Despite all the evidence, that shows our continuing burning of fossil-fuels and biomass, is leading towards catastrophic climate change. The fossil-fuel industry continues with its quest to extract the remaining fossil-fuels. This is despite the fact we passed the point of Peak Oil some time ago. These industries like BP, pulled out of any alternative investments, such as for renewable energy and now find themselves locked into stranded assets. As do Governments (local and national), insurance companies, pension funds, banks and investment funds.
There have been several reports on the economic impact of climate change, including Climate change slams global economy study. And despite reports that ask the question, will the frackers go bust?
The UK Government is pushing ahead with fracking. An update from Recent fracking research round-up from the UK. They are also pushing ahead with burning bio-mass, despite it being shown to be as bad as coal, especially to human health: Pulp fiction.
And this is all happening, despite the Brundtland Report published in 1987, pointing out:
31. The objective of sustainable development and the integrated nature of the global
environment/development challenges pose problems for institutions, national and
international, that were established on the basis of narrow preoccupations and
compartmentalized concerns. Governments’ general response to the speed and scale of global
changes has been a reluctance to recognize sufficiently the need to change themselves. The
challenges are both interdependent and integrated, requiring comprehensive approaches and
Nearly 30 years later, after many different conferences, the Governments of the Global North’s response has not changed. They have refused, steadfastly, to answer the ‘Call to Action’. Even when the report stated:
32. Little time is available for corrective action. In some cases we may already be close to
transgressing critical thresholds. While scientists continue to research and debate causes and
effects, in many cases we already know enough to warrant action. This is true locally and
regionally in the cases of such threats as desertification, deforestation, toxic wastes, and
acidification; it is true globally for such threats as climate change, ozone depletion, and species
loss. The risks increase faster than do our abilities to manage them.
And we have Governments like the UK’s, stating we need shale and coal-bed methane gas, as a bridging fuel? Thirty years ago, the report made this observation about fossil fuels:
17. In terms of pollution risks, gas is by far the cleanest fuel, with oil next and coal a poor third.
But they all pose three interrelated atmospheric pollution problems: global warming, urban
industrial air pollution, and acidification of the environment. Some of the wealthier
industrial countries may possess the economic capacity to cope with such threats. Most
developing countries do not.
Is it the sentence; ‘Some of the wealthier industrial countries may possess the economic capacity to cope with such threats’. That makes the Governments of the Global North, continue with ‘business-as-usual’?
Manchester City Council recently published their latest State of the City 2013 – 14 report. Nowadays, the council does not show comparisons between the different wards. Except for a vague consultation of people’s satisfaction with life and how people from different ethnic backgrounds, from 2010. Is this because the comparison between different wards, shows that the worst performing wards, are those of the senior councillors, Richard Leese (Crumpsall), Pat Karney (Harpurhey) and Rosa Battle (Bradford) for example. I have heard a story, that Donna Ludford, the replacement for Jim Battle (ex-Deputy Leader (Ancoats) and now deputy Police Commissioner), has had her friends telling people she is no longer a councillor. It would appear, she is feeling the pressure from the people of Ancoats who are totally dissatisfied with the performance of Manchester City Council.
My initial interest in the council’s report was in their section on the Environment and Climate Change, pages 148 to 155. They do admit that the annual objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) have been exceeded. They try to give the impression that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions have fallen in Manchester since 2005 by 16.1%. They have in reality fallen by only 10%, having risen from 2,745.2 in 2011, to 2,944.8 in 2012: Manchester’s emissions. They do not put a link to the Department of Environment and Climate Change’s (DECC), Local Authority Carbon Dioxide emissions which was published 26th June 2014. Instead, they used outdated information, stating 2012 data would be available in the summer of 2014. Why did they not delay publication of the more update data was available? And of course, these emissions are only estimation, and could an under-estimation of the real emissions, especially as emissions due to aviation are not included.
Manchester City Council seem unable to properly account for their on energy usage, therefore are unable to accurately estimate their own emissions. From what I constantly observe walking around Manchester, is the amount of wasted energy on the part of Manchester City Council.
Manchester suffers from some of the worst health outcomes with residents having a low ‘good’ general health expectation and a low life expectancy. These are indications that Manchester City Council has failed totally, in addressing major issues that negatively impact on Mancuians. Despite all their hype, they have failed time and again and Manchester has not been resilient to climate change.
Let’s follow Germany with a renewable gas strategy instead of fracking
The International Energy Agency‘s ‘Redrawing the Energy-Climate map report‘, state there are 4 policies countries should pursue, to prevent a Global 2°C temperature rise. The UK’s Government support and subsidies for ‘fracking’, run counter to what is required:
The policies in the 4-for-2°C Scenario have been selected because they meet key criteria: they can deliver significant reductions in energy-sector emissions by 2020 (as a bridge to further action); they rely only on existing technologies; they have already been adopted and proven in several countries; and, taken together, their widespread adoption would not harm economic growth in any country or region. The four policies are:
Adopting specific energy efficiency measures (49% of the emissions savings).
Limiting the construction and use of the least-efficient coal-fired power plants (21%).
Minimising methane (CH4) emissions from upstream oil and gas production (18%).
Accelerating the (partial) phase-out of subsidies to fossil-fuel consumption (12%).”
This post is by Dr Bruce Tofield, associate consultant at the Adapt Low Carbon Group, University of East Anglia.
In launching Next steps for shale production, energy minister Michael Fallon said that fracking “is an exciting prospect, which could bring growth, jobs and security”. There is, however, great concern about the damaging local environmental impact of fracking in Britain. Less remarked upon is fossil fuel lock-in, highlighted recently by Rachel Cary. As Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, has pointed out “If the UK ever becomes dependent on shale gas, it will never be able to kick the fracking habit.”
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Shell Drill Rig Kulluk Breaks Tow Lines – Adrift Again Sunday Night | MyFDL
As the oil and gas companies try to continue with ‘business as usual’, they will try to exploit any oil and gas reserves they believe exist. As they are doing with Tar Sands and ‘fracking’. It does not matter to them whether their activities will lead to environmental disaster, it is about maintaining their dominant position. Unfortunately our politicians do as the oil and gas companies wish, as it is the oil and gas companies who have the money.
Shell Drill Rig Kulluk Breaks Tow Lines – Adrift Again Sunday Night | MyFDL.
Thought for the day – On Climate Change
An interesting piece from an investors web-site by a business and economic journalist.
Seven essential graphs from the IEA’s World Energy Outlook | Carbon Brief
100 Million people will die by 2030 if the World does not act on Climate Change
A new report released on the 26th September 2012, called ‘A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet’, claims 100 Million people will die before 2030, due to the results of Climate Change. This is because of the inactions of Governments and businesses to act on climate change. This has led to a more polluted planet, causing the Global temperature to rise. Unfortunately Governments and business are locked into a fossil-fuel and consumer economy. They have not heeded the calls to invest in real renewable technologies and a move away from ‘business-as-usual’ model.
The report is optimistic, that there is still an opportunity to scale-back pollution and halt Global warming. I feel, it will not happen, till there is a complete collapse in water and food supplies, when it is too late. They put forward the argument that economically (not the first time, it has been argued), it would be the sensible thing to do. It would reduce poverty, hunger and ill-health and opposed to the outcome of pursuing a carbon economy. This is a report all politicians and business people should read and act on it.
At a meeting of Southern Voices a talk given by Washington Alcott ( a Jamaican), entitled ‘Climate Change – A conservation from the South’. Made the point that climate change and the environment agenda;
“It was predominately the white-middle class who dominated the debate and decided the outcomes”.
I agree with him, in fact I would go further, it is the so-called ( predominately white) educated middle-class who are part of the problem. The do not want to change their life-styles, so do not want real change. Even, those espousing to be environmentally aware, still drive the most, shunning public transport and continue to fly abroad multiple times a year for holidays. They consume more than those on reduced incomes, but pay less because of the unequal charging mechanisms. Because of their spending power, they could make a huge difference but they will not. There are ‘OK Jack, sod you’.