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The miserable truth is that our leaders don’t want us to have cheap energy–Dan Hannan

August 10, 2022

By Paul Homewood

 

 

And an excellent piece by Dan Hannan as well:

 

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No, the energy crisis is not some unforeseeable consequence of the Ukrainian war. It is the result of years of wishful thinking, preening and short-termism. We sit on 300 years’ supply of coal. We have rich pockets of gas trapped in rocks beneath Central Scotland, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Sussex. We have as good a claim as any country to have invented civil nuclear power. Yet, incredibly, we face blackouts and energy rationing.

The calamity into which we are heading this winter represents a failure of policy under successive governments going back decades. The fact that much of Europe is in the same boat – and that poor Germany is barely in the boat at all, but is clinging by its fingertips to the gunwales – is no consolation.

Like their counterparts in other Western countries, our leaders are now scrambling to make up for past errors. More nuclear power-stations are mooted. The ban on shale gas extraction is reviewed. Sudden attention is paid to potential new sources of clean fuel, from hydrogen to fusion. All good stuff. All too late.

You can’t build a nuclear power plant in less than five years. Even fracking takes around ten months to come online – and that assumes that you have first cleared all the planning hurdles. Hydrogen has vast potential, and what Britain is doing with fusion, not least at the Atomic Energy Authority’s facility in Culham, is mind-blowing. We may well be less than two decades away from solving all our energy problems. But none of that will see us through next winter, when average household fuel bills are set to rise to over £4000.

How did we allow ourselves to become so vulnerable? It was hardly as if disruption in global energy markets was unthinkable. Most of the world’s hydrocarbons are buried under countries with nasty governments. For every Alberta, there are a dozen Irans; for every Norway, a dozen Nigerias. There is even a theory, first advanced by Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, the Venezuelan energy minister who founded OPEC, that the very fact of having oil turns a country into a dysfunctional dictatorship.

We have seen wars, blockades and revolutions across petro-dollar economies. We knew that a break in supply was always a possibility. And it was hardly as if Vladimir Putin was disguising the nature of his regime, for heaven’s sake.

No, we are in this mess because, for most of the twenty-first century, we have ignored economic reality in pursuit of theatrical decarbonisation. Actually, no, that understates our foolishness. Decarbonisation will happen eventually, as alternative energy sources become cheaper than fossil fuels. It is proper for governments to seek to speed that process up. But this goes well beyond emitting less CO2. Our intellectual and cultural leaders – TV producers, novelists, bishops, the lot – see fuel consumption itself as a problem. What they want is not green growth, but less growth.

As Amory Lovins, perhaps the most distinguished writer to have been involved in the move away from fossil fuels, put it in 1970:

“If you ask me, it’d be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it.”

The idea that cheaper energy is a positive good – that it reduces poverty and gives people more leisure time – has been almost wholly lost. We have convinced ourselves that if it isn’t hurting, it isn’t working. The reason we slip so easily into talk of banning and rationing is not just that the lockdown has left us readier to be bossed about. It is that we have come to regard the use of power as a sinful indulgence.

But raising the price of energy is not something we can do in isolation. When power becomes more expensive, so does everything else. Fuel is not simply one among many commodities; it is the enabler of exchange, the motor of efficiency, the vector of economic growth.

When did you last hear a politician admit as much? When did you hear any public figure extol cheap energy as an agent of poverty alleviation? When did you hear any historian describe how coal and later oil liberated the mass of humanity from back-breaking drudgery and led to the elimination of slavery? For ten thousand years, the primary source of energy was human muscle-power, and emperors on every continent found ways to harness and exploit their fellows. But why bother with slaves when you can use a barrel of sticky black stuff to do the work of a hundred men – and without needing to be fed or housed?

The reason no one says these things (other than Matt Ridley) is, to be blunt, that it is unfashionable. The high-status view is that we are brutalising Gaia, that politicians are in hoc to Big Oil and that we all ought to learn to get by with less – a view that it is especially easy to take if you spent the lockdown being paid to stay in your garden, and have no desire to go back to commuting.

Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and assorted anti-capitalist frondistes are openly and unashamedly anti-growth. For them, low-cost energy has dragged humanity away from the closed, local economies that they want. As Paul Ehrlich, the father of modern greenery, put it in 1975:

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy at this point would be the moral equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun. With cheap, abundant energy, the attempt clearly would be made to pave, develop, industrialise, and exploit every last bit of the planet”.

Tories don’t put it that way, of course, even to themselves. But they are still tugged by the cultural currents of the day. So they find ways to rationalise higher taxes, higher spending and anti-market measures with which they would normally have little truck.

Typically, they do so by playing up the economic opportunities that green technology will supposedly bring. Boris Johnson extols them with such gusto that he seems genuinely to have convinced himself. But it is pure hogwash. If there really were such opportunities, investors would find them without needing the the state to ban some fuel sources and subsidise others.

Green growth is a fallacy for the same reason that, as Frédéric Bastiat showed in 1850, you can’t make a city wealthier by smashing its shop windows. Doing so might immediately generate growth – nominal GDP often rises sharply in the aftermath of a natural disaster – but every penny spent by the shopkeeper on new windows (and by the glazier who now has extra income, and by the people he buys from and so on) is a penny that would have been spent more usefully without the breakages. In the same way, every penny spent on green “investment” is a penny that has been taken out of the productive economy through taxation.

None of this is to argue that governments shouldn’t seek to mitigate climate change. They should. I just wish they would admit that doing so is expensive. Green jobs are a cost, not a benefit. If you banned the use of diggers and had lines of workers with spades instead, you could argue that you had “created” jobs; but you would have made everyone worse off.

Conservatives should approach climate change in neither a masochistic nor a messianic spirit, but calmly, transactionally, hard-headedly. If there is good reason to believe that advances in technology will lead to sharply reduced costs, then let the timetable slip accordingly. If something more urgent comes along then, similarly, make a cool assessment of where your priorities lie. When the coronavirus hit, several fiscal targets were abandoned on grounds that there was a more immediate crisis. The current energy shortfall should prompt a similar reassessment.

Consider this. The transition from relatively dirty coal to relatively clean gas required very little state involvement. The Thatcher government simply withdrew subsidies and allowed the market to do its work. Carbon emissions fell and the air became cleaner.

Since then, though, we have had a much more interventionist approach, with price caps and green levies and subsidies for consumers and grants for producers and bans on new technologies (notably fracking). Result? Prices have risen and supply has fallen – to the point where, like some South American dictatorship, we are about to order our population to get by with less.

Please, ministers, stop trying to help. Stop spending and taxing and printing. Stop fining and subsidising and capping. Stop banning and rationing. Stop setting targets. We have had enough of being helped. We need time to heal.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/08/06/miserable-truth-leaders-dont-want-us-have-cheap-energy/?mc_cid=1d2f7ff2d1&mc_eid=870a48a53b

75 Comments
  1. Tim Spence permalink
    August 10, 2022 12:37 pm

    I don’t necessarily believe decarbonization is inevitable or achievable this century, the petro-chemical industries will still need those oil barrels. We can’t just throw the diesel and petrol away, and doesn’t every wind turbine have 200 litres of oil in the bearings?

    • magesox permalink
      August 10, 2022 12:51 pm

      Isn’t it 2,000 litres for the larger turbines Tim? That’s why fires in the mechanisms can be quite spectacular.

      • Tim Spence permalink
        August 10, 2022 1:48 pm

        Yes I think it is 2,000 litres and thinking a bit more, Solar PV panels are largely composed of petro-chemical products .

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        August 10, 2022 9:50 pm

        That is 2,000 litres of (high grade) lubricant EVERY year.
        I recall a large wind farm in the USA shipping it in by rail tankers.

    • John Hultquist permalink
      August 10, 2022 5:25 pm

      This wording: “Decarbonisation will happen eventually, … ”

      . . . could use an entire page of clarification. Tim S. has just gotten started.
      Use of coal and gas for electricity production will take a long time to replace, but nuclear in some form can do that. The first thing to go should be the imported wood chips.

  2. August 10, 2022 12:37 pm

    Good article by Mr Hannan. Our governments have reduced supply of electricity by closing coal power and with more Nuclear power station going off line we will face electricity blackouts for certain. Wind and solar can only be part of the solution as they are at best intermittent. – No solar at night and very, very little in Winter and the wind is not constant. Without a commitment to fracking we will face an even bigger squeeze as the supply continues to shrink and we look back and think that a £5000 energy bill is cheap. It’s close to frack or the end of life in the UK as we know it.

    • Richard Bell permalink
      August 10, 2022 3:08 pm

      Well said

    • August 11, 2022 8:48 am

      The calamity into which we are heading this winter

      This one?

      ‘Blackout Britain’ threat as households face energy rationing
      As supplies falter, the UK faces the first managed decline of its energy system for decades
      10 August 2022

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/10/blackout-britain-threat-households-face-energy-rationing/

    • Vernon Evenson permalink
      August 11, 2022 1:54 pm

      Tangoev: No, its not a good argument. Aopart from being a long statement of the blindingly obvious it is muddled, compromised and technically naive. We can import coal and build new power stations but that will take years. The UK coal industry can never be revived – there isn’t the expertise. Nuclear takes even longer. Fracking, for reasons I have posted numerous times is a non-starter – our shales are impermeable.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        August 11, 2022 3:45 pm

        The Energy Crisis in Continental Europe was caused by their Green Energy production underperforming last Summer, by a lot so, instead of storing surplus gas for the Winter, they used extra gas from storage to generate extra Electricity to meet demand.

  3. Martin Brumby permalink
    August 10, 2022 12:49 pm

    A pity he imagines still that “Climate Change” is a problem, rather than recognising that the actual problem, the genuine emergency, the probable catastrophe is the venal, incompetent, gormless, Arts Grad Beloved Leaders believing that they understand “The Settled Science” and, like Gordon Brown, describle those who present real science, established facts, as “Flat Earthers”. All in the cause of destroying Capitalism, as Christiana Figueres herself admitted.

    Bring on the Policy Based Evidence Making!

    So we get Alexander Boris Mao Zedong Johnson and our future Sovereign Charles Jiang Windsor, Qing of England, promoting their Great Leap Backwards to Zero!

    What could go wrong?

    • Devoncamel permalink
      August 10, 2022 1:45 pm

      Don’t you mean evidence based policy making?

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 10, 2022 1:53 pm

        That would be good. But we have policy based evidence making.

      • Martin Brumby permalink
        August 10, 2022 2:49 pm

        No, I precisely mean Policy Based Evidence Making, where a bunch of GangGreen nitwits like Brown, Veggie Benn and Miliband are talked into a fairy tale world by the likes of Houghton, Tickell, King, Watson, where CO2, actually a trace gas essential to all life on earth, becomes a pollutant capable of any evil.

        Then, having established their “policy”, they ensure that only “Psyentists” eager to promote the policy can get employment or research grants. And they concoct the “evidence”, for the BBC and the MSM to use in their endless agit-prop.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      August 10, 2022 2:54 pm

      Yes, it’s a pity that some think a pronouncement, supposedly based on Enthusiasts pretending to be Scientists ((C) Graham Stringer (about the UEA)), cannot be corrected.

      And, as for the Hydrogen Economy and Fusion, hurried investment will only be wasteful without due diligence with competent participants before any brick is laid. There are many totally different fusion and fission reactor designs, with so many being investigated (across the World) that bringing what is already known should reduce the waste of reinventing the wheel. And not all ideas succeed. Here’s a fun example:

      It needs experienced Engineers/Scientists to come up with a Plan, with Stages that allow Reassessment and as few Art’s and Humanities graduates involved as possible, like ‘net zero’! They have had their chance, and been found wanting.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        August 10, 2022 8:48 pm

        And once you have your plan, what’s it going to cost?

        What will you forego to have it come about?

        Engineers aren’t needed, it’s people who understand economics who make decisions, because every decision is a trade-off and the study of trade-offs is economics, not engineering. We are in this mess precisely because far too many politicians thought we could have Green energy and cheap energy. And plenty engineers told them so – those wind turbines are designed and built by engineers, right?

        Engineers are not remotely immune to having bad ideas or having projects go way over budget. The idea that if all MPs were engineers we would live in Paradise is absurd.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        August 10, 2022 10:23 pm

        It’s no good having competent Economists if the Science/Engineering figures they start with originate within the Green Blob, without any Plan or Timescales.

        That is what we have at the moment!

        It is why the Media pump out how wonderful Windmills ARE, without any prototypes being built, tested and analysed.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        August 10, 2022 10:30 pm

        I have NEVER asked for everyone to be an Engineer or Scientist. It needs to be people who have relevant technical skills. I’ve said no History graduates, as they have already had a go, and failed, and I am wary of Arts and Humanities graduates in general.
        But there are plenty of other academic subjects and a few from the trades wouldn’t go amiss: practical people, who have met with the problems of working to a project plan.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        August 10, 2022 10:56 pm

        “We are in this mess precisely because far too many politicians thought we could have Green energy and cheap energy. And plenty engineers told them so – those wind turbines are designed and built by engineers, right?”

        Those Engineers are either employed by Windmill manufacturers, so their allegiance is to that company and not to the overall project, or they are part of the Green Blob.

        They are SALESMEN and SALESWOMEN. Not one had an agenda that was patriotic!

        There is a difference between Educating and Selling. One makes the potential customer more informed, the other makes him a Customer.

        Yet the History graduates in the Ministry of Energy are also absolutely clueless about Negotiation, Selling and Advising, or the Market. (So was Theresa May!)

        The recent Conservative Cabinet DOES NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. The Cameron A Lists have a lot to answer for.

        That is why every project needs an Overall Plan, and an Overall Manager with sufficient experience, usually an Engineer, to take responsibility for the the success of the whole project. NET Zero has neither.

        With an overall shape of the project decided, initial design, materials needed, etc, feasibility studies, it can move on to costings, and everything else, then iterate! It’s the iteration that is key.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      August 10, 2022 9:02 pm

      “climate change is still a problem” What else would we expect him to say if he wants people to read the article and not immediately cancel him, not to mention losing his job.

      I think he went as far as he could and, of course, he might actually believe it. Nah, he seems too clued up for that.

  4. Chilli permalink
    August 10, 2022 12:51 pm

    It’s a welcome article I suppose but if you concede that there’s a serious threat from ‘climate change’ (which there isn’t) and that banning/taxing/rationing cheap reliables fuels will ‘tackle’ this non-existent threat, then you’ve already lost the argument. The globalists claim they’re saving the world – and you’re complaining that it’s too expensive. This is not a winning argument.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      August 10, 2022 1:36 pm

      I guess if he hadn’t spun the nonsense of climate change mitigation (mitigation – FFS!) The DT would not have published.
      Also, if energy was so cheap that it wasn’t worth metering the Government would go bust on lack if taxes.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 10, 2022 8:51 pm

      Of course it’s a winning argument. You can perhaps save the planet but that means poverty, unemployment and a significant lowering of living standards or you can adapt to any change in climate that comes along from the position of being as wealthy as possible. Who choose the former?

      The trouble is we have been lied and lied to, about what “saving the planet” will entail. We have been told – as the CCC has told parliament – that it won’t cost much.

  5. Gamecock permalink
    August 10, 2022 1:41 pm

    ‘The calamity into which we are heading this winter represents a failure of policy under successive governments going back decades.’

    Failure? Why think the policy isn’t working? Are Westerners compelled to think government loves them and wants to help them? Are we projecting our kind selves onto our government?

    “Look at the outcome. And infer the motivation.” – Jordan Peterson

    The destruction being intentional would explain a lot!

    • dave permalink
      August 10, 2022 4:35 pm

      “Look at the outcome. And infer the motivation.”

      And from Buffet…:

      “Show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcomes.”

      “…Europe in the same boat…is no consolation…”

      Oh, I don’t know!..A little, surely?.

  6. Graeme Johnston permalink
    August 10, 2022 1:45 pm

    Good article. It’s time for a complete rethink of our Energy Policy. The target should be an abundance of cheap energy driving an economic recovery while ensuring that pensioners are not dying of hypothermia. Lets fast track North Sea projects, frack for gas and build more nuclear plants. We also need to consider deepwell geothermal district heating. We have the drilling expertise in the North Sea. (The temperature of the ground below our feet increases by 26 degrees C per kilometer. )

    • August 11, 2022 8:55 am

      The Climate Change Act demands no-think, not re-think.

      • Realist permalink
        August 11, 2022 10:26 am

        The Climate Change Act needs immediate repeal. It is shocking that it even got into law in the first place.

    • Vernon E permalink
      August 11, 2022 2:46 pm

      Graeme: A very relevant change of direction – thermal ground energy. The is a lot about this relevant to deep gold mining and yes, 25-30 deg C per 1000 metres is quoted as typical but highly variable. Since I am utterly convinced that fracking will not ride in to save us perhaps a lot more trial and investment should be directed in this direction.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        August 11, 2022 3:40 pm

        Vernon E: so you don’t think fraccing will be successful. Step aside, and let someone else who is willing to try, and knows how, have a go. It’s their money they are risking.

        As the Green Blob are so against any attempt, I think it likely that it will work.

  7. August 10, 2022 2:54 pm

    Reblogged this on delboydave and commented:
    More refreshing common sense about our energy supplies and that ‘green jobs’ are a cost, not a benefit. It’s about time.

  8. Richard Bell permalink
    August 10, 2022 3:01 pm

    Thank you Daniel Hannan for bravely putting your head above the rampart’s . The UK is as he rightly says sitting atop hundreds of years of ENERGY !!!! ….. It is relatively easy, as we have done before all we need do is DIG IT UP . The fools talk of more windfall tax which will just stifle investment. We could instead have a second industrial revolution with Natural Gas bringing down domestic energy prices rapidly and reducing commercial power making the UK competitive again. Business and Industry would get a boost from cheaper, cleaner energy creating jobs and putting the GREAT back in Great Britain.

    • August 10, 2022 3:25 pm

      I used to speak against windfall taxes.
      There shouldn’t have been a windfall in the first place
      governments should have had policies that didn’t lead to them.
      eg having reserves and new oil fields ready to start up.
      But it’s difficult not to concede that the extra money people pay for energy has not ended up with BP and Shell and The renewable gimmick companies.

      However one can look at their global profits and see there might not be much left as countries like Italy move in with windfall taxes.

      Fair windfall taxes do seem difficult to implement.

      • Cheshire Red permalink
        August 10, 2022 7:03 pm

        Current energy O&G profits are eye-watering, but that’s how they roll. Big profits and just as often, big losses.
        There was no windfall rebates when they lost money last year.
        OK those losses can be offset against future profits but for that to happen they have to make a profit first. That’s not a rebate.
        Windfall taxes are always a disastrous idea that send absolutely the wrong message to businesses, and besides, the entire global energy situation has been caused by politicians, not O&G co’s.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        August 10, 2022 7:25 pm

        Cheshire Red: Yes, and most companies take their Revenue-Costs=Profits, every year, but the Oil & Gas Industry has this spread over several, or even many, many years, as they spend heavily at the beginning (exploration and building infrastructure) and at the end (cleaning up) with (hopefully) lots of revenue (with relatively little expense) producing in the middle. So the latter stages can look strange, if it isn’t understood.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        August 10, 2022 8:55 pm

        If windfall taxes are fair then consumers repaying windfall losses must be fair too. If oil falls to $12/bbl again, should we agree to pay $50 say?

        Why not?

        What’s the “fair price” that BP should get? And if there is such a thing, shouldn’t it be a long term average? Oh look, that’s pretty much how markets work.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      August 10, 2022 4:32 pm

      The Public have voted, for over 15 years, to ‘Save the Planet’ by reducing Oil and Gas (and Coal) consumption, and therefore production.
      This, with no reduction in demand, has naturally caused an increase in prices. This, in turn, has affected most prices as nearly everything gets transported somewhere and requires power to be manufactured.

      The Energy Market has become dysfunctional due to government interference, setting impossible criteria and deadlines.

      The solution is to increase supply, especially within your own country. Luckily, Britain has plenty of easily accessible Coal, Oil and Gas, as well as hundreds of years of shale gas, by fraccing, available.

      It just needs NET Zero policies repealed, and do the opposite, and a few years to get up and running! 🙂 There’s no easy path to Greenery Withdrawal.

      It is obvious just how ignorant most people are about Science/Engineering/R&D.

      Just build some Small Modular Reactors without considering the bureaucratic steps that were once considered necessary or the thought required before a new design can be built.

      Just create a Hydrogen Economy without any thought to how to produce Hydrogen of the required quality that can be afforded by the users.

      It’s total panic by those who used to be Energy Deniers. We don’t yet have patriotic experts, knowledge in the appropriate disciplines, formulating any response.

      2008 was a bad year: we had the Climate Change Act, and the NATO 2008 Bucharest Summit that progressed Ukraine’s membership. If only the Minsk Agreements had been implemented …

      • Stuart Brown permalink
        August 10, 2022 6:45 pm

        “Just build some Small Modular Reactors without considering the bureaucratic steps that were once considered necessary”

        Hmm. I think some oversight is probably a good idea TBH, but look what we’ve got! On the 1st of April this year the Office of Nuclear Regulation was asked to look at the Rolls Royce SMR. Since then… crickets. They have not even updated their website to say they are looking at it!

        https://www.onr.org.uk/new-reactors/assessment.htm

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 11, 2022 7:58 am

        The public voted for this. No, they didn’t, they voted for the least worse option. Any party offering cheap gas and lucky would have walked an election.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        August 11, 2022 8:15 am

        “The public voted for this. No, they didn’t, they voted for the least worse option.”

        It’s always the case, at the General Election.

        They chose Windmill Mania by being resolutely indifferent to the BBC Propaganda, that is still being pushed out at our expense, contrary to Reality, yet backed up by Academia, installed in schools and every part of the State, and wanting to feel virtuous in spite of its obvious destructive nature.

      • Realist permalink
        August 11, 2022 10:35 am

        The public did NOT vote for all the “save the planet” lunacy.and the hatred of ordinary people and businesses.
        The public voted for whichever party did the least damage from ALL the items on the respective agendas of the political parties. Just becaues an item is on the agenda does not mean that all those who voted for party X actually agreed with it..

    • Vernon E permalink
      August 11, 2022 2:03 pm

      RichardBell: Please explain where all this gas is going to come from

      • Vernon E permalink
        August 11, 2022 2:14 pm

        Sorry. Long time time in moderation.

    • Vernon E permalink
      August 11, 2022 2:09 pm

      RichardBell: Please explain where all this Nartural Gas is going to come from.

  9. Martin Brumby permalink
    August 10, 2022 4:16 pm

    But stewgreen, wasn’t it Beloved Leader Boris Zedong who promised us we would be the Saudi Arabia of Windfall? All part of his Great Leap Backwards!

    • dennisambler permalink
      August 11, 2022 4:29 pm

      Indeed, and CO2 is like a tea cosy sitting over the world.

  10. Orde Solomons permalink
    August 10, 2022 4:17 pm

    Not as good an article as all that. Man made climate change doesn’t exist, so attempts to “tackle it” are illusory. At Culham, the lore is that nuclear fusion is thirty years away – at any point in time!

    • dave permalink
      August 10, 2022 4:55 pm

      “…nuclear fusion…”

      There was a cetain, eminent, Oxford mathematician (forgotten his name, as he has been dead for ten years) who was cast into the wilderness when he pointed out – nay, PROVED – that the mathematical underpinnings of the idea of controlled, contained, nuclear fusion were, root-and-branch, WRONG. After reading an epitome of his work, I had to conclude, “Oh dear, too sad, never mind!”

      It is inconceivable to me that publind ignoramuses are STILL trying this nonsense.

      • dennisambler permalink
        August 11, 2022 4:28 pm

        Fusion has always been “on the brink”. Keeps the funding coming in.

      • Gamecock permalink
        August 11, 2022 11:17 pm

        They are doing better than I thought.

        I saw a report a few months ago that a tokamak reactor is achieving fusion.

        Energy emitted is 1/6th of what’s going in to run it, so more work to be done. But I am impressed they achieved fusion.

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    August 10, 2022 4:20 pm

    The huge problem we face is what to do with the windmills when they become redundant. If all windmills were nationalised now so we can stop paying the subsidies it will come down to the taxpayer to get rid of them once they have been replaced by reliable generation. I wonder how the economics of that pan out.

  12. August 10, 2022 4:54 pm

    O/T Snopes put out a Fact dated July 29 about Weather Map colours
    I know that,
    cos Twitter forced a box marked “What’s Happening YESTERDAY”
    that is PR for a “Twitter Event”
    Yet that is a lie, the thing has nothing to do with yesterday
    When you are on the page the first story is marked July 28th
    The Snopes one is marked Aug 2nd (that’s their tweet date , July 29th is the date on the Snopes story)
    See the Twitter thread to get to the screenshots & links
    https://twitter.com/No2BS/status/1557356191432548354

  13. August 10, 2022 5:24 pm

    Truss said today that she would suspend the Green Levy
    and look at fracking where the community didn’t object

    The BBC Radio Humberside 12 pm news report seemed to come out of an anti-fracking group
    The way it cherrypicked the fracking comment and amplified it by omitting what else she said
    Later news had quite a different narrative.
    https://biasedbbc.tv/blog/2022/08/09/midweek-10-august-2022/#comment-1195709

    BBC radio4 #bbcwato brought on Paul Johnson from the IFS
    who wrongly said the French government only cap electricity prices not gas prices

    • August 10, 2022 5:25 pm

      and wrongly said the green levy doesn’t exist

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 10, 2022 9:10 pm

      99% of gas in France is imported. The government cannot “cap” the price without simply subsidising consumers via taxes. Gas prices were frozen in November 2021 but they had already reached record highs by then. The French have avoided the price spikes after that via the freeze but most people buy large quantities of gas for storage, not every day like in the UK. So spikes have much less of an effect anyway.

      Of course, this being France, it’s very difficult to find what the cost of the price freeze is. The media simply report it as being good but never mention how much it is costing.

      • Realist permalink
        August 11, 2022 10:40 am

        Reducing extortionate tax rates is NOT a “subsidy”. It is scandalous that the tax element of the actual price at point of sale exceeds maximum 20%, but look at what happens with petrol and diesel, yet people still blame oil companies for high prices.
        >> subsidising consumers via taxes

  14. Julian Flood permalink
    August 10, 2022 6:33 pm

    My lord,

    You Oxford tutor were he acquainted with the least understanding of physics would be ashamed of you. Hydrogen has many disadvantages as an energy carrier – metal embrittlement, a Houdini-like ability to leak from the tiniest flaw in a containment vessel, huge pressures needed to compress it – but they are overshadowed by the fact that is all it is, a carrier. To make hydrogen gas takes energy. We need a source, not a sink.

    Find an engineer who understands the need for a primary source – it’s not difficulty, you mention it yourself. Clean, low carbon, safe, available, shale gas is our get out of jail free card. Check the science, kick yourself for being so stupid and push with all your might for onshore fracking.

    Bribe the communities who first accept an initial tranche of well, stuff them full of free energy.

    Need a slogan?

    Natural gas is halfway to the hydrogen economy. It really is.

    JF

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      August 10, 2022 10:24 pm

      I was involved in the early stages of the production of a report into the conversion of the gas transmission network to carry hydrogen. It was a very sorry experience and over half of us involved pulled out. It was quite clearly a “report” intended to show the practicalities and completely ignore any problems even the obvious ones. I along with 3 others walked out of a meeting when we were discussing the “small” problem of Hydrogen heating up on depressurising ( Joule Thompson effect) . The Chair (a civil servant) had no idea what we were talking about and commented that perhaps we could overlook the issue or perhaps mention it in an addendum. We left and never went back – it wasn’t worth risking our reputations. It later transpired that many “contributors” were granted anonymity on the report as they similarly declined to be seen to be involved in such a contrived report.

  15. Jordan permalink
    August 10, 2022 6:54 pm

    “If something more urgent comes along then, similarly, make a cool assessment of where your priorities lie.”
    The BBC news (sorry about that) had two people who could not find an NHS dentist. One lady was steadily losing her teeth due to gum disease. The other younger lady could not afford the £1200 private bill for root canal treatment. Dental problems are related to heart problems, so who knows what risks lie behind the immediate need.
    At today’s £80/tonne CO2, the younger lady is not receiving dental treatment for the sake of 5 tonnes CO2. That’s just one example of where our “priorities” lie.

    • Jordan permalink
      August 10, 2022 7:40 pm

      Oops, 15 tonnes

  16. Cheshire Red permalink
    August 10, 2022 7:06 pm

    Politicians don’t want to access ‘500 years of gas’ because it will be so successful it’d wreck the ‘renewables’ industry within one cycle of government contracts.

    That’s the blunt truth.

  17. Mad Mike permalink
    August 10, 2022 9:09 pm

    I’ve just ordered a wood burning stove which will mean that at least one room will be warm enough to stop me from dying this winter. I wish i could have afforded 2.

    Now got to sort out how to cook food and see where I’m going and it’s sorted.

    Can’t believe I would be talking about this.

  18. Ray Sanders permalink
    August 10, 2022 10:34 pm

    Red Diesel has now dropped to below £1.00 litre. It is still perfectly legal to use in a domestic generator. Diesel has an energy density of 10.7kWh per litre. A reasonable quality diesel generator will run at 40% efficiency fuel to wire so over 4kWh for £1 i.e. 25p per unit which is less than the current price cap even before the latter is anticipated to double…and no standing charge. Clearly there is some serious price gouging ahead.

    • Realist permalink
      August 11, 2022 10:43 am

      Still the problem of the extortionate TAX on petrol and diesel

  19. dodgy geezer permalink
    August 11, 2022 6:42 am

    If you were to start by examining the ‘science’ behind climate change, you would ring that it is a fraudulent scam, and there is no need to ‘adress’ it as a threat at all….

  20. 2hmp permalink
    August 11, 2022 2:42 pm

    Dan Hannan stills seems to think that CO2 can cause dangerous global warming. I am surprised.

    • Vernon E permalink
      August 11, 2022 2:48 pm

      ahmp: Yes, that was my reaction too.

  21. dennisambler permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:24 pm

    “Hydrogen has vast potential” It has? How many billions are going to be thrown at it?

    This article highlights the elephant in the room, we do not need to switch from hydrocarbon fuels, because CO2 does not control global climate. https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-big-green-lie-almost-everyone-claims-to-believe_4639112.html

    “The Big Green Lie—that carbon dioxide is a pollutant—is so pervasive that even those considered skeptics—including right-wing NGOs and pundits—generally adhere to the orthodoxy, differing not in their stated belief that CO2 is a pollutant but only in how calamitous a pollutant it is.

    Because everyone now participates in the CO2-emissions-are-bad lie, the debate over climate policy hasn’t been over whether a CO2 problem exists but over how urgently CO2 needs to be addressed, and how it should be addressed.

    The other shoe to drop is the lie that carbon dioxide-emitting fuels should be replaced.”

  22. dennisambler permalink
    August 11, 2022 4:43 pm

    “None of this is to argue that governments shouldn’t seek to mitigate climate change”

    Definition of climate change needed..

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      August 11, 2022 5:29 pm

      Before “mitigating Climate Change”, shouldn’t views on the subject be gathered from all interested parties and published?

      The IPCC ignores all Solar effects, apart from the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), which only varies by 0.1%.

      The IPCC therefore ignores all the other Solar Forcing, which can contribute to a better explanation to what is observed, such as the extreme Ultraviolet, Coronal Holes, Coronal Mass Ejections, Solar Flares generating a Solar Energetic Particle event, High Energy Protons, Galactic Cosmic Rays, even though they all add Energy to the Earth, as well as the other planets in the Solar System.

      These forcings interact with the natural ‘resonances’ of the Earth, such as the ENSO and similar well known processes, and offer an improvement to the current models. Yet they are excluded from the discussion, even though it may lead to realising that Global Warming cannot be mitigated by human effort.

    • Gamecock permalink
      August 11, 2022 11:26 pm

      dennis, climate change is a Red herring.

      • dennisambler permalink
        August 11, 2022 11:42 pm

        I discovered this 22 years ago!

  23. Broadlands permalink
    August 12, 2022 2:02 am

    Try to remember that nothing can go forward to transition to alternative energies (as well as electric transportation) without conventional vehicles that run on fossil fuels to transport everything needed. Solar, wind, nuclear installations don’t just appear because of subsidizations by governments.

  24. August 12, 2022 8:56 am

    Dan Hannan says: ‘Following the closure of Hunterston B in January, there are just six reactors left in Britain: Hinkley Point B, Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Heysham 2, Sizewell B and Torness.’

    Hinkley Point B closed this month.
    https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2022-08-01/hinkley-point-b-shuts-down-after-50-years-of-producing-electricity

  25. MR PETER SEWARDS permalink
    August 12, 2022 9:20 am

    An excellent article, thank you.

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