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Would more UK gas actually bring down prices?

September 25, 2022
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood

A slightly more objective Reality Check than we’re used to seeing!




The government has confirmed it is ending the ban in the UK on fracking, a controversial technique that involves drilling and using liquids at high pressure to release shale gas.

In her first speech as prime minister, Liz Truss said: "We will get spades in the ground to make sure people are not facing unaffordable energy bills."

She has pledged to increase domestic energy production with more oil and gas from the North Sea as well as fracking.

And the new Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs on 22 September: "We also need more secure and cheaper supplies of gas, which is why we are going to issue more licences and why we are looking at shale gas."

He has said the government expects to award "more than 100 new licences" for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

But there have been warnings that these measures will not reduce people’s energy bills in the short-term.

"Greater domestic production of fossil fuels may improve energy security," the heads of the Climate Change Committee and the National Infrastructure Commission warned in a letter to the prime minister. "But our gas reserves – offshore or from shale – are too small to impact meaningfully the prices faced by UK consumers."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also referred in Parliament to some "myth-busting" tweets from Greg Hands in February when Mr Hands was energy minister.

The tweet said it was a myth that extracting more North Sea gas lowers prices on the grounds that "UK production isn’t large enough to materially impact the global price of gas".

Kwasi Kwarteng, who is now chancellor, also tweeted in February saying: "additional North Sea production won’t materially affect the wholesale price (certainly not anytime soon)".

Fundamentally, UK energy companies buy gas – including from the North Sea – on the international market where prices are set by global supply and demand.

The amount extra that could be extracted from the North Sea – or from fracking – is unlikely to be enough to bring down bills significantly unless the government agrees a price with the companies that extract it.

The government has said it will look at new long-term energy contracts with domestic and international gas suppliers, although they create a danger of being tied into prices that are above market levels in the future.

There are also questions about how long it would take for any extra gas to be available.

Prof Jonathan Stern from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies says: "The main issue is that if you started drilling tomorrow, had success the day after and everything else went to plan, it would still be two to four years before you could produce enough gas to make a difference to UK output."

While government estimates suggest there is still a significant amount of oil and gas under the North Sea, Prof Stern says that most of that is now in deep water, far from shore, which means it takes even longer to bring it online.

The new prime minister was quick to back fracking


Reversing the ban on fracking does not present an easy, quick answer to high energy bills either.

Prof Stern said research 10 years ago had concluded that fracking wasn’t viable in Europe and that was still the case.

"The problem is you don’t know if you have a worthwhile resource until you’ve dug 50 to 100 wells, and that’s a huge problem in Europe."

That is because Europe is generally more crowded and land is more expensive than in the US, where fracking has extracted considerable quantities of gas and kept down domestic energy prices.

"The US infrastructure for export is relatively limited, so they can only export a small proportion of what they’re producing," said Kathryn Porter, an energy consultant at Watt-Logic.

That makes it harder for US companies to sell their gas outside the country, which keeps the domestic price much lower.

But the boss of the fracking company Cuadrilla welcomed the lifting of the moratorium, saying: "This is an entirely sensible decision and recognises that maximizing the UK’s domestic energy supply is vital if we are going to overcome the ongoing energy crisis and reduce the risk of it recurring in the future."

What could lower bills in the UK?

New onshore wind energy could come online faster than gas. The European Wind Energy Association says that a small wind farm can be built in as little as two months, once planning permission has been granted.

But a bigger farm that needed infrastructure such as new roads could take closer to two years. And the planning permission process can take two or three years.

During the leadership campaign Liz Truss indicated that she favours other forms of generation over onshore wind, but Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has just announced the planning process to install turbines will be made easier.

The CCC and NIC recommend a range of policies such as greater energy efficiency in buildings and better energy advice for consumers.

Some analysts have suggested that the solution is to separate electricity prices from gas prices by allowing households to have long-term contracts with renewable electricity generators.

There are two things I wanted to highlight:

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IPCC’s greenhouse narrative is becoming implausible, eminent climate scientist says

September 23, 2022

By Paul Homewood



London, 23 September – A prominent climate scientist has warned that the picture of climate change presented in the IPCC’s narrative is simplistic, ill-conceived, and undermined by observational evidence.
In a new
discussion paper, Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) points out that the official picture, focusing narrowly on carbon dioxide as a warming agent, becomes implausible when applied to the details of the climate system.
According to Lindzen,
"If you are going to blame everything on carbon dioxide, you have to explain why, on all timescales, temperatures in the tropics are extremely stable while those in high latitudes are much more variable. The IPCC’s story is that small amounts of greenhouse warming near the equator are ‘amplified’ at high latitudes. But neither theory nor data support the idea of amplification."
Instead, says Lindzen, this pattern – of stable tropical temperatures and fluctuating ones in high latitudes – is mostly a function of natural processes in the atmosphere and oceans; in other words, changes in oceanic and atmospheric currents that transport heat poleward while drawing varying amounts of heat out of the tropics.  These changes in transport affect the tropics, but they are not determined by the tropics.
"The changes in the earth’s so-called temperature are mainly due to changes in the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles – at least for major changes.  The changes in tropical temperature, which are influenced by greenhouse processes, are a minor contribution."

Richard Lindzen: An assessment of the conventional global warming narrative (pdf)

Govt Lifts Fracking Ban; Ed Miliband Throws A Wobbly!

September 23, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t  Robin Guenier



Well, at least we know where we stand now!

Ed Miliband has made it totally clear that Labour have no interest in the UK’s energy security, or getting energy bills down. Instead they are doubling down on their obsession with renewable energy.

In his interview, Miliband makes three points:

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No Positive Trends In Extreme Weather Found

September 22, 2022

By Paul Homewood

According to the absurd Matt McGrath. extreme weather is now the norm:



The silly man apparently does not realise that extreme weather has always been the norm!


A month before he wrote that article, the following paper was published:





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Does this explode the great global warming myth?

September 21, 2022

By Paul Homewood

Andrew Montford on an important new study:




THE ‘greenhouse effect’ has been with us for so long that it is taken as ‘settled’ science in most quarters. However, as a new paper shows, there is much still to debate.

The author, William Kininmonth, is no bedroom blogger. As a former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre, he deserves careful and respectful attention.

Kininmonth’s suggestion is that the approach of the UN’s  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), based on a concept of radiation forcing at the top of the atmosphere, is logically unsound and ignores important details about what happens at the Earth’s surface. In particular, he notes that there are huge flows of energy – vastly bigger than the effect of greenhouse gases – from the warm tropical oceans to the atmosphere, whence it is transported poleward by the winds, warming the northern latitudes.

Read the full story here.

Press Release: Important new paper challenges IPCC’s claims about climate sensitivity

September 20, 2022

By Paul Homewood




London, 20 September – A new paper reduces the estimate of climate sensitivity – the amount of warming expected for a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations – by one third. The results therefore suggest that future global warming will be much less than expected.
The paper, by independent scientist Nic Lewis, has just appeared in the journal Climate Dynamics. It is an important challenge to the official view of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Lewis has critiqued a 2020 assessment of climate sensitivity by Sherwood et al., which strongly influenced the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, in 2021. Lewis commented:
"It is unfortunate that Sherwood et al.’s assessment of climate sensitivity, which underpinned the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, contained such serious errors, inconsistencies and deficiencies in its methods".
After correcting the Sherwood et al. methods and revising key input data to reflect, primarily, more recent evidence, the central estimate for climate sensitivity comes down from 3.1°C per doubling of CO2 concentration in the original study to 2.16°C in the new paper.
This large reduction shows how sensitive climate sensitivity estimates still are to input assumptions, and that values between 1.5°C and 2°C remain quite plausible.

  • Climate sensitivity represents the long-term global temperature increase caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. There are different measures of climate sensitivity. Both the Sherwood and Lewis papers estimate the so-called ‘effective’ climate sensitivity, which reflects a new equilibrium state projected from centennial changes after a doubling of the CO2 concentration. This measure is considered the most relevant one for predicting climate change in the coming two centuries.
  • Climate sensitivity has always been a very important, but also highly uncertain, parameter in the climate change discourse. Earlier IPCC reports assessed its value as likely to be somewhere between 1.5°C and 4.5°C, with a best estimate of 3°C. However, prompted by the Sherwood paper, the 2021 Sixth Assessment Report moved that range upwards, to 2.5 to 4°C. Although for outsiders this might sound boring, for insiders it was a revolutionary change.
  • Lewis’s corrections and revisions lead to a likely range of 1.75 to 2.7°C, which is not only lower but is also much less uncertain than either the 2021 official IPCC assessment or the very similar Sherwood et al. estimate (2.6 to 3.9°C).
  • Nic Lewis is the lead or sole author of ten peer-reviewed papers on climate sensitivity. He was a participant in the 2015 workshop that kicked off the World Climate Research Programme project that led to the Sherwood et al. 2020 paper, but he was not a co-author of that paper.

Lewis commented:
"The substantial reduction in assessed climate sensitivity upon updating key input data suggests that the increase in the bottom of the climate sensitivity range in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report was unjustified".
Lewis’s paper is entitled ‘Objectively combining climate sensitivity evidence’. It can be freely downloaded
here. A detailed explanatory article about the paper is available here.

Climate change threatens health and survival of urban trees-BBC Junk Science

September 20, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t Paul Kolk

Latest junk science from the BBC:



Climate change threatens the health and survival of urban trees, with more than half of species already feeling the heat, according to a new study.

City-dwelling oaks, maples, poplars, elms, pines and chestnuts are among more than 1,000 tree species flagged at risk due to climate change.

Scientists want better protection of existing trees and for drought-resistant varieties to be planted.

Trees have cooling effects and provide shade, making cities more liveable.

Many trees in urban areas are already stressed because of climate change, and as it gets warmer and drier, the number of species at potential risk will increase, said Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez of Western Sydney University in Penrith, Australia.

City and street trees can improve physical and mental health, are important in social integration and can mitigate the effects of temperature rises – something that hit home during the pandemic, he said.

"All these benefits are mainly provided by big mature trees so we need to make sure that what we are planting today will get to that stage where they can provide all those benefits for future generations," he told BBC News.

The researchers used the Global Urban Tree Inventory – a database recording more than 4,000 different trees and shrubs planted in 164 cities in 78 countries – to assess the likely impact of global warming on the trees planted along streets and in parks.

Of the 164 cities analysed, more than half of tree species are already at risk in some cities due to rising temperatures and changes in rainfall. And by 2050, this proportion is predicted to rise to more than two-thirds.

Climate risk for species in urban areas is particularly high in cities in tropical regions, and in vulnerable countries such as India, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

In the UK, the researchers looked at five cities: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, London and York.

They found that drier weather under climate change is expected to have a big impact on trees, particularly in York, London and Birmingham.

Maybe Ms Briggs might like to explain where this “drier weather” is!

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Sulfur: A potential resource crisis that could stifle green technology and threaten food security as the world decarbonises

September 20, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t WUWT



The law of unintended consequences?





The Sulphur Institute (yes there is such a thing!) have this background information:

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Manchester To Shut Down in 2027 If Carbon Targets Are To Be Met

September 17, 2022

By Paul Homewood


This really is hilarious!


Manchester will blow its carbon budget for the rest of this century within the next five years if urgent action is not taken, councillors have been warned. If the city continues on the current trajectory, it would exceed its carbon budget of 15 MtCO2 set for a 82-year period up to 2100 by around 2027.

Manchester council declared a climate emergency three years ago and the city now has a target of becoming net zero carbon by no later than 2038. The town hall is on track to halve its own carbon emissions by 2025, having already reduced the amount of carbon it directly emits by 30 pc since 2020.

A refreshed action plan, which was endorsed by the council’s executive this week, recognises the progress made in retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient, installing LED street lights and using electric bin lorries. But the council only accounts for around 3 pc of the city’s carbon emissions.

Councillors were warned about the challenges ahead as an updated climate change framework for the city was approved on Wednesday (September 14). They were told the city would use up its carbon budget by 2027 if it continues to reduce its emissions by around 5 pc a year, as it did before the pandemic.

Labour councillor Tracey Rawlins, who is the executive member for environment and transport, said the framework is a ‘call to action’. She said: "The city as a whole is not progressing as fast as we should be.

"The emissions that we’re responsible for as an organisation are quite small. We’re doing what we can, but it’s really important we continue to drive that."

It does no take a genius to work out that while councils might save a bit of energy here and there, introduce a few electric trucks and so on, whatever they do on their own is pure virtue signalling.

As the report notes, the council only accounts for 3% of the city’s emissions, most of which are totally out of the council’s control, and indeed the city’s.

The electricity Manchester uses comes from the grid, so they can do absolutely nothing about them. The vast majority of Manchester’s drivers own petrol/diesel cars, and its goods and passengers are ferried around on good, old diesel lorries and buses.

And how do Mancunians heat their homes? (I note, by the way, that the City Council has not decided to spend hundreds of millions of its budget on insulating all homes, not just council houses, fitting heat pumps and solar panels. I wonder why?)

Jus as with every local council that has gone down the same route, Manchester’s councillors doubtlessly preened themselves when they declared their climate emergency. But they were not prepared to put their (ie taxpayers’) money where their mouth is.

Oregon Wildfire Trends

September 17, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t WUWT


Many of you will be aware of the chart below, which shows clearly that wildfires in the US used to be many worse prior to the Second World War, before the days of intensive and systematic fire suppression:







The report has disappeared from the USDA website, but is still available on Wayback.

In similar fashion, the official data table showing fire statistics back to 1926, as still available below on Wayback, has also disappeared from the National Interagency Fire Center’s website

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