Category Archives: coal

Letter of Christian Climate Action to General Synod 7th July 2022

In 2019 members of Christian Climate Action and others prevented workers travelling by Underground. They did it for the climate and were nearly beaten up.

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Move on three yeas and CCA have written to General Synod members asking them to back divestment  and support the route map to Net Zero 2030.

Here is the letter and my comments, which are  as “quote , bold, italic” thus .

my comments, which are  as “quote , bold, italic” thus

DIVESTMENT LETTER SENT TO COFE SYNOD MEMBERS

https://christianclimateaction.org/2022/07/07/divestment-letter-sent-to-cofe-synod-members/

A letter asking Church of England Synod members to endorse the Church’s Routemap to Net Zero and urge all areas of the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels before COP27 has been sent to all Synod members ahead of Synod in York this Friday.

The letter, which was emailed to all 467 members on Tuesday 5th July 2022, is reproduced below.

Dear Member of Synod,

York Synod: Routemap to Net Zero Carbon and divestment from fossil fuels

I am writing to you, and all members of Synod, on behalf of Christian Climate Action[1], for two reasons:

  1. To urge you to vote in favour of endorsing the Routemap to Net Zero Carbon 2030 motion being debated at Synod in York this Friday 8th July.

In the words of Archbishop Justin, ‘Climate change is the greatest challenge that we and future generations face’[2]. Scientists are telling us that we have very little time left to act if we want to give ourselves reasonable change of avoiding the worst impacts. Of course, vulnerable communities around the world are already experiencing the ravages of climate change first and worst’[3].

The challenge of Climate Change needs reasonable action not extreme action resulting in disruption and damage. Nor affecting people’s livelihoods.

In UK emissions been dropping since 1990 with the shift from coal, more efficient engines, insulation. From an 80s perspective this is amazing, but there is a long way to go. There are several hurdles.

There is an inevitable lag by industry as changes take years to effect. There is also the danger of simply exporting industry overseas so emissions get recorded there and not by British consumers.

A major problem is the lack of understanding by Joe Public, who often does not grasp the issues, nor how each person must change habits. Protest probably slows this down. 

We are pleased that back in 2020 the Church of England agreed to work toward Net Zero by 2030. It is now important that the routemap that will get the Church to Net Zero is endorsed and put into action as swiftly as possible. Not only will this reduce the Church of England’s emissions, it will also act as prophetic statement and an inspiration to the wider world.

There are many questions about Net Zero 2030. There seems to be a blind acceptance that renewables are the answer, but many are expensive and inefficient. This could lead parishes into bankruptcy. See later comments on renewables.

Many of the suggestions for insulation, efficient lighting are vital and should have been encourage years ago and are separate from Net Zero.

As well as voting in favour of the motion we would encourage you to speak in favour of it during the debate on Friday afternoon to help ensure it is passed.

Beyond Synod, we would also encourage you to do everything within your power to implement the route map in your local context. The motion calls on every Diocese, Cathedral, TEI, school, office and the top 20% of energy-consuming churches, to agree a programme of action to achieve net zero with a clear time frame based on the routemap.

We also note that the routemap does not include the Pensions Board or the Church Commissioners and that they are both aiming for Net Zero by 2050. Whilst the Pensions Board expects to achieve this 10-years early[4], this is simply too late.

According to Professor Sir David King, Former Chief Scientific Advisor: ‘We have 4-5 years to put in place everything to manage civilisation for the next millennium’[5].

King is pro-nuclear, which some object to. His views on Peak Oil in 2010 are now totally out of date as there is no peak.

Yes, things need to be put in place, e.g. increased nuclear, alternative energies, insulation and other mitigatory measures, but to ditch fossil fuels before these are ready to take over will cause untold suffering as many will not be able to afford energy. Blind appeals to renewables doesn’t help.

There is no connection between the routemap and King’s warning.

We would encourage you to do anything you can to push for the Church Commissioners and the Pensions Board to move their targets forward to 2030, so as to align with the rest of the Church of England.

CCA members recently visited Wells Cathedral
  • 2. To ask you to urge all sections of the Church of England to commit to divest from fossil fuels as a matter of urgency.

The burning of fossil fuels constitutes 86% of carbon emissions and is the key driver of climate change.

This is an over-estimate as this diagram shows. It also omits to point out how fossil fuels are used apart from fuel

GHG Emissions By Sector 1200px

In detail  this is in  https://ourworldindata.org/ghg-emissions-by-sector

Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use: 18.4%

Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use directly accounts for 18.4% of greenhouse gas emissions. The food system as a whole – including refrigeration, food processing, packaging, and transport – accounts for around one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. We look at this in detail here.

(The figure of 184% for agriculture excludes use of energy, and it lists what these are.

In May 2021, the International Energy Agency’s Executive Director said: ‘If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year’[6].

This is one person’s opinion and not the general view. No mention of alternative energy and that these are not yet in place.

And in March this year UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres commented it was ‘Madness to turn to fossil fuels because of the Ukraine war.’[7].

A disembodied quote adds little. What alternatives did her suggest?

Yet fossil fuel companies including Shell and Exxon Mobil are currently spending over £100 million per day on exploring new oil and gas[8] [9] [10]. They are continuing to reap the rewards of unabated exploration and production, while falsely promoting the idea that they are investing a significant percentage of their capital on renewable energy[11].

This may seem a vast sum, but mineral exploration is incredibly expensive. It is expenditure to keep reserves as they are and not declining. One reason for the present high prices of gas/oil is the cutting back of exploration for the last decade.

NB all scenarios include use of fossil fuels beyond 2040 hence need exploration to provide sufficient oil and gas

The evidence against continuing investments in Shell in particular, is mounting. It is apparent that in March of this year Shell took advantage of cheaper Russian oil prices resulting in a public outcry[12].

They have since been accused of using an ‘accounting trick’ to continue buying Russian oil secretly[13]. In addition, we believe that many of the clergy and laity of the Church of England would find it deeply uncomfortable knowing that the Church is profiting from Shell’s ‘highest quarterly profits since 2008’ in March in the midst of a fuel and cost of living crisis.[14].

To say these are the highest quarterly profits since 2008 is both absolutely true and totally misleading and duplicitous. It is distortion by selective truth rather than the whole truth.

Now consider this chart of Shell’s quarterly profits since 2008. 

Shell posts record quarterly profit, lifted by energy price surge | Reuters

It is a duplicitous argument. Note the almost wipe-out of profits in 2020, drop in 2009 and 2016. It is dishonest not to point that out. Further, any following energy issues would have known this, unless they operated on a Conscious bias.

These actions do not appear to be aligned with your Responsible Investment policy established around the two principles of “Respect for People” and “Respect for the Planet”.

It is heartening that 12 Church of England dioceses have, in recent years, divested from fossil fuels and made public commitments not to reinvest[15]. However, 13 dioceses continue to invest in fossil fuels and the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board are thought to collectively hold investments of c.£55m in fossil fuel companies.

We understand that the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board intends to divest from fossil fuel companies that are not ‘Paris Agreement complaint’ by the end of 2023. However, on their current trajectory, it is highly unlikely they will become Parris Agreement compliant between now and then and time is of the essence on this issue.

Why should we believe CCA, with its  record of disruption and Conscious Bias? It is imperative that anyone commenting on this claiming to put forward an ethical argument that they must be fair and truthful in their descriptions. CCA has failed badly.

Every day we fail to take the necessary action results in more impacts around the world and more deaths.

Hard evidence is needed for this statement and claims that every extreme weather event can be put down to climate Change are rejected by most climate scientists. Don’t forget some of the worst flooding in the Lake District took place in the 18th century!!

However there are loads of things we can be doing  apart from divestment and Net Zero 2030. (see Net Zero by Dieter Helm).

Rather than stopping commuters getting on the Tube for work, there is much the churches can encourage and do;

Reconsider  transport, ( I had to smile that at a recent Chapter Meeting when Net zero was discussed, two incumbents drove three miles in their Land Rovers! To be smug, I cycled.)

Use of water, from economy to water butts

Ways in which one keeps warm. This is now very hard for any on a limited income e.g. a pensioner relying on State Pension.

Judicious planting of trees, peat restoration (no mention by churches?) not to mention biodiversity.

Food; the sources need considering

And fun things; I grow rowans from seed to give away. This can also challenge people to think.

We have urged both the Commissioners and Pensions Board to consider the points made above in conjunction with Paris Agreement compliance in their upcoming review of fossil fuel investments.

We urge you to use your influence to encourage the church to divest from all fossil fuels ahead of COP27 in Egypt in November to demonstrate the prophetic voice of the Church for the young, the most vulnerable and the poorest and in the face of the destruction of God’s Creation.

These are emotive arguments, but first CCA needs to put its own house in order, considering both their disruptive activities and Conscious bias of their statements.  

Total divestment from fossil fuel companies would allow the Church and the Archbishop in particular, as he did so eloquently concerning refugees, to speak more clearly on how large fossil fuel companies supported by government are contributing to the increase in global temperatures. It is only by divesting entirely, that he and the Church would not be exposed to the easy criticism from the media that comes from still having investments in oil and gas.

Really. It is only some of media eg Guardian

Perhaps this should also involve total avoidance of fossil fuels! and everything dependent on them;

Mains Water supply, which uses Chlorine which made by a process using natural gas.

Hospital and medical equipment not only PPE Having had a big operation this year I see how much material from fossil fuels used either in equipment, medicines, ppe, dressings etc

Internet! Mobile Phones, PCs  Vast energy (generated from fossil fuels is used.) 

Fertilisers  from Haber/Bosch process. If this is stopped there would be mass starvation

How build renewables without fossil fuel powered machinery ehg turbines on or offshore

Obtaining minerals for “electric revolution”.  To effect the electric revolution double the amounts of Copper, cobalt nickel Lithium and rare earths would be needed. This is an impossible mining problem. (I was employed as a mining and exploration geologist for copper.)

They make several omissions;

There is no mention of nuclear energy, which is a no-no to groups like friends of the Earth and Green Peace. Note the mess Germany is with energy having closed down nuclear.

And then the problems of renewables; they are dependent on wind and sun. There is no backup eg batteries when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind blow. Many assume, wrong, that battery backup is already here. It is not.

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When no wind in winter coal power stations have to be switched on!! Also gas-fuelled power stations are at full blast.

Yes , there is a conflict of need to reduce emissions drastically AND tokeep the lights on. If the lights are not kept on, as they may not be this winner, many will suffer and too many will die.

Renewables will not keep the lights on, thus hardship of every kind results.

This is the danger of green ideology

Christian Climate Action

Christian Climate Action is an ecumenical community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. We are inspired by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit.

This is rather arrogant and super-spiritual implying those who disagree are not proper Christians. This has been said on more than one occasion.

I go with Paul 2 Cor 10 vs7

Following the example of social justice movements of the past, we carry out acts of public witness, nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to urge those in power to make the changes needed.

This is a simplistic appeal as it was not case with anti-slavery and other issues eg 19th century. 

What is called Non-violent action is often appalling behaviour, disruptive the lives of others e.g blocking roads, stopping workers travelling by tube to work

 PERSONAL NOTE.

As this only came out yesterday I felt a rushed job was better than no job and given time my case would be better – and better expressed.

You would be very welcome to join us. Our next ‘New to CCA’ Zoom call is on Wednesday 20th July, 7pm.

Kind Regards

Christian Climate Action

christianclimateaction@gmail.com

www.christianclimateaction.org

https://spckpublishing.co.uk/time-to-act


[1] https://christianclimateaction.org

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgsJE2UnGk4

[3] https://www.ipcc.ch/2022/02/28/pr-wgii-ar6/

[4] (https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/press-releases/church-england-pensions-board-10-years-ahead-target-meet-2050-net

[5] “We now have no time on our hands” – In conversation with Professor Sir David King – Business & Finance | Business & Finance (businessandfinance.com)

[6] Pathway to critical and formidable goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is narrow but brings huge benefits, according to IEA special report – News – IEA

[7] Climate change: ‘Madness’ to turn to fossil fuels because of Ukraine war – BBC News

[8]Revealed: the ‘carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown | Fossil fuels | The Guardian

[9]Shell’s Jackdaw gas field given go-ahead by regulators – BBC News

[10] ExxonMobil makes three new discoveries offshore Guyana, increases Stabroek resource estimate to nearly 11 billion barrels

[11] Are the big oil companies serious about renewable energy? | Ethical Consumer

[12]  Shell defends ‘difficult’ decision to buy Russian crude oil – BBC News

[13] Shell accused of using ‘accounting trick’ to keep buying Russian oil (telegraph.co.uk)

[14] Shell Q1 2022 earnings: Highest quarterly profit since 2008 on strong oil prices (cnbc.com)

[15] https://operationnoah.org/featured/press-release-global-faith-institutions-announce-divestment-as-oil-and-gas-companies-threaten-1-5c-climate-goal-with-reckless-expansion-plans/

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Bishops’ move against Big Oil. Backwards not Diagonal

Early in my ministry in the Church of England I found very few fellow priests who were bothered about the environment. Apart from Hugh Montefiore, who was regarded as a bit odd on this and no lover of Concorde, few were concerned. It was brought home to me in 1982, while on the Liverpool Diocese Board of Social Responsibility. I took advantage of bringing up the need for care of the environment, citing the cleanliness or not of the River Mersey. I was met with stony silence and my request never even made it to the minutes of the meeting.

I had a concern for the environment since working for a mining company in Africa over a decade earlier, but found no interest in the church, so ploughed my own furrow. I soon was convinced by all the arguments of Friends of the Earth et al – and E F Schumacher (who lived opposite my school) on nuclear energy – and from 1980 turned vicarage gardens into wildlife havens.

Then slowly the church turned and now we have leaders asking for no more fossil fuels. I don’t have space to discuss all the issues of the environment which have come up in the last 30 years, except to say that some approaches today are more bonkers than mine were in the 70s. My concerns predated any concerns over Global Warming/Climate Change, to which I was converted by Sir John Houghton in 1998, having had a geological scepticism before that. I had worked on Precambrian glaciation so was aware of a fluctuating climate. I cannot see how anyone can doubt that Climate Change is a serious issue, but I suggest many will wonder about me after reading this blog!

My concern is this letter from Church Leaders to the Government produced in March 2022. Also involved were Operation Noah, Cafod, Christian, Aid, Tear Fund and A Rocha, who, perhaps, provided the ideas behind the letter.

The Operation Noah press release can be read here;

https://operationnoah.org/featured/former-archbishop-of-canterbury-50-bishops-and-200-church-leaders-write-to-pm-and-chancellor-calling-for-renewables-push/

To many this will be an excellent prod to encourage the government to do the “right thing”. After all Christians should care for creation and this call to reduce fossil fuels must be an excellent idea. Or is it?

Oh that were the case but this letter shows a poor understanding of energy issues, transitions from fossil fuel, and is fatally marred by seeing everything in a binary way as clean or dirty fuels. Nuclear energy is just ignored and no questions are asked about the vast amount of metals from Copper to Rare Earths (and attendant pollution) needed to get away from fossil fuels. Or fertilizer from the Haber-Bosch process, which depends on fossil fuels. There is no reference to hunger in a world where many rely on artificial fertilizers, which are made from petroleum. They also ignored the value of plastics in many things including medicine. Further they do not even consider the problem that renewables are intermittent and often produce very little electricity. No mention is made that storage of power is very limited – a matter of hours when it needs to be weeks.

At best the appeal is naive but if successful will cause untold suffering as many are forced into fuel poverty. It will also, make the church look silly.  Somehow we have to balance getting to Net Zero ASAP without great human suffering or pollution caused by unthinking green policies.

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https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZVkcT5VKz45P3tzdv2mKwznhyKRduubUqrx5_pcNX9U/edit

OPEN LETTER FROM CHURCH LEADERS TO BORIS JOHNSON AND RISHI SUNAK (Deadline for signatures: Wednesday 23 March at 12 noon via this form)

(Here I give the whole text of the letter and make comments on certain parts as quotations- i.e. like this;

The letter misunderstands this for the following reasons~!!)

Dear Prime Minister and Chancellor,

Spring Statement and Energy Security Strategy

As Church leaders from across the UK, we urge you to ensure a rapid shift from fossil fuels to clean energy in the upcoming Spring Statement and the UK’s new energy security strategy.

My comment is that this is based on the simplistic binary division of energy into clean or dirty. Fossil fuels are dirty, renewables are clean. In fact none are clean as this shows;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2020/12/13/the-soapflake-scale-of-clean-and-dirty-energy/

snowflakescale

Not even electric is clean, even from wind or solar, due to all the materials needed to build the Grid and turbines and solar farms. Turbines are squalidly dirty when built on peat.

In fact, the materials, especially metals needed, are why no energy can be clean. Turbines look both stately and clean and solar gives off no emissions, but the amount of minerals needed is horrendous, along with disruption of the environment, especially if built on peat..

Just take one metal -Copper. On this I must say that I’ve worked underground in an African copper mine (and got CO poisoning), re-surveyed an ancient mine and prospected a few thousand square miles to work out the potential for copper. A recent calculation showed that for the UK to be 33% EV by 2030 then an additional 40,000tons of copper are needed annually. That is what a  tiny mine would produce and had my ancient mine had that amount in toto i.e 2 million tons of Copper ore at 2%, then it was probably viable. I would need to find a similar sized mine every year until 2030 and that is just for Britain. Possible reserves in Anglesey and Cornwall could produce 500,000 tones of copper, which is a fraction of what EVs need.

So how much would you need on a worldwide basis?

The figure is astronomical and would be at least a 50% increase on annual copper demand, which could not be met by recycling.

Where would the copper come from?

Now repeat it for Nickel, Cobalt, Lithium and the Rare Earths. Lithium is already shooting up in price.

solarpanal

Those who have a gung-ho outlook on renewables never ever ask this question and it is left for a few geologists to bring it up but it is not heard. Most I mention it to have never heard of the problem, even if they are solidly green.

Add to all that all the waste rock from mining and the water needed to mine.

This plan needs urgently to tackle the climate emergency and the cost of living crisis affecting millions of the most vulnerable people in our country, including many of our Church members.

This is clearly essential but how will banning any new UK oil and gas do this? All it will do will make us dependent on imports and the vagaries of the market. It also ignores the fact that much petroleum is not used for energy.

oiluses

Or more visually. What are these church leaders going to stop using?

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The letter simply fails to see, whether we like it or not, we will still be using fossil fuels in the 2040s. Better for all to use our own.; less emissions by avoiding importing, and lots of tax revenues to spend on the more vulnerable. Even dishy Rishi might be happy.

We welcome the UK Government’s decision to ban Russian oil and gas imports, which are fuelling the catastrophic war in Ukraine.

Why are we importing from Russia?

Before about 2013 virtually no gas was imported from Russia whether to Britain or much of the EU. (I’d need to check details on EU.) The amount has increased year by year. Yet both Britain and the EU rejected fracking their own gas reserves due to the pressure from Green groups, who did not have a penchant for rigorous accuracy.

At times the stories put out by greens were face-palming for their errors and these were echoed by church groups, as I found in the Diocese of Blackburn. I still smile to read that Acetic  and citric acid are pollutants. That would mean no vinegar or lemon juice with fish and chips. When diocesan environmental officers make that type of howler we have a problem.

All the green groups took up the anti-fracking cause and often appeared on RT – Russia Television, where there were given the red carpet to expound their cause. Putin must have loved it! Friends of the Earth when two OAPs reported them to the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading leaflets. I do not know why FoE is regarded as a flagship environmental group.

Artificial Fertilizers

Oil and gas is not only needed for fuel but also as a feedstuff for artificial fertilizers without which many would starve.  This is the Haber-Bosch process which artificially fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere for fertilizers. A major producer is Ukraine and already the war  putting these under threat. Why wasn’t this mentioned in the letter? Organic sounds wonderful, and you can practice it in your garden or in a few farms, but it will not feed the world. To get rid of oil means you close down the Haber-Bosch process which would result in serious starvation.  Further those opponents of GMOs, like Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Extinction Rebellion did their best to stop GMOs which fixed nitrogen.

However much one might prefer organic food a rapid transition spells disaster as in Sri Lanka.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/07/world/asia/sri-lanka-organic-farming-fertilizer.html

This is not to say the present agricultural system is ideal or even good. Overuse of artificial fertilizer is a serious problem, with run-off into rivers. My own view is that it is not good, and at times horrific, and needs to move to “mixed economy” of artificial AND organic along with a form of rewilding and regenerative agriculture. This has come from both the non-organic and organic sector.

It is not helped by many, especially church green groups supporting LOAF; Local, Organic, Animal-friendly and Fair Trade.

The Organic is the most contentious as so much of our food is grown using artificial fertilizers. When presented as dogma it is not helpful.

Blackburn Environmental Group expects members to support LOAF, which means I could not be in that Group, despite having had largely organic gardens for over 40 years, with a compost bin!! This means that the group will only allow one perspective on the environment, rather like only allowing conservative evangelicals on the evangelism and mission committee! I will go further and say the churches on the environment have followed only one narrative and that is anti-big oil. Thus any statement is very one-sided, and thus I am as bad as any red-neck driller who cares nowt about creation!!

Many green and aid groups, Christian or not, have often opposed GMOs and non-organic farming  – without providing an alternative. 15 years ago Christian aid was very opposed to GMOs, and along with Green Christian have help to create a negative image of GMOs. I know I may have gone off on a tangent on Organic and GMOs, but this illustrates the way too many christian greens think and close down a diversity of views. But it was not a tangent as it is all part of an extreme green agenda. Getting rid of oil will also mean getting rid of fertilizers and pushing many into hunger.

We need to see that as fracking was stopped in UK and EU due to misinformation from Green groups, other sources had to be found. Russia were happy to oblige, as are Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Now as the whole of Europe is dependent on Russian gas we should see the problem. Whether fracking would have provided enough gas we don’t know as protesting green groups made sure that even proper exploration and assessment could not happen.

Here is a meme from 2015 based on a wildly inaccurate Guardian article. BTW Sir Mark Walport never never never said what the meme and guardian ascribed to him.

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The UK has a duty to demonstrate global leadership on the climate crisis, as hosts of the recent COP26 climate summit and as we continue to hold the COP Presidency.

We call on you to use the Spring Statement to provide financial and fiscal support for renewable energy and energy efficiency, especially solar and wind energy

Now that sounds very good, but it does not consider the position of renewable energy today. Turbines and solar farms seem a nice clean way of obtaining energy, and at times produce half of electrical power. However half of electrical energy  is only a quarter of all energy used in the UK as most transport, industry and heating depends on fossils fuels.

Much of the green media trumpet the success when renewables produce 50% of electricity, but go quiet when little is produced as when there is no wind or sun. This happened in December and now during this week of the spring equinox. As a result most electricity is produced by GAS powered power stations and COAL is brought in to cover the shortfall. Most of last week and this week more electricity comes from coal rather than wind.

Consider these graphics for 24th March 2022. These show how little wind is contributing to electrical generation.

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Redraw that graph in your minds removing gas and then nuclear. Without them never more than 12k MV were produced, whereas at least 25k was needed – at midnight and at most 36k. At most 5k was produced from wind and solar, dropping to 1 or 2k at night. Yes, it was windless, but even so there is a massive gap between generation from renewables and what is actually needed. Pragmatism rather than ideology is needed.

The graph below shows the difference between demand and actual supply from wind power. It’s going to take a very looooooooooooong time to bridge that gap. Jumping to renewables now and closing down fossil fuels will simply creating a massive energy gap.

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and for most of March. Gas is dominant

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Renewables sound lovely in theory and their capacity may equal that of fossil fuels but when the is no wind or sunshine, no energy is produced, so the capacity is effectively very small.  Sunshine at night is obvious but to get to reasonable amounts from wind you need a wind speed of 15  mph or more. Above 20 mph turbines are whirring but cycling is unpleasant!! No matter how large the capacity, absence of wind or sun means little energy is produced.

Another unaddressed issue is the question of energy storage. Electricity produced has to be used immediately in the absence of storage and at present there is minimal storage. “Big batteries” may store enough for a few hours, but to be effective storage must be enough for several weeks, as that is how long a windless or sunless spell can last. The church leaders did not consider this and when we look for it we find a glib appeal to battery storage. The technology is not ready yet and without storage renewables cannot supply energy needs. Any transition is going to be slower that the technological change.

Here is a technical article laying out what is needed for 24 days storage.https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/236723/1/Ruhnau-and-Qvist-2021-Storage-requirements-in-a-100-renewable-electricity-system-EconStor.pdf

We must ask how quickly does a transition need to be to make up for that shortfall. Any realistic assessment will suggest many years and not before 2040.

Above all if we are going to transition then we must have something to transition to, or rather the same amount of power for electricity, transport and heating.

Nuclear Energy?

Surprisingly (or not) no mention was made of nuclear energy and I suggest this was deliberate as many green groups are as opposed to nuclear as fossil fuel. Green groups have campaigned against nuclear for over half a century and sucked in many (including myself until I deconverted)

and the retrofitting of homes

That covers many things whether insulation or new heating systems. It cannot be denied that most Britons have been dilatory about insulation over the last 50 years. Many simply did not bother. Over the decades I found we were out of step or ahead as we went for basic insulation and energy saving. Some may remember the ginormous and expensive lightbulbs of the mid-eighties.

As well as many not bothering there was no inducement for landlords to insulate. I remember last century persuading the Parsonage Board to pay for fibreglass insulation for me to install.

Today retrofitting for insulation is very expensive if the maximum is done. In 2013 we moved into a dormer bungalow which had little insulation except cavity wall. On moving in we did the low hanging fruit for about £1000 or so – thick curtains, one ceiling insulated for £400 (I should have done more), improved loft insulation, trapdoor  (no cost as I had the right-sized wood and old carpet), draught elimination etc. I worked it out that without grants it would take 20 years to recoup the expenditure needed on reduced bills to pay for full insulation.

New heating is more problematical. Most rely on gas, but any replacements is not cheap and beyond the budgets of half the population. This includes heat pumps, which have something unproven about them.

This raises some issues but retrofitting will take years and is costly. Appeals sound good but are often not very achievable.

and other buildings across the UK. These measures would reduce heating bills, decrease carbon emissions and increase our energy security.

Clearly, any insulation etc will reduce all of these. Something should also be said about transport and landscaping for saving energy. We need more evangelistic cycling bishops.

The Spring Statement must include no support for new oil and gas developments. The International Energy Agency has stated that there can be no new fossil fuel developments if we are to limit global heating to 1.5°C.

As oil and gas will not be phased out completely before 2050 there will have to be new developments in many parts of the world, if not the UK, then USA, Middle East, Africa etc. We need to ask whether Saudi Arabia is more just  than Russia as , e.g. 80 executed in one day in the last month.

At present by rejecting Russia we need to get oil and gas from the Middle East and USA, as Britain produces insufficient oil or gas. Yet there are untapped off-shore and on-shore sources. Some on-shore  wells have been producing since before WWII, and the fracked well at Elswick in Lancs  has been producing gas since the 1990s. (Yes, this well was fracked and I have copies of the drill logs and the chemicals used for fracking!!). There several potential fields off-shore and the potential for gas was not  fully explored in Lancs and Yorks (and 6000ft below my house) before the plug was pulled. The advantage of homegrown oil and gas is that no gas is lost in transit, as happens with LNG and instead of paying high prices to producers the government would gain large tax revenues, which could then be put into retrofitting. Slamdunk. QED.

New oil and gas production will not deliver lower energy bills for families facing fuel poverty and will have no impact on energy supply for years.

This is an old mantra and thrown out to stop the discussion.

The use of UK oil and gas gives a tax windfall, over imports.

How many years? This sounds like a typical green objection from their playbook.In the 40s during WWII A new oil field was opened up in months in the Midlands, so it may not take years as opponents to fracking claim.

We urge you to increase support for vulnerable households across the UK facing a cost of living crisis as a result of increasing food and energy prices, through measures including a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

i find this a bit rich as many church groups eg Operation Noah, Green Christian. Operation Noah, Diocesan Environment Groups have joined in with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion etc demonising “big oil”, and failing to see that without workable alternatives to “big oil” and their products, a rapid change to renewables makes the cost of living crisis worse.

Many of our Churches have set 2030 net zero targets and are taking action to decarbonise our buildings, including through the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and other energy efficiency measures.

General Synod’s Net Zero 2030 aim was simply absurd and will result in failure. far better would be to concentrate on what can be done to church buildings etc, and encourage all church members and beyond to consider their own homes, travel and gardens and how efficiencies and improvements will reduce carbon footprints.

An example of failure cause by impatience and devotion to Net Zero is fitting a church with a hydrogen-based system. It simply did not work and had to be replaced – with another OIL BOILER.

More than 2,000 churches across the UK participated in Climate Sunday ahead of COP26 and called on the UK Government to unleash a clean energy revolution and limit global heating to 1.5°C.

Unleash? What will they unleash? It doesn’t exist!!!!

Between them, UK Churches have more than £20 billion of assets under management. Working with other investors, Churches can make a significant impact in tackling the climate crisis and in supporting a fair and fast transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy.

Any transition will not be fast as fossil fuels will still be used in 2050 both for energy and plastics. How can you have a fast transition without new energy sources  in place?

We need to do far more than intone; Clean and dirty, green, renewables, transition etc.

The International Energy Agency stated last year that achieving the world’s climate goals requires the finance flowing to renewable energy projects to treble by 2030. We call on the UK Government to implement the policies to enable this to happen.

This will increase capacity but production depends on wind and sun!

there is no point until there is energy storage to avoid a Dunkelflaute when wind and sun fail.

Now is the time to end our dependence on fossil fuels and fund a fair and fast transition, which will secure our future economic prosperity and protect the livelihoods of vulnerable communities.

It can only be the time to end our dependence on fossil fuels, when alternatives are in place. Renewables simply cannot provide the energy needed for our society to function. Until then we are stuck with fossil fuels

This is simply a myopic view considering only fossil fuels with no consideration to what alternatives are available. Sadly this misplaced vision has been pushed not only by secular green groups and more recently Extinction Rebellion but Christian Groups lie  Operation Noah  ( Bright Now) and other groups who support and are behind the letter.

To conclude the letter is simply ill thought out and demonstrated a total one-sided and a lack of knowledge or understanding of energy issues.

Yours sincerely,

Followed by 500 signatures.

**************************************

CONCLUSION

The letter is a simple message go renewable now.

It has a narrow focus as if it is a simple solution of get rid off fossil fuels and move to renewables.

This assumes it is possible to do it and will be a rapid transition. It cannot be if only as there is no effective storage as yet.

They also see fossil fuels only in relation to energy and fail to see oil used for fertilizer and necessary materials eg plastic, which is essential in hospitals. Also our water supply needs chlorine, which is obtained from brine using natural gas at Widnes.

The letter is marred by a Tunnel vision against fossil fuels

They fail to register any benefits; longevity, health, material wealth (both excessive and moderate) travel, even these come with environmental and climate costs.

They see only one solution to climate change and ignore changes to agriculture, trees, and lifestyle.

It is very one-sided, relying on  poor advice or research probably with  a conscious or unconscious bias. This typifies work of green groups.

It is almost the churches’ equivalent of Extinction Rebellion, who over-egg their arguments and are often inaccurate.  It is surprising that any bishop would support them.

For myself prior to ordination I was mining and exploration geologist focusing on copper. I have long been an environmentalist and look to the breadth of environmental issues.

Who caused the present energy crisis?

Here is an interesting letter to The Times  (5/2/22) on the energy crisis of today. Not all will agree with it but I think it is spot on.

Image

As a Christian I always get narked at those like Richard Dawkins who say that us believers go for faith without evidence and thus what we believe is unprovable and untrue. I could write on this, but suffice it to say that there is evidence for the existence of Jesus and details in the New Testament. But I won’t be a God-botherer today.

For many years I have got increasingly fed up with appeals for “renewables” as if they will solve every energy crisis. A times it comes out as a mantra or an item of credal faith. Most green groups from FoE, Greenpeace to wildlife Trusts  and the National Trust sing from the same hymn/herrsheet. It is now political orthodoxy in all parties; Greens, Labour, LibDem and tories as they are swept along with the renewable tide, as if they can replace fossil fuels NOW..

I suggest they never look at the figures for energy sources for electricity production. When it is windy like today (and far too windy to cycle 6th Feb 22) renewables, largely wind, make a good showing but as soon as the wind drops gas is ramped up and coal comes into play.

One of the best accounts of why renewables are no panacea is to found in Prof dieter Helm’s recent book Net Zero, how we stop causing climate change.  Helm is no climate denier or sceptic but is fully aware of problems, both technical and political. The section on pp34-6 should be read by all. In the last y30 years renewables have made virtually no contribution to energy demand. Period.

December 2021 was a time of no wind and little sun and renewables flopped – ein dunkelflaute as the Germans would say. More gas was used and also coal.

Image

This figures for one day show that renewables are very far off from making a real impact, yet for a decade it has almost been an item of faith that renewables will provide. At times some will just say the word “renewables” as if that will provide the power. No kid, I’ve heard it too many times. Within the churches, the Ecocongregation project is almost entirely in favour of renewables.

What so many fail to see is that the transition away from fossil fuels cannot happen overnight, whether for electricity or transport. On average renewables may produce nearly 50% of electricity (but not heating and transport, which is often ignored), but on a cold windless winter’s night, with a ridge of high pressure, renewables will produce nearly zero.

The usual green narrative is completely blind to this and think fossil fuels can soon be phased out. Oh that they could be! The transition has two major hurdles, the first is the capability of renewables which is a long way off, The second is less obvious and is the immense amount of additional metals needed for the transition, eg Cu, Co, Ni, Li and the rare earths. To give an indication; just to provide 100% replaced by electric cars the consumption of Copper needs to double from now on from the present usage of 100,000 tons. That requires some very large copper mines. One of the largest in Southern Africa is Tsumeb in Namibia which produced about 1.7 million tons of copper in the century it was open.  That is 20 years supply for the UK. Now multiply that for every country to go electric! Many do not acknowledge this major hurdle.

Those most qualified to judge have made this clear many times, but amateurs from green groups continue with the mantra of renewables.

Just consider two with much understanding

Helm Preface

not be in the money anytime soon  ix

david Mackay

Letter to the Times, 5th Feb 2022

Image

Kelly makes some very strong statements here, which are very sound.

He says that bowing to climate alarmists and renewable energy lobbyists, coal and nuclear plants were decommissioned before replacements were in situ. Totally right. The clamour from Greeenpeace, Friends of the Earth, echoed by many green groups, almost drowned out other voices, which were easily dismissed as Climate Deniers. I was told that if I supported fracking I was a climate denier. Once was by a fellow vicar who thought Acetic and Citric Acids were pollutants used in fracking!!!!!  I could also add most Green groups and all political parties as the CEN Conservative Environmental Network are all opposed to nuclear and coal, especially the latter.

Kelly points out that decommissioning of plants  was done before replacements were in place. Thus with coal power stations gone, there was no generating capacity to make up for the shortfall from renewables, which could not produce in the absence of wind and sun. This is simply folly and the collapse of power generation or the problems of the turn of 2021-2022 was made inevitable. No one , or only a few, wanted to retain coal, but until cheapish and reliable energy comes on line the risk is too great, especially for the poor, who have to use a higher portion of their income on fuel and electricity.

On paper the replacement capacity of renewables seems good and comparable to fossil fuels. But there is a very big BUT. However big the capacity is, no electricity can be generated without wind and sun. When it is windy greens crow about the fact that 50% of electricity is being generated by renewables but silent the next day when the wind drops and little power is produced. Then gas kicks in and, what is worse, COAL.

Kelly also points out there is no way to store more than small amounts of energy on  a large scale, as without that any excess electricity produced simply goes to waste. Yet many simply believe without evidence that these are in place. He could have pointed out that wishful thinking will not produce energy and you cannot use technology which has not been invented or is not yet on line. None of this can be magicked into existence by ditching fossil fuels and nuclear. Taking a long view in the early 70s GranadaNW had a series on a house powered by renewables. It was great to watched and filled myself and others with hope, but that hope has not been fulfilled despite all the R & D.

And so his finale on fracking. Despite much hostility fracking has been successful in the USA, with relatively few problems. Most of these were caused by individual bad practice or “litigious individuals”. As in the UK opponents were often rather economical with the truth. The UK story of fracking is a sad one as greens of all kinds made a crusade against and were also economical with the truth. It foundered on minor tremors which almost certainly caused no damage, despite the likes of Geza Tarjani claiming that the 2021 “earthquake” (Mag 2.1) damaged his house and became one of the most tire**** protestors against fracking. He has recently been charged in connection with Sajid Jarvid’s home https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/leyland-man-geza-tarjanyi-denies-22945802

Freinds of the Earth were censored by the Advertising Standards Authority for an inaccurate leaflet some years back. https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/friends-of-the-earth-fck-it-up/

It is concerning that leading green groups do this and that government continues to listen to them.

Kelly is totally clear that our present energy crisis is self-inflicted and the result of listening to green scare stories.

The result has to raise the cost of energy and everything else and also drive more people into fuel poverty.

When you get your extra high fuel bills, this will direct your thoughts on who is to blame.

Which matters most: sin or climate change? | Psephizo

Now COP26 has ended and various are either licking their wounds at the result – that is from either extreme, it is good to consider what a Christian perspective should be.

This blog by Ian Paul is good and useful and attempts to de-polarise the issue.

Over the last year the environment and climate change has become divisive in all churches. Rather than put in my own penny-worth I will let the different voice of Ian speak.

Source: Which matters most: sin or climate change? | Psephizo

Is Fracking Good or Bad? Even if it is from the USA!

For the moment there is no fracking in Britain, but, and it is a very big

but

most of the gas used in Britain today , whether for electricity generation, or cooking, or heating, is FRACKED gas imported from the USA. As it is imported here by ship, some gas is lost en route, thus contributing to greenhouse emissions.

The absurdity of electricity generation in Britain is that most is produced from imported fracked gas and when renewables go on strike (no wind or sun) the shortfall is made up by turning up the gas generators and switching on the COAL.

After most of last decade dominated by fracking, misinformation from green groups (my favourite are the pollutants in the fracking fluid – acetic acids and citric acids! If you don’t what hilarious about that, then you know nothing about fracking or fish and chips), and several minor tremors, which may have caused a couple of hairline cracks in plasterwork. However “quakes” from fracking are far, far smaller than those from hydrothermal energy.

The tremors are a concern and various geologists are studying them carefully, as in a recently published paper by geologists from Bristol and Oxford.

Rather than woffle on, here is a blog by a Christian fracking engineer from New Mexico considering the good and the bad  – and the negative hype.foeadvert

Is Fracking Good or Bad? Why Is it an emotionally charged issue for Americans? Fracking of oil and gas wells is a conundrum.

Source: Is Fracking Good or Bad?

The Soapflake Scale of Clean and Dirty Energy

The Soapflake scale of energy for cleanliness.

snowflakescale

In the usual binary and mutually exclusive discussions over energy, certain forms of energy are lauded as “clean” and others denigrated as “dirty”. The former are GOOD and the latter are BAD, and no one should challenge that. Fossil fuels are always dirty , hence dirty fracking is bad and renewables are always good,- even turbines planted on peat bogs, wrecking the bog system and emitting loads of Carbon into the atmosphere.

However this binary division overlooks many things. It never mentions all the carbon-spewing resulting from the concrete used in the bases for wind turbines, or in the construction of the blades. EVs are “clean” as they have no emissions at the point of use, but what about their construction? 

So looking at each in turn, not that this is an impressionistic view and not accurate in absolute detail.

10. Peat, lignite

One of the wonders in Germany has been the closing down of lethal nuclear power stations (so far no fatalities) and their replacement with lignite-fuelled power stations. Lignite, or brown coal, is a messy fuel and makes coal seem very clean. The cost has been high carbon emissions and the strip-mining for lignite and even the razing of whole villages. Complete folly. 

image-3

Lignite must win the prize for sheer dirtiness, whether for emissions or good old-fashioned pollution.

Peat and peat bogs are wonderful things. They trap more carbon than trees or meadows, yet they have been ripped up for fuel and horticulture. Fortunately many are being restored at present, but there is a long way to go. (make you sure you only buy peat-free compost and make your own.) Above all they do not make good sites for wind turbines.

9.  Coal

Ole King Cole is the baddy and just saying the word raises the heart rate of some. When it was first widely used in 1800 it was a saviour as it meant woodlands could be preserved and deforestation halted. Despite its pollution, it increased longevity, living standards and health for many. No wonder the geologist William Buckland saw coal as a blessing from God.  The cost was increasing air pollution, acid rain, ill health and CO2 – the last only realised in recent decades.

Coal, or rather coke, is still needed for steel-making. Hence the new mine in Cumbria, which isi better for emissions than importing steel.

No one will mourn its demise – provided there are alternative forms of energy.

8.Wood

Until the mid 19th century the main two forms of energy were wood and muscle, the latter provided by humans , horses and oxen. It would be good to bring back the first of the three for local travel, but at times it seems whips for wimps will be needed.

A major problem of the use of wood for fuel is deforestation, which hit a maximum in Britain in 1800 and is still increasing elsewhere. In Kigezi (SW Uganda) forests are shrinking at 2%  each year due to demand for fuel. A few miles away oil and gas production has started, which should be used locally to save the planet – at least in Kigezi.

Wood is only renewable when used in small quantities, but the use of wood pellets, often imported, in power stations like Drax, is far, far worse than coal. also, it can cause serious air pollution when burnt under non-ideal situations. For those in many parts of the world who cork with wood, the air pollution is terrible.

7.Diesel

Dirty diesel was the preferred green fuel of two decades ago, but has been found wanting, with far too many particles emitted. Yet there has been little switch ing to gas – oh yes, the greens stopped that!

6. Oil , Imported Natural Gas, Hydro

Oil has been the fuel for transport for the last century and more. It’s downsides and convenience don’t need stating.

Why have I put Imported Natural Gas here? Quite simply when gas (fracked, of course) is imported some gas is lost in transport, thus increasing emissions and making it dirtier. Local fracked gas would reduce that impact.

Hydro seems to be the perfect renewable, but there is a cost. First it can causes earthquakes rather than tremors. Secondly it causes problems to the river systems to the detriment of wildlife.

5. Local Natural Gas,  Solar, Wind, Geothermal

This four-fold equivalence will give some a heart attack. After all, gas is dirty and the others clean.

Solar and wind are only clean in the final production of energy. The construction is very dirty. Vast quantities of cement are used in the foundation of turbines and many rare metals for solar panels. Both are unreliable and produce nothing on a cold windless night, when power demand is at its highest. 

solarpanalturbinebldg

Geothermal has many advantages but like fracking has associated earth tremors, which are overlooked by greens.

Natural Gas, – methane – is the cleanest of fossil fuels as it has the lowest amount of carbon. There are vast resources but it needs to be fracked, which is a no-no to some. Yet converting power stations from coal to gas has reduced emissions. It is now a hate-fuel by the Tory government, who need to realise that Roman oratory is no substitute for hard science. 

4. Biogas, Nuclear

A few years ago Ecotricity claimed to provide biogas in the mains. The ASA told them to correct their ads. Biogas can be a a green fuel is the biomass used would otherwise just rot. But there is a limit on how much gas could be produced. Some reckon no more than 10% of our needs. Using specially grown biomass takes away the green credentials.

010

Nuclear has long been a green bogeyman and has been effectively stifled for decades due to perceived risk. In fact it is safer than most forms of energy. The trouble is now there is much catchup needed whereas more nuclear plants should have been opened throughout the world. Again own goals by greens.

3. Hunter gatherer e.g bushmen

Nothing is as inspiring as the old Bushman style of living in the Kalahari, but it is dependent on a very low population density.

2. Hunter gatherer eg Patagonia

Some of the most evocative descriptions in Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle are of the the residents of Tierra del Fuego living in semi-nudity and frugality in a cold wet climate. I am wary of following their example.

fossilfree

  1.  Adam and Eve before they went scrumping

Maybe the only time of Net Zero was in the Garden of Eden, before the nudists went scrumping.

0. Dead

I sometimes wonder if this is the ultimate aim of some greenies, who seem to want the human race to go extinct. They even have a rebellion for it. 

 So ends my rather impressionistic analysis of clean and dirty fuels. I reject the Manichean dichotomy of clean and dirty. All are dirty to some degree. Carbon emissions are not the only test. Materials used in construction need to be considered and that immediately dishes the dirt on wind, solar and EVs.

Copper and other metals shortages

Just consider the problems of shifting to EVs. EVs require so much more in the way of rarer metals than fossil-fuel vehicles but most only consider the emissions at the point of use.

If by 2030 32% of vehicles are EVs that has an imme4nse demand on metals needed, with the attendant emissions of extraction. To get to 32% for building vehicles and extending the electric grid and additional 40,000 tons of Copper will be needed annually and that is over and above the 120,000tons used at present. Recycling will not make a big impact so it will have to be mined.

40,000tons of copper is a lot of metal, which would require a great increase of mining. If 2% copper ore is used that is 2.000,000 tons of ore, and if  0.25%  (more typical of a porphyry deposit) that is 16,000,000 tones ore. That is every year. Thus Britain would need access to a large mine overseas. Just imagine if it were 100% EV.

If you multiply this throughout every country throughout the world that would require copper production to go up by about 50%. It is difficult not see copper shortages.

No wonder some are looking to sea-bed mining.

 I’ve only mention copper, but there is also Nickel, Cobalt, Lithium and an alphabet soup of rarer metals

So ends my rather impressionistic analysis of clean and dirty fuels. I reject the Manichean dichotomy of clean and dirty. All are dirty to some degree. Carbon emissions are not the only test. Materials used in construction need to be considered and that immediately dishes the dirt on wind, solar and EVs.

Just consider the problems of shifting to EVs. EVs require so much more in the way of rarer metals than fossil-fuel vehicles but most only consider the emissions at the point of use.

If by 2030 32% of vehicles are EVs that has an imme4nse demand on metals needed, with the attendant emissions of extraction. To get to 32% for building vehicles and extending the electric grid and additional 40,000 tons of Copper will be needed annually and that is over and above the 120,000tons used at present. Recycling will not make a big impact so it will have to be mined.

40,000tons of copper is a lot of metal, which would require a great increase of mining. If 2% copper ore is used that is 2.000,000 tons of ore, and if  0.25%  (more typical of a porphyry deposit) that is 16,000,000 tones ore. That is every year. Thus Britain would need access to a large mine overseas. Just imagine if it were 100% EV. (To be personal. When working for a mining company I assessed some old mine workings and the target for a viable mine was 2 million tons at 2% Copper. After drilling it was clear there was only 500,000tons of ore, so that was that. Most exploration geologists thought themselves lucky if one of the prospects produced a mine in the course of their career.)

If you multiply this throughout every country throughout the world that would require copper production to go up by about 50%. It is difficult not see copper shortages.

No wonder some are looking to sea-bed mining.

 I’ve only mention copper, but there is also Nickel, Cobalt, Lithium and an alphabet soup of rarer metals

These two links indicate some of the problems;

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/press-office/press-releases/leading-scientists-set-out-resource-challenge-of-meeting-net-zer.html

or on a world perspective

https://www.mining.com/much-copper-nickel-cobalt-electric-vehicle-world-needs/?fbclid=IwAR0AliU-1JxFPUlmOCDBfjlBdFeastmvSedCz7yuEszwrnpVB4ooGijz97g

This is only looking at problems associated with EVs but it needs to be applied to all renewable forms of energy as these require vast quantities of materials from concrete to metals. Add to that issues over tailings dams, limited water supplies, and political instability, the hurdles are all but insurmountable, if they are.

I am more than aware that this blog is no more than impressionistic and gives only the general order of the problems facing any attempt at going Net Zero by 2030 or even 2050. The first thing to do is to reject wishful thinking and a naive belief that there is clean and dirty energy. Every form of energy is filthy rather than just dirty.

The next is to assess what metals and minerals are needed to effect any policy and whether hopes for totally electric will be limited by the earth’s resources.

Perhaps the first thing need to “save the planet” is to realistically assess all the problems of even approaching Net Zero and to reject green virtue signalling and impossible hopes. 

What next?

Issues too big for individual and need to be considered from all angles including metals!

Also we don’t want navel gazing climate grief but first to look at oneself to see how our individual impacts can be reduced. 

 Looking at this book is better than climate grief

 

Can the Church get to Net Zero 2030? Or is it holy greenwash?

It may be greenwash, but it is not copper-bottomed!!

Over the last few years the Church of England has got very concerned about Climate Change and thus in the February 2020 General Synod the Bishop of Salisbury put forward a motion that the CofE should aim for Net Zero by 2045. The accompanying papers were well-argued and realistic, and showed the ways in which the Church of England could make much headway in approaching Net Zero in 25 years..

When it came to the debate, which was poorly attended, some from Bristol Diocese put forward an amendment to bring that forward for Net Zero 2030. That was passed despite the low numbers and now the CoE is committed to be Net Zero by 2030.

As you read that ask yourself if you are a Goodie or a Baddie. The Goodie  wants Zero in 2025 or 2030 as a compromise, and divestment ASAP, and  the baddies are the rest!! The baddies are all as bad as each other and those, like me, who are concerned about climate change and know things need to done but do not accept a 2030 date for Net Zero, are as bad as those who will burn the last lump of coal! To some all of us are “Climate Deniers”.

I’m one of the baddies, and proud of it, Because I wish to see life, animal, vegetable, fungal and bacterial, on this planet improving and not wrecked either by those who don’t care or those whose feelings have taken over from their reason..

Joking apart, I will start by saying that there is no question that Climate Change is a serious issue and have argued that since last century, having been convinced by no less a person than Sir John Houghton after personal chats. Climate Change needs to be dealt with now, or rather 30 years ago, and not 20 years hence. However it will not be solved by impractical solutions or intoning ecogodwords like “renewables”, “carbon-free”, zero emissions”. Grand solutions will not work, nor will green virtue signalling. The solution will come from carefully worked-out technical changes AND lots of little changes from the public at large like planting a tree (in the right place) or reducing consumption of anything from food, to energy or materials in apparently trivial ways, including turning the tap off when brushing your teeth. There are those who are insistent on reducing plastic, but drive everywhere and pour their coffee grounds down the sink. It takes energy (i.e fossil fuel) to clean the water of coffee grounds – something which could be avoided by putting them on a flower bed or veg plot. That would also improve the soil.

Within the church those pushing environmental issues tend to be greenies with limited technical skills rather than techies. This may be seen by diocesan environmental officers with no science background putting forward arguments which are often flawed or inaccurate. It is cringeworthy when the Environmental officer comes out with basic scientific error indicating they have not studied science beyond GCSE. e.g. claiming. Fracking fluid contains contaminants like citric acids & acetic acids”!! My answer is “Fish and Chips”!! With a reliance on the outpourings from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, and more recently Extinction Rebellion, this results in a disconnect with the actual realities of energy, mineral extraction and food production, not to mention climate change and biodiversity. Thus those who favour nuclear energy, a continued use of petroleum until something better is found, GMOs, non-organic farming, glyphosate will find their views , and even considerable expertise, are not required and so are effectively non-platformed or even cancelled. They are often dismissed as climate deniers. The church has thrown away a lot of expertise, as with an expert on Carbon Capture.. As a result the environment groups simply do not have geologists, those from the oil industry, Energy etc. Hence any informed perspective is lost.

Only one narrative

It seems to me that when issues of the environment are discussed only ONE narrative is followed or allowed and the rest are sidelined. Undoubtedly there are those who simply do not care about the environment i.e God’s creation, but those who do care cover a much wider opinion that members of the Christian Climate coalition. I began to realise this over fracking, when the only permitted narrative allowed was to be strongly anti-fracking and to dismiss those who saw fracking as being a bridge and reducing emissions immediately as climate deniers and as bad as the “drill, baby, drill” redneck from Texas, who gives not a stuff about anything except his truck and MAGA hat. This was so with both secular and church groups. Perhaps we can call this the Grand Green Narrative GGN, which insists you do not diverge from its tenets!! Its corollary is that if you diverge from the GGN you are not green.

A recent Church Times article of 6th November 2020 was on the Net Zero 2030 proposal as being achievable, as it was coming up in general Synod.

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/6-november/news/uk/synod-emissions-target-realistic-says-its-mover?utm_term=Autofeed

However it is more assertion than demonstration, but here we may be dealing with belief rather than actual substance. Having persuaded Synod in February to switch from Net Zero in 2045 to 2030, proponents have to show that it is possible.

But what we have in the article is somewhat muddled and shows a lack of understanding of energy issues and also how such changes can be effected. I don’t know whether that is due to the reporter or those consulted.

I touch on a few points. We are told that;

Purely electric heating has, on average, a lower net-carbon footprint than gas or oil,

I blinked at that statement. It may be true if you use only electricity from renewables, but most electricity is not from renewables. 20% is from nuclear and about 50% is from gas with a small percentage from coal. It depends on the source of electricity, but then we can only have green electricity in our mains as the grid makes no distinction, and we don’t know where our power actually came from!.

Despite the government’s new green schemes for 2030 it will be very difficult to produce “green” electricity on the scale needed. At present electricity is about one quarter of energy used. ( there are times, e.g. on a cold windless night, when no renewable electricity is being generated. Think if a freezing January evening when every appliance is switched on. When this happens gas power stations are ramped up and coal switched on.)  The rest is from fossil fuels for transport, heating  and industry. The recent government suggestion of windfarms sounds good, but will only generate electricity when there is wind.

switching to 100-per-cent renewable energy on a “green tariff”, perhaps through the parish buying scheme;

This is a blind faith in renewables as if renewables are good clean energy and fossil fuels are bad and dirty energy. In fact, both are “bad” and and neither are clean. All energy systems have an environmental cost. For fossil fuels it is in the extracting and burning of them, and for renewables, both in the fossil fuels needed for construction and the demand for copper, cobalt, lithium and other rare metals, which need to be mined from mineral-poor rock needing vast amounts of ore to be mined for a little metal. If it is a porphyry  deposit the ore is probably 0.25% copper, thus needing to mine 400 tons of ore for one ton of copper. There is a serious problem on the metals needed  – and often these are obtained from dodgy overseas mines outside the major mining companies, with little concern for safety or pollution. This is why prospectors are looking at old copper mines in Camborne and Parys Mountain on  Anglesey. Both have an environmental cost, which would be less so than a dodgy venture in the middle of Africa. Both could be the size of a copper mine I once worked in, where among other things I got CO poisoning. Not recommended!

Further, renewables need also to be built with vast quantities of Concrete and resin-based materials ( which produce a lot of emissions in construction) for wind, and areas of land for solar farms. The environmental cost of building windfarms on peat terrain is immense, especially as peatbog is excellent for carbon capture. Here is a windfarm built on peat in Ireland.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1327581502763380736

That should make you blink. With peat as an excellent carbon sink, they should never be used for wind farms or even the occasional turbine – or even tree planting. That  nullifies any reduction in emissions on the combustion of fossil fuels.

But this does not fit in with the usual designation of clean and dirty energy. In fact all energy is dirty. Please repeat 1000 times.

On major issue often overlooked or glossed over is that the electrical grid needs to be vastly expanded. Heating and transport by electricity means that the grid must double, or even triple in size. This is not crucial for the church, but is for the whole of society.

On could add the area needed for solar farms

It is very easy to raise objections to fossil fuels, but we also need to quiz the claims of renewable suppliers. Frequently they have claimed to provide 100% renewable electricity and gas.  At times they have been censured for making false claims, as was Ecotricity by the Advertising Standards Authority in 2017 for falsely claiming their gas was 100% renewable. It was not and they were not producing much gas, if any!! The ASA insisted future averts were corrected. Further it is impossible for wind and solar to provide 100% renewable electricity  in absence of storage e.g. on a cold windless night. Thus wind accounts for between 0% and 40% of electricity generated at any particular time, which is not reliable. On that cold, windless night gas is ramped up and maybe coal is switched on. Without plenty of gas power stations power-cuts would be the norm. A little realism and attention to detail is needed. I just checked twitter and found for this week  (written on 26/11/20).

National Grid ESO 
@ng_eso
We’re forecasting tight margins on the #electricity system over the next few days owing to a number of factors, primarily varying renewable generation levels and colder temperatures over periods of the day with higher demand [1/3]

I hope there are no power cuts and gas and coal plug the gap!! Yup, coal is burniong merrily as I type.

Here is a recent tweet focusing on electric vehicles. The figures seem to be in the right order.

EVS Tweet “There are 33 million cars in UK each averaging ~10miles/day or 3KWh/day. So to charge them all will need 100GWh/day of electricity demand. That equates to two extra Hinkley C’s ! Forget Wind power – unless you want to add sails to all the cars!”

That tweet only focuses on the actual electricity needed and I deal with the increased use of metals below. A Times report (27/11/20) says EVs use up 50% more emissions than petrol/diesel cars and take 50,000 miles to break even on emissions.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/electric-cars-have-to-do-50-000-miles-before-they-are-greener-than-fossil-fuel-vehicles-8hb5m0dm7

In contrast to the simple appeal of renewables all energy predictions, including those from Greenpeace, conclude fossil fuels will be used until at least 2050.

The devotion to the green means you cannot use the greener, or the least ungreen – which is nuclear and gas.

The perfect is the enemy of the best available.

The suggestion of lots of little improvements is excellent and is what people should have been doing for 40 years, if they haven’t been doing so. Thus moving over to LED lights should simply have been done, even only as replacements over the last 40 years, moving from Tungsten filament incandescent, to low energy to LED. In our household we followed that trajectory from 1986 starting with the massive low energy bulbs and then moved with the times. A good personal task is to consider how you can make little energy or material savings from all aspects of your living. e.g using a bike where possible.

The same is the case with insulation and all forms of energy efficiency. Some of us remember cold houses in the 1950s with expensive and inefficient heating with temperatures of 55 deg F  – sorry 13deg C !

The change in mode of travel to achieve net Zero is challenging.. To change to electric may reduce emissions to zero at point of use, but one must consider the metals needed for batteries and motors, as I mentioned above. I admit to being wary of the Governments policy to ban diesel and petrol cars from 2030, on grounds of practicality and the need to vastly increase electricity generation, but also the availability of the metals needed.

Acute Metal Shortage

There is also the problem of essential metals as greatly increased quantities of copper, Nickel and Cobalt will be needed, and also Lithium. For the hoped-for 32% of EVs by 2030 an additional 27,000 tons of Copper will be needed annually just in the UK. (To consider what that means, that is nearly one and a half million tons of Copper Ore at 2% copper. When working for an exploration company in South Africa and re-evaluating an old mine  my initial findings showed that it could be 2 million tons at 2% which would be a small viable mine. Drilling soon showed there was half a million so it was dropped. My point is simple, Britain would need a new Copper mine of that size ( 2 million tons at 2% every year. That is simply unlikely.)  The extra 27,000 tons of copper needed is an 18% increase from the last decade years when 150,000 tons were consumed annually of which 130,000 was reclaimed from scrap. This additional Copper will have to be from refining. To give an indication, if Parys mountain in Anglesey was viable as a mine it could produce 80, 000 tons of refined Copper i.e 3 years of increased demand.

parysmlountain

Parys mountain Copper Mine

The result will be to open up mines of much poorer ore with the attendant increase of mine waste and pollution.

This is expressed far better by scientists from the British Museum of Natural History

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/press-office/press-releases/leading-scientists-set-out-resource-challenge-of-meeting-net-zer.html

or on a world perspective

https://www.mining.com/much-copper-nickel-cobalt-electric-vehicle-world-needs/?fbclid=IwAR0AliU-1JxFPUlmOCDBfjlBdFeastmvSedCz7yuEszwrnpVB4ooGijz97g

I’d suggest both the Church of England and the Government get up to speed on their understanding of mineral resources and stop hoping for renewables!

Now to change tack on travel.

On travel it is remarkable how few clergy actually use a bike. Except in far-flung rural parishes it is often the quickest and easiest mode of transport. It has the great advantage of being able to stop and talk to people in busy streets. In fact, a bike is an excellent pastoral aid! Travelling five miles to visit in a hospital I found cycling was quicker than a car  – and less frustrating. Yet the article makes no mention of bikes and says  It also includes all work-related travel by clergy, staff, and volunteers. It is simply not happening.

It seems no one expects to get to Net Zero by 2030 as the article says. A further phase of work from 2030 includes all emissions from large building projects; emissions from the farming and management of church lands, and all emissions from products bought, such as paper and printing; downstream emissions from waste disposal; emissions from building contractors; and carbon generated from use of emails and the internet in work-related contexts. All these are said to be “within our influence to a significant degree”.

Ah, I see! Net Zero by 2030 is not Net Zero by 2030. One would have thought these would have been included in the 2030 targets. I suggest there is a clear realisation that Net Zero 2030 is impossible to achieve!

One would have thought the items on this long list should be tackled well before 2030.

However much was omitted;

Water usage

Tree-planting

Various small ways of reducing energy usage in church, school and home

  the myriad little things

And, of course, the education of congregations

The article then gives the example of a church in Birmingham. The church at Baddesley Clinton, which has no gas or running water, is now carbon-neutral after the installation of under-pew heating, which heats a bubble of air round the pew rather than the whole church space.

I don’t whether to laugh or cry at this scientific nonsense. Is there a plastic bubble to enclose those being warmed?  From the most basic physics all should know that hot air rises and thus most of the heat will fleetingly warm those in the pew before roasting the top of the church. It does not say what the source of electricity for the underfloor heating is, but it would use more electricity than other methods of heating.

The CT article then says  “It has halved its energy consumption by switching to a renewable-energy supplier. That is impossible and risible, you will use the same amount of electricity for the same usage whoever your supplier!

Shoddy arguments like these help no one and create misunderstanding of energy issues. However this type of confusion takes root and is very difficult to counter. One is usually met with a variety of ecogodwords.

Eco-diocese, eco-church

Several dioceses are register as eco-dioceses and with eco-churches.

In 2016 eco-church was relaunched through Arocha, with bronze, silver and gold awards. Much was simply sensible green advice on what churches could do, but it tended to be doctrinaire coming from a particular standpoint. Back to the Great Green Narrative

It simply assumed that churches ought to go renewable and recommended Ecotricity. This follows the common line on renewable (good) and non-renewable/fossil (bad) and not considering the actual problems of obtaining energy, or the total emissions produced.

The additional materials point one to resources and groups to follow. It refers to the flagship green group Friends of the Earth. Yet it ignores they way they were pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority in early 2017 for their grossly inaccurate leaflet on fracking. In it they claimed that additives to fracking fluid were carcenogenic. When challenged on BBC the best they could come up with was – SAND! One needs to note their campaigns, especially in the EU to ban GMOs, and their anti-nuclear stance. Bees have been in their sights for year, but now claim that the greatest cause of decline is intensive farming, rather than what they previously claimed – neonicotinoids.

The record of Friends of the Earth is not good. Nor is that of Greenpeace

GMO EU action

Another group highlighted was Frack Free Fylde, which for several years disrupted peoples’ lives, blocked roads, held up funerals and pushed misinformation. And also recommended is Keep it in the ground with the aim of stopping extraction of fossil fuels.

If Ecochurch is to be ecochurch, it should not simply put forward one extreme environmental line, however popular that may be. It excludes a large number of environmentally concerned people. It is classic GGN Grand Green Narrative.

There is so much else to recommend what parishes can do to be truly eco-church. It is a pity eco-church focussed on only those groups taking a particular view on energy and not referring to government bodies or others. Perhaps it is as well it was produced before Extinction Rebellion and Christian ‘sClimate Action.

COP15-System-Change-not-Climate-Change

The problem of Net Zero 2030

I think it is a great pity that Bishop Holtham simply does not say Net Zero 2030 is totally unrealistic.

To conclude it was based on an amendment which was both ideological and idealistic and rather lop-sided in their beliefs and arguments.

Their’s is a tunnel vision on divestment  and Net Zero ASAP

It is Binary thinking, whereby fossil fuels are totally bad and renewables the opposite

It is unrealistic on transition

energytransistion

Further they have excluded the middle ground, which needs to be recognised and also their support gained. I wonder how many will opt out because of that.

They eschew the more technical and slower approaches, which take the state of technology into account. These will be far more effective in both the medium and long term, but won’t have the activist glamour.

Nothing will be gained by rushing things and we should follow the example of beavers and slowly beaver away.

FINIS

******************************************

 The Church Times Article in full

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/6-november/news/uk/synod-emissions-target-realistic-says-its-mover?utm_term=Autofeed

THE whole Church should be committed to reducing its carbon footprint, and, if it works systematically and together, it can succeed, Canon Martin Gainsborough, a General Synod member, has said.

Canon Gainsborough moved the amendment in the General Synod in February which resulted in its adoption of the target of net zero emissions by 2030 (Synod and Comment, 21 February).

Canon Gainsborough was commenting on the publication today of Synod papers on the scope and definition of what net zero would look like, to be debated by the Synod this month. “What an achievement and what a legacy that would be!” he said. “I have been hugely impressed by the way in which the Environment Working Group has been working since the momentous vote in February.”

“The definition of what is included for our net-zero carbon target seems the right one. It is also widely supported, as the consultation process relating to it shows.”

Chaplain to the Bishop of Bristol, Canon Gainsborough was formerly the professor in development politics at the University of Bristol and the Social Justice and Environmental Adviser in Bristol diocese.

Data has been submitted from 4500 churches — about one third of parishes — to the Energy Footprint Tool (EFT). Twenty-two diocesan synods have carried or are planning to debate a net-zero motion, and 23 have either registered or planned to register as an eco diocese. Birmingham, Bristol, CoventryGuildfordLeedsLiverpoolSt Edmundsbury & IpswichSalisbury, and Winchester have achieved Bronze status.

The Church’s current carbon footprint is described as “very significant”. A baseline study in 2012 found that it created between 600,000 and one million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent: the standard measure of greenhouse-gas emissions. That figure was purely for energy, and did not include transport, water, waste, and purchases.

Heating accounted for more than 80 per cent of church energy use. Purely electric heating has, on average, a lower net-carbon footprint than gas or oil, and the Synod papers make practical recommendations for reducing both energy use and carbon transmission. The lowest tier of these are “actions that nearly all churches can benefit from, even low-occupancy churches only used on a Sunday. They are relatively easy, with relatively fast pay back. They are a good place for churches to start.”

These include attention to maintenance and draught-proofing; switching to 100-per-cent renewable energy on a “green tariff”, perhaps through the parish buying scheme; replacing light bulbs and floodlights with LEDs; writing an energy-efficient procurement policy; making a commitment to renewable electric and A+++ rated appliances; and offsetting small remaining amounts of energy with a contribution to community projects in the developing world.

At the other end of the scale are the main “Only if” projects, such as the installation of ground-source heat-pumps, likely to be done only as part of a reordering.

Included in the 2030 target are churches, cathedrals, church halls, and ancillary buildings; Royal Peculiars; theological education institutions; clergy housing; voluntary aided schools and diocesan academy trusts; and church bodies’ offices and diocesan properties. It also includes all work-related travel by clergy, staff, and volunteers.

A further phase of work from 2030 includes all emissions from large building projects; emissions from the farming and management of church lands, and all emissions from products bought, such as paper and printing; downstream emissions from waste disposal; emissions from building contractors; and carbon generated from use of emails and the internet in work-related contexts. All these are said to be “within our influence to a significant degree”.

Those acknowledged to be out of the scope of the target, “but still within our mission to influence”, include greenhouse-gas emissions for which worshippers and visitors are responsible, and schools that are fully controlled by local authorities.

The PCC and congregations of two rural churches, St Michael’s, Baddesley Clinton, a small building south of Birmingham, and St Michael and All Angels, Withington, in the Cotswolds, are highlighted for their recent work. The church at Baddesley Clinton, which has no gas or running water, is now carbon-neutral after the installation of under-pew heating, which heats a bubble of air round the pew rather than the whole church space.

It has halved its energy consumption by switching to a renewable-energy supplier; has replaced all light bulbs with LEDs; and offsets to climate stewards the travel associated with people coming to church. The Rector, the Revd Patrick Gerard, who is also the diocese of Birmingham’s environmental adviser, describes his PCC as “not an eco-warrior PCC at all, but very practical”. The LEDs had been “an easy win”, and the congregation were now warm. The old wall heaters had been retained, “but we now have the confidence not to use them.”

OTHER STORIES

Climate battle must start right now, says bishop

THE Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nick Holtam, the Church of England’s lead bishop on environmental issues, is writing to all bishops and diocesan secretaries this week, in response to the target set at the General Synod last week to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2030

The church in Withington, in Gloucester diocese, was believed to be the first to become carbon-neutral, in 2010, when a biomass boiler, solar panels, and LEDs were installed (News, 1 October 2010). Although the biomass boiler worked, it was simply a boiler replacement, and did not change the the number of radiators. Loading it with wooden pellets became an onerous task for a small core of people.

Pew heaters have been installed, and have made a fundamental difference to comfort levels, besides maintaining zero-carbon credentials, it has been reported. Residual electricity is bought from renewable sources.

The project leader, Matt Fulford, said on Tuesday, “Different people will view the project in different ways. You’ve got those viewing it as a very positive environmental project; others take a treasurer’s view that sees it as as a very positive financial project; and a third view it as a success because of the comfort element. It is now a very usable building which is enjoyable to be in; so it’s a missional view in being able to serve its core purpose better. It’s lovely when all three of these come together.”

Also the General Synod “jobs to be done”

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/GS%20Misc%201262%20EWG%20update.pdf

Net Zero2030

1. The energy use of our buildings;
 Gas, oil, or other fuel use
 Electricity purchased (no matter the source it is purchased from – renewable
electricity purchased is accounted for later)
 For the following buildings;
• Churches, including church halls and ancillary buildings.
• Cathedrals (and …..l  the precinct)
• Schools where the DBE has a significant degree of influence (generally
Voluntary Aided & Diocesan Academy Trusts) including halls/other buildings
• Clergy housing,
• Church bodies’ offices

• Other diocesan property, including common parts of tenanted properties
• Theological Education Institutions
 Including the “well to tank” and “transmission and distribution” factors involved
in getting energy to the building.
 Note: Electricity used to charge EV vehicles will be included within the above.
2. All work-related travel

3. From this, and on the understanding that real reductions in energy use have been
made, the following can be removed:
 Excess energy generated on site (e.g. from solar PV) and exported to the grid
 100% renewable electricity purchased either from the Green Energy Basket
or agreed companies, reviewed annually, having regard to the criteria used
by the Big Church Switch
 Green gas [certification approach still t.b.d.]
 Other reliable offsetting schemes,

After2030

4. All the emissions from major building projects (
5. Emissions generated from the farming / management of Church land (including
church yards, unless fully controlled by local councils, and glebe land) less emissions
sequestered through the farming / management of Church land (such as tree
planting, soil improvement, and other nature-based solutions) *
6. All the emissions (including upstream process & transport) from the procurement of
any items we buy (e.g. pews for churches, paper & printing for offices, new cars for
bishops, catering for events)
7. Upstream and downstream emissions from water and drainage
8. Downstream emissions from waste disposal
9. Emissions from building contractors, plumbers, electricians and the like
10. Carbon generated from use of emails and the internet in work-based contexts
11. Diocesan investments, if they are a material amount
12. Air-conditioning gasses
In standard Greenhouse Gas definitions, these are those parts of our “Scope 3“ emissions
which are within our influence to a significant degree.
* To be specifically reviewed in 2022, with the potential to bring them into scope of the
2030 target, only after consultation, and if feasible methodologies have been developed
 NOT INCLUDED IN TARGET

13. Travel of staff and clergy to and from their usual place of work or ministry
14. The travel of the public to and from church, school, and church events.
15. Clergy family’s & residents’ GHG emissions (consumer goods, travel, holidays). The
energy used to heat and light the housing, if over the average reasonable use above.
16. Personal GHG emissions from the lives of worshippers attending church, other
church users (such as people attending a choir or playgroup), and overseas visitors
17. Schools over which we have very limited influence (generally Voluntary Controlled
Schools which are fully controlled by Local Authorities)
In standard Greenhouse Gas definitions, see below, these are either out of our scope or
are scope 3 but largely outside our influence.

Click to access GS%20Misc%201262%20EWG%20update.pdf

dff

All things bright and beautiful; caring for all things

All things bright and beautiful

Why Belief in Creation is important

Sundew – drosera

 We sing “All things bright and beautiful”, but how do we keep all things bright and beautiful? For too long the church has almost ignored creation but we can’t any longer. Genesis speaks of creation in six days. Some get bogged down over this and think we must reject science. The earth is billions of years old and life has evolved. Our Christian faith does not tell us about science, but how we should value and use the natural world, and worship its creator.

But how?

1.Worship God as Creator.

We start with God as creator and find his Glory in nature. In autumn we see it in vivid colours. We need to see the Creator both in the smallest things, like dew on a spider’s web, and in the awesome like mountains. We can do it daily.

There is always something to find, if you look. Just today I went for a walk with the leaves turning and found some fungi.  

O all ye green things of the earth, bless ye the Lord

And everything else!

2 Use creation, – the earth’s resources, wisely.

To live, we need food, materials whether grown or extracted, and, unless we wish to return to poverty, we use a lot. Our energy comes at environmental cost. The metals we use are dug out of the ground, smelted and cause pollution (I used to work in a mine.). Farming uses much land reducing wilderness. Without these we would starve or die young.  

However human activity does cause environmental damage as with this opencast coal mine  

 

I could discuss this at length, but we need ways of enabling all people to live comfortably, control pollution and find ways of restoring the countryside. Today we can see the effects with loss of wildlife, increased flooding (in the river Wyre it may well be due to peat damage and tree loss), pollution and climate change.
The solution is local and global, governmental and personal. Personal actions are vital whether turning lights off, growing plants to attract wildlife etc.

3. Think of others.

We live comfortably with greenspaces and wildlife. Many cities lack green spaces and have air pollution. Many parts of the world have dirty water, limited food and energy and are grossly polluted. Their pollution is our concern as well. Do we care? Why should we?

We start with the first commandment “You shall love the Lord your God…” That means if we love God we’ll love creation.

The Second is like, ”You shall love your neighbour as yourself” so we’ll want others to have their share of creation and not wreck it. Thus environmental concerns also stem from the second commandment.

Taking the two commandments together, we must love and care for creation
 

The third great commandment should be
“Thou shalt love God’s creation, because…….

This is a very simple Christian case for environmentalism and will not please sophisticats, but it’s starting point.

Finally to look after our planet, we need to understand the science. 

5 recent wins for Christian climate activists – Premier Christianity


In the last few years Christians have been vociferous about the environment having shown utter disinterest until recently. However many have done so in extreme ways and are cavalier with the science of the environment. This was seen in the cack-handed response to fracking and now they’ve gone a bundle on Climate Emergencies and Net Zero dates.

Too often it is a green fundamentalism which is the public face and those who don’t accept the whole package are sidelined, to keep the activists pure in their understanding and activism. No christian environmental group or church structures seem to welcome or allow those who don’t accept every jot and tittle of their ideology, be it Net Zero 2030 (at the latest) fracking pollutes the water table, we need renewables NOW (even though they are not ready). It is rather like the evangelical fundamentalist, who will only have fellowship with those  who believe things like biblical inerrancy, substitutionary atonement to the exclusion of anything else, etc.

As well as that there is often an apocalyptic and millenarian mentality, which insists of an absolute emergency with doom just round the corner, allows no one to recognise any prior achievements by others on the environment, or those  who realise that going for Netzero 2025 is absurd, doomed to fail and will cause incredible hardship. Like those dispensationalists of yore who only read Daniel and Revelation, they only read the most extreme prognostications from climate scientists.

Even within General Synod more moderate rational voices are too easily sidelined, allowing the “activists” to call the shots. Dissension at all levels in the church is unsmiled at and thus the extremer views gain traction by default.

The conflict is not between caring for the environment and trashing it, but different ways of caring. That is scarcely recognised. I would take for granted that a Christian must care for creation as I present here in a rather simple, and uncontroversial, article on the Christian and Creation;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/gods-creation-and-the-environment/

I do wonder what members of the CCA do for the climate and creation;  plant trees, personal lifestyle, transport – bike, garden for wildlife. I suspect very little.

And so their contribution to Premier Christian Radio’s blog , which I print in full.

My comments are in quote form

 

5 recent wins [or flops]   for Christian climate activists

From preventing Heathrow expansion to divesting from fossil fuels, Caroline Harmon shares five recent climate change success stories to thank God for

Christians have been a strong presence within high profile environmental protests over the last year, with dozens of members of Christian Climate Action taking part in Extinction Rebellion protests.

We need to consider what ER actually stands for. It is not simply concern for the environment  and the climate. They give the impression but their aim is far more and perhaps the climate is only secondary. Their primary aim is to overthrow the present system of “capitalism” etc, hence their cry “System Change not Climate Change”.

Here we have it from one of the founders;

https://medium.com/extinction-rebellion/extinction-rebellion-isnt-about-the-climate-42a0a73d9d49 

Image result for extinction rebellion decolonisation

 . Also thrown in are aspects of Decolonisation etc , hence the aim of 

Consider these three

Democratise;  I thought we lived in a democracy!! It has slowly developed over 600 years but this tends to throw it all away with an appeal to Democracy which seems to have more in common with Stalin

Decarbonise, Now that makes sense to me and must be the aim.

Decolonise; The usual rant about colonisation forgetting that India got Independence in 1947.

 

I find it remarkable that so many don’t listen to what ER actually stands for and think it is just about the climate. Several Bishops have also failed to listen  – unless this is what they want………….

Their appeal for Net Zero by 2025 is simply impossible without total social breakdown, a vast increase of deaths through hypothermia etc.

Despite some of the doom and gloom we’ve heard around climate change, there is lots of good news too. Here are some recent wins.

 

 

 

The Church of England will be net zero carbon by 2030

At a General Synod meeting in February the church agreed to aim for net zero carbon by 2030 instead of 2045.

First let’s define Net Zero

#NetZero means going cold turkey on the 85% of our energy that currently comes from fossil fuels. That means trying to run not just the electric grid, which is ~20% of energy, without emissions, but all our heating, transport and industrial processes too.

Bluntly put, as less than 10% of our energy is from renewables  – the balance of the 15% of non fossil energy is from nuclear, which many environmentalists oppose. The Govt has an aim of Net Zero 2050 which is going to be very difficult to implement, unless there are some wondrous inventions in the next few years. The challenge is how to keep people warm in their houses (mostly by gas – usually imported and fracked), provide travel to work and transport of goods, and provide energy for industry, many of which are energy intensive.

Bishop Holtham went for 2045 as the church did not have requirements for industry!

This was altered by amendment from 2045. It was a small majority with many synod members missing. There are several things about this.The cost would be very great and it could bankrupt some churches.It will have little overall effect to climate change in Britain or the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if it causes great friction in churches already struggling to pay their way, with ever -rising demands from “the diocese”. It is probably an own goal by virtue signalling . My comments here;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/why-the-church-of-englands-decision-for-net-zero-2030-is-wrong/

Before anyone criticises me for being a “Climate Denier” or something equally wicked, here is a paper from Nature in 2019 warning against deadlines. All are climate scientists whose climate orthodoxy is impeccable! Perhaps the church as well as activist groups should read, mark and learn it.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0543-4.epdf?shared_access_token=IemqaDXjp59Xe4vx9SYpMtRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0PHAItqILlRm_HHBm_TdKN2W4fclucYeFPP7FPSpe4YZCMx6e3jOvyKFNEN4tDVEsxhypkjCeaXw5HrYv5x1N4z6OOPAlKiCRowdURrPb_LMA%3D%3D

This is crucial because scientists and campaigners believe 2045 will be far too late.

That is a sweeping and dodgy statement. Some but by no means all scientists do not believe that 2045 is too late. By campaigners they mean themselves and those taking an extreme  line, rather than that of the Bishop of Salisbury. This is NOT an accurate comment.

It would take too long to list where groups like CCA are wrong in their science as they selectively listen to the bleakest and most apocalyptic scenario and filter out the rest.

The motion came as the Church of England began its first ever Green Lent campaign with 40 days of prayer and action to encourage care for God’s creation.

It has to be said that the Green Lent campaign is not in the obstructive and law-breaking style of CCA. We are not being encouraged to climb onto tubetrains or bare our tits as we close Waterloo Bridge. To signal my own virtue, many of the things recommended in the Green Lent, I have been doing for several decades. We have been using low-energy light bulbs since 1986 (i.e pre-LED), planted scores of trees and shrubs,prefer to cycle, etc etc.

2 Twenty Christian institutions are divesting from fossil fuels

In January they joined a rapidly growing ‘Fossil’ Free’ movement, where faith institutions represent almost a third of those divesting their funds from the fossil fuel industry. The movement has been so successful that some management companies have begun offering ‘fossil free funds’ to those who no longer wish to invest for example, their pension funds, in polluting resources. The 20 organisations included two Catholic dioceses, the United Reformed Church Synod of Wales and South Western Synod, two Catholic religious orders and some local Methodist churches.

It’s all very well divesting like this , but what about ceasing to use fossil fuels in any form? Eg fuel, use in providing mains water, base for medicines (will they stop taking medicines if made from fossil fuel?) , in industry etc?

Or is this virtue signalling?

The danger is that the shares will be snapped by others who may not care about ethical issues.

I often think that people who support divestment should simply stop using fossil fuels, in any shape or form themselves. That is far more than switching to a green supplier of elec and gas.

This flippantly shows what that would mean;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/fossil-fuel-fast-for-lent/

 

 

The Court of Appeal ruled Heathrow Airport expansion was unlawful

Just last week an extra runway at Heathrow was put on hold because the government failed to take account of the climate crisis when deciding to give the go-ahead.This was the first major ruling in the world to consider the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, which commits us globally to limit the average rise in global temperature to 1.5⁰C.

This can be overturned. On this where do you stop? HS2? The much-neded by-pass of Little Snogging?

At the same time National Express has vowed to have a ‘zero emissions’ bus fleet by 2035

They have plans to ditch diesel, which would be great. An immediate improvement would be to switch to gas. Biogas, if sufficient, would be near Zero.

Much R & D is needed to go electric as at present it is not feasible as well as being very costly.

, and plans to expand Bristol airport were rejected last month over concerns it would exacerbate the climate emergency.

That can be over turned. Local councils can have decisions legally overturned by central government.

This is good news because transport accounts for a third of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.

None would make much difference and we are very far off from ditching fossil fuels for transport. also many overlook the fact that renewables account for only 10% of energy usage.

The government is currently holding a Citizens’ Assembly

From January-March 2020, 110 randomly selected people, who are a representative sample of the UK population, will be meeting four times to consider the climate emergency and propose solutions.

How can randomly selected people make informed decisions? It’s like asking to advise on revising a lexicon for ancient Chinese!!

Their views will be reported to government in the spring. Citizens’ Assemblies have been used in other countries to successfully move forward issues where people no longer trust their politicians to solve the problem or where there is deadlock.

 

A Citizen’s Assembly is one of Extinction Rebellion’s three demands, with the others being for the government to declare a climate emergency (which they’ve also done) and to achieve net zero carbon as a country by 2025 (we’re currently aiming for 2050).

 

So much for ER’s 3 demands. One needs to ask if they are remotely sensible.

Christians are actively involved

Christians have been a strong presence in the Extinction Rebellion protests in London.

Please do NOT assume that yours is the only Christian way.

Members of Christian Climate Action were involved in creating a ‘Faith Bridge’ – a site of worship, prayer and protest within the larger protest – at the October 2019 rebellion.

Yes , CCA also caused disruption at Canning Town to the annoyance of many  – and ER. That action in particular was especially unethical.

We held Eucharist services, prayed, worshipped, gave sermons, baptised people (in a paddling pool!) and washed protesters’ feet. Many of those arrested were Christians who have given accounts of interceding for the climate crisis during their time spent in police station cells.

Why is it a good Christian witness to break the law, disrupt people’s lives and get arrested?

Your reference to “interceding for the Climate Crisis” is spiritually arrogant.

Sadly many Christian green groups are rather spiritually arrogant in their position and look down on those who don’t agree with them. We would probably get burnt at the stake if it weren’t for the P2.5 particles which would be emitted 🙂

As I write this article, someone is praying in Parliament Square. Throughout Lent Christian Climate Action, alongside other faith groups, is holding a 24/7 Prayer Vigil outside the Houses of Parliament to lament our lack of action on the climate emergency

That is untrue. Since the mid 90s various all govts have steadily progressed in dealing with climate issues; e.g virtual ending of coal in electricity production, increase of renewables, fall of emissions, reduction in energy use etc. This hardly counts as “Telling the Truth.”

and pray that our political leaders find the courage they need to take the urgent action necessary.

I hope our leaders have the courage to reject CCA’s and ER’s extreme views and work for a constructive response to all our problems of climate and the environment. It seems CCA wants to thwart anything the government does.

There is much to be sad about when it comes to the climate crisis, but there is also hope.

I don’t think CCA will give anyone any hope. I cannot reconcile their law-breaking or “superiority” with the Gospel and wonder how counter-productive they are.

Instead of such a hostile attitude Christian need to look for positive ways of caring for God’s creation rather than protesting.

Finally, I am quite sure some will consider that I am a Climate Denier and don’t care about God’s Creation.

 

Caroline Harmon is a member of Christian Climate Action, a group taking prayerful direct action to tackle the climate crisis. CCA just published their first book, Time to Acta resource book for Christians who want to take action on the climate crisis

Source: 5 recent wins for Christian climate activists – Premier Christianity

Church of England Climate Resolution

A thought-provoking response to the Church of England’s vote for 2030 Net Zero.

I wonder if the great and good at General Synod knew they’d voted to freeze in church and switch off their water

extinctionrebellion

how do we replace all the fossil fuels with renewables?

renewbles

But at least renewables don’t require sinful extractivism, does it?

solarpanal

 

A New City of God

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)

The synod of the Anglican church has just passed the following Resolution.

That this Synod, recognising that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and a fundamental injustice . . . call upon all parts of the Church of England, including parishes, BMOs [Bishop Mission Orders], education institutions, dioceses, cathedrals, and the NCIs [National Church Institutions], to work to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and urgently examine what would be required to reach net zero emissions by 2030 in order that a plan of action can be drawn up to achieve that target;

(Additional sections discuss the reporting process.)

The following were my initial thoughts on reading this resolution.

Congratulations #1

Congratulations to the Anglican church on providing desperately-needed leadership. One of the themes of this blog is that climate change and related issues provide an an opportunity for the church. The Anglican…

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