Category Archives: energy

Copper Issues of the Metal Type Make EVs A Poor Choice!

To many environmentalists this blog must be wrong as it comes from a “dodgy” source – Natural Gas Now – an american pro-fracking blog.

However he is absolutely right to argue that EVs will founder on the lack of copper, as supplies and reserves are simply far to low to make the transition and electrify to go for EVs.

Most will not admit to this, but anyone with a little knowledge of mining , and especially copper mining will know that it is essentially correct.

In the UK we could solve the problem by opening up two ginormous opencast mines in snowdonia, one by Dolgellau and the other digging up the whole area around Betws Y Coed.

I claim some knowledge as I worked as a section gweologist in a Ugandan copper mine, surveyed an old mine in South Africa (it was too small) and prospected a few thousand square miles for copper.

Source: Copper Issues of the Metal Type Make EVs A Poor Choice!

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.

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

E F Schumacher and the nuclear debacle

How can a leading coal economist become such a guru for green issues and alternative and small-scale technologies?

E.F. Schumacher's founding philosophy and how it still guides us today -  Practical Action

That is the legacy of E F Schumacher (16 August 1911 – 4 September 1977). Migrating from Germany from 1950 to 1970 he was Chief Economic Adviser to the National Coal Board, Yet this leader of old, polluting technologies became the prophet for the opposite and his legacy is his opposition to nuclear energy and various green groups named in his memory. Whether acknowledged or not he has had a great influence in Green Britain! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._F._Schumacher

I came across his work in the 70s as I read Resurgence  and The Ecologist, as his name often came up. I admit to lapping up his ideas. To my surprise I found that he lived in my home town of Caterham in a lovely house opposite our school playing fields. For four years I cycled past his house every day on the way to school and then for another four years after that saw it from our geography, history and science blocks. Two of his sons were several years ahead of me in school and mother taught one of his daughters maths. Yet I knew nothing about him when at school when he was advising the National Coal Board.

After 1970 he seemed to change his economics to small scale projects and upped his opposition to nuclear energy. On the former he was influenced by visits as an advisor  to Burma. I shall return to nuclear energy. That was music to my ears and most environmentalists of the day. He published his ideas in the book Small is Beautiful in 1974, which I got in paperback form some years later.

Book review: Small Is Beautiful: A study of Economics as if People Mattered  - EF Schumacher (1973) - Blue and Green Tomorrow

The subtitle of Small is Beautiful is a study of Economics as if People Mattered. I won’t go into that , but it is behind much of the small-scale arguments of the last 40 years, including Intermediate Technology. It is a classic of the 70s and significant in the whole green movement. But I will focus only on his views on nuclear energy.

Chapter 8 would shock many today, where he expresses his regret that so many coal mines were closed down in the 60s, despite have enough reserves. Thatcher continued in the 80s and Scargill criticised her for it. Scargill could see how the coal industry was being closed down, despite there being plenty of coal. All this was before the serious air pollution from coal was fully acknowledged and before an understanding of climate change.

The other reason to shift away from coal: Air pollution that kills  thousands every year

Chapter 9 of Small is Beautiful is entitled Nuclear Energy – Salvation or Damnation?. EFS goes for the latter, where perhaps purgatory might be better!! The lecture was given as the Des Moeux Memorial Lecture “Clean Air and future Energy” in 1967. When discussing the lecture for his book in 1973, he points out the change in perception on nuclear energy. In 1967 most were in favour but the tide had turned by 1973, and though he does not say it because of the activities of the Sierra Club, the new Greenpeace and others. EFS was just one who added his pennyworth in this lecture. My own memory is that nuclear energy was seen as good thing from the fifties and by the 70s all environmentalists were opposed to it for its horrific potential dangers.

He claimed ” Of all the changes introduced by man into the household of nature, large -scale fission is undoubtedly the most dangerous and profound.” He then says that the building of power stations, whether based on coal, oil or nuclear (note that as yet gas was not used), are decided on economic grounds rather than the ‘social consequences’ which may result from the curtailment of the coal industry, which was in full swing in the 60s. The social consequences were unemployment and destruction of communities, which occurred in all old mining villages and towns. I witnessed them in Wigan and Chirk in the 70s and 80s. What was over-looked he claimed was the ‘incredible, incomparable and unique hazard for human life’ of nuclear energy. To buttress his arguments he used the example of nuclear weapons and their extreme destructiveness. He then describes the radiation and points out there is no safe way of storing “used” material as it will radioactive for ever.. Arguments still used today.

On p116 he notes the problem of air and water pollution (with coal burning being implicit), but says there is a ‘dimensional difference’ and ‘radioactive pollution is an evil of incomparably greater’ dimension’ than anything mankind has known before.’ and rhetorically ‘What is the point of insisting on clean air, if the air is laden with radioactive particles?’

This claim was very plausible in the early 70s and carried many with them, including Tony Benn. It convinced most environmentalists, including myself.

According to EFS the change came in February  1972 with the government report Pollution; Nuisance or Nemesis? The report expected nuclear to produce 50% of electricity by 2000. They highlighted the chief concern – which was the storage of radioactive waste  which was forever.

EFS concluded “No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows how to make safe.” That has been the cry of environmentalists ever since.

EFS’s arguments against nuclear energy have been held by groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth ever since, who were very successful in their propaganda. I can’t criticise them as I totally swallowed the lot and was anti-nuclear. However they swung opinions against nuclear, which now produces only 20% of electricity in Britain.

More humorously Friends of the Earth had a yellow tea shirt with the words The only safe fast breeder is a rabbit. We bought one, partly at that time I was a curate in a Lancashire church and the vicar, my boss, was always telling us we should have children ASAP! He was not a nice, cuddly vicar!! Many parishioners were aware of this, so my wife turned up to parish events in the T-shirt! I left a few months later and then worked under the nicest vicar ever. We had our first child in that parish, and he and his wife were godparents. He was my unofficial mentor for 25 years. The Church of England can be quite Jekyll and Hyde.

One of EFS’s main themes was the danger of nuclear energy and how it was far worse than anything other form of energy. He was aware of pollution but did not consider the horrific air pollution from burning coal as totally disastrous. He could have noted the Clean Air Acts of the 50s after the great smog in London and the frequent pea-souper fogs. I think the last pea-souper was in 1963 which almost reached our house in Caterham and probably equally close to EFS’s house half a mile away and a lower altitude. The accumulated death-rate from coal over the years is immense and still is so in many parts of the world. So how does nuclear compare?

Accident rate from nuclear power.

As soon as one mentions nuclear weapons as EFS did in his lecture, pictures are conjured up that an accident in a nuclear power station would be like Hiroshima, first in its blast and next its radiation. So;

nuclear, no thanks!

Any accident creates great media interest, specially when creative writing takes precedent to fact. The three most well known are Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011. The resultant deaths were none at Three Mile Island, possibly one at Fukushima. Chernobyl was serious with 28 killed on site, 34 others and   up to 4000 from cancer. The whole area of the disaster zone was evacuated. here is a list of all accidents from Wiki. Fukushima was no Hiroshima as one person was possibly killed and the death and injury was caused by the tsunami and not a nuclear accident. Many of the reports on Fukushima have been very creative!!

Fukushima nuclear plant water to be released into the ocean via undersea  tunnel

Here is wiki’s list of accidents;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_and_incidents

Chernobyl terrified many but compared to coal it was less lethal, as fatalities from coal are simply individuals who die one by one from air pollution  but the table from this New Scientist article puts it into perspective.  If you include deaths of miners then that ran at 1000 pa from 1873 to 1953 in Britain, which includes the Gresford disaster of 1934 which killed 266. This was just one of several.

This New Scientist article considers the relative death rates of various forms of energy per TWh. Brown Coal includes lignite which is used in Germany to replace nuclear and nuclear power stations were shut down after Fukishima.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928053-600-fossil-fuels-are-far-deadlier-than-nuclear-power/

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Compared to coal nuclear is a very safe energy – and one of the safest. I find it difficult to understand why EFS gave the lecture as it shows an extreme Unconscious Bias – or was it Conscious?  However he set the tone for the next half century (or supported it) and his perspective and that of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth has become accepted wisdom for a half century of environmentalists – though some like me repented.

In November 2021 there were strong voices for nuclear energy at COP26, but others counteracted as did the activist scientist Michael Mann, commenting on twitter.

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Friends of the Earth has been consistently anti-nuclear since 1971 , as has Greenpeace.

https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/policy-positions/nuclear-energy-our-position

Both are also opposed to GMOs and Fracking, presenting their arguments with Conscious bias. In turn they influence most green groups in Britain and elsewhere, resulting in calls for divestment (keep it in the ground) rejection of nuclear energy and a total conviction that renewables can provide all energy needs in the immediate future. They cannot..

At COP26 there was a grudging acceptance by many that nuclear needed but Greenpeace retained its opposition of 50 years.

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At COP26 some environmentalists slightly, and grudgingly, softened their opposition to nuclear energy as did Andy Lester of A Rocha in an interview  with the evangelical TWR (Trans World Radio)  https://youtu.be/aUzbpWGuGuU

It is a shame that a Christian environmental group should take such a negative attitude, though Lester regards nuclear as acceptable only in the short term to be rid of fossil fuels. Christian environmentalists often sing from the Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth hymnbook and do not wish to listen to other viewpoints. Hence the carious churches’ studies on energy, climate change etc  do not allow any breadth of opinion , beyond “keep it in the ground”!! He did not like being challenged either!

However some Climate campaigners like Mark Lynas and James Hansen have accepted that nuclear is needed to tackle climate change.  At least some environmentalists recognise that if we are serious about tackling climate change, we need nuclear power as part of the solution.

Nuclear Energy is like tree planting. The best time was decades ago, and the next best time is today.

I was disappointed  when I found that EFS, whom I almost revered in the 70s has left a flawed legacy, which has led both to the energy crisis of this year and the growing issue of climate change. Throughout the continent of Europe , as well as Britain, green NGOs have stymied the development of nuclear energy – and throttled it in Germany, and due to hatred of gas, it has meant an increased use of coal.

Not good.

P.S. Why did twitter restrict this?

Probably a complain from the anti-nuclear mafia

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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?

Pilgrimage to Net Zero 2030; or Pilgrimage to bankruptcy 2030

Pilgrimage to Net Zero 2030, or bankruptcy?

NET ZERO 2030

The Climate Emergency Toolkit

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In February 2020 just before the pandemic hit General Synod voted to work for Net Zero in 2030, altering the original motion for 2045 by an amendment. There was controversy as it was rushed through. On such a serious matter a major change should not have been made without due consideration and not rushed through.

The original target of 2045 was going to be difficult but 2030 is frankly impossible, without bankrupting many parish churches. Quite simply the technology is not in place how ever many times you intone “renewables” or “clean energy”..

In January 2021 a large group of Christian environmental groups came together to produce a route map for a church “to respond to the climate emergency”. It is already gaining enthusiastic responses. As we will see it assumes that swapping to renewables and heat pumps will solve it. It also does not consider the doubts and questions some have, especially those with technical ability in these areas.

It appears that green Christians in the Church of England think it is a wonderful idea and we should all be working hard to make it happen. 

Here is the route map in the Climate Emergency Toolkit.

https://media.wix.com/ugd/d168f3_07498be7114c43749f8e995bbea63155.pdf 

In view of the general concern over the climate, this seems an excellent idea, especially to enable local churches to understand Climate Change and be guided how to respond

This looks very promising as it supported by almost all Christian environmental and overseas development groups. It sets out a plan or route map for churches to make their response to the climate emergency. Further, there is no doubt that Climate Change is very serious and must be tackled by all, whether by the government or community groups.

As I read the route map, or Climate Emergency Toolkit I became more and more concerned. It was clear the authors had little or no grasp of energy issues and what is involved in going Net Zero. They seem to have a blind and tantric faith in renewables and pit “clean” energy against “dirty” energy from fossil fuels. It seems the most important thing for churches to do is to divest. That is partly as it seems to be an echo chamber for Operation Noah, whose accuracy is not always spot-on. And then we are advised to support Extinction Rebellion and Christian Climate Action. I cannot help thinking that they uncritically accept anything these or Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace say.

There is no discussion of various understandings of the challenges of climate change as it opts for an extreme ER-type stance without presenting any case for it. The position of Nuclear Energy is simply ignored without even a mention. Fossil fuels are terrible but there is no realisation that on almost every scenario fossil fuels will continue to be used until mid-century.

Despite these strictures, the route map gives the impression of being considered and cautious, seeking to understand the problem of climate change. As they say it is better to not to jump in it but to ;

PREPARE first

DECLARE secondly

and then lastly work towards making an IMPACT, however local or limited

and so to the DECLARING. You are referred to a few sites to help, inform and guide you to set a target or a focus.

It is very much a done deal as a certain stance of energy in relation to the climate is assumed and thus one is almost coralled into agreement. It is a Route Map with no alternatives. It is taken for granted that the only energy which should be used is wind or solar, with no reasons given why oil is bad. nuclear is ignored. No discussion of energy is encouraged and then one is given two suggestions to carry out. It seems you are expected to agree with the view presented, when I, as a long-standing Christian environmentalist, most definitely do not. There is no question whether Climate Change is a serious issue which needs addressing, but there is no single route Map to do this. The route map here is centred on Renewables and Divestment, as if all will be fine and dandy after that. (There is no consideration of the downside of renewables – their intermittency and the vast amount of metals required from Copper to rare earths, almost doubling the present consumption. As a former mining geologist I expect major shortages within a few years. What we will see is copper being stripped from almost anywhere, as has happened to South African railways.)

This is apparent in the page entitled DECLARE, where two targets or foci are given.

ENERGY SWITCHING and DIVESTMENT

There is no discussion on the reasons for the necessity of either. These seem to be the only options and no mention is made of other Christian, or environmental, viewpoints. Energy switching is simply to change one’s electricity or gas supplier to a provider of renewable energy rather than those which use fossil fuels to generate electricity.

There is no mention of nuclear energy, biogas or the fact that fossil fuels will be used for several decades to come, as even Greenpeace admit. One is presented with a simple binary option of renewable i.e clean, energy or fossil i.e. dirty energy. There is no mention of nuclear or the horrendous environmental price of renewable wood for power stations.

The emphasis is purely on renewables as THE answer for all energy problems. There is no mention that they only work when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. I write this in the first week of February, when energy suppliers are struggling with a chance of black-outs. On a cold winters night you get your electricity because gas and coal are ramped up, producing up to 70% of the nation’s electricity, with nuclear (ugh) producing another 20%. This is a very incomplete argument and ignores the energy needed for heating — 70% of houses rely on gas, which is increasingly imported from abroad, with a loss of gas en route, or that used in transport or industry. There is an absurdity that much gas used in Britain is FRACKED gas imported from the USA, when fracking is outlawed in the UK at present. It is often not known that electricity only accounts for a third or so of energy usage.

By considering renewables to be “clean energy” unlike “dirty fossil fuels”, the serious environmental impact of renewables is ignored, as different sources of energies are simplitically classified as “goodies” and “baddies”. All are “baddies” on the effect on the environment. No mention is made of the materials used in construction and that metals and rare earths needed are in short supply. When one adds on Electric Vehicles this becomes almost impossible.

This article by leading geologists well-versed in minerals resources tells of the problems of obtaining sufficient metals to “go electric”.

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

Having worked in a copper mine and as an exploration geologist focussing on copper, just the figures to move to 100% EVs by 2050 leaves me aghast. Over the next 30 years the UK needs a further  2.4 million tons of Copper, i.e 80,000 tones per year. This increase the annual consumption of copper by 66% and most would have to come from new mines. This is just for the UK, but imagine what it would be for the whole world. The authors highlight the scale of the difficulty. Recycling is not an option due to the amounts required.

The alternative is deep-sea mining which to some is disastrous.

THIS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN THE ROAD MAP, and not just an appeal to go renewable and divest from fossil fuels. Like many green groups they do not face the reality of the problem.

The second focus is on divestment. Here one is referred only to the Bright Now Campaign, which goes far beyond what the Church of England is suggesting. Again there is no reference to other voices, but only to Operation Noah. Leaving aside the fact that objections can be made to their claims, including on technical details (both on bias and matters of fact), it does seem very one-sided.

What we see is a Route Map totally tied to a particular perspective. As well as being very one-sided it omits several other foci, which are both good and have a wider appeal

  1. Transport. Consider leaving the car, and go by bike or foot. This is omitted in most ideas of Net Zero 2030, but would make an immediate difference on CO2, but also has health benefits. E.g. Today I needed to go to the supermarket, on a 1.5 mile return journey. My panniers and rucsac were full! Mine is usually the only bike at the supermarket. The value of walking and cycling is borne out by recent article on bikes by Prof Brand of Oxford https://theconversation.com/cycling-is-ten-times-more-important-than-electric-cars-for-reaching-net-zero-cities-157163 He makes it clear how effective bikes are at reducing carbon. In fact, for short journeys of less than three miles a bike is often quicker. It is also less stressful.
  2. Carbon capture by planting. – yes tree planting! This can be in church and school grounds, also in gardens and possibly the local community. Clearly oaks are out for most places , but there is a plethora of small trees e.g. sorbus, prunus or malus which are great for wildlife, or even native or non-native shrubs. All my vicarage gardens since 1980 have several trees and many shrubs gobbling up a bit of CO2. Two rowans I planted in 2001 are now about 20ft high, but those in my present garden, planted since 2014, are still spindly.
  3. Many aspects of personal lifestyles eg insulation, use of water, choice of food (not runner beans from Kenya!), what’s put in one’s garden e.g. Coffee grounds, tea leaves, when changed reduce one’s carbon footprint. Just consider how coffee grounds are cleaned up in the local waterworks, consuming energy in the process. But put on the garden they improve the soil. This needs to be emphasised in the teaching life of the church.

Yet there is no mention of these things in Pilgrimage to Net Zero 2030. This could be used to gently encourage both church employees and church members. But you need a vicar on a bike!!

The emphases of “divest” and “clean” energy recommended in the route map do not depart from the Great Green Narrative of “keep it the ground”, “renewables” “clean energy as opposed to dirty energy”(actually there is no clean energy) “divest” and support Extinction Rebellion. It totally ignores those environmentalists who take a different line after careful consideration and who may well support nuclear energy or a temporary support of fossil fuels. It is as though they are bad as the “Climate Denier”. In no other discussion in the churches would this happen. After all, the Church of England would not appoint a commission to discuss the place of the eucharist and only allow members of the Church Society to sit on it!! It is as though Sir David Mackay and others never did any high-powered work on energy. This is a serious omission and reflects badly on all the sponsoring groups.

The route map is so focussed on fossil fuels that almost ignore all the other vital issues;

Food; What and whence

Peat and plants and what one does with one’s garden. (This also touches on biodiversity)

The recent publications on the way that careful planting can improve climate issues is not mentioned, whether in gardens, road verges, parks, farms and countryside.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24933260-100-pollinators-are-our-secret-weapon-in-the-fight-against-global-warming/

Here is something all can do.

IMPACT

This section considers what can be done to make an Impact. Consider these two pages;

Rather than consider all possibilities this gives a carefully chosen selection of resources. It seems to assume all will agree with Operation Noah on divestment. Divestment seems to be the only/major emphasis of this road map.

This is little more than an appeal for activism, with several examples from the box headed Tools

Groups seem to be chosen to force churches into one view. However Repair Cafes is a Dutch group and list no cafes in Britain! Many places are not Transition Towns.

Of the others Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace are very well-known especially for their stunts and bias, and even misinformation, on green issues. Several times they have been forced to correct these, including by the Advertising Standards Agency as in January 2018. They always seem to be in the front of the queue for considered opinion, which is usually more opinion than considered. For decades they have opposed one of the cleanest energies – nuclear, not to mention GMOs and other things.

More recently both have emphasised a rejection of fossil fuels, but also reject GMOs and Nuclear Energy, and have either slowed down or thwarted the implementation of these. The former will reduce agricultural emission and the latter low carbon energy with less risk than other forms of energy. Though they are usually foremost of green groups, many environmentalists reject their wide-ranging opposition over many issues.

Ironically most of us are queueing up for the GMO- COVID-19 vaccines whether we support GMOs or not! In July 2020, the European Parliament actually had to suspend the EU’s anti-GMO rules in order to allow the unimpeded development of COVID vaccines. There is great irony here. The Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine overtly uses genetic modification, but no one has complained. That is a reminder of the wayward ideas of these two groups and others like Christian Aid and Green Christian who are hostile to GMO. It’s odd no one has opposed the vaccines on the grounds of them being Genetically Modified, (or PPE as it is made from oil.).

One may ask why these were picked out as groups to support.

Extinction Rebellion in its local groups is also singled out. This was formed in late 2018 and soon caused major disruptions with their protests, almost courting arrest.

They take the most extreme view of the dangers of climate change claiming billions will die. This has terrified some youngsters, who think they will die early, and is dismissed by climate change specialists as false and simply scaremongering. That is hardly truthful.

However it is supported by Rowan Williams and several bishops, which is surely a serious lapse of judgement.

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Christian Climate Action is true to its name and sees itself as the “Christian” wing of Extinction Rebellion. They seem to revel in being arrested. They were the group who climbed on commuter trains at Canning Town mid 2019 preventing working class employees getting to work. It turned very ugly and one protestor was pulled off the roof of a carriage and roughed up by by commuters. It was lucky no one was badly beaten up. It was a protest too far.

Protest in London 1/5/21

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May be an image of 6 people, people standing and road

This would convince me to avoid anything connected with this

What we are suggested/guided/told to do in this section on IMPACT is Activism as protest, whether as apparently virtuous actions, or martyrdom through arrests, rather than activism as changed lifestyle seeking to drastically reduce our impact on the environment, which inevitably impinges on our carbon footprint, and slowly persuading others.

I think the authors of this Road Map need to say whether they expect whole congregations to join in these protests, disrupt the lives of other people and face arrest and prosecution. Being sarcastic, do they envisage the Mothers Union processing with their banners at an Extinction Rebellion protest? 🙂

This road map seems to be a ploy to force churches to adopt an extreme stance. It may be significant that the actual authors are not named. I suggest that this a recipe for conflict within churches who start using this Toolkit.

As described before there seems to be no openness to other green viewpoints, which do not demand divestment nor so-called green energy nor projects which do not break the law. Local to me are the Wyre River Trust and Lancashire Wildlife Trust. The former do careful tree planting, creation of new Carbon-absorbing wetlands and river repair and the other have various projects including restoring Winmarleigh Moss, a damaged low-level peat bog. This has great implications in dealing with climate change, though peatbogs have little sex-appeal for most people. (Though this project is controversial with the farmers neighbouring the moss.)

This is a very misguided and biased approach and I can imagine many churchmembers refusing to take part, with resultant division in the local church.

I question its discernment, accuracy and wisdom and whether all what they suggest is actually moral. Though since the 1990s I’ve been convinced of the seriousness of Climate Change, (having been an environmentalist for many decades) I’d refuse to take part and would oppose it by word and action – and withdraw any financial contribution to a church taking part.

Effectively each of these groups are undoing whatever good work they have done. The Route Map is very limited in its grasp of the technical issues of providing and using energy, which does not come from fossil fuels. The authors fail to discuss the problems of their chosen route map and should have given a presentation of the difficulties of getting away from fossil fuels, rather than simplistically appealing to renewables as the answer. They have done the churches a great disservice by this neglect. luke 14vs 28

I ought to note that among the patrons of these groups at least one is an antivaxxer in relation to Covid-19, and dismisses its seriousness.

It is a concern that the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment raises no critical questions about Net Zero 2030.

https://www.corpus.cam.ac.uk/articles/corpus-alumnus-appointed-lead-bishop-environment

What are the main priorities of the Church of England’s Environment Programme? 

We have an ambitious target of reaching net zero by 2030. That means that every church community needs to be thinking what it can do to contribute, whether by changing energy supplier to renewables, or using offset schemes, or generating solar, ground/air source, or wind energy on site, or considering these issues when the time comes to replace, for example, a boiler. I’m keen that we play out part in enhancing biodiversity on our land, especially churchyards which can be great places for the living diversity of life, as well as being places for the dead. Let them be Resurrection places of new life!

I am afraid I am unconvinced by the bishops’ arguments. I am not sure of his use of Resurrection, but that would take more space to discuss! There is no mention of an individual’s  reduction of the earth’s resources, which can be effected by use of   – bike/foot for travel, insulation, economy of food, water and other materials (and not only plastic).

What about me in 2021

  1. I’ve got to find forever homes for 25 mountain ash trees grown from seed
  2. I shall continue to pester local councils not to destroy flowers on road verges
  3. I shall continue helping to spread sphagnum moss on upland peat bogs – already done 1 sq km
  4. Grow more mountain ash from seed
  5. Encourage others to be more green – even a teeny-weeny bit 🙂
  6. Do some green volunteering
  7. write more green blogs (which to some are not green).

Finally can you imagine Mothers Unions arranging coach trips to support Extinction Rebellion and Christian Climate Action in their protests?

But I will conclude on a very serious note. I have pointed out the biased and lopsided approach of this route map, which does not get beyond a simplistic call for renewables and then supports groups like Extinction Rebellion.

I would have thought these eleven groups would not have supported such a limited perspective.

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. 

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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.

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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

Guest Blog – Stop Graveney Marsh Solar Farm

Why solar farms are not the panacea for green energy

a new nature blog

As regular readers will know I take an interest in solar farms and their impact on wildlife.

With this in mind, I’m happy to host a guest blog today from Matthew Hatchwell of the Faversham Society. Matthew was Director of Conservation at the Zoological Society of London, and before that was head of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Europe. Matthew writes about a massive proposed Solar Farm on the north Kent marshes.

On May 10, 2020, the Daily Telegraph published an article about the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park (CHSP) just outside Faversham on the north Kent coast.  If it goes ahead, it would be the largest solar power station in the UK, covering 900 acres of farmland, containing nearly a million solar panels, and including a battery storage system five times larger than the current record-holder, in Australia.  Local residents, although supportive of solar energy in general…

View original post 541 more words

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