Category Archives: friends of the earth

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.

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

The plot against fracking

I’m not supposed to agree with Matt Ridley!! Or else I’m not green.

However having followed fracking in the UK all this decade I struggle to disagree with what Ridley has written here

I totally agree with what he says about GMOs and not the opposition to them by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Christian Aid and ER.

I waver a bit about the Russian connection but…………

Protesters at Cuadrilla’s Blackpool site (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The plot against fracking

How cheap energy was killed by Green lies and Russian propaganda

The first coffee house in Marseilles opened in 1671, prompting the city’s vintners to recruit a couple of professors at the University of Aix to blacken their new competitor’s reputation. They duly got one of their students to write a pamphlet claiming coffee was a vile foreign novelty made from a tree favoured by goats and camels. It burned the blood, dried the kidneys and attracted the lymph, inducing palsies and impotence. “From all of which we must necessarily conclude that coffee is hurtful to the greater part of the inhabitants of Marseilles.”

Thus does novelty run up against vested interests. Today similar pseudoscience is used to blacken the reputation of almost any new development. Usually, as was the case with coffee, the campaign fails. But these days the anti-innovation forces have deep pockets and few scruples and have won some big battles. We now know that the opposition to genetically modified crops in Europe has resulted in more pesticide use than would otherwise have been the case, yet that opposition was very profitable for the big green pressure groups.

They fanned the flames of opposition, coining terms such as “Frankenfood”, and nimbly hopped from one fear to the next as each myth was busted: biotechnology was going to poison people, damage ecosystems, cause allergies, impoverish small farmers, boost corporate profits, and so on. They turned Monsanto into a pantomime villain and forced it to contemplate a strategy (making plants that could not breed true so the plants could not spread in the wild) that activists then criticised as a “terminator technology” designed to prevent small farmers saving seed, thus forcing them to rely on Monsanto.

 

Eventually, the issue lost its ability to yield donations and media interest, so the green business blob moved on. As Mark Lynas, a prominent anti-GM campaigner, now ruefully admits: “We permanently stirred public hostility to GMO foods throughout pretty much the entire world, and — incredibly — held up the previously unstoppable march of a whole technology. There was only one problem with our stunningly successful worldwide campaign. It wasn’t true.”

Cameron’s government projected gas prices would either rise fast, medium or slow – In fact they fell

More than a decade later, environmentalists hit upon another money spinner: opposition to fracking. When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. It “creates an unprecedented opportunity to use gas as a bridge fuel to a twenty-first-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas,” wrote Senator Tim Wirth, a prominent environmentalist. And so it has proved: the country that adopted shale gas first and most — the United States — is the country that lowered its carbon dioxide emissions first and most, because gas displaced coal, a much higher-carbon fuel.

But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas. Their business model was predicated on the alleged certainty that prices would rise as fossil fuels ran out, making subsidised wind and solar power look comparatively cheap. David Cameron’s coalition government produced three projections about what might happen to gas prices: that they would rise fast, medium or slow. In fact they fell, a possibility the government had entirely ignored.

It is hard to recall now just how sure almost everybody was in 2008 that natural gas was running out. Its price had risen as gas fields in North America and the North Sea began to run dry. Peak gas was coming even sooner than peak oil or peak coal. Yet in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, something was stirring. Engineer Nick Steinsberger, working for a company called Mitchell Energy, tried different ways to fracture shale rocks deep underground so that the gas would flow. Hydraulic fracturing had been invented the 1940s, generally using petroleum gels, but it did not work in shale, which contained an enormous amount of gas and oil. Nobody much minded you pumping gels down into rocks in those days. After all, the rocks themselves are — by definition — already soaked in toxic mixtures of oil and gas.

Steinsberger noticed water worked a bit better than gel. In 1998, he tried sending water down first, then some sand to prop open the cracks and — whoosh! — out came a lot of gas. And it kept on coming. “Slick-water fracking” had been invented, using far fewer chemicals than previous methods, allowing vast shale reserves around the world to be exploited.

Most experts said shale gas was a flash in the pan and would not much affect global supplies. They were wrong. By 2011 America’s declining gas output shot up and oil soon followed suit. The US has now overtaken Russia as the biggest gas producer in the world, and Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer. Cheap gas brought a stream of chemical companies rushing back from Europe and the Persian Gulf to manufacture in America. Gas import terminals were rebuilt as gas export terminals. The Permian basin in Texas alone now produces as much oil as the whole of the US did in 2008, and more than any Opec country except Iran and Saudi Arabia. This — not wind and solar which still provide only 2 per cent of world primary energy — is the big energy story of the past decade.

One country that should have taken sharp notice is Britain. As late as 2004 Britain was a gas exporter, but as North Sea production declined it rapidly became a big net importer, dependent on Norway, Qatar or Russia. As Britain was paying far more for its gas than America, that meant that our huge chemical industry was gradually moving out.

Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”

Fortunately, it then emerged that Britain has one of the richest and thickest seams of shale: the Bowland shale across Lancashire and Yorkshire contains many decades of supply. Fracking it would mean drilling small holes down about one mile, then cracking the rocks with millimetre-wide fractures and catching the gas as it flowed out over the next few decades. Experience in America showed this could be done without any risk of contaminating ground water, which is near the surface, or threatening buildings. The seismic tremors that have caused all the trouble are so slight they could not possibly do damage and were generally far smaller than those from mining, construction or transport. The well pads would be hundreds of times smaller than the concrete bases of wind farms producing comparable amounts of energy.

Still, friends of the earth, which is effectively a multinational environmental business, spotted a chance to make hay. Despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about shale gas, it kept up a relentless campaign of misinformation, demanding more delay and red tape from all-too-willing civil servants.

foe-leaflet-coverfracking-sand

Poor Bosworth was shown up on the BBC by claiming sand was the carcinogen, hence the seaside meme , more here from the culprits of the complaint on FoE! https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/friends-of-the-earth-fck-it-up/

The industry, with Cuadrilla fated to play the part of Monsanto, agreed to ridiculously unrealistic limits on what kinds of tremors they were allowed after being promised by the government that the limits would be changed later — a promise since broken. Such limits would stop most other industries, even road haulage, in their tracks.

The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies. Unlike most conspiracy theories about Russian meddling in Western politics, this one is out there in plain sight. The head of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the Russians, as part of a sophisticated disinformation operation, “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations — environmental organisations working against shale gas — to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”.

The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”. The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition

No scare story was too far-fetched to be taken up and amplified. Tap water would catch fire (no: though it’s a natural phenomenon in some places in America where gas naturally contaminates ground water). There would be significant gas leaks (no: there are more gas leaks from natural sources and pipelines). The water that comes out of the well is dangerously radioactive (no: it is not). Fracking uses a lot of water (a lot less than farming). And so on. The unelected quangocracy that runs these things on behalf of taxpayers, mainly in the form of the Environment Agency, appeared at times to be taking its instructions directly from Friends of the Earth. So, of course, did the BBC.

The endless delays imposed by regulators played into the hands of shale gas’s opponents, giving them time to organise more and more protests, which were themselves ways of getting on the news and hence getting more donations. Never mind that few locals in Lancashire wanted to join the protests: plenty of upper-middle class types could be bussed in from the south.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers. A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap and relatively clean energy. We don’t need fossil fuels, the politicians thought, we’re going for net zero in 2050! But read the small print, chaps: the only way to have zero-emission transport and heating, so says the Committee on Climate Change, is to use lots of hydrogen. And how do they say most of the hydrogen is to be made? From gas.

After genetically modified crops and fracking, what innovation will be next to get stopped in its tracks by vested interests? Vaping, I reckon. It’s an open secret that the pharmaceutical industry pours money into anti-vaping campaigns because the technology is a threat to their lucrative nicotine patches and gums, which they have been getting doctors to prescribe to smokers trying to quit for years. Unlike e-cigarettes, which are the most effective aids to quitting yet found, Big Pharma’s products don’t work very well. So they are worried. Next time you hear somebody arguing that e-cigarettes (like coffee) burn the blood, dry the kidneys and attract the lymph, ask who benefits.

 

During the past few weeks Extinction Rebellion has been active in cities all over the world. Here in Britain the focus is on London where many streets have been blocked and over 1000 arrested.

On the church side various Christian Green groups have been active and three bishops have taken part, including Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool. This blog both re-blogs and discusses Bayes’ blog The Rainbow of Non-violent Advocacy

On thursday 17th October tube trains were stopped at Canning Town to the chagrin of commuters. There were ugly scenes and protesters  were pulled off the roof of the train and roughed up. The scene was ugly, but commuters were stopped getting to work.  Here Christian Climate Action were highly involved and among arrestees were an Anglican and Catholic priest.

Enough of this which fills the news, and before discussing Bayes’ blog , here is something about me.

I consider myself an environmentalist (though some would deny me that now), but cannot say when it started as my parents gave me a love of nature and the countryside, especially mountains. That led to me changing from studying chemistry to geology and then working for a mining company in Africa. There I became more aware of environmental issues (although my company was pretty good on the environment compared to some recent horror stories.) and as I trained for the ministry I found virtually nothing on a Christian view of the environment until Sam Berry wrote a little booklet and Bp Hugh Montefiore tried to make an impact.

At that time I was in Friends of the Earth, anti-nuclear, pro-organic and voted Ecology in in 1979. Then no one opposed coal, possibly because E F Schumacher (with whose sons I went to school) was the green guru and he was pro-coal and anti-nuclear. I only used my bike in the parish.  It was my eccentricity! Moving to a vicarage in 1980 I practiced wildlife gardening. One disappointment was visiting the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales. I was not impressed by the poor engineering of their alternative technology – at that time I ran Morris Minors and swapped engines, gearboxes, wings, doors and – woodwork. My ultimate was when a Minor conked out on the Galibier Pass. We were off again in five minutes.

There was no interest in the environment in the diocese of Liverpool and in 1982 I brought it up on the Board of Social Responsibility. I was met with stony silence and never made it to the minutes!

From the late 1980s the reality of Climate Change became clearer but took a decade to become generally accepted. Some, especially American evangelicals rejected it, and I wrote about that in my book Evangelicals and Science (2008) and then in Religion in environmental and Climate change https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/07/10/evangelicals-and-climate-change-1990-to-2011/  I finished it on the day a tremor was caused by fracking 10 miles away, which I did not feel. At the time I was hostile to fracking, but started to research it in depth after reading a Green Party leaflet in 2012. What it said about earthquakes was laughable and thus I did not vote Green as I intended!! I started to research fracking and soon found the immense inaccuracies from Green groups, which were swallowed by Christian environmentalists. Having a geological background did not help me!

Since then I’ve been concerned at the total bias of so many Christians on the environment, or usually only climate change, who seem to have replaced the apocalyptic scenario of Dispensationalism with a climate apocalypse. That I cannot buy into. (I suppose I ought to say that I consider Climate Change a serious issue, which needs addressing on many fronts, rather than just Divestment.)

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Enough of me and so to Bishop Paul Bayes.

He begins with his protesting with CND in the 1980s, rather like Rowan Williams at that time.

He speaks of a rainbow of responses from the backroom girl to the activist

Within the rainbow some work quietly and unobtrusively to influence political and other leaders with facts, evidence, scholarship, quiet wisdom, nuance. Others will follow the advice of an editor of the Economist: “Simplify, then exaggerate”, crafting messages which motivate the heart and lead people to take a stand, and proclaiming them clearly and very loudly.

Facts and evidence are essential on any issue, as without them one is liable to talk nonsense or worse, and be intentionally or unintentionally, dishonest. That may be the scientist and historian in me coming out, but there is always the one ugly fact that can destroy one’s case. I reckon those ugly facts are the best facts of all. On climate change the evidence is paramount. Once a researcher or activist comes out with false facts, they lose credibility.

Bayes’ second one “Simplify, then exaggerate” is very dubious. Yes, things must be put over simply, but exaggeration is no better than dishonesty, and too many activists have fallen foul of this, like Hallam’s claim that 6 billion people will die of Climate Change by 2100. Proclaiming a lie clearly and very loudly is doomed to failure, and is liable to result in less action over Climate Change. It has emotional appeal, but it is wrong to convince people of the dangers of extinction and death, when they are not there.

And so he writes

 “In the case of Extinction Rebellion the messages and demands are suitably loud and clear (See https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/):

  • Tell the truth (and declare a climate emergency)
  • Act now (and move to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025)
  • Go beyond politics (and establish a citizens’ assembly to focus the practical steps)

The details of these demands are of course open to debate

And so to consider these three points

  • Tell the truth (and declare a climate emergency)

Sadly Extinction Rebellion is prone to exaggeration. Hallam’s 6 billion deaths is a good example from a founder of ER. We also see it as people, especially the young, are reduced to tears as they fear they will not get to old age.

I have not found ER good at telling the truth. In time this will backfire to the detriment of the planet.

  • Act now (and move to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025)

I would say we should have acted 20 years ago and in fact most governments have. The progress since 2000 has been considerable but needs more. I can’t expand on that here.

The second part to move to Net Zero by 2025 is simply impossible, – 2050 is possible but not 2025. There is simply not the technology in place or available for 2025. To reach Net Zero by 2025 would mean us reducing energy consumption by a good 80%, as there are no Net Zero alternatives available now. It would mean that nearly all homes would have their heating stripped out, with nothing to replace. That would increase deaths from hypothermia.

Slightly flippantly could I suggest that Liverpool diocese gives an example and follow this timetable so the diocese is Net Zero by 2025. The timetable –

mid-2020 all clergy and employees should stop using cars

mid-2021 all vicarages must stop using fossil fuels for heating (est cost £26,000 per house to provide alternatives. That would be about £4 million)

mid-2022  all churches should stop using fossil fuels for heat.  (another £10 million)

mid-2023 all churches and vicarage must get off mains water , as that is dependant on fossil fuels for distribution AND chlorine for sterilisation – the Cl is made in Widnes using natural gas by Ineos.

This is clearly impossible and is a daft suggestion, but illustrates the impossibility of Net Zero by 2025. Realism is needed as well a naive hope.

  • Go beyond politics (and establish a citizens’ assembly to focus the practical steps)

This is a total rejection of all our democratic structures, and a citizens’ assembly sounds more like a separate political organisation to which most people would not have a say. There is something dark and dictatorial about ER.

The whole talk of DEMANDS is anything but democratic.

Image result for system change not climate change

The unwitting message of this banner is that ER is not about Climate change but a rejection of any form of Social Democracy and capitalism. (yes, Capitalism can and does go wrong, summed up by Ted Heath in the 70s on Lonrho “the unacceptable face of capitalism.” Capitalism needs regulating, with regulations continually brought up to date , not rejecting it out right.) One does not have to look far to find arguments for System Change.

 

And so he concludes.

If you’re a Christian then, in matters of the future of the planet, in all matters of justice and peace, will you listen for the voice of the triune God who loves you, the voice of the Holy Spirit within you who comforts and provokes you? Will you take your stand within the rainbow of non-violent advocacy? And if you will, where will you stand?

I am very uneasy with his conclusion as it invokes Christian discipleship (which is much needed) but implies, if it does not state, that if you disagree with this you are not a faithful Christian. In other words, if one rejects what Bayes says, one is not listening to God. That is offensive and will alienate many Christians. It is rather like extreme evangelicals who insist you believe in the inerrancy of the bible and, for some, creation 10,000 years ago. Many will simply dismiss what he says and carry on turning up the heating rather than putting on a sweater.  (I write this in a cosy fleece.)

At this pointPaul Bayes seems to present a very exclusive view of Christianity, whereby those who don’t stand with his views on ER and the environment are somehow outside the fold. Have normally been a contender for an Inclusive church here he does the exact opposite. Anyone who works in fossil fuels, mining, much of energy are those excluded from the rainbow. I can name some who are in that position, and feel their church involvement under question.

I am only too aware that many Christians and others have little or muted environmental concern, but this will only make them less concerned.

Just focussing on churches, we will find many (most?) are not bothered by Climate Change and the actions of ER will make them less so as seen in response at Camden tube station.

As David Sheppard, former Bishop of Liverpool, told me in his study years ago, to argue in such a 100% /0% way means than many will reject what you have to say, but a 60%/40% will persuade your hearers/readers of a little.

However if protesters went out ,put on a fleece, turn off the tap while brushing their teeth or planting trees in their garden or churchyard, instead of stopping people at work that would be a big step in the right direction for the climate.

Recently the Bishop of London has written a fine, gently encouraging and challenging, letter to her diocese. I doubt if her readers will get arrested protesting, or swearing about extremism, but are liable to say, “Mmmm, I think she has a point.” Suggestive ideas can eat away over time, and change people. A bloody nose does not.

https://www.london.anglican.org/articles/letter-from-the-bishop-of-london-taking-action-in-response-to-climate-change/

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

via The Rainbow of Non-violent Advocacy

by the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool and Chair of the Ozanne Foundation

my-name-is-paul

Last Thursday I stood with a number of colleagues, lay and ordained, as part of the Christian Climate Action contribution to the Extinction Rebellion protests in London. We read from the book of Revelation In Trafalgar Square, standing in front of the National Gallery, surrounded by people of all faiths and none who were taking their stand together to form part of this extraordinary non-violent direct action movement.

I was not arrested, though I could have been. Some of my ordained colleagues there had been arrested the previous day, and a great many Christians have been arrested before and since, just a few of the 2600+ people (at the time of writing) who have taken their protest to the point of loss of liberty. Without violence they break the law and they face the music. And who are we to judge?

On the way to Trafalgar Square I passed Downing Street and Admiralty Arch, two of the several places where I myself had been arrested in the 1980s, over 35 years ago. At that time it was my great privilege to be a national co-chair of Christian CND, and to have been able to take a stand on the wide rainbow of non-violent advocacy which wanted to see nuclear weapons banned, within the still wider rainbow that seeks to change the world for the better in any way. That was around the time of the “Church and the Bomb” report. I spent time lobbying the General Synod and arguing with bishops, and I spent time in the cells at Cannon Row police station. All that advocacy felt like one seamless thing to me.

And the arguments used against Extinction Rebellion last week were also familiar to me, since the same things had been said to me whenever I sat in the road, or chained myself to railings, or prayed persistently outside a US base, or otherwise took action all those years ago. “Isn’t this just ridiculous middle-class posturing?” “Aren’t you just messing about?” “Do you really think that these protests will change policy – will change anything at all?”

All these are fair questions, but they miss the point. The point is that non-violent advocacy is a wide, wide rainbow, and each colour in it has its place, and it would be foolish to assume that no part of it makes or will make a difference. It’s a matter of diversity, as St Paul understood very well when he spoke of the body and its different parts.

The advocacy of Mahatma Gandhi or of Dr Martin Luther King took its place within this diverse, non-violent, world-changing rainbow. Within the rainbow some work quietly and unobtrusively to influence political and other leaders with facts, evidence, scholarship, quiet wisdom, nuance. Others will follow the advice of an editor of the Economist: “Simplify, then exaggerate”, crafting messages which motivate the heart and lead people to take a stand, and proclaiming them clearly and very loudly.

In the case of Extinction Rebellion the messages and demands are suitably loud and clear (See https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/):

  • Tell the truth (and declare a climate emergency)
  • Act now (and move to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025)
  • Go beyond politics (and establish a citizens’ assembly to focus the practical steps)

The details of these demands are of course open to debate, and so are some of the tactical choices made about where and how to protest and what to disrupt. But when it comes to the future of the planet the rainbow of advocacy needs XR, just as it nees Greta Thunberg and the school strikes. The urgency of the climate crisis means that nuanced debate between sophisticated grown-ups is not enough, as the famous sculpture by Isaac Cordal, “Waiting for climate change”, makes clear:

Waiting for Climate Change

All this is personal. It bears in on each one of us, as Bishop Rowan Williams knows. Writing in the afterword to the XR manual “This Is Not A Drill” [1], he has this to say:

“To put it very directly: it is worth changing our habits of consumption, the default settings for our lifestyle, the various kinds of denial and evasion of bodily reality that suit us, the fantasies of limitless growth and control, simply because there are healthy and unhealthy ways of living in this universe.

To go on determinedly playing the trumpet in a string quartet is a recipe for frustration and collapse and conflict. There are ways of learning to live better, to make peace with the world. Learn them anyway: they will limit the disease and destruction; they may even be seeds for a future we can’t imagine…

It just might work.”

And as a person of faith he says:

“In the Book of Proverbs, in the Hebrew Scriptures, the divine wisdom is described as ‘filled with delight’ at the entire world which flows from that wisdom. For me as a religious believer, the denial or corruption of that delight is like spitting in the face of the life-giving Word who is to be met in all things and all people…”

And he ends by saying:

“Anger, love and joy may sound like odd bedfellows, but these are the seeds of a future that will offer life – not success, but life.”

So what? Well, with all this in mind, there is a question for you who are reading this. On this matter – the future of the planet – and indeed on any other matter of justice and peace, will you take your stand within the rainbow of non-violent advocacy? And if you will, where will be the right place, the best place, for you yourself to stand?

Of course some approaches stand outside any non-violent advocacy rainbow. On one side is the assumption that no advocacy is necessary at all, or perhaps that advocating is so naïve as to be pointless, or perhaps that we can’t be bothered – that other people will engage with it and so we won’t have to. And on the other side, the assumption that only violence will change things, or that if we feel we must break the law, then having broken the law, no consequences should or must be faced.

Neither of these approaches was taken by Mahatma Gandhi, or by Dr King. As they engaged with the issues of justice that lay before them, each one understood the spectrum of advocacy and operated across it; at times pragmatic, at times prophetic. Jesus too spoke highly of the law and also acted in ways that challenged it, reaching out to the excluded. In words of the Lutheran Gordon Lathrop that so often speak to my own heart, “…we are speaking of the biblical, historic Christ who eats with sinners and outsiders, who is made a curse and sin itself for us, who justifies the ungodly, and who is himself the hole in any system”.

Jesus lived with urgency, for the times were urgent. The times for us too are urgent, as indeed they have always been.

If you’re a Christian then, in matters of the future of the planet, in all matters of justice and peace, will you listen for the voice of the triune God who loves you, the voice of the Holy Spirit within you who comforts and provokes you? Will you take your stand within the rainbow of non-violent advocacy? And if you will, where will you stand?

 

Paul Bayes is Bishop of Liverpool

[1] Extinction Rebellion, “This Is Not A Drill”, Penguin Books 2019

 

 

Fracking Porkies at Cuadrilla’s Site at Preston New Road

The other day I went to the entrance of the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool. Unlike previous occasions there were no protestors there, though their photographer was walking up the the road and then took photos of me. Earlier the vestal virgins had been there as they are every Wednesday!

Hence I could wander around without being sworn at by the ladies present or interviewed by some clown thrusting a phone into my face.

Here are my photos with comments

P1000838

Here we go “No social licence” – whatever that means. The appeal gets boring and usually it means they have consulted protestors!

As for  “Renewable energy requires no conflict” that is face-palming. Each method causes conflict over the environment as wind, water and solar all have an environmental price to pay, whether threats to moorlands, valuable land submerged or simply the mining to extract metals needed.

As for people the conflict is there, whether loss of land for production, the visual impact etc. The protestors ignored the conflict over a wind farm at St Michaels, 10 miles from PNR, a few years ago – and other objections to wind and solar farms

P1000839

Fracking , like other industries, including farming, does use vast amounts of water, so what is the difference?

To say that after fracking the water is highly contaminated is an exaggeration. Of course it is not suitable for drinkng  or for agriculture, but neither is what you flush down your loo, unless you like cholera.

After fracking the flowback water cleaned up to Environmental standards, just  like your piss and pooh.

More less than honest scaremongering

PNR 181026 Ros Wills

This is absurd beyond words

P1000840

What about the 100s of toxic chemicals? That is perfectly true and were itemised in a paper some 10 years ago listing all chemicals which HAD been  used in fracking. Note the PAST tense and these are what HAVE been used in the past , not what are being used today. Today the fluid is 99% water, some sand and a few chemicals like surficants, which are used in many applications.

This is a dishonest and misleading claim.

It is a honest as saying lead is added to petrol (as tetra-ethyl lead) which was withdrawn in the 90s after Claire Petterson proved it to be dangerous

One could also mention National Benzole, a fuel for cars up to the 60s which was rich in benzole or benzol – a coal-tar product consisting mainly of benzene and toluene. It was withdrawn for health reasons in the 60s.

https://www.davidicke.com/article/472397/fracking-madness

The poster claims that the chemicals contaminate drinking water. Again that is duplicitous as the mixture if spilt could contaminate water, or rather water courses not water supply.

Of course the aim is to release methane as that is the point of fracking for gas. But any methane lost represents a loss of the product desired.

And the usual onEarthquakes!!!! Good scaremongering here as most don’t grasp how tiny they are.

P1000841

Form what I’ve seen on the Fylde it is the protestors who are good at destroying communities!!

 

P1000842

This poster is very challenging and the substance of many calls for divestment.

However it represents a gross misreading of the paper produces by researchers at University College, London, who argued, with good justification that;

  • 80% of  coal reserves need to be left in the ground
  • 50% of gas reserves
  • 30% of oil reserves

That is very different from saying 80% of fossil fuels must be left in the ground.

Many green groups do this, including Christian Aid. Frankly it demonstrates either gross incompetence or blatant dishonesty

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

 

This raises some serious questions.

Why do the protestors  put up such inaccurate nonsense?

Why don’t they check out their facts?

Are they simply clueless or dishonest?

If it were a bunch of swampies with little knowledge then one could make allowances, but these protests are supported by the supposedly informed;

  • Prof Mike Berners-Lee of Lancaster Univ has supported them. That removes any credibility from his writings
  • Various  MPs MEPs and Cllrs from the Green Party and Labour, not to mention those from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
  • John Ashton OBE
  • and others who cannot hide behind being uneducated.

Why did they not criticise the inaccuracies of both these displays and the content of the material put out by these anti-frackers? (They could have commented on the stuff at Maple Farm too.)

dscf6024006

There doesn’t seem much desire for an accurate and dispassionate portrayal of fracking

And so we can consider Extinction Rebellion with their clarion call of

TELL THE TRUTH

This stuff at Preston New Road  is the opposite of telling the truth, but so is much anti-fracking propaganda.

 

A European Parliament without Science?

A warning about letting the Green Party have too much influence in the EU parliament. Also of other green groups by implication.

I may not agree with every word, but with the daftness of Extinction Rebellion etc , people should be wary of voting Green – at any level

The Risk-Monger

This document is a follow-up to my Science Charter blog.

German Green MEP Maria Heubuch has spent more time campaigning against agricultural technologies (and Africans) than representing her constituents. When she went to Berlin on the public purse to attend a secret NGO meeting to campaign against the merger of Bayer and Monsanto, she used her Gmail account so her activities could not be officially recorded. A few weeks later, she stood up in the European Parliament and demanded that a Commission official be transparent. MEPs Bart Staes, Pavel Poc and Michele Rivasi spend public funds obsessively campaigning against a single company and flying in non-scientific activists from as far away as the US and Australia to speak in the European Parliament. No scientists were invited to speak at their public events. The chair of the Parliament’s PEST Committee, Eric Andrieu, has tried to change the…

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What Monty Python can teach us about Extinction Rebellion

A excellent take down of Extinction Rebellion.

I am sure he could do something on Rowan Williams’ part in it. – some friar from MP and the Holy grail

The Risk-Monger

Unless policy-makers act immediately, the planet will cease to be able to support human life in twelve years, three months and seven days … this event will happen on a Tuesday … after lunch.

No, that is not a skit from Monty Python but an approximation made by the latest virtue signalling publicity craze, Extinction Rebellion. This motley crew of eco-rednecks was founded in October, 2018 and quickly created a loose network from eco-conscious hippies to students on Easter break to antagonised aging Marxists. Together they have managed to show how social networks can be utilised to control an agenda with stunts that require limited funding, planning or intellectual coherence. The media, during a slow news cycle, are lapping up these attention whores who use the microphone and a myriad of intertwined social media accounts as acts of virtue signalling liberation.

There is one nagging question that won’t go away: Was…

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A Science Charter for the European Parliament Elections

Many good points made here how the EU is influenced by anti-scientists whether By anti-vaxxers, opponents of GMOs various insecticides and pesticides, energy, especially nuclear and gas.

Some of the Green NGOs are the worst culprits.

Too many are not aware on how these groups influence the EU and thus the UK, with their dodgy science and appeal to the moral high ground

The Risk-Monger

The last European Parliament has proven to be the least scientifically competent political entity since the days of Lysenko and Darré. In the last five years we have seen the sorry lunatic ideas of anti-vaxxers like Michèle Rivasi,  chemophobe Pavel Poc and agtech neophyte Bart Staes – activists using the Parliament and public money to spread fear and ignorance. This May’s European elections, with the rise of extremist populism on the fascist far right and the Green Marxist left, is making the outlook for science and rational dialogue in Europe even grimmer.

Science is not a big vote winner in an election where, as in this year, the European electorate has been juiced up on fear-based issues like immigration and pesticides. So how a candidate feels about science may be a good bellwether to how rational of a public representative he or she will be. Wouldn’t it be…

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Fossil Fuel Fast for Lent

In the bad old days you gave up chocolate for Lent. I confess I never have.

More recently as some in the churches have gone a very dark shade of green, the suggestion is to have a carbon fast.

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2017/02/christians-urged-to-take-part-in-carbon-fast-during-lent.aspx

This year it is to to have a plastic fast. To some that means not using single-use plastic.  Single use plastic has been much emphasised recently but we need to go much further than that and consider problems beyond that.

My concern is that that these Lenten fasts are temporary and don’t focus on central issues.

But before being very serious , here’s my suggestion for a fossil-fuel lenten fast.

Now what about a FOSSIL FUEL FAST?

That is a great challenge but how would we do it?

Now you are not going to use anything made or brought to you by fossil fuels.

Let’s see what happens.

You get out of bed and take off your pyjamas/nightshirt/nightie and you are bursting.

You go to the toilet and realise that the water in the loo and in the pipes has CHLORINE in it made courtesy of Natural Gas by Big Bad Jim Radcliffe. So you go outside and your neighbours see you having a wee.

You come back in and feel rather sweaty and want a shower. Ooops you can’t ! The water would be riddled with bugs were it not for the Chlorine made by Big Bad Jim. You had decided to have a cold shower when you realised that the gas  is FRACKED.

You have a serious medical condition and need to take daily medication. But, you realise they are synthesised from gas or oil , so you decide not to take them on moral grounds.

You start to dress and then struggle to find clothes which a 100% wool, cotton or linen. In the end you go naked

You go downstairs, cold and sweaty, and dying for a cuppa. You are about to switch the electric kettle on and then realise that my GridGB says 47.3% of the elec is generated by gas, 6% by coal and 25% by nuclear (and greenies don’t like nuclear either). Though it went up to 35% or more during the storms – which stopped cycling!

You decide for some orange juice – but it’s in a plastic bottle.

Out of desperation you decide on a beer and realise you have a choice of an aluminium can or bottle – both made using fossil fuels.

You are thirsty so to keep your ideological purity you drink from the water butt  – and chew an insect.

You are hungry, but you can only eat organic as other food is grown with artificial fertiliser from natural (fracked) gas. You remain hungry.

You need to check your e-mails. Stop, both the phone and computer are full of oil/gas-based plastic. So you don’t. The electronic web uses a good percentage of fossil-fuel power.

You are standing there in your itchy merino vest , woollen trousers and shirt etc and thinking it is time for work. Oh dear , how can you travel;

The car is out

so is the railway and bus

That leaves the bike, but each tyre was made from 2 litres of oil and the aluminium frame consumed loads of fossil fuel in its making. The saddle is plastic.

So off on foot you go in a pair of ancient leather shoes.

As you go it starts to rain, a lovely cold, wet, driving March rain which soon penetrates your non-fossil-fuel woollen clothing.

You are freezing and realise this fossil-fuel fast is daft  and a rebellion like this will immediately result in your extinction. Shivering you go back home.

As you shuffle home you realise what a life your green heroes lead; some have private yachts and jets, others fly round  the world on a regular basis, many have mansions.

You say “SOD IT” 1000 times , run home get a hot shower, put on clothes regardless of material, have a cooked breakfast, check your email and ring your boss to say you’ll be late.

That evening you call into your garage and swap your Nissan Leaf for a diesel SUV.

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Yes, this is all very far fetched BUT it is the logic of Dark Greens, even when their behaviour does not match their words. It is the logic of Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibbin , Extinction Rebellion, Operation Noah Christian Climate Action and so much of the green movement today. Probably General Synod of the Church of England too!!

Yes, they are totally right that the planet is a mess and something has to be done to reduce the use of fossil fuels  and over-consumption generally. Pipe -dreams that it can be done by 2025 or even 2030 are just that and counter-productive. No amount of appeals to renewables can make it happen.

This diagram of June 2018 shows exactly why. Look at the tiny orange band for renewables and even the blue for hydro. Despite rapid growth recently renewables only produce a few per cent of the total energy demand whereas fossil fuels deliver a good 80%.

bp

No wonder every forecast of energy use recognise that fossil fuels will still be majorly used in 2050 , even if in decline. This is especially so for transport (when having electric vehicles actually means retaining fossil fuels to generate the extra electricity.).

The green mantra is that all fossil fuels are bad  and ignore the fact that coal is the worst both for CO2 and other pollution and gas the best. Thus all three are demonised. We need this

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The more coal is replaced by gas the better, but that does not sit easily with a green outlook.

As well as giving energy, fossil fuels give an immense number of products – not only the scourge of single use plastic.

A good exercise is to start listing them; pens, kitchen utensils, car-parts, bike-parts, in computers and phone, medicines

This diagram lists those made from oil. A similar list could be done for gas.

oiluses

none of this is to say that fossil fuels are purely beneficial. Over the last 250 years they have given immense benefits to almost everyone on the globe.

 

But there has been an unacceptable price; the CO2 emitted is affecting the climate, which are anything but good.

Hence there need to be changes.

Activist greens argue for immediate drastic action as is seen with the recent activities of Extinction Rebellion. At best they are totally unrealistic and at worst they will be counter-productive and make both politicians and the public reject what is good in thier message.

Their claim is that governments are criminal and committing ecocide, but that ignores the strides (though very ponderous) that governments have made in the last few decades and that IPCC reports are listened too and acted on. Perhaps if they were not so full of virtue signalling they would see first how much fossil fuel they use and secondly that the slow hard graft by many in and out of government are bearing fruit.

As a result the whole issue of the climate is polarised, made worse by the frequent accusations of being a Climate Denier thrown at some, whether it is true or not.

Yes, I’ve poked fun at some of the green christian suggestions for Lent and then taken them one stage further.

Perhaps a better use  of Lent  (on top of the traditional Christian observation in prayer but not giving up chocolate) would be to getting fully informed of all the issues around climate and energy-  and that means studying publications from all perspectives and not just those perceived to be S-O-U-N-D and too our liking. I note that many Christian green groups simply only look to one side i.e. those with a similar perspective to Klein and McKibbin and ignoring those of Ecomodernism, or even Matt Ridley!

As well as that all of us need to look at ways of reducing our impact on the planet, and here I’d need to give a thousand green tips. For myself I have followed some but find others I need to adopt. These cover all areas from transport, use of water, gardening, energy in the house etc.

Think of one or two green things you can start this Lent and carry on doing them for ever.

Have a profitable and green Lent, but more importantly a purple one which turns to red.

P.S. Burning fellow Christians at the stake releases loads of P2.5  – so I am safe!