Protesters told to Frack Off

The good people of Balcombe are law abiding and decent folk. Bearing in mind how much anti-fracking propaganda has been spewed out about the Balcombe drill site they are understandably somewhat nervous. But even they realise that the Cuadrilla test well is hardly the end of the world. It is by the way, not fracked. It is not even gas - they are drilling a test well for oil.

The good folk of Balcombe are, however getting truly p*ssed off with the anti-social self-indulgent tribe of technologically illiterate bigots who have descended upon them.

Below is an open letter from the Balcombe Parish Chairman to the buffoons.

(h/t to Bishop Hill here )

...At a public meeting held last Friday evening [No Dash for Gas] sought to justify such actions on the grounds that the company that is drilling is acting illegally and that in consequence illegal actions to stop it are justified. This is quite simply not the case.  Like it or not, the drilling operation is entirely legal.  All the necessary permissions and permits have been sought and are in place.
  • Thirdly the  group seeks to legitimize such actions by saying that whatever is done is in response to Balcombe residents’ call for help. This is just not true.
So here it is. Balcombe strongly opposes any actions which may be taken which involve civil trespass and/or illegal acts. And I further state this, if the No Dash for Gas group is coming here in the full knowledge that it intends to break the law then it should stay away. It is not wanted in Balcombe! It is duly uninvited.
Alison Stevenson
Balcombe Parish Council

I just found the full letter.... it is HERE

Just about says it all really.

Fukushima – the Hidden Epidemic

I hope to show in this post how the events at Fukushima and the subsequent actions of the Japanese government effectively signed the death warrant for thousands of Japanese people and consigned many more to ill health and premature death. I will also show that sadly, this is a continuing and on-going problem with no end in sight.

A great deal of lurid speculation has surrounded the melt downs at Fukushima. But surprisingly, (it is now two years since the Tsunami) there has been no indication of any actual loss of life from radiation from any reputable body.

But significant loss of life there has been. Without a doubt.

The press and media have distracted people from this silent epidemic by their lurid (often fictional, usually ignorant)  sensationalist news reports. The result is that most people are now focussing on the wrong issue.

To get a handle on this epidemic we  need to consider events that took place all across Japan immediately after the Tsunami. Particularly we need to see what happened to Japanese power generation.

After the melt downs,  the Japanese government ordered the shutdown of all nuclear plant in Japan. Today, two years on, only two reactors are in operation. As Japan relied on nuclear power for close on to 30% of its electricity, these shut downs left a very large hole in Japan's generation capability. A hole that had to be filled by other generating capacity.

Here is a a set of tables up to end 2011 of  Japanese fossil energy usage for electrical generation

From this you can see Natural Gas generation rose by 58 TWh, coal by 57 TWh, and Oil by 9 TWh through 2011.  It would seem reasonable to assume the split remained much the same through 2012, if not somewhat higher in total

Now we come to some highly regarded published and peer reviewed papers

The first paper (published in Environmental Science and Technology paper available HERE) is by Hansen and Kheracha (if you don't know who Dr Jim Hansen is then you must have been asleep for the last ten years)

They reference a second paper (published in The Lancet medical journal - paper available HERE) by Markandya and Wilkinson. Both papers revolve around this table showing the number of deaths caused by electrical generation. While this table refers to Europe, I would argue is equally valid for Japan.

The extra Coal based electrical generation, (displacing Nuclear) kills through air pollution, 24 people per TWh of generation. Over the two year period that comes to (24 x 57 x 2) = 2736 deaths, 25,000 serious illnesses and untold minor ailments.

Extra Natural Gas based electrical generation has caused (3 x 58 x 2) = 348 extra deaths, 3400 serious illnesses and  again thousands of minor illnesses

Oil based electrical generation statistically kills 19.2 people per TWh. So the additional oil based generation has caused the deaths of ( 19 x 9 x 2) = 342 extra deaths, 2900 serious illnesses and another legion of minor illnesses.

Assuming Nuclear would have originally handled all this (i.e. 57 + 58 + 9 = 124 TWh),  then the statistical deaths from nuclear would have amounted to (0.052 x 124 x 2) = 12 deaths and 54 serious illnesses.

So there we have our hidden plague. Death brought about NOT BY nuclear power, but brought about by NOT HAVING nuclear power. An epidemic killing almost 3500 people in two years ( that is nearly 33 a week) and leaving many times that number ill and incapacitated.

Of course, this slaughter can be stopped within a few days. But that requires political courage and an honesty beyond that seen so far in Japanese politics.

Basically somebody has to stand up, explain the statistical risks to the Japanese people from nuclear power. Then detail the continuing carnage from the fossil fuel replacement.

Then they need to turn the nuclear plant back on.

(my figures are highly conservative. The most likely death toll from this silent plague is considerably higher)

How Wind Turbines Increase Global Warming

Below, using some peer reviewed data I hope to show you why an Industrial Wind Turbine, replacing coal plant, will actually increase Global Warming for well beyond the lifespan of the Industrial Wind Turbine itself.

First of all, just to be nice, we are going to assume that some highly dubious pro-wind propaganda is true.

We will assume a turbine has a productive life of 25 years.
We will assume that it directly offsets coal plant on a one-for one basis.
We will assume it needs no spinning reserve at all.
We will totally forget about the concrete/Neodymium mining/ steel/fibreglass/copper etc.
We will ignore the methane ( a strong greenhouse gas) that gets released from disturbed peat bogs where IWT's are sometimes placed.

Most of all we will completely forget about the environmental damage to wildlife. We will also totally ignore those pesky Human Beings who think they have a right to have a say about what gets built near them (Nimbys - damn them all!)

For those of you who are either falling about laughing or about to burst a blood vessel at this point, please bear with me and read on.

At this point we need to bring in the current ruckous over shale gas.

The data here I use here is taken from this paper: Coal To Gas: The Influence of Methane Leakage by Tom L. Wigley of the (U.S.A) National Center for Atmospheric research.

The main thrust of Wigleys research was to study what effect different rates of Methane loss (rogue methane) would have on a coal to gas conversion. His initial paper dealt with only a 50% coal replacement over 50  year period with a linear rate of replacement. The electronic suppliment dealt with a much more drastic changeover where coal was totally replaced by gas in 50 years.

The surprising outcome from this research is that in the first 40 -60 years or so, as gas replaces coal the main driver of global warming is the reduction in Aerosols emmitted from coal plant. A primary constituent of coal Aerosols is Sulphur Dioxide which is a very potent anti-greenhouse gas. So the removal of the aerosols actually increases global warming. It is only after about 60 years before the reduction in Carbon Dioxide overwhelms this warming.

The best graph to illustrate the problem is actually in the electronic supplement to this paper (see graph ESM2) This graph assumes total replacement of coal with gas over 50 years.

This is the graph (the top half refers only to proposed global temperature increase and is irrelevent here)
Notice with Natural Gas there are three issues surrounding it's affect on Global warming:

1. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) reduction by displacing coal (causes reduction)
2. Seepage of Methane (CH4) from either pipes or wells. (causes increase)
3. Reduction of Aerosols (mainly Sulphur Dioxide SO2) by replacing coal. (causes increase)

You can see this clearly on the left hand portion of the above graph. While this graph includes rogue methane from natural gas, clearly, even when you take the methane out of the picture the net affect  on progressively replacing Coal plant for any non sulphurous generating plant for the first 40-60 years will be an increase in Global Warming.

Let us replace the Gas for Industrial Wind Turbines.

(We will ignore IWT peat bog methane release - although we shouldn't)

Over the 25 year life time of our idealised super Industrial Wind Turbine, these will be no reduction in Global Warming from a decrease in Carbon Dioxide generation at all. But over the same period, the reduction in Sulphur Dioxide emissions from the replaced coal plant will cause a much higher and significant rise on Global Warming.

This is true for Gas, Nuclear, Hydro, Wind and Solar. Anything, that in a rolling program reduces Sulphur Dioxide emissions will cause more Global Warming (not less) in the first 40-60 years after coal replacement starts.

A Gas plant will last 40+ years. Nuclear 60+ years, Hydro 100+ years. Plus all the three will give a consistent and reliable output without requiring any form of backup.

Even assuming the cloud cuckoo land concept of an IWT having a lifespan of 25 years, it will need to be replaced at least twice before any productive gains from Carbon Dioxide reduction will be made. The same applies to Solar.

But worse than that, the IWT's will always need backup from Gas anyway. It is very easy to visualise that even if a madcap scheme involving the building of hundreds of thousands of our idealised turbines took place, there would be no decrease in global warming at all this century. But there would be an increase in at least the first 40-60 years..

This all assumes the lies wishful thinking of the wind turbine industry are true. In my own opinion, the most likely outcome is that Industrial Wind Turbines will have no impact positive or negative on global warming at all, simply because they are so damn ineffective.

Of course, removing Sulphur Dioxide is actually a very good thing. Even if it causes a temporary rise in Global Warming. Today hundreds of thousands of people die from coal based aerosols and the sooner they are removed the better.

But really, do we need to try and do it with half baked, wildly expensive and short lived plant like IWT's? Just about anything Gas, Hydro or Nuclear is more effective. The only technology that may be even more ineffective than IWT's is solar.

The end result of this, even if you believe the Wind Industry, is that Industrial Wind Turbines are NOT going to help prevent global warming within their 25 year life span. Or during the life span of the replacement or even the replacement after that. In fact assuming they actually do replace coal plant they will increase global warming for the next two generations at least.

Note: A less valid version of this argument is currently being used by the Greens against fracking. Their argument is less valid because gas is reliable, dispatchable and requires no backup other than standard fail-safe spinning reserve. It is also plentiful, is useable in transport as well as power generation and can be stored. It is also vital as a backup for the useless wind turbines even though it already cuts CO2 emissions by 60% from coal by itself. 

But it appears that the Greens now think Sulphur Dioxide is "A Good Thing". (God help us all)