I was born in Somerset, where the cider apples grow, in 1941. In 1963 I emerged into a depressed UK job market with a BSc in geology (Aberystwyth), an MSc in applied geophysics (Birmingham), a wife (still with me) and a baby son (now a senior executive with Deutschebank) and finally found work processing North Sea seismic records with a geophysical contracting company in London. But the pay wasn’t the best, and when a year later a better-paying job opportunity presented itself in Australia I took it. I spent the next six years in and around Australia doing engineering geophysics, including surveys for dam sites in Hong Kong and for undersea oil pipelines in the Gippsland Shelf (where I once got marooned for a week on Glomar II, Glomar Explorer’s sister ship, when Esso took my boat away).
In 1970 I joined Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City (later based in Tucson, Arizona and for a couple of years in Santiago, Chile) and have worked mostly in mining ever since. For some years in the 1980s, however, I was involved in a geothermal project at the Salton Sea, California, that I initiated and which gave me a grounding in the ins and outs of the electric power industry. And I am pleased to report that 30 years later a 50MW geothermal power plant (Hudson Ranch 1) is finally in operation on the land I leased.
In 1990 I left Kennecott, threw away my suit and necktie, grew a beard and became a consultant with Independent Mining Consultants of Tucson, Arizona, where I specialized in drillhole data base verification and resource estimation (kriging and all that). This was excellent training for analyzing climate data bases, which are in many ways analogous to assay data bases (grade = temperature, precipitation etc., depth = time, XY coordinates the same). The basic principles are of course applicable to the analysis of energy data too.
In 2006 I semi-retired to the town of Ajijic, just south of Guadalajara in Mexico, where I live with my wife at an agreeable elevation of a mile above sea level in a resplendent mansion (with a solar PV system on the roof, incidentally) that has a market value below that of the average London semi-detached. I say semi-retired because I still do consulting work from time to time.
In my career I have worked on hundreds of projects all over the world, although of course I didn’t visit all of them. Some of the projects were a little off the beaten track too, One of the most challenging was being given six months to figure out how to quench an active plus-200C geothermal system on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea, so that the gold deposit there could safely be mined. Somewhat to my surprise, the plan worked.
On specific energy and climate issues I’m guided by what the data tell me, not by claims made in the scientific literature. This is why you will find me disagreeing with most of the “consensus” views on climate change but not all of them. My main concern for the future of my three grandchildren isn’t climate change, but that the misguided efforts of the people who want to save the world from it will leave them freezing in the dark.