Blowout week 23 – bumper issue

In this bumper Blowout with 36 articles the main theme (if there is one) is Europe backtracking on failed policies and pursuing the America fracking dream while America decides to throw itself off the European energy cliff into the abyss of low carbon high cost electricity generation. I kick off with three articles gleaned from The Global Warming Policy Foundation:


The Queen’s Speech today introduced the government’s new infrastructure bill, which supports the shale gas consultation into underground drilling access that was published in late May.
The consultation’s proposals would allow energy companies to frack for shale gas 300m below the surface without getting the landowner’s permission. This also applies to geothermal energy.


Germany is set to lift its ban on fracking as early as next year, after caving in to business demands that it should reduce its dependency on Russian energy and boost competitiveness with US manufacturers.

To frack or not to frack: Mora County’s controversial fracking ban may be in jeopardy

A primary election in a small New Mexico county could have a big effect on one of the country’s most restrictive bans on hydraulic fracturing.

Waiting for the lights to go out: UK energy: who wants out?

Politicians are fond of accusing energy firms of profiteering. In truth, many of them are weighing up whether it’s worth being in the UK at all, says Nigel Hawkins.

Republicans to walk next US election EPA Power-Plant Proposal Will Seek 30% Carbon Dioxide Emissions Cut by 2030

The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a draft rule on Monday seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005, according to two people who have been briefed on the rule, setting in motion the main piece of President Barack Obama’s climate-change agenda.

Obama opts for electoral suicide Obama Said to Propose Deep Cuts to Power-Plant Emissions

President Barack Obama will propose cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation’s power plants by an average of 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to people briefed on the plans.

Sounds good Britain’s uncertain renewables policy puts off investors

The UK has slipped down the rankings of global destinations for investors in renewable energy because of policy uncertainty leading into next year’s election, according to EY.

Is it time to emigrate to Russia? Russia’s Rosatom to boost orders to $100 bln in 2014-CEO

Russia’s state nuclear firm Rosatom aims to grow its global order book to $100 billion this year, up 25 percent year-on-year, by securing new projects in Hungary, Kazakhstan, India and Iran, CEO Sergei Kiriyenko said on Monday.

This sounds like the late Matt Simmons World needs $48 trillion of investment by 2035 to keep the lights on says IEA

A leading international energy think tank has warned that $48 trillion (£28 trillion) of investment will be needed between now and 2035 to ensure the world has adequate energy to meet rapid population growth.

Does the EPA read EM? EPA’s Carbon Rule Seeks to Keep Nuclear Plants in Service

The Environmental Protection Agency would encourage states to build new nuclear plants and preserve those threatened by low wholesale power prices under a proposal to cut carbon emissions released Monday.

US nat gas prices can only go up, or supplies will fall Where are Natural Gas prices headed?

Having spent more than 25 years in the oil and gas industry I have seen my fair share of hydro-carbon price fluctuations. So it has not come as a complete surprise to me that the “shale gas” phenomenon has had such a dramatic impact on North American Natural Gas prices.

Europe to reap reward of bonkers policies Europe’s Power Supply Seen at Risk From Investment Dearth

Europe is in jeopardy of running short of power because wholesale electricity prices are too low to encourage spending on new thermal plants, according to the International Energy Agency.

I think the limit is actually being lowered Dungeness B nuclear plant operator wants safety limit raised

A key safety limit at one of Britain’s nuclear power stations is being raised to allow the life of the reactor to be extended, the BBC has learned.

The regulator has agreed to increase the amount of weight graphite bricks at the core of the reactor at Dungeness B in Kent will be allowed to lose.

Video on fusion, post to follow Tokamak Energy

The company, previously known as Tokamak Solutions, was originally established to design and develop small Spherical Tokamaks and compact fusion reactors for a range of applications. Since then, the strategy has evolved to prioritise building a pilot plant to exceed fusion energy breakeven.

Poor forests! U.S. wood pellet exports double in 2013 in response to growing European demand

Wood pellet exports from the United States nearly doubled last year, from 1.6 million short tons (approximately 22 trillion Btu) in 2012 to 3.2 million short tons in 2013. More than 98% of these exports were delivered to Europe, and 99% originated from ports in the southeastern and lower Mid-Atlantic regions of the country.

Germany abandons capitalism German official signals help for utilities’ loss-making plants

Germany will soon develop plans on how to keep loss-making conventional power plants open, a senior energy ministry official said on Wednesday, a policy utilities have pushed for as Europe’s biggest economy expands green energy.

Salmond bribes voters Scottish independence: Oil fund could start from ‘day one’

Scotland could set up a planned oil fund from day one of independence, according to Finance Secretary John Swinney.

The Scottish government wants to establish the fund to manage fluctuating offshore tax revenue.

U stats World Uranium Mining Production

• About 64 percent of the world’s production of uranium from mines is from Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.
• An increasing proportion of uranium, now 45%, is produced by in situ leaching.
• After a decade of falling mine production to 1993, output of uranium has generally risen since then and now meets 86% of demand for power generation.

Take over on the horizon? Qatar in talks with Centrica over UK power plant investment

Qatar is in talks with Centrica over investing in UK power plants, under plans to expand its partnership with the British Gas owner.

Sounds dodgy Focus Fusion: Clean Energy For All

Scientists at LPP Fusion, led by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, are just one step away from this groundbreaking technology and we need your help for the final push.

Germany very confused Berlin prepares to allow fracking

Germany is set to lift its ban on fracking as early as next year, after caving in to business demands that it should reduce its dependency on Russian energy and boost competitiveness with US manufacturers.

My selection of stories posted by Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time. Luis has a look at oil supply problems and focusses on the disintegrating situation in Libya.

Is the dream over? New Energy Report from I.E.A. Forecasts Decline in North American Oil Supply

NPR’s Business News starts with the outlook for oil. This is a change of course – the International Energy Agency has released a report on global energy investment. And this group predicts the United States will have to rely more heavily on Middle East oil in the coming years, as North American sources start to dry up a little bit. U.S. energy production has boomed recently, much of it coming from oil and gas extracted from shale. But the IEA says U.S. production will start to lose steam around 2020, and that would put more bargaining power back in the hands of OPEC countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

Bubble shale Are Shales a Bubble?

Hype works. Particularly when monetary and economic benefits are promised. Hype has been the primary tool used by the oil and gas industry with regard to shales and it has worked brilliantly. There is just one problem. When considering shale economic viability, hype was the only aspect that actually existed.

Sub-salt and sub-economic? Brazil finds bumpy path on way to becoming world oil power

Brazil’s efforts to become one of the world’s major oil producers have attracted businesses such as U.S. drilling giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes, gained it partnerships with oil companies from India and China, lured immigrants from idyllic Norway and drawn investment dollars from American pension funds in Florida, South Carolina and California.

But the prospects for success have darkened in the seven years since Brazil first identified massive oil deposits in deep water off its coast. Many fear that Brazil’s chance to become one of the world’s major energy producers is fading as the global energy landscape changes dramatically.

Have any lessons been learned? ‘Depart immediately!’ US sends 1,000 marines on assault ship to Libya

The US is sending 1,000 Marines in an amphibious assault ship to Libya’s coast as a “precautionary” move should the US embassy require evacuation, a US official said. Security concerns also led the US to suggest Americans in Libya “depart immediately.”

Dinar goes up in smoke Libya burning reserves due to oil export blockade

Libya’s currency is under heavy pressure as a breakdown in security and a collapse of oil revenues due to port blockades have badly disrupted public finances and an economy already burdened by exploding state salary and subsidy bills.
Over the past two months, the dinar has fallen more than seven percent against the dollar on the black market, its first weakness since rebels demanding autonomy for eastern Libya seized oil export facilities 10 months ago.

Libya out of gas? Libya could stop exporting crude oil in days

Libya’s crude exports could fall to zero in days as the state oil company could be forced to divert the only remaining exports to the Zawiya refinery, which provides crucial gasoline to the country’s capital.

Scotland to follow Kurdistan? Baghdad’s Hold On Kurdistan Slips Further As Oil Exports Begin

In what could prove to be an historic turning point for Iraq, the government of Kurdistan – the semi-autonomous region in the country’s north – has delivered its first shipment of oil to the international market, in defiance of the central government in Baghdad.

Kurdled crude Tanker Hauling Disputed Kurd Crude U-Turns in Atlantic

An oil tanker shipping crude from Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region turned back after getting almost 200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, amid a challenge over the shipment’s legality.

The last week on Master Resource:

Climate models miss the mark Defending the Indefensible: The National Climate Assessment Cherry Picks to Validate Models

It’s become almost common knowledge that global climate computer models used to project future temperatures based on assumptions about greenhouse gas emissions miss the mark. So common that much of the American public even knows it. But the National Climate Assessment released May 6, 2014, uses them anyway to predict future climate changes and their impact for the United States.

No vote for new renewables Brookings: Wind and Solar Technology Fail

The recent paper by Charles Frank of the Brookings Institution, “The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies” provides a reasonably broad, detailed analysis of the lack of value in pursing policies of implementing wind and solar industrial-scale generation plants to reduce carbon emissions. This analysis, however, while on track, misses some very important considerations that strengthen the already negative verdict.

US to follow Europe into Abyss Hansen to Obama/EPA: State Renewable Credits, Cap-and-Trade Are Special-Interest, Ineffectual GHG Mitigation Policies

Today, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency will unveil a proposed rule to require states to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants with an overall reduction goal of 30 percent by 2030. The states can pick their poison, with cap-and-trade emission reductions or increased renewable-energy mandates. Energy efficiency mandates are in the mix too.

High cost low price power Georgia Power and Its Regulators: Doubling Down on Unneeded Electricity (sun, wind, and overcapacity)

Georgia Power is getting a lot of press these days about its commitment to using solar and wind generation. The problem is the age-old triumph of political power over consumer-driven power. The Company does not need this marginal supply, and what is being committed to is more expensive and less reliable than what they already have or could otherwise purchase.

Doublethinking spreads to USA Energy Postmodernism: Obama Today, Amory Lovins Yesterday (645-page powerplant rule to nirvana)

All good things to all people. That is how the Obama/EPA Power Plant Rule is being sold this week in the U.S. and around the world.
Lower prices, more jobs, greater security, accelerated innovation. New for old, cleaner for dirtier. Better air and less ailment. Take the disadvantages of rationing carbon dioxide in U.S. power plants and assert just the opposite. Get others to echo for a ‘shared narrative.’ Think energy postmodernism of wish, want competitive intermittent renewable energy.

Socialism in the USA Why Is Clean, Cheap, Conventional Energy a Hard Sell? (Part 1)

Why is it so difficult for cheaper, cleaner electricity— from nuclear and hydroelectric power, to cheap, lower-polluting natural gas-fired power—to compete in the ideological culture wars against crony-capitalist, semi-socialized renewable energy?

Sociology in the USA Can Green Energy be Demythologized? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this two-part series, conventional, market-based electricity was described as inescapably lacking an overarching myth that gives it legitimacy against postmodern renewable energy, global-warming ideology, and energy regulation in California. This insight comes from sociologist Peter L. Berger’s 1986 book The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality and Liberty.

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3 Responses to Blowout week 23 – bumper issue

  1. Ian Smith says:


    You seem bound to go off into climate denier la-la land – selectively picking the stories you want and placing a political spin on them; rather than looking at the facts. Why is this? What is your deep seated need to deny the reality of climate change? You never used to be that daft with regard oil depletion.

    Point 1) CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the upper atmosphere reduces the rate at which energy can be lost to space. This is fairly simple, basic, science. You can calculate how much extra energy gets dumped into the earth and the earth’s systems as a result.

    Point 2) We know that the earth’s climate is only marginally stable, with a propensity to states which are not conducive to our human society. We know that it’s already changing faster than geological processes can usually achieve.

    Point 3) The energy from point 1 is going somewhere, and that input destabilises the climate state in a way that has a high risk of being dangerous for our human society. That you might stick a thermometer in one part of the system (lower atmosphere) and say “its not rising too fast” doesn’t make things better, rather the reverse. We DON’T want the ocean circulation systems or ice sheets changing.

    Given the above, and that we KNOW fossil fuels are limited in extent, it makes sense to exploit renewable energy resources to the maximum extent BEFORE we exploit non-renewable – confident that no matter how much they cost on an accountant’s balance sheet, they are far cheaper than the effect of peaking in the availability of any of the FFs. You hopefully remember what decline rates in oil can do to society – far faster and more costly than any build out rate of renewables.

    Step back, take a deep breath, and get a sense of perspective. Moving to renewables and addressing CO2 pollution is a GOOD thing, ignoring them a BAD. Oh, and an accountants/economists view of things will steer you wrong – they don’t have the tools to understand this (amongst other things). They are part of the problem.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I find this comment very difficult to understand. Are you sure you are reading my blog and not someone else’s? In this blowout there are 36 stories and only one is on climate change as far as I can tell. And so to your points:

      1) I thought it was the lower Troposphere (and not the upper atmosphere) where the greenhouse effect was most potent. And what you refer to as fairly simple basic science, it appears that you do not understand it. Any excess heat trapped by CO2 depends very much on the existing saturation of the absorption bands and even more so on water vapour feedback. Since the latter is very poorly constrained it is in fact impossible to simply calculate how much extra energy is dumped.

      2) We in fact know that Earth’s climate is amazingly stable. Maybe someone could post a chart to the temperature of the tropics over time. True, that since Antarctica drifted over the S Pole there has been a tendency for two states – a warm state and a cold state. The cold state would be lethal for us, the warm state has enabled humanity to blossom. When you say it is changing faster than geological processes can normally achieve would you care to give some examples for my consideration.

      3) The excess heat that you imagine exists might not in fact exist at all with low climate sensitivity and low water vapour feed back. That is the simplest explanation. Oceans and ice sheets are in a continuous state of flux. You may not want them to change but I’m afraid you will have to live up to and learn to live with THE FACT that these change all the time.

      it makes sense to exploit renewable energy resources to the maximum extent BEFORE we exploit non-renewable

      That is your opinion, I could give you several counter arguments – may write a post that addresses all these issues. I think at the core of your disagreement with me is the fact that I have come down in favour of nuclear power in preference to wind, solar and would probably include shale there too. You should check out my 2050 pathway

      You should learn to use the term “denier” sparingly since my view on global warming squeezes in at the bottom end of the IPCC spectrum. The difference between me and them is that I recognise totally different outcomes for Earth with climate sensitivity less than 1.5˚C and one close to 4.5˚C. And, like Hansen, I am not a wind trumpeting Green and recognise that nuclear power is the best solution to FF decline and to mitigate emissions longer term.

  2. Kit P says:

    Let me correct the record about America. POTUS Obama is not America. The reason for an excutive order is that there have never been the votes by our representatives for ghg regulations. Second, there is no cliff just more ineffictive policy. For those states without coal I would suggest an immediate 50% rationing of gasoline and imported coal generated power. That would be effective. Well at generating recall petitions.

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