The Fracking Rush to Judgement

quick thinkingOpponents of UK shale gas often demand a moratorium because it is allegedly unstudied. Ignoring the multiple US, German, French, EU and Canadian reports in the No Hot Air library section, and several others from UK academic bodies like the Royal Society, shale gas has been the topic of three other studies in this Parliament. Antis will only publicise the most recent one because it’s been the only one that agrees with them. Just like Climate Change Deniers, a recent UK Parliament report cherry picked evidence depending on the opinions of a small minority of often fake experts instead of the overwhelming evidence of scientists like those at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who see shale gas as part of the solution,

The House of Common Environmental Audit Committee report to be published on Monday says:

Continue reading The Fracking Rush to Judgement

Shale catastrophe: For Friends of the Earth

nimbyThe rejection of Cuadrilla’s planning application for two sites in Lancashire is a catastrophic day – for Friends of the Earth.

For this update I’m going to depend on Ruth Hayhurst’s blog Drill or Drop. Ruth is certainly sympathetic to the anti cause,but she’s also extremely professional and fair. She’s a journalist of the old school (she even still uses shorthand!).

 In the interests of recycling, most of the work in this post comes from her reading of it. I would have dug it up sooner, but why duplicate the effort? I also hope that it coming from Ruth should make it more valid to those in the green press too eager to gloss over the details.

Continue reading Shale catastrophe: For Friends of the Earth

Surprising Validators part three: Is natural gas bad for renewables?

Irena A key part of the anti- shale, anti- fracking and simply anti- natural gas narrative has been that cheaper gas will displace renewables. As the United States gives us the only evidence, for and against shale, what does their experience tell us? Instead of portentous sounding groups like Medact or the Scientists for Global Responsibility that have a small base of members, IRENA has the combined expertise of thousands of members from 171 nations and was founded under the auspices of the United Nations. So what does The International Renewable Energy Agency say about the energy policies of the  United States? They recently issued a report:

The United States can increase the use of renewable energy in its energy mix from 7.5 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent by 2030, according to a new report released today. Renewable Energy Prospects: United States of America, prepared by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), also says the US can increase its use of renewable energy in power generation from 14 per cent to almost 50 per cent by 2030, making it the world’s second largest renewable energy user after China.

Continue reading Surprising Validators part three: Is natural gas bad for renewables?

Surprising validator: Peak oil’s Art Berman and a surprise on natural gas.

old time revivalThe second surprising validator recently is a name familiar to shale antis and readers of No Hot Air alike, Art Berman. 

Art has been a consistent shale skeptic and his opinion that shale is ultimately uneconomic has provided an ever present meme in the shale debate especially in the UK. The idea that shale economics don’t work and present a distraction to renewables lies at the base of many antis, from the somewhat serious and rational like Tom Burke through the tin foil hat and Occupy Brigade. To the Occupiers the uneconomic nature of shale merges into their 2009 view of a world in permanent economic crisis. Rather bizarrely it seems, they are desperate to prevent shale explorers proving them right, by allowing us to drill.

Art’s basic premise is the Peak Oil theory, the idea that we’re running out of gas and oil and either the physical loss of supply or it’s affordability has two sub-memes. One is the survivalist doom scenario, while the more rational depend on high prices inferred by Peak Oil to make wind, solar, CCS, nuclear, Icelandic Inter-connectors, Desert Tec or the Severn Barrage and other schemes economic in comparison to either no oil at all or completely unaffordable.

Continue reading Surprising validator: Peak oil’s Art Berman and a surprise on natural gas.

Surprising validators’ role in the shale gas debate, part one.

Isurprising validator’ve talked about surprising validators before. An SV is essentially someone who gives permission to their group to see something different. Within some parts of the environmentalist community, no matter how much scientific proof showing shale is good for the climate comes from other studies, it’s so counter to trend that it actually makes some dig in their heels even further. An SV is someone who is relatively unimpeachable, who allows followers to think different, something difficult when belief and facts collide:

In a new study, a Yale Law School professor, Dan Kahan, finds that the divide over belief in evolution between more and less religious people is wider among people who otherwise show familiarity with math and science, which suggests that the problem isn’t a lack of information. When he instead tested whether respondents knew the theory of evolution, omitting mention of belief, there was virtually no difference between more and less religious people with high scientific familiarity. In other words, religious people knew the science; they just weren’t willing to say that they believed in it.

Continue reading Surprising validators’ role in the shale gas debate, part one.

Energiewende reality check

mad-science-200x200No one can fail to be impressed by Germany’s efforts in the Energiewende, loosely translated as “energy turn” or “energy transformation”. But is it no more than a relic of the peak oil and nuclear fears prevalent in 2009 post Fukushima? What is the view from 2015?

The Energiewende is giving shale operators world wide a lot of another German word import: Angst. Greens insist that there are a suite of alternatives to both fossil fuels and nuclear power and that Germany provides an example to the UK, Ireland, New York State etc etc. This from Mark Ruffalo for example: 

Earlier in the interview, Ruffalo stressed the potential of renewable energy sources like “wind, water and solar.” Citing the prevalence of solar energy in Germany, Ruffalo remarked “America’s being left behind. We’re being left behind all over the world.”

In the interview, Ruffalo misspoke in stating that 30 percent of Germany’s electricity is generated from solar power — the figure is actually three percent. Although he was mistaken, he later apologized on Twitter

Continue reading Energiewende reality check