Shale opponents: We’re only in it for the money.

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I’ve always wondered why Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace are against shale gas, but I never thought them cynical. But recently, I’m starting to think that they, and many of the  householders they ally themselves with, aren’t interested in the big picture of climate change, but spare change. They could well be only in it for the money.

For example, Dr Paul Stevens of Chatham House, is often quoted approvingly by FoE, this being only one of several examples on the FoE website.

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High Cost. High CO2. US shale cooking the UK turkey this Christmas

turkey1Back in 2011  then DECC Secretary Chris Huhne said

Unconventional gas has not yet lit a single room nor cooked a single roast dinner in the UK

Until this year, he’s been right. Despite the go-slow/moratorium in the UK and Europe, this Christmas looks likely to see the first shale gas molecules enter the gas grid. This means those who espouse a keep it in the ground, no shale here or anywhere philosophy may need to cook their goose over a biomass fire or in a nuclear and coal powered electric oven. Don’t like shale gas? Take out the central heating.You’re going to be using shale anyway. Even nuttier, using imported shale gas LNG means a substantially higher CO2 cost compared to locally sourced gas.

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Is the UK serious about shale or not?

indecisonThe fiasco in the brewery that Lancashire County Council is failing to organise about the decision to drill in the county shows that the issue is too complex a decision to be left to them alone.  

This is certainly not a reflection on the planning officer’s report, a very complete affair, which rejected everything except local noise and traffic concerns, and will set a valuable precedent for the rest of the UK. But it’s obvious that the committee are uncomfortable in the middle of an emotional debate. Many planners have told me privately that they want the cover of someone deciding for them and actually resent being given the responsibility to do central government dirty work. Conversely it makes the planning system even more likely to bend over backwards and get outside consultants who back up their no action at all choice. The misconceptions, exaggerations, fears and sadly, often outright lies, put forth by Friends of the Earth in particular are a powerful tool when combined with a major negative PR campaign itself founded on fear that the vested interests of renewable lobbies would be damaged by natural gas. I’ve noted on several occasions how wrong that is. The US experience shows how even in the midst of the shale boom, more renewable energy generation is being built than any other type. Texas (!) produces more wind energyby percentage than Ireland, Denmark or Spain, over a third of actual delivered electricity in winter 2015. Methane levels in Pennsylvania have fallen by half in ten years, ten years of a gas boom. Health impacts are entirely conjectural, not medical as a report from only yesterday has shown yet again.

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Connecting the unwilling. Why do Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace talk at people and not with them?

ises“Connecting the Unconnected” was the theme of the 3rd International Student Energy Summit (ISES) in Bali, Indonesia the week before last.

Students from 100 countries attended, but there was an especially wide range of energy experts from all corners of the globe. It was good to see old friends like Barry Goldstein, Energy Regulator of South Australia and make new ones like Chris Bromley, IEA lead on Geothermal Energy and Liu Xiaoli from China’s Energy Research Institute and the World Economic Forum. Professors in renewables from the US, experts in Urban Planning and Energy from Amsterdam, my favourite Russian gas expert Tatiana Mitrova  were there along with the brightest environmentalist going, Mike Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute. We even had Chris Nelder, representing the disappearing world of Peak Oil and an inspiring speech by former President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, someone with an obvious interest in global sea level rises.

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Break out the brews. Great news on gas and climate.

bintangTwo incredibly good pieces of news in the past couple of days. I was going to write about the US EPA report on water, and point out how the UK press has completely ignored this huge story. It seems they prefer to repeat disinformation, calumnies and outright lies about shale with alarming frequency if they come within press releases from experts like Friends of the Earth. Essentially an innocent industry has been cleared, but without that verdict being printed, people like Andy Burhnam MP are going to give an incomplete opinion.

But there is something way bigger today:

Research by London School of Economics suggests the world could now avoid warming of more than 2C

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Causes and cures for falling European gas demand.

Unfriend-Coal.FacebookI provide reality checks for renewables, nuclear, CCS and energy efficiency, so while hating to poop on the party at the World Gas Conference in Paris this week, it’s only fair to provide balance for natural gas.This from Platts:

Natural gas demand in the EU fell 11.5% in 2014 to 417.5 Bcm, 21.9% lower than the 534.5 Bcm consumed in 2010. This was the fourth straight annual fall.

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