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Unilateralists

 

The UK is adopting a unilateralist policy on its approach to action on Climate Change.  This started when in 2008 the UK passed The Climate Change Act which required the UK by law to reduce CO2 emissions. 

This is the reason why the UK has closed most of its coal fired power stations.   European countries by contrast have not only not closed their coal-fired power stations but have built new ones!

Germany for example has built twelve new coal fired power stations including two that burn lignite or brown coal which is one of the filthiest fuels known to mankind. 

Italy and Holland have also built new coal fired stations while Poland generates almost 80 per cent of its electricity from coal.  Britain now has some of the most expensive electricity for industrial consumers and is one of the reasons British Steel is under threat.

The UK emits just over 1 per cent of worldwide CO2 emissions so even if our emissions were reduced to zero this would be insignificant worldwide.  India and China continue to build new coal-fired power stations and consume huge quantities of coal. 

There are other 'Walter Mitty' characteristics of the green debate.  

Electricity generation providers are being urged to use biofuels such as wood-chips.  Drax, the large power station in Yorkshire was built to burn coal from the Yorkshire coalfields. Drax has been converted to burning biofuels.  This biofuel is wood-chips (10 million tons a year), which are imported from across the Atlantic having laid waste to woodlands in Georgia and Canada. 

When wood-chips are burnt they produce 30 per cent less electricity than the original coal and still produce a large amount of C02 relative to the electricity produced. 

However this is described as a 'renewable' because the wood has only just been grown.  The fact that the woodland is now a wasteland hasn’t been factored in.

The drive towards renewables is a 'good thing', but I think a bit of realism needs to come into the debate. 

24 May 2019

 

 

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