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« UK's "fuel low" indicator just came on | Main | Costs exceed benefits »
Wednesday
Mar062013

To hell with the environment - give us biofuels

The House of Commons Delegated Legislation Committee is going to consider proposals for new biofuels subsidies today. The proposals are contained in the draft Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2013, a Byzantine document that demonstrates conclusively that government involvement in the energy market will lead inevitably to disaster. Read this section for example.

Roger Harrabin has an article covering the hearings here. It gives interesting background for the uninitiated, but has some lacunae which need filling. Harrabin says on Twitter that he is unaware of whether this is EU legislation, but says that Germany and Holland have stopped subsidies. Some clarity over these questions would be useful, particularly as we know that an earlier EU biofuels directive was corrupt and was the result of subversion of the legislative process by vested interests.

Details of the committee members and of their discussions earlier in the week are here. The hearing will be streamed here at 2:30pm.

 [Update - it definitely is EU legislation. Parliament are rubber stamping EU corruption]

 

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Reader Comments (22)

And it comes into force on ..... April 1st 2013

How appropriate.

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

If you want clarity Harrabin is the last person to go to , his 'job ' is to spin and smear in the name of 'the cause '

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

From Harrabin’s article:

The European Environment Agency said the carbon emissions from biofuels had not been properly accounted for.
“It is widely assumed that biomass combustion would be inherently ‘carbon neutral’ because it only releases carbon taken from the atmosphere during plant growth," it states.
“However, this assumption is not correct and results in a form of double-counting, as it ignores the fact that using land to produce plants for energy typically means that this land is not producing plants for other purposes... The potential consequences of this bioenergy accounting error are immense.”
What’s more, it’s not widely understood in environmental circles that plants grow closer together in a jungle than in a palm plantation,on account of not needing space between them for tractors to drive up and down. Perhaps someone should write a peer-reviewed article about it.

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:03 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Parliament are rubber stamping EU corruption.

Then why do we pay our MPs? Why not cut out the middle men and send the payments to our masters in Brussels instead?

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The list of allowed "energy crops" is ridiculous. The insanity of renewable energy policy gets worse and worse. But as long as the troughers are making money, then it will continue as the lights go out and we bocome a third world economy.

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

How many realise that the other way conventional fuels are discriminated against, is by "correcting" the alleged CO2/kW emissions factors?

Flue gas analyses of the various grades of fuel oils, Nat Gas, LPG, coal etc have known for decades the precise amount of CO2 generated.

A couple of years ago the Carbon Trust and BSRIA deemed that CO2/kW factors needed recalculating for all fuels. Whilst the factors for every single conventional fuel rose, amazingly those for biofuel and biomass fell.

It seems that for decades every British Combustion Scientist had been wrong!

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Roger Harrabin is viewing for the first time the disaster he and his green buddies have created. They’ve chivvied and pushed and chanted ‘cut, cut, cut, now, now, now’ on CO2 and politicians (here and the EU) have listened to them. They’ve panicked the authorities into choosing the first CO2 reduction schemes that came along. Instead of chewing over an overarching strategy and hearing pros and cons, they’ve left all the thinking to interested parties. Those groups deliver foot thick reports that conclude ‘don’t bother reading this minister, just sign on the dotted line and everyone will love you for saving the planet’.

Well done Rog! His article on the decimated rainforest will come too late and the politicians will shrug and say ‘we’re legally required to cut CO2, so the orang-utans are just the price we’ll have to pay to save the planet from climate change.’ I hope those sad dark eyes haunt him forever.

Don’t let him blame the MPs for this. I’d bet most of them get their environmental education from the BBC. If they don’t know the issues, it’s the BBC’s fault. The BBC has been so busy pushing African drought stories and melting Arctic dramas that they forgot there was infinitely more to cutting CO2 than getting our lofts insulated. If they’d put as much effort into investigating the proposed solutions to CO2 as they have into persuading people it was happening, they might have foreseen this issue and warned MPs before they ever committed themselves to cuts they now can’t achieve without doing abysmal damage in an unintended fashion.

Perhaps he’d like to try and rectify that appalling mistake and investigate the pitfalls of all the other ‘green’ solutions? Perhaps he could also try to work out if cutting CO2 significantly is possible at all?

I won't hold my breath.

Mar 6, 2013 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

@ TinyCO2

Don’t let him blame the MPs for this. I’d bet most of them get their environmental education from the BBC. If they don’t know the issues, it’s the BBC’s fault. The BBC has been so busy pushing African drought stories and melting Arctic dramas that they forgot there was infinitely more to cutting CO2 than getting our lofts insulated.

I do blame our MPs. Obviously they cannot be knowledgeable about every subject on which legislation is passed otherwise they would all be polymaths in the Leonardo da Vinci class. However, since there are 650 of them you would think that on any important subject that came up, e.g. any subject that involves expenditures of billions of pounds, at least some of them would take the trouble to research the subject in a more than superficial way.

Instead of just reading Pravda (sorry I meant the Guardian) and listening to the BBC they should seek out other sources of information and should learn to ask the right questions. Many MPs employ researchers. I wonder how many do not do so? What "research" have their researchers been doing on climate change? Half an hour perusing old posts on blogs such as this one and Watts Up With That would convince any fair-minded researcher that a few probing questions might be in order before Parliament agrees to spend billions of pounds.

In any other field our MPs' dereliction of duty would be considered scandalous and would be grounds for dismissal and quite possibly prosecution too.

Mar 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Biofuel is the sure way to reduce food crop farm areas and increase food prices above that affordable by the third world. No industry should get subsidies because these distort the market and in the case of energy no industry that gets a subsidy is actually viable. If you can't produce power at an affordable price at a time it is needed without a subsidy then get out of the business.

Mar 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Just in case people are not aware of this, our biggest coal-fired power station, Drax, is currently being converted into a predominantly biomass-fueled resource, see their website (also mentioned at the end of the Harrabin article).

Mar 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I don't get it!
If we burn all our wood for energy,where will we get the trees from to build our next-generation fleet of windjammers for the Royal Navy?

Mar 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

I have not looked up the figures recently but would imagine that bio fuels would have lower calorific value and would burn more quickly. It will therefore cost more per Kw/hr in addition to pushing up food prices. So yet again we are hit by our own bunch of illiterates!

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

Roy

Many MPs employ researchers... What "research" have their researchers been doing on climate change? Half an hour perusing old posts on blogs such as this one and Watts Up With That would convince any fair-minded researcher that a few probing questions might be in order before Parliament agrees to spend billions of pounds.
I’ve got a friend who was a researcher for a Labour MP. She’s got a PhD and just saw her own MP ousted by the Greens. I can’t even persuade her to look at my blog, let alone BH or WUWT. She thinks the fact I don’t believe George Monbiot means I’ve become a Tory.

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I had a look at your links. It seems that the L'affair Gleik was about to break.

Did we ever create a shortlist of candidates for the role of policy entrepeneur?

[BH adds: No - I asked about a bit, but no suggestions were forthcoming]

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDead Dog Bounce

You would think that on any important subject that came up, e.g. any subject that involves expenditures of billions of pounds, at least some of them would take the trouble to research the subject in a more than superficial way.

Mar 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM Roy

There are a few MPs who are knowledgeable but they’re not necessarily in the right committee and/or it’s not guaranteed that the others will listen. Think Graham Stringer or Peter Lilley. By signing up to the 2008 Climate Change Act all 463 MPs thought they were doing the right thing. It would have been a subject they felt they could go with ‘consensus’. Why bother to research something that everybody knows is true? Because ‘climate change’ sceptic covers everything from questioning the Hockey Stick to hating windmills, most MPs are terrified of being labelled with the D word. Even to question how much it might cost or if it’s even feasible, is to risk being fingered as a heretic and burned.

Since the BBC is the principal Witch Finder General in this religion, they hold a large part of the responsibility for suppressing thoughts of dissent. Closely followed by the Guardian.

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Geoff: "I can’t even persuade her to look at my blog, let alone BH or WUWT. She thinks the fact I don’t believe George Monbiot means I’ve become a Tory."

Looking at blogs like BH, WUWT and yours led to me stop being a Tory (or either of the other two). I really feel that I have nowhere to go democratically. It is scary that UKIP has some policies (with important exceptions) which appear closer to my attitudes than any main party.

Mar 6, 2013 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered Commentermiket

Bish take a big bag of balls to hand to MPs at the next meeting, cos it's obvious they don't have the BALLS to stand up to the GREEN LOBBY & BBC + Guardian drug pushers.

Mar 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Greenpeace, Roger Harrabin, and the BBC, have gathered, and they have spent, and now the time for payment draws near.

Mar 6, 2013 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Hats off to Messrs Lilley and Stringer. As two of a very small number of MPs with a scientific background, they have been resolute in standing up for realism against the tide of troughing (Yeo, Gummer) and greenie posturing (most of the others).
We are now in a race with the Germans to see whose lights go out first as a result of insane emissions-obsessed energy policies. We should hope theirs do, as when they are forced to lobby for the EU emissions policy to be dismantled, the Eurocrats might have to listen to them as they pay most of the bills. If it is our lights that go first, the Eurocrats will just snigger.

Mar 6, 2013 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

@TinyCO2
On occasion it's just as well MPs don't research what they're voting on; they'd never have voted for the FOIA had they known what was in store for them.

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Tumbleweeds at the Guardian so far...

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

LOL @ SandyS. Yeah, but they didn't know that FOIA included THEM just the plebs.

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

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