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« What New Scientist wouldn't print | Main | Still going slow »
Monday
May232016

Yorkshire goes unconventional

Well this was enough to lull me from my blogging stupor:

Fracking given green light in North Yorkshire

Protesters booed and jeered as councillors gave the go-ahead for the first fracking operation in the UK for five years.

The problem the greens are going to have now is that when the sky doesn't actually fall in, they are going to be left looking pretty dishonest. 

Again.

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Reader Comments (487)

michael hart, Phil Clake and OECD have not grasped it, and are trying to redfine English.

Dung, unfortunately despite the rare earth metals incorporated, wind turbines don't count as fossil fuel, and won't burn predictably. Minus the useless whiney turbine bits, the towers could be modified into chimneys to waft away diesel generator exhaust fumes and noise, which would be a useful method of recycling them into something with a useful purpose.

Jun 2, 2016 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Dung (Jun 2, 2016 at 4:14 PM), I agree with your comment.

What amazes me is that most 'greens' are so short sighted about the future potential of technology to deliver radical solutions to today's apparent 'limits to growth'. For example, Jeff Bezos talked about his vision for the future...
http://uk.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-on-blue-origin-and-space-2016-6
...which I'm convinced could be achieved before the end of this century and, moreover, be realised primarily through commercial ventures rather than government programmes.

Jun 2, 2016 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

PC has to use that tired old straw man of conspiracy, when he and other climate apologists demonstrate so clearly that stupidity and self interest explains the motives and actions of the climate community far better than conspiracy.

Jun 2, 2016 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I think we all knew the definitions Alan. Historically the development of the energy industry relied on subsidies, and they continue today - £20 million direct funding for oil exploration for example - for this hugely profitable industry. And there are clear examples of public money being used to reduce the price of fossil fuels, eg just 5% VAT on gas and electricity, no tax on aviation fuel.

We need to give business the certainty it needs to invest in low carbon. That means fighting against the economically and environmentally perverse fossil fuel subsidies which distort free markets and rip off taxpayers. 

David Cameron

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/un-climate-summit-2014-david-camerons-remarks

Jun 2, 2016 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Perhaps the single greatest benefit of shale gas is that not o e single penny of government subsidy is required to extract the gas from the ground...mainly because it's a "real" form of energy with a "real" value capable of generating "real" energy.

Unlike renewables which ONLY exist because of the billions of pounds of government provided subsidy in the UK. The perverse outcome of which is increased energy prices, killing off those least able to fend for themselves and the enriching of those least deserving.

Phil Clark,

I rest my case. The lengths catastrophiliacs like yourself have to go to contort the every day meaning of a word such as subsidy tells us all we need to know about how far the standards in academia have fallen in recent times.

Mailman

Jun 2, 2016 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered Commentermailman

Phil C. You say you understand the different types of subsidy, then in the very next sentence prove you don't. I worked for two oil companies and we never saw a cent of "direct funding for exploration costs". Reduced royalties to stimulate exploration in hitherto unsuccessful areas or stratigraphic horizons perhaps, but absolutely no money up front. Once an oil play was proven, the full royalty payments resumed. Exploration costs have always been tax deductable - do you consider this to be a subsidy?

The difference between this and subsidies for wind or solar is extraordinary. It's a travesty that the same word is used for both.

Jun 2, 2016 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Phil Clarke

"We need to give business the certainty it needs to invest in low carbon." Why would we want to invest in low carbon???
If we did not subsidise renewables then low carbon would not be an issue.
Like others above I am shocked that you do not seem to understand what a subsidy is, have you thought of night school?

Jun 2, 2016 at 6:39 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung:

have you [PC] thought of night school?
He has, Dung, but can't figure out why all the subsidies he (and we) pay[s] for solar farms can't illuminate his night-time education.

Jun 2, 2016 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Paul C 5.42pm. I should like to question another of your rather unthinking comments - the one where you falsely categorise the oil exploration industry as being "hugely profitable". My undergraduate students commonly had this false illusion, but at least they had the excuse of youth and inexperience. My advice to them was for them to check financial pages to discuss rates of return on their (hypothetical) investments. Most companies do slightly worse than manufacturing companies, some a lot worse. What they, and you (?) mistake is the large profits that that giants like Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil make. But they are huge companies that make huge investments. In actual fact these companies are rather poorly, their control of reserves has been steadily decreasing, their costs for finding replacement oil steadily increasing. For some they make little or no profit from exploration. Companies survive on downstream profits. It's the state owned companies that still make exploration profits, and even then not all the time.

Jun 2, 2016 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I wonder if the OECD has stopped to consider the cash flow involved with the payment of subsidies? The UK system would suggest that the source of wealth for all payments of energy subsidies and taxes flows from the final consumer. (I appreciate that export and import nibbles at this statement, but it's broadly correct).

Considering the UK case (renewables may be just wonderful in other countries).

Taxes and subsidies may be just fine in the energy market provided:
They are applied in a progressive manner (renewables subsidies are NOT)
They do not distort the energy market such that essential despatchable generators are repelled from the market; in the UK that is clearly not happening since renewables have sliced and dashed the demand curve so much that CCGTs are loathe to meet the demands of an intermittent and variable load. If we wish to return the CCGT generators to the fray, we will now have to subsidise them.
They do not create an energy system dangerously low on grid stiffness/inertia This has already happened, albeit this is not just a result of subsidies but also of a complete lack of management of the subject.
They target some audited form of design or development improvement. This aspect of renewable energy subsidy in the UK has failed abysmally. The wind generators of today are more or less the same as ten years ago: same gearboxes, same wind velocity/production curves. Nor have they become cheaper: onshore wind is inflating at over 4 % per annum, off shore at nearly 17 % per annum, and this consistently over a ten year period.
They pass the test that they will deliver some good: solar generation is still principally amorphous silicon; it has fallen in price, dramatically, but it's amazing how that price drop followed the subsidy cuts, just like CO2 levels following temperature! A study of solar generation in Spain (near double the insolation levels of the UK) showed it to have an EROI of 3 - it was therefore a drag on the Spanish economy. David McKay, in his final interview with the Guardian (so it MUST true and correct - no lying here) admits that DECC knew that UK solar would be a dead duck, but politicians (Huhne) wanted it to go ahead. We now have 10 GW of this useless generation form.
They are applied with some stated objective which is subject to audit review. This has not happened at all.
Any analysis of subsidy benefits includes costing of intermittency mitigation, additional transmission costs, etc. Again, not done at all.
You can go on. You might want some provision to prevent external impacts of renewables on such things as farming, tourism, and the environment.

PC (who else) has cited renewable production records as milestones of progress; I regard them as tombstones of a viable generation industry. The intermittency of renewable generation is economically insoluble. We should divert renewable energy into space heating, leaving electricity generation within our island grid capable of meeting the needs of modern society.

Externalities: wonderful idea: but has anyone ever costed the external benefits of fossil generation? I would bet they're at least ten times the IMF's costs. Anyone care to calculate the external costs of renewables, some of which are touched upon above

Jun 2, 2016 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Phil C is reliably demonstrating with his "explanation" of subsidy why stupidity is the best explanation for the Climate Consensus world view.
Thanks, Phil!

Jun 2, 2016 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Capell

Do not forget the solar company subsidised by the US government that got into financial problems because it could not hit its generation targets even though it was operating in Death Valley hehe. Sorry I can not remember the name :(

Jun 2, 2016 at 9:46 PM | Registered CommenterDung

"stupidity and self interest explains the motives and actions of the climate community far better than conspiracy"

-and one should never look for a conspiracy if incompetence is an adequate explanation.

Like quoting David Cameron and George Osborne to reinforce a scientifically unresolved position.

PS Phil Clarke and Entropic Man -

Spectator did not ask for proof - merely evidence - apparently if there is evidence that leaving 2/3 of oil reserves and 80% of coal reserves in the ground will contain GAT below 2ºC above some unspecified ( and probably unknown ) pre industrial GAT PC and EM are not aware of it. The IPCC have definitely not produced such evidence and the 2ºC target was not established on the basis of evidence but by a politician for political purposes.

We are also all still waiting an answer from PC to Spectator's second question

i.e. what solid evidence he has and can share with us that a 2ºC increase in GAT above some unspecified pre industrial GAT - half of which has already happened - will be more damaging to the welfare of humanity than the cost of attempting to prevent it by the means of reducing/ eliminating the use of fossil fuels - which is of IMMENSE BENEFIT to those who have access to the energy they provide ( subsidised or not!).

Jun 2, 2016 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

There is no evidence that fracking is bad.

There is only unconfirmed speculation about the size of UK Shale gas reserves.

20+ years years of very expensive climate science has been a disaster, and still can't justify itself.

What about if Shale Gas is given 20+ years to justify itself, without taxpayers being asked to subsidise it, then we can regroup to see which technology is better value for money.?

Jun 3, 2016 at 12:40 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"PC (who else) has cited renewable production records as milestones of progress..." -- Capell

I have them noted as millstones to progress.

Jun 3, 2016 at 2:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Michael,

You haven't quite grasped it. See the OECD definition.

Jun 2, 2016 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil, I've certainly grasped that when I criticised the definition you used, you retreated to talking about a definition you apparently had not actually stated (I make the working assumption that your thoughts and words are your own, unless you credit them to another source or person). So, I went to the wikipedia article you cited and looked for an alternative OECD definition of subsidy in this context, and couldn't find one.

What I found was this: The first sentence of the article, followed by a reference link, began with

"Energy subsidies are measures that keep prices for consumers below market levels or for producers above market levels, or reduce costs for consumers and producers."

The reference link led nowhere. There was no reference at that link. It led back to the the same wikipedia article. That definition seems effectively identical to the same words you (now obviously) cut and pasted without attribution, and the same definition that I criticised.

I looked further in the article for another OECD definition you might possibly have alluded to, but could not find anything relevant. I looked extensively into the most promising references, 16 and 26 in particular, and still couldn't find a more detailed OECD definition.

Why am I not surprised? I have accused you before of mindlessly supplying references without actually reading them. I make the same accusation again.

If you have the reference you appear to have claimed, and have actually read it, please post it here for me to read.

Jun 3, 2016 at 2:20 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

KA-BOOM!!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jun 2, 2016 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered Commenter Phil Clarke

Pick a well-established scientific principle, say the Conservation of Energy or Natural Selection.

Now show me the proof.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

(drops mike)

Jun 3, 2016 at 7:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterAyla

Jun 2, 2016 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke
...the energy industry relied on subsidies, and they continue today...And there are clear examples of public money being used to reduce the price of fossil fuels, eg just 5% VAT on gas and electricity, no tax on aviation fuel.

Rrrright, NOT taxing something = "public money being used"....

Wow. Just....you know, wow.

Jun 3, 2016 at 7:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Oh dear oh dear oh dear - Hunter reduced to wheeling out the the old 'conspiracy' strawman again.

Still hasn't figured out that since government both funds climate science, and has a monumental vested interest in a finding of alarmism, there will be an inbuilt alarmist bias towards alarrmism. No secret plotting needed, it is just an organisation naturally promoting its own self-interest, exactly as every other organisation does.

Indeed, for any honest, genuine climate science funded by government to happen, ignoring the vested interest of its paymaster, and so risking being sacked, now THAT would require a conspiracy.

Jun 3, 2016 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

Ayla.
Are you all right?
Did you fall?
Do you feel sick?
Understandable.
Take it easy for the next few months

Jun 3, 2016 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Euan Mearns has a good post about global fossil fuel "subsidies".

http://euanmearns.com/the-appalling-truth-about-energy-subsidies/

"The dark red on the map are the countries paying the highest FF consumption subsidies and is of course more or less a map of OPEC."

It's poor oil producing countries lowering the price they sell the oil to their populace, so they can afford to buy it.

Jun 3, 2016 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterNial

You say you understand the different types of subsidy, then in the very next sentence prove you don't. I worked for two oil companies and we never saw a cent of "direct funding for exploration costs". 

Personal incredulity fallacy. It was announced in the 2015 budget along with substantial tax breaks.

At Budget earlier this week, the government announced that it will encourage over £4 billion of additional investment in the UK’s oil and gas industry over the next five years by:

• introducing a new Investment Allowance to drive new investment, simplify the existing system of offshore field allowance and provide greater certainty for investors. The allowance will be available on investment expenditure incurred after 1 April 2015.

• reduce the Supplementary Charge from 30% to 20%, building on the 2% cut announced at Autumn Statement, to send a strong signal that the UK is open for business and ensure the UK Continental Shelf remains competitive as the basin matures. The change will take effect from 1 January 2015.

• reduce Petroleum Revenue Tax from 50% to 35%, to encourage investment in older fields and the key infrastructure they support. This change will have effect for chargeable periods ending after 31 December 2015.

boost offshore exploration by providing £20m of funding for a programme of seismic surveys in under-explored areas of the UKCS in 2015-16.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/oil-industry-support-set-out

Jun 3, 2016 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil Clarke, and for every barrel of oil or gas extracted from the ground, how many ££s of tax does the Government claw back?

If you are advocating nationalisation of the UK fossil fuel industry, that is a valid point for discussion. But you are not.

Will your Green associates now be amending the Wikipedia entry michael hart linked to, so it complies with Green doctrine? It has been done before, thousands of times, by William M Connolley

Jun 3, 2016 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Phil C. Part of the remit of the UKGS is to explore the geology and mineral resources of the UK onshore and offshore. I wonder how it does the latter? £20 million is nothing.

Try to read through government spin; the UKGS would have spent this money on research anyway, it was massaged by the Chancellor as support for the oil industry, and more particularly for the employees of that industry.

Try again?

Jun 3, 2016 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Spectator did not ask for proof - merely evidence - apparently if there is evidence that leaving 2/3 of oil reserves and 80% of coal reserves in the ground will contain GAT below 2ºC above some unspecified ( and probably unknown ) pre industrial GAT PC and EM are not aware of it. The IPCC have definitely not produced such evidence and the 2ºC target was not established on the basis of evidence but by a politician for political purposes.

The last point has some validity, but in any case is basically moot; we've little chance of meeting the target. The evidence is laid out in detail in the Letter to Nature that I linked to, and the Hansen paper a little later on, and many other places

We are also all still waiting an answer from PC to Spectator's second question i.e. what solid evidence he has and can share with us that a 2ºC increase in GAT above some unspecified pre industrial GAT - half of which has already happened - will be more damaging to the welfare of humanity than the cost of attempting to prevent it by the means of reducing/ eliminating the use of fossil fuels - which is of IMMENSE BENEFIT to those who have access to the energy they provide ( subsidised or not!).

Its not a particularly well-posed question - the disbenefits continue long after we hit 2C, and there are co-benefits to emissions reduction, for example fewer deaths from air pollution that require careful analysis.

That said, every economic cost benefit analysis, starting with the Stern Report, then the Garnaut report in Australia, even the report from Bjorn Lomborg's Copenhagen project concludes that adaptation and mitigation measures have a positive benefit cost ratio:

Table 4.1 reports our summary results, and all but the “Mitigation only (annual)” option show benefit-cost ratios in excess of one. In our assessment of the options, we conclude that the portfolio approach – option (5) that combines annual mitigation, investment in carbon-saving and carbon sequestering technology, and additional adaptation measures to combat potential increases in the incidence of some infectious disease – is the best choice. It has the highest benefit-cost ratio (a respectable 2.7), and it takes advantage of the complementarity noted in IPCC (2007b).

So emissions reduction and associated measures save us money, amongst other benefits for 'human welfare'. I have a counter-question. Given these heavyweight analyses, where is the evidence that doing nothing is the sensible option, given that the economic consensus says different?

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Jun 2, 2016 at 6:33 PM, Alan Kendall

The difference between this and subsidies for wind or solar is extraordinary. It's a travesty that the same word is used for both.

A travesty is a very strong word.

Consider this: Two object have equal reflectivity in all wavelengths of the visible spectrum. However, one has a great intensity of light falling on it and the other none. Surely, if they have equal reflectivity in all wavelengths of the visible spectrum they must be the same colour?

I hope you can now see how the subsidies are the same.

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:12 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:11 AM, Phil Clarke

...there are co-benefits to emissions reduction, for example fewer deaths from air pollution that require careful analysis.

How did subsidising low CO2 emission diesel vehicles relative to petrol vehicles reduce air pollution?

Other than it's incalculable radiative effect, what is the polluting action of CO2?

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:17 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Once again, a link has gotten messed up somehow :-(

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/keep-it-in-the-ground-blog/2015/mar/25/what-numbers-tell-about-how-much-fossil-fuel-reserves-cant-burn

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

You know a way of reducing the CO2 from fossil fuel combustion that does not also reduce SO2, NOx, CO, volatile organic compounds, black carbon and organic carbon?


Reducing fossil fuel combustion reduces outdoor air pollution. Do I really need to explain how?

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

You must be getting dizzy Phil? :)

Mailman

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:27 AM, Phil Clarke

You know a way of reducing the CO2 from fossil fuel combustion that does not also reduce SO2, NOx, CO, volatile organic compounds, black carbon and organic carbon?

Yes.
The example I gave of switching from petrol to diesel cars.
Reducing fossil fuel combustion increased outdoor air pollution.

So please explain how, other than it's incalculable radiative effect, what is the polluting action of CO2?

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:55 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

The example I gave of switching from petrol to diesel cars.

Fail. Switching from petrol to diesel gives a modest decrease (c15%) in CO2 due to greater energy efficiency, but the hydrocarbons and oxides I listed are also reduced. Diesel turns out to be a Faustian bargain due to the increase in particulates.

So it is an almost complete irrelevance in climate policy terms, which have reductions in fossil fuel combustion, chiefly coal and oil as the core measure. This inevitably brings a reduction in the other air pollutants listed above. Studies show that this and other co-benefits can substantially increase the benefit cost ratio of climate policy.

Combustion of fossil energy leads to climate change and air pollution. The oecd, therefore, posed the question if a global climate policy could bring additional benefits by reducing outdoor air pollution, with the associated positive effects on public health. The potential additional benefits can be an extra incentive for countries to participate in a future climate agreement. The study by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (pbl) indicates that there is indeed a synergy between these policy areas. An integrated strategy tackling climate change and air pollution will reduce the policy costs and generate a net welfare benefit at the global level.

[…]

This study also shows that a stringent air quality policy can lead to a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases. For example, if China pursues a stringent air policy to reduce the number of premature deaths from chronic exposure to outdoor air pollution by 70%, by 2050 (compared with a baseline trend without policy), this policy will lower gdp in 2050 by 7%. The air quality benefits would be equivalent to 7.5% of gdp, while greenhouse gas emissions would be 40% lower

Jun 3, 2016 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Jun 3, 2016 at 11:16 AM, Phil Clarke You say,

Switching from petrol to diesel gives a modest decrease (c15%) in CO2

And also,
So it is an almost complete irrelevance in climate policy terms, which have reductions in fossil fuel combustion, chiefly coal and oil as the core measure.

But it is not fossil fuel combustion that causes climate change. It is CO2 emissions, apparently. All you have asserted is that climate policy is not based on any faith in the efficacy of CO2 for affecting the climate.

Which is true. As everyone knows cAGW is bunkum. So why would climate policy be based on CO2 emissions?

Climate policy is not based on CO2 emissions as no-one thinks that CO2 is a pollutant.
It isn't.
As you have ably demonstrated.
Thank you.

Jun 3, 2016 at 11:30 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Sorry M Courtney but you are wrong...a very large number of people and organisations on the left consider Co2 a pollutant.

Of course anyone still retaining the ability to think for themselves (or rub two or more brain cells together) KNOWS Co2 ISNT a pollutant but sadly people like us aren't the ones puling the purse strings!

Mailman

Jun 3, 2016 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered Commentermailman

Re subsidies
Bottom line customers have paid the subsidies and INEFFICIENCIES of so called renewables solar/wind/cropfuels.
Setting aside CO2 consequences what counts is 'does an energy source pay into tax system or take out of it'
When you have a fossil fuel power station - tax is paid on that fossil fuel when it's mined
When you replace it with renewables not only does the consumer pay a electricity higher price
but they lose the benefits of the tax paid on the fossil fuel.
- I am guessing that solar/wind projects have added such costs amounting to $trillions
.. I'd be interested for Phil Clarke to present some evidence that it is not of that level.

Jun 3, 2016 at 1:11 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Wordplay.

If you exclude its radiative effect then CO2 is arguably not a pollutant, but policy is designed to reduce CO2 precisely because of this attribute.

CO2 is the major, but not only, manmade greenhouse gas.

Fossil fuel combustion is the major, but not the only, source of elevated CO2 concentrations.

Fossil fuel combustion causes air pollution by the release of compounds other than CO2

Cutting fossil fuel combustion reduces CO2 emissions and also reduces air pollution.

Reduction in air pollution has economic benefits, which makes a reduction in fossil fuel combustion more attractive than considering its climate change effects alone.

Jun 3, 2016 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

When you have a fossil fuel power station - tax is paid on that fossil fuel when it's mined
When you replace it with renewables not only does the consumer pay a electricity higher price 
but they lose the benefits of the tax paid on the fossil fuel.
- I am guessing that solar/wind projects have added such costs amounting to $trillions 
.. I'd be interested for Phil Clarke to present some evidence that it is not of that level.

Your 'guess' is based on a false premise - that renewables are always more expensive than fossil. This is not the case, grid parity has been achieved and surpassed in may countries for wind and solar PV and uptake is advancing remarkably.

Then there's the Merit Order Effect, which works because the operating costs of renewable are lower than dirty energy.

Increasing the supply of renewable energy tends to lower the average price per unit of electricity because wind energy and solar energy have very low marginal costs: they do not have to pay for fuel, and the sole contributor to their marginal cost is operational cost. As a result, their electricity, this costs fully covered by the FIT revenue, is, on the spot market, less costly than that from coal or natural gas, and transmission companies buy from them first.[1][2] Moreover, solar energy is typically most abundant in the middle of the day, coinciding closely with peak demand, so that it is in the best position to displace coal and natural gas electricity when those sources are charging the highest premium. Solar and wind electricity therefore substantially reduce the amount of highly priced peak electricity that transmission companies need to buy, reducing the overall cost. A study by the Fraunhofer Institute found that this "merit order effect" had allowed solar power to reduce the price of electricity on the German energy exchange by 10% on average, and by as much as 40% in the early afternoon, in 2007; as more solar electricity is fed into the grid, peak prices will come down even further.[2] By 2006, the "merit order effect" meant that the savings in electricity costs to German consumers more than offset the support payments paid for renewable electricity generation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merit_order

Jun 3, 2016 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Sturgeon,

And therein lies perhaps the greatest tragedy of Mann Made Global Warming (tm), which IS completely man made! All those tens and hundreds of billions of dollars that have been syphoned out of the public purse because of green subsidies could have built thousands of schools or hospitals or employed millions of policemen, school teachers, doctors, nurses, firemen etc.

But no...the good all that money COULD have done was quite literally p1ssed in to the wind chasing ground unicorn horn generated rainbows.

Mailman

Jun 3, 2016 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermailman

M. Courtney. 10.12am. I am fully aware that the definition of subsidy (grants provided without expectation of a specific return) can be employed widely. This does not detract in any way from MY believe that it is a travesty that the term can be used for different things. In one (renewable subsidy) the grant is given to the energy PRODUCER to make an inefficient and, at most, a marginally profitable product ("green" energy) profitable: in the other (fossil fuel subsidy) the grant is usually given to the energy CONSUMER to make an energy efficient product cheaper. In those cases where fossil fuel companies receive subsidies, these are in the form of lesser takes from goverments. They are only similar in that both subsidies reduce government income. They differ in that wealth generation comes from the energy producer in the case of fossil fuels, but from elsewhere for renewables.

I therefore reserve my predilection for the word "travesty".

Jun 3, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

What an enormous thread!

Late to the party, but felt compelled to correct EM's way upthread comment that the MWP And LIA can be explained by Milankovitch cycles.

Er....no. The shortest Milankovich cycle has a period of about 21,000 years. The time period between MWP is circa 500 years, so no you cannot explain the MWP and LIA that way. Still, being out by a factor of about x20 is presumably close enough for climate science, eh?

Jun 3, 2016 at 3:10 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Phil Clarke:

Your claims about "subsidies" for fossil fuels and then citing the recent £20M investment in seismic surveys are about the worst kind of propaganda that environmentalists spout. The quote was:

• boost offshore exploration by providing £20m of funding for a programme of seismic surveys in under-explored areas of the UKCS in 2015-16.

Heres the rub, Phil. Firstly, the oil industry worldwide pays its way. The contribution to the exchequer in the latest OGA report is stated as:

1. Low oil prices in 2015-16 combined with continuing high levels of investment and increasing amounts of decommissioning expenditure have resulted in Government revenues declining to -£24 million, their lowest levels since records began in 1968-69. In 2014-15, the figure was £2,150 million.

2. PRT revenues were -£562 million (in comparison to £77 million in 2014-15) whilst corporation tax revenues fell by 74% from £2,073 million in 2014-15 to £538 million in 2015-16.

3. Government revenues declined from £10.9 billion in 2011-12, to £6.1 billion in 2012-13 and then to £4.7 billion in 2013-14. Significant investment in both existing developments as well as new projects, a decline in the volumes of oil and gas produced combined with a halving in the oil price between 2011-12 and 2015-16 has resulted in government revenues decreasing to their historical low.

So current government revenues, due to the low oil price, are now effectively zero. For the period 2011-15, without investing a penny, at no risk to itself and without any tax payers money whatsoever being used, the government took very nearly 24 Billion pounds of tax revenue from the oil industry. And note that the dreadful tax take result in the latest period 2015-16 is the lowest since records began 47 years ago. What subsidies?

The reason for investing £20 million in seismic surveys is because the UKCS is expensive for exploration and production. It has to compete with many other areas and tax regimes around the world to attract the private company capital that oil companies bring to develop reserves. By stimulating exploration, significant future tax revenues will be obtained. It also helps to keep our huge technology industry going - not included in the government revenue figures are the export earnings from our huge expertise, software and technology sales.

So as part of that advertisement to attract reinvestment of private money, it paid a small amount for data - which it owns - to try and stimulate exploration in two areas. The areas are the Rockall Trough and the Mid-North Sea High. The data is free to download for anyone, including universities - even you, Phil, can download it for free. It can be used for any purpose, including academic studies, geological studies etc.

Subsidies? Pah, don't me laugh. You want to pose a credible argument, be my guest. But while you spout such pathetic nonsense don't expect me or anyone else with their head screwed on to take you seriously.

NB the latest OGA report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524588/Statistics_of_government_revenues_from_UK_oil_and_gas_production_May_2016.pdf

Jun 3, 2016 at 3:29 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Sorry, link broke. No sure how to embed, so have split on two lines:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524588/
Statistics_of_government_revenues_from_UK_oil_and_gas_production_May_2016.pdf

Jun 3, 2016 at 3:32 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Thinking scientist

Saw that and was at first tempted to "put the Milankovitch boot in". But I felt so sorry for him, and he was suffering so from the usual suspects that I took pity.

There was another reason. EM would then immediately argue that, if you cannot supply a mechanism to explain the MWP, LIA, they cannot exist and Mann's fetid carcass of a hockey stick must prevail. I simply couldn't stomach that - setting off golf Charlie into his customary rant.

Perhaps EM won't notice this deep into a thread.

Jun 3, 2016 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

ThinkingScientist - without getting tied up in what is and is not a subsidy, a key reason for the decline in Government revenues from NS oil is contained in the document

Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) This is a field based tax charged on profits arising from oil and gas production from individual oil and gas fields which were given development consent before 16 March 1993. With effect from 1 January 2016, the PRT rate was reduced to 0% (previously the rate was 50%). PRT is a deductible expense in computing profits chargeable to ring fence corporation tax and supplementary charge.

Now whether the Government spends money to reduce prices or reduces taxes on the producers, the net result is the same - less public money available to spend on other things. Whether you want to call this a subsidy or a tax break, I don't really care.

Jun 3, 2016 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Hi Alan,

I don't like leaving obvious and non-controversial facts uncorrected - that's the way ever more nonsense gets promulgated as meme's across the internet.

TS

Jun 3, 2016 at 4:12 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

PC,

Government policy is based on the premise of not killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Previously, the take was massive and included PRT. But with the UKCS being a (very) mature province the government has had to improve the fiscal regime to prevent capital flight to other, more attractive and more competitive waters. Hence the changes in PRT.

Doesn't change the basis of my argument. And NO tax payers money has been used to develop the North Sea. Its all private capital. Just like fracking will be. Subsidies? pull the other one!

Jun 3, 2016 at 4:19 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Phil C. Do pay attention. PRT reduced to 0% for fields given development consent before March 1993, not all North Sea production. It applies to old fields; those mostly depleted (like the Fortes Field) those that require complex stimulation to produce the last, most difficult oil, to extract. Oil that could never produce any profit with a 50% taxation band.

Jun 3, 2016 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

You know a way of reducing the CO2 from fossil fuel combustion that does not also reduce SO2, NOx, CO, volatile organic compounds, black carbon and organic carbon?

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Yes. It is called CCS, which increases the coal/gas consumption (and thus its pollution emissions) by about 30% in order to create enough energy to Capture and Store the emitted CO2.
Daftest idea ever!!!

Jun 3, 2016 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

PC
Re that Wiki page on Merit Order.

Meeting peak demand with renewables:
First of all, the time of peak demand (in the UK at least) is not midday; it's between 5 pm and 8 pm. And the time of annual maximum demand occurs in December. Solar is completely absent for the winter peak demands and plays a marginal role at other times of the year. In winter months solar capacity factor hovers around 3 %. As a consequence, National Grid sets the capacity credit for solar at zero.
As for capacity credit for wind, there are all sorts of wonderful claims made about wind supporting the peak, being correlated with UK demand - all rubbish: see my paper with ASI. Capacity credit for wind: at very low penetrations of wind power into the market, capacity credit is almost equal to the capacity factor (~26 %), but falls as the fleet size increases. At 10 GW installed wind, it's about 2,300 MW. With 20 GW installed, it's worth about 3 GW capacity credit. Again, see my wind paper, and umpteen publications by Chris Dent.
If you think all that's rubbish, then how come that after installing 30 GW of onshore, offshore and solar plants in the last seven years, we have a capacity crisis in the UK?
All your statements about marginal costs of renewables are true, but of course, you forget who pays the subsidies? It's not the fairies, it's not the government, it's not the producers, it's us. And we also pay over the odds for the CCGTs, OCGTs and the like to chip in when renewables fail. Oh, and we pay for the extra transmission installed to reach the wind and solar farms. Why was Beauly-Denny built?
And finally Germany. Yes, the wholesale price is falling. But:
"While wholesale prices have fallen 13 percent in the past year, subsidies to fund Energiewende have pushed German consumer bills to the second-highest in the European Union after Denmark. Household prices rose 2 percent in 2014 from the previous year, Eurostat data show." Strange that, isn't it?
Gosh, I wonder why they're high in Denmark as well?
And Germany will not have cut CO2 emissions from electricity generation by 2020 by one gram because for every MW of renewables it's retired an equal capacity of nuclear. And as Germany demand has risen, they've built 12 new lignite power stations - terrific!

Jun 3, 2016 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:11 AM, Phil Clarke said;

...there are co-benefits to emissions reduction, for example fewer deaths from air pollution that require careful analysis.

I challenged that and argued that the only reason for emissions reduction is the incalculable radiative effect (see up thread). We discussed this back and forth.

Eventually at Jun 3, 2016 at 1:22 PM Phil Clarke said:

If you exclude its radiative effect then CO2 is arguably not a pollutant, but policy is designed to reduce CO2 precisely because of this attribute.

So I conclude, Phil Clarke, that you have retracted your comment of Jun 3, 2016 at 10:11 AM.
There are no co-benefits to emissions reduction.

Jun 3, 2016 at 7:11 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

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