Monday, 31 January 2011

The Beginning of the End for the Green Energy Movement

Public carbon trading is now dead in the USA says Watts Up With That?  The Chicago Carbon Exchange has closed with a closing price of a nickel per ton of CO2.

To add to the misery of the green movement, huge new discoveries in gas, oil and rare mineral deposits see major investors and governments bail out of a collapsing green energy movement.  In December pro-green Spain slashed funding for wind projects by 35% and declared photovoltaic plants would be cut by 45%.  France then announced a four-month freeze on all solar projects.  Then Germany announced it may discontinue the solar industry's sweetheart tariffs in 2012.  The German Energy Agency called for Germany's drive towards solar to be 'cut back quickly and drastically'.

According to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), Dr faith Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, told an assembled London audience that it was now 'impossible' to meet targets to restrict agreed limits on emissions of carbon dioxide.  She conceded that as the eco-energy market stumbles the traditional energy sources show a sudden surge in reserves and blames the shale gas boom in the US that has led to a 50% drop in investment in renewable energy.

"There's suddenly much more gas available in the world than previously thought."

One notable investor at the head of the rush is Bill Gates who thinks that there is better money to be made in advanced oil exploration technologies.

China's vice-minister of land and resources announced at a national conference in Beijing earlier this month that Chinese geologists have detected 'super-thick' oil and gas-bearing stratums in the northern part of the South China Sea.  The ministry confirmed that new finds had also increased the reserves of iron and aluminum by 41% and 39% compared with the levels of 1999.  China is the world's biggest consumer of coal, steel, alumina, copper and cement and rare metals, particularly neodymium, associated with the production of wind farms.

New research from Brazil further suggests experts are changing their opinions over the concept of 'peak energy'.  Oil deposits have been discovered below a layer of salt in the Atlantic Ocean holding at least 123 billion barrels of reserves which are more than double previous government estimates.

More oil has been found in the North Sea and the Scottish-based company Cairn Energy continues successfully around Greenland and elsewhere.

Such news must make uncomfortable reading for environmentalists and green investors, who may be tempted to cut and run, causing carbon trading businesses to collapse. The closure of the Chicago Carbon Exchange is only the beginning.

Update:  Just prior to publication I noticed a fellow blogger has expanded the neodymium issue with his usual vitality.  The Scottish government should take note.


William said...

Whatever way you cut it, though, SR, there is only so much oil and gas in the world. Finding alternatives is not optional, it's a necessity.

I don't rejoice in the news that we're short sightedly chasing the money in the short term. I find it quite depressing actually. We've obviously learned nothing at all.

Mark MacLachlan said...

"Then Germany announced it may discontinue the solar industry's sweetheart tariffs in 3012."

That's a hell of a wait.

"Chinese geologists have detected 'super-thick' oil and gas-bearing stratums in the northern part of the South China Sea."

Just how dry does this egg have to be before we stop sucking it?

Oldrightie said...

Energy is infinite. In human terms, at least. The confusing of pollution with "green" is the real problem.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I am sure that when I first became aware of things like this - let us say about 1968 or so - I was solemnly told by "experts" that the world had about 35 years of oil supplies left.

It still has.

You'd think they would learn, wouldn't you?

subrosa said...

Wind isn't the answer though William. It's counter-productive.

subrosa said...

Thanks Mark. Amended. :)

Maybe so Mark but windmills aren't the answer. They're costing far too much and producing far too little.

subrosa said...

We seldom hear the word pollution these days OR. It's always CO2, but that's coming to a halt.

subrosa said...

Where ripping off the general public they'll never tell us the truth WY. Why should they? We might then object to paying such high utility taxes.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

This is Big Oil in conjunction with Big Banking and stupid governance desperate to maintain the status quo.

Sure there are flaws in the renewables and wind turbines on land have more than most, But, how much do you think you're going to be asked to pay for the oil extracted and refined from these areas.

The Canadian project cost one barrel of refined oil to produce two, and that's without taking into the equation the destruction of land, habitats and lifestyles of every indigenous form of life in an area the size of England.

Underdog's argument is utterly facile.

Nature is a dictator; perhaps a benign dictator. It's not bothered whether we as a specie live on this earth sensibly or stupidly; what it will not allow for long is to apply that stupidity too destructively.

Our stupidity is to allow monetary economics to continue to drive and control the values we have to live under and the inheritance we leave for our grandchildren.

It's the present paradigm of monitory economics that is both driving the search for more oil and pushing the introduction of renewable energy projects probably before they have been comprehensively evaluated.

The Status Quo is the one option we definitely know is not sustainable.

William said...

"Wind isn't the answer though William. It's counter-productive."

I don't have anything invested in any specific alternative other than to say an 'alternative' of some kind must be found for a variety of reasons (economic and security being the biggest), sooner rather than later. I don't see the point in pretending otherwise.

Billy said...

Weekiend Yachtsman - In 1968 or so they did not imagine the demand that there is now with China, India and South America etc all with increasing demand every year that make what we in the west have used so far look like hardly anything in comparison.

A fast as they supply it at the moment it is being used up and it is that huge new demand that is going to price the oil out of the reach of most people, especially in the struggling countries such as ours.

English Pensioner said...

I simply remain unconvinced that man can affect climate change in any way - there's very little real proof that our climate is changing, and even less proof that it is man that is causing the change.
As, even if our climate is changing, there seems little consensus as to what is happening - some seem to predict a Mediterranean climate in Scotland whilst others suggest a new ice age is coming, surely it would be far better to save the money from so-called green taxes and from subsidising windmills, etc, until we have a clearer idea of what is happening. The money would then be used to take steps to ameliorate the changes, whether it is by building higher sea defences to stop the country being flooded or building desalination plants to provide fresh water if we are becoming a desert. At the moment its just being wasted on politically correct "beliefs".

Nick Drew said...

Another small but significant straw in the wind: Osborne appears to be ready to scrap even the tiniest Green Tax, the one penny rise in fuel duty that is scheduled for April

and this at the first hint of inflation & unpopularity

what chance, then, for the astronomic Green Tax that is planned for our electricity bills, to finance renewables ?

ever-decreasing, I should say: GDP trumps GHG - every time

cynicalHighlander said...

Peak Oil and Civil Unrest

One can deny Peak Oil but that wont change the facts that all the easy[cheap] to extract has been done and only the hard, thicker sour crude is left.

Enjoy the real world showing warts and all.

Undulation Of The Geoid

Foxy Brown said...

@ William,

An 'alternative' of some kind must be found for a variety of reasons (economic and security being the biggest), sooner rather than later. I don't see the point in pretending otherwise.

The situation is a little better in that we're not so dependant on the Gulf Arab states or Russia. Better to cosy up to countries in Central Europe, the region has have huge deposits of shale gas.

Necessity will be the mother of invention eventually.

Joe Public said...

".....Dr Faith Birol, ... of the International Energy Agency "There's suddenly much more gas available in the world than previously thought.""

She can't be much of an Economist.

It's called 'The Price of Discovery'. Oil & Gas exploration companies sit on their known assets, and wait for the price of competing fuel/energy to rise before 'announcing' their discovery.

Weekend Yachtsman is quite right - there are vast reserves. IIRC the UK is sat on 300 years' supply of coal.

Apogee said...

Hi SR, in the early 60's GM produced a six cylinder engine which in a Vauxhall Carlton sized car returned 30 miles to the gallon cruising at 40 mph on reasonably flat roads.
By the early seventies with all the anti- pollution rubbish that was put on it, a very similar sized car with about an 8% improvement in power O/P, the car now consumed 17 miles to the gallon.
My point is that by going "green" the vehicle used about 80% more fuel to cover the same distance.
So if it was polluting less, where did the extra fuel it used go to, had to be into the environment some where? Where did we gain from this?

subrosa said...

This may interest you Crinkly.

I don't understand why you think Leg Iron's argument is facile. We're spending billions on these windmills with very little of the manufacturing being done in the UK, and they're certainly not 'green'.

I'm all for renewables which preserve the countryside and benefit the people. Windmills don't do that.

subrosa said...

I'm not pretending William and have no wish to deceive anyone but I'm now sure windmills aren't the answer. Why aren't we looking closer at hydro?

subrosa said...

EP I think the climate changes all the time but I agree with you that the 'proof' it's all my fault is seriously lacking.

Can't argue with anything else you say.

subrosa said...

Nick, I don't think government has much control over the utilities tax now they have given the suppliers the go-ahead. It's a licence to print money for them and you say.

subrosa said...

I'm not denying Peak Oil CH but I'm weary of hearing about how the world will be deplete of oil within 10,20 or 30 years. I've been hearing that for over 30 years now.

Thanks so much for the video link. Very interesting indeed.

subrosa said...

I think she's a scientist rather than an economist Joe.

subrosa said...

Excellent point Apogee. Of course the green's idea is with higher prices we'll not use so much fuel. They'd rather like to bring the country to a grinding halt.

Apogee said...

I just had a vision of how it could go, visualise 8 cyclists ,4 on each side, and at the rear a pod for a passenger, all waterproofed for fitting a political passenger in, the new mondeo .
Well, it doesnt use petrol or oil,with relays of peddlers could keep up 40 miles an hour for an extended period, would even provide lots of employment so every one wins!

subrosa said...

The cyclists would certainly have to be believers Apogee. That counts me out of course. ;)

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

SR - I've read your link (nohotair)

Read my comment again with emphasis on 'monetary economics' and comment on wind farms.

Of course the energy market is a fix - the purpose of all so called free markets is to maximise profit by control instead of 'economic'(efficient) distribution.

subrosa said...

Ah, I'm with you now Crinkly. Was reading from the wrong end of the stick. My apologies.

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