Shale Gas News and Information
Gas not coal in China and anywhere
- Written by Nick Grealy
- Published: 12 November 2012
Nice piece in the WSJ today on how fracking can save the planet, one of the big themes developing this year. But although it does actually cut carbon and save the world, you can be assured that UK greens won't publicise this one. It may be a solution but it's not their solution. So, the Guardian will dismiss or ignore it. Which is strange because earlier this year, Richard Muller was the Guardian's favourite scientist:
The Earth's land has warmed by 1.5C over the past 250 years and "humans are almost entirely the cause", according to a scientific study set up to address climate change sceptics' concerns about whether human-induced global warming is occurring.
Prof Richard Muller, a physicist and climate change sceptic who founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (Best) project, said he was surprised by the findings. "We were not expecting this, but as scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds." He added that he now considers himself a "converted sceptic" and his views had undergone a "total turnaround" in a short space of time.
Don't expect any conversion to rationality from the Guardian, where neither they or their Business Green partners brook any disruption in the narratiive of evil fossil fuels leading to inevitable catastrophe. Business Green especially has found a very good way of preventing any turnaround or otherwise among their customers/readers. hey don't think they have any duty to even look at evidence that could lead to customer, sorry, mind, changing. In July, Professor Muller was flavour of the month, in November it's Richard who? To be fair, if you Google Richard Muller climate change, you'll get front page stories from multiple sources: LA Times, BBC, Huff Post, New York Times etc. This sadly will mostly remain in the back pages of the WSJ - a shame because it should be read by everyone for or against climate change or natural gas
You may think that global warming is the biggest scam of all time, driven by politicians who want to scare you and scientists who love media attention and increased funding. Or you may think global warming is the greatest threat we face, and that if we don't act immediately we'll leave a tragic legacy for our children and grandchildren.
One of us is a former skeptic, converted by his own research to the conviction that man-made carbon dioxide is the decisive factor in a real phenomenon of climate change. The other is agnostic, willing to be persuaded of human causality but rejecting as ineffective or counterproductive the anti-growth policies proposed by some alarmists. People like us—and all those struggling with the ambiguities of this highly uncertain topic—might come together around policies that make sense whatever the scientific facts ultimately prove to be.
For the sake of argument, let's begin by assuming that the United Nations evaluation is correct in arguing that global warming is real, caused by humans, and going to cause severe disruption to our economies and to our lives. Please bear with us even if you reject this claim; we'll suggest actions that make sense regardless of your position.
Assuming that the U.N. scenario is correct, the only hope for controlling China's emissions is to reduce its coal growth—a challenge since coal is cheap, China has a great natural supply, and the Chinese currently derive nearly 70% of their electricity from coal.
We suggest a dual approach: profitable conservation and rapid expansion of the natural-gas economy.
The conservation we suggest is technological, meaning it wouldn't depend on individual sacrifice or cultural change. Done right, this conservation can yield large returns on investment.
As chance has it, the IEA Global Energy Outlook and the UK DECC separately pushed energy conservation today. So there shouldn't be any hesitancy there. But where the threat to Green Finance lies is in any expansion at all of the natural gas economy. Muller whose recent book "Energy for Future Presidents" is worth looking for, describes any number of no/low cost energy conservation measures but then goes on to point out:
Even more promising is the switch away from coal to natural gas, particularly in the developing world. Natural gas has the huge added advantage of causing far less local air pollution—the kind that, unlike carbon dioxide, is harmful to human health. Coal releases far higher levels of soot and other chemicals that are currently choking China.
One of the factors slowing the world-wide switch to natural gas, however, is shortsighted opposition from some environmentalists in the U.S., Europe and beyond. They argue that extracting natural gas by hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") may pollute local water supplies and leak the powerful greenhouse gas methane, and their arguments affect official and commercial thinking in both the developed and developing worlds.
I try and not quote too extensively from other's work, but this deserves a wider audience:
The dual solution of profitable conservation (beloved by liberals) and clean fracking (touted by conservatives) may not fully satisfy either side. But we hope it can provide a middle ground on which political factions can come together.
It is still conceivable that global warming isn't caused by greenhouse gases, that the theory and the computer models are wrong, and that the match between the temperature curve and carbon-dioxide emissions is accidental. Even so, profitable conservation makes business sense, and a natural-gas economy would reduce smog and improve public health. It is worth facilitating China's shift from coal to natural gas for humanitarian reasons alone.
Humanitarian reasons be damned! The real reason why Business Green won't print this is that it destroys not the planet but their business model. Anyone still invested in almost anything called green beyond broccoli futures should have read this blog a few years back. Not all readers of Business Green will end up involuntarily living off grid when they can't pay their bills anymore. But the only passengers left on the free-range gravy train are some of the media and a variety of elitist millionaires who aren't in it for the money. Because they sure won't be making any more.