Monday, February 17, 2014

[biofuelwatch] Fw: Climat Change Stern ?Biofuels.?A better way.

Dear All
Finding a way forward for clean energy development is possibly the way to stop fire fighting the consequences we see today from the era of the last 200 years  that has used polluting combustion which damages both human health and all biodiversity. Some topical background is relevant as nature lashes the world and man argues over why it is happenning and what to do? 
First the words of Nicholas Stern as reported in
  • the Observer Newspaper( 26th January 2014 ) from an interview at Davos world economic forum , on 2 pages, headed " Nicholas stern -I got it wrong on climate change-its far far Worse "
  • The Guardian newspaper ( 14  February  2014) by Nicholas Stern , on 6 pages ,"Climate Change is here now and it could lead to global conflict "
  • The Daily Telegraph (15 February 2014) comment headed "Fires Show Climate Change is Real-Stern " refers to the article "from left wing Guardian" . Simply lists a selection of quotes on 1 page  . These quotes by climate change  sceptics and political names mostly downplay if not disparage  the warnings in Lord  Sterns letter of 14th.
These press reports  demonstrate how an  urgent issue is aired, at a time when nature is obviously demonstrating the fact that extremes of weather are gathering force and frequency with miseryand loss for so many people .  
Lord Stern's own admission that he got it wrong in his landmark report of 2006  is expanded in his own words as reported in the  6 pages in the Guardian:- 
  • "The IPCC concluded on all available scientific evidence that it is 95% likely that most of the global temperature rise since the middle of the 20th century is due to emissions of greenhouse gases, deforestation and other human activities "
  • "The upward trend in temperature is undeniable, despite the effects of natural variability as we have seen over the past 15 years"
  • "In fact the risks are even bigger than I realised when working on the review of the economics of climate change for the government in 2006"
  • "We also under estimated strong feedbacks, such as the thawing of the permafrost to release methane ,a powerful greenhouse gas( 25 times worse than CO2 ) and tipping points beyond which some changes in climate will become irreversible "
  • "So the risks are immense and can only sensibly be managed by reducing green house gas emissions, which will require a new low carbon industrial revolution"
  • "We are already seeing low carbon technologies being deployed, across the world but further progress will require investment and facing up to the real prices(costs) of energy, including the very damaging emisions from fossil fuels "
  • "The UK must continue to set an example to othjer countries.  The 2008 Climate Change Act ,which commits the Uk to cut its emissions by at least 80% by 2050 is regarded around the world as a model for how politicians can create the kind of clear policy  to signal to the private sector  which could generate billions pounds of investment .
The text in red shows how even Lord Stern,first  excludes biomass from the causes  of very damaging emissions, and then quotes a Model  Act of Parliament of 2008, ignoring the reality of government actions .For example  the UK itself  draws on huge european subsidies and government underwriting to develop private businesses like DRAX, to import and burn wood from USA Canada and South America.,and export the flue gases which pollute the northern regions of Europe and the Arctic.   See "The Economist" April 2013  "Wood the fuel of the Future- Enviromental lunacy in Europe" and "Renewable Energy Bonfire of the Subsidies" -  As your recent Cartoon shows  For every three trees fed to a biomass power station ,2 get lost to the atmosphere as pollution and one is turned into energy. ! .
Lord Stern also seems convinced that the solutions all lie in the hands of the private sector, whose principal regulators are the shareholders in stock exchanges and some poorly enforced environmental regulations with  little monitoring.  We fear the emphasis on " private sector " includes fellow peer  Lord Browne's business Cuadrilla.  The  ex chairman of BP was reported in  march 2013 in the Guardian as follows  "Lord Browne promises to invest "whatever it takes" in UK fracking-  Chairman of UK's only shale gas driller Cuadrilla says billions of pounds could be sunk into "dash for gas" in defiance of critics ".  Lord Browne is also chief Advisor to the UK civil service. The risk of earth subsidence, leakage of  methane to the air by fracking and the vast quantities of chemically dosed water used with risks to aquafers are tossed aside.
Mr Obama the leader of 4.4% of the worlds population who create 25% of global pollution from a country that has the highest debt, has just declared on a visit to drought parched parts of California, that we have to adapt (accept) to the drastic changes in climate  viz. not change our ways.
The Political Economics of the USA and its ally the UK with the 6 other G8 nations, founded on debt will, we  feel, simply continue to lead to cycles of financial crises, negotiated bail outs of too big to fail organisations etc, all to the benefit of a very few elites, but at the expense of the majority and our planet.
On 12 February 2014 Lord Adair Turner, ex chair of the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) from 2008 to 2013, was reported in the French national paper (Le Monde ) as severly critical of the history of debt and abyssmal regulation declaring that we have to rid ourselves of the "addiction to debt".  He quoted that UK private debt rose from 15% of GDP in 1964 to 95% in 2008,  while in the USA the debt had risen from 50% of GDP in 1945 to 200% in 2008, the year of the start of the crash and subsequent austerity measures that destroyed social and environmental protection, creating misery for billions and destroying our social and environmental safeguards.
So, returning to nature and the environment there is no scope to negotiate and bail out the crises of damage done and ongoing in the natural world. The laws of nature cannot be negotiated only respected.  
Here in France, where fracking is still banned  there are still in the south west natural mixed forests (Double, Landais. Limousin Prigord ) which  clean the air, hold water, and protect biodiversity
All these forests are now starting to be attacked/overexploited by industrial scale biomass burning businesses due to the politics of Brussels shaped by the big lobbies.  We are now seeing clear felling to feed heat and electricity generation industrial boilers.  When and if  re- implantation happens it is with monoculture Maritime pines which offer far less biodiversity and suffer pest infestation that leads to ariel spraying with pesticides which kill all biodiversity and also due to wind  drift cause damage to other crops/ wildlife including humans
While leaders argue and try to negotiate in financial terms we know nature can't wait and will not be available to  negotiate away the fundamental laws  of science..
So what do we do? Wring our hands?. Prepare for the worsening ?Stay comfortably numb in apathy?Or address  the key issues  which include
Can  the present human developement paradigm of growth, as measured by GDP which ignores waste and pollution  serve us well and provide for our children's future ?
Accepting that Energy will always be needed,today the source of all combustion based  energy, from fossil fuels to biomasse  derives ultimately from the sun,In the supply and use of  these fuels to recover that energy ,even the most advanced combustion technologies are very inefficient and create pollution ranging from CO2,Methane and up  to 200 largely toxic chemical molecules(especially with biomass ). Why should  we continue when these fuels are increasingly difficult to extract,subject to supply chains and diminishing stocks worldwide ?.
Today new  technology allows access to clean unlimited free energy directly from the sun (which also creates wind,) and with the moon the  tides.All free, while our atmosphere is not overpolluted. An opportunity waiting to be taken.and there are several examples in our area despite Brussels and the big lobbies , We believe this is the way to move urgently to  reshape the future, before it is too late  and it will also povide work and economic advantage hopefully to be shared between all.
We refer to Professor of Physics ( Cambridge ), David Mackay, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change ,and his book published in 2009 called  "Sustainable Energy without the hot air "
This region on the 45 parallel latitude  enjoys average sunlight power of 140 watts per square meter as compared with  the northern european countries, like UK, Sweden, including northern france where the sunshine availability is 100 watts per square metre(Oslo London) with  Paris at 125  ,but wind is more prevalent.  The northern regions are big users of wood burning thanks to subsidies from Brussels  
Conversly  for this SW region where clean solar energy should be subsidised, and is not, we are  unnecessarily cutting down forests to burn biomass, also usiing subsidies from Brussels .Note that the sunshine south of here  is even stronger with Madrid enjoying 177 watts per sq metre .
David Mackays book uses comparisons for various forms of renewable energy in terms of Watts per square meter, which eliminates the false comparisons that subsidised costs in money terms introduce. Thus Biomass is worse than  coal burning and very inefficient providing about 0.3 W /m2 ( it is only in theorey renewable, and certainly not sustainable);  Wind up to 3.0 W/m2,Hydroelectric 11.0 W/m2, Solar PV 18.0W/m2, Solar Thermal 53.0 W/m2,and Nucleur 1000 W/m2, but with huge safety/ cost issues. We add Solar PV/Thermal hybrides, now available which give 80.0 w/m2 (60 watts as heat).
A concrete example is our own 100 sq meter bugalow  with a 20 sq meter carport alongside. The carport roof is  20 sq meters of 2008 vintage German PV panels laid on a wood structure. In 2012 we added a 600watt wind turbine on our gable end , and end 2013 we added 6 sq meters of 4 hybride PV/Thermal solar panels above our roof tiles.  Respectively we average the following annual make in kWhrs  3,000 from the carport, 3,600 (2,000 as heat ) from the new Hybrids (how rapidly the technology has advanced), and 350 from the wind turbine giving a total of 6950 per annum all from the free sunlight/wind.  Our house which uses electric underfloor heating in winter, was built in 2008.  Our annual electricity consumption on our supply meter  is 10,000 kWhrs so we are generating 70 % ourselves using just 26square meters of roof surface.Note we export all the 3 000 kWh from the carport to the grid, and are paid for it. (but contracts such as this are no longer available).  With todays technology it is clear that with provision for electricity storage ( available ) a new home or groups of houses could be totally self sufficient.  
On an international scale David Mackays book describes (on page 179/180) the DESSERTEC Scheme ( ) which envisaged th use of concentrating solar power (18W/m2) developed around  Mediterranean countries, with high voltage transmission to deliver power to Northern regions of Europe.He gives as an example that an area in the Sahara the size of Wales, where peak excess energy can be stored as heat at depth,  could supply all Britains needs. Today we ship vast tonnages of fuels around the world in boats and  tankers or along huge pipelines ;much better to move  electrons down some cables.  
A recent article in the January Le Monde described a Japanese solar initiative.  The Eco Solutions company, a subsidiary of Panasonic, are building a "smart" township South of Tokyo on an old factory site at Fujisawa.  It will comprise 1000 homes all supplied with electricity from integral solar panels with the latest battery technology and "smart" control electronics to be totally self sufficient in energy.
Finally Al Gore's recent book "The Future" states at page 282 that " More potentially usable energy is received by the Earth from sunlight each and every hour than would be needed for all the world's energy consumptiopn in a full year"
Thank you for your patience , hoping this helps and suggesting that Biofuel Watch may find this a trigger to making positive proposals for lobbying in addition to the excellent work it now does alerting and petitioning.
Helen  and Brian Hurley Riberac France also see our charity website at  



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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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