Tuesday, 22 June 2021


 The dark side of solar power & the looming waste crisis

Harvard Business Review, 18 June 2021
By Atalay Atasu, Serasu Duran, and Luk N. Van Wassenhove,
The solar industry’s current circular capacity is woefully unprepared for the deluge of waste that is likely to come. The economics of solar would darken quickly if the industry sinks under the weight of its own trash.
It’s sunny times for solar power. In the U.S., home installations of solar panels have fully rebounded from the Covid slump, with analysts predicting more than 19 gigawatts of total capacity installed, compared to 13 gigawatts at the close of 2019. Over the next 10 years, that number may quadruple, according to industry research data. And that’s not even taking into consideration the further impact of possible new regulations and incentives launched by the green-friendly Biden administration.
Solar’s pandemic-proof performance is due in large part to the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which defrays 26% of solar-related expenses for all residential and commercial customers (just down from 30% during 2006-2019). After 2023, the tax credit will step down to a permanent 10% for commercial installers and will disappear entirely for home buyers. Therefore, sales of solar will probably burn even hotter in the coming months, as buyers race to cash in while they still can.

Tax subsidies are not the only reason for the solar explosion. The conversion efficiency of panels has improved by as much as 0.5% each year for the last 10 years, even as production costs (and thus prices) have sharply declined, thanks to several waves of manufacturing innovation mostly driven by industry-dominant Chinese panel producers. For the end consumer, this amounts to far lower up-front costs per kilowatt of energy generated.

This is all great news, not just for the industry but also for anyone who acknowledges the need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy for the sake of our planet’s future. But there’s a massive caveat that very few are talking about. […]
The High Cost of Solar Trash
The industry’s current circular capacity is woefully unprepared for the deluge of waste that is likely to come. The financial incentive to invest in recycling has never been very strong in solar. While panels contain small amounts of valuable materials such as silver, they are mostly made of glass, an extremely low-value material. The long lifespan of solar panels also serves to disincentivize innovation in this area.

As a result, solar’s production boom has left its recycling infrastructure in the dust. To give you some indication, First Solar is the sole U.S. panel manufacturer we know of with an up-and-running recycling initiative, which only applies to the company’s own products at a global capacity of two million panels per year. With the current capacity, it costs an estimated $20-30 to recycle one panel. Sending that same panel to a landfill would cost a mere $1-2.

The direct cost of recycling is only part of the end-of-life burden, however. Panels are delicate, bulky pieces of equipment usually installed on rooftops in the residential context. Specialized labor is required to detach and remove them, lest they shatter to smithereens before they make it onto the truck. In addition, some governments may classify solar panels as hazardous waste, due to the small amounts of heavy metals (cadmium, lead, etc.) they contain. This classification carries with it a string of expensive restrictions — hazardous waste can only be transported at designated times and via select routes, etc.

The totality of these unforeseen costs could crush industry competitiveness. If we plot future installations according to a logistic growth curve capped at 700 GW by 2050 (NREL’s estimated ceiling for the U.S. residential market) alongside the early replacement curve, we see the volume of waste surpassing that of new installations by the year 2031. By 2035, discarded panels would outweigh new units sold by 2.56 times. In turn, this would catapult the LCOE (levelized cost of energy, a measure of the overall cost of an energy-producing asset over its lifetime) to four times the current projection. The economics of solar — so bright-seeming from the vantage point of 2021 — would darken quickly as the industry sinks under the weight of its own trash.

Full post
6) Solar power investors burnt by rise in raw materials costs
Financial Times, 21 June 2021

The rapid rise in prices for raw materials has reversed a decades-long decline in the cost of solar energy, denting investor interest in the sector following a record rally in 2020.

Shares in solar companies have fallen by 18 per cent this year, after more than tripling in 2020, according to the MAC Global Solar Energy Index, as companies face higher steel, polysilicon and freight costs.

The supply chain pressures are limiting the potential for further reductions in the costs of solar installations, just as governments pledge to focus on a “green recovery” from the pandemic.

The cost of solar energy fell by 80 per cent between 2010 and 2020, but those dramatic decreases have come to an end, according to S&P Platts.

“The narrative in the solar industry has shifted,” Bruno Brunetti, an analyst at S&P Platts, said. “We have seen steep declines in costs over the past decade, but we are seeing that stabilise now and even increase in some cases.”

The US price of hot-dipped galvanised steel coils, which are used in solar panel frames and structures, has more than doubled from early 2020 to record levels, according to S&P Platts. At the same time, prices for monocrystalline silicon cells, modules that allow for the conversion of light into power, have risen by a quarter from this time last year, BloombergNEF data show.

In addition, freight rates in China have also jumped by 41 per cent this year, according to the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, which reflects rates for the export of containers from Shanghai.

John Martin, chief executive of the US Solar Fund, said higher raw material prices will probably increase the costs of installing new solar power by 20 per cent — putting solar costs back to the levels they were two years ago. “Decarbonisation costs will come down, but it’s not going to be free — capital will be required,” he said.

The US Solar Energy Industries Association said this week that “compounding cost increases across all materials are just beginning to affect installers”.

Monday, 21 June 2021


 As Biden goes green, US reliance on Russian oil surges to record high 

The Epoch Times, 17 June 2021
WASHINGTON—Russian oil imports have set a new record in the United States despite the strained relationship between Washington and Moscow. Industry experts believe the Biden administration’s climate policies will make the country more dependent on foreign oil producers.
The United States imported record levels of crude oil from Russia in March and is expected to continue importing at high levels in coming months, according to the Western Energy Alliance, a trade association that represents 200 independent natural gas and oil producers in the United States.

Imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia reached 22.9 million barrels in March, the highest level since August of 2010, according to International Energy Agency (IEA). Of the total amount, crude oil imports from Russia stood at 6.1 million barrels. Russia has become the third-largest oil exporter to the United States.
High levels of oil shipment from Russia have continued since March, according to ClipperData, a commodity intelligence company that monitors cargo shipments worldwide.
“Last month we saw a record 5.75 million barrels of Russian crude discharged in the US, and we’re projecting a further record this month of 7.5mn bbls,” ClipperData analysts wrote on Twitter on June 7.

Critics argue that Biden’s climate agenda is hard on the U.S. oil industry but soft on foreign producers.
“It’s disturbing to our industry that the Biden administration goes out of its way to disadvantage the American producer while buttressing the Iranian and Russian industries,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, told The Epoch Times.
The recent spike in Russian oil imports has followed the “misguided climate policies” of the administration, including ending the Keystone XL pipeline and pausing new oil and natural gas permitting on public lands and waters, according to Sgamma.
President Joe Biden has “tipped us into oil dependence on Russia just a year after complete independence,” Sgamma said, calling it “a geopolitical gift” to the Kremlin.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude surpassed the $70 mark last week, reaching the highest level in over two years. Top commodity traders now believe oil prices could see $100 per barrel due to supply constraints. Oil hasn’t traded above $100 per barrel since 2014.
“There’s been kind of a dearth of investment in fossil fuels, which is going to leave us undersupplied as we go forward,” Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at the Price Future Group, told The Epoch Times in a recent interview.
He noted that the Biden administration’s climate policies, which will reduce the supply of oil and gas, have been a major factor in driving the prices.
“U.S. oil production has fallen by 1.715 million barrels [per day] from a year ago, so a large part of that void is being filled by Russia,” Flynn wrote in a recent op-ed on Fox Business.
“During Trump’s term, America was competing with Russia and Saudi Arabia to be the world’s dominant oil and gas producer, yet under Biden, we are retreating from that race in the name of climate change,” he wrote.

Sunday, 20 June 2021


This article - Are Britain’s pollution levels really a public health emergency? | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT (wordpress.com) blows apart the nonsense that pollution levels are rising. We all know that modern vehicles fitted with cleaner engines and catalytic converters produce far cleaner exhaust gases than the older vehicles of the sixties and seventies. 

It's quite extraordinary what short memories some people have and how easily they become convinced of something which flies in the face of their own experience.

This issue of pollution has no connection to global warming or climate change, as the emissions which cause the health problems are not CO2, the two are deliberately put together as though they are the same in order to convince the public that the huge amount being spent on reducing CO2 is essential. The public are not convinced by the climate change arguments, as they cannot actually see the drastic change being predicted.

Sunday, 13 June 2021


Swiss voters reject key climate change measures - BBC News 

The above link shows that even an environmentally aware nation like the Swiss will not support these kind of tax rises, and neither would the British if they had an opportunity to give our opinion. Time for a common sense party to step forward. 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021


 Here is a link to the report in this evening's news in the south: BBC iPlayer - South Today - Late News: 07/06/2021  I don't think they leave it up for long.

The report was the third item in a short 11 minute bulletin, beginning at 7 minutes in. It was said to be part of a series by Paul Clifton called 'The Road to Reducing Carbon'. It began by saying that motorists were put off switching to EV's by the fact that very few independent garages can repair or maintain them. An expert was interviewed who agreed that few mechanics were trained at the present and so they would need to be retrained and have new equipment.

Next he said that another issue was that damage from quite minor accidents could lead to the car being written off if the battery was damaged. He explained that although the battery meant that no CO2 was emitted as the car went along, there was a lot of energy and cost involved in the manufacture of the battery in the first place. Paul Clifton finished the piece by commenting that there was a sizable question mark over how much environmental improvement EV's really bring.

I was surprised by the tone of this report. It is unusual for the BBC to allow any negative reporting of anything to do with global warming. It shows that there is still some honesty in the media 

Monday, 7 June 2021


 I am pleased to report that my latest letter has been published in the local paper, the Daily Echo, Southampton edition. Here it is: 

Has anyone wondered why Extinction Rebellion (ER) decided to make their protest outside the BP oil terminal at Hamble (Echo report June 2)  instead of outside the Chinese embassy? As we all know, the Chinese emit at least 25 times as much CO2 as the whole of the UK, and they continue to build large numbers of coal-fired power stations. If ER succeed in closing down British businesses then they will cause damage to our economy and simply export our jobs overseas to places like China and India who are still increasing their CO2 emissions, while ours are declining. 

ER want to destroy our economy and that is their number one objective as their leaders have stated. They must not be allowed to succeed as, if they do, we will all be very much poorer. 


If you agree with me then feel free to send a similar (or the same one if you like) one to your local paper. It is one important way to get this vital message out to the public.

Saturday, 5 June 2021


This article Ross Clark: A ban on gas boilers would be yet another pointless eco catastrophe - The Global Warming Policy Forum (thegwpf.com) gives the details of what is about to occur, unless the government can change course. It is a looming disaster of their own making. By fawning over the eco-fanatics they have made it very difficult to row back on the disastrous net zero policy upon which the boiler ban is deemed essential. They could claim the pandemic has cost so much that they can no longer afford net zero, or the only other option is to review the evidence and decide that global warming is no longer such an immediate threat, but that would put them at odds with most other nations who, for various reasons, want to keep to the present course.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021



This piece was given prominence in our local ITV news last night with lots of very soft interviews with the small band of participants. I wonder why the broadcasters never ask them any hard questions, such as "do you own a petrol or diesel car" or do you heat your home with a gas boiler". Or how about "have you ever thought about protesting outside the Chinese or Indian embassies, as those countries produce far more CO2 emissions than the UK". of course they would never dream of giving these people a difficult time. 

Interestingly the BP spokesman was quoted as saying, 

"BP supports the goals of Paris Agreement and our ambition is to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner.

"To achieve this, our strategy will see us increase our spending on renewable energy ten-fold over this decade, to around $5 billion a year, and also reduce our oil and gas production by 40%.

"As examples of progress in this strategy, in the past six months we have entered offshore wind in both the US and the UK.

"We already operate the UK’s most-used electric vehicle charging network, bp pulse, and plan to more than double our chargers in the country over the next decade, including at our retail sites." 

You may have noticed that there is no attempt at defending the use of their product. Only agreement with the premise that they should comply with the protestors as quickly as possible. Why not say that their product is essential for the country to survive and that if they were to stop producing it then it would have to be imported from overseas. 

When will people wake up to the fact that achieving net zero is exactly what our competitors in China and India want? These protestors are being brainwashed into believing they are 'saving the planet', when in fact they are undermining their own country by destroying UK jobs and the wider economy to the benefit of our competitors. When will the media start to wake up and defend our prosperity? 

Monday, 31 May 2021


  The Radical Greens’ Role In Africa’s Locusts Crisis

Richard Tren and Jasson Urbach, CapX
The tragic consequences of UN, European and environmentalist campaigns to deny insect-resistant GMOs and modern pesticides to developing nations.

Two weeks ago a Boeing 737 on final approach to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, flew into a massive cloud of locusts swarming above the airport. The insects were sucked into the plane’s engines and splattered across the windshield, blinding the pilots to the runway ahead.
Throttling up to climb above the swarm, the pilot had to depressurize the cabin so he could reach around from the side window and clear the windshield by hand. Diverting to Addis Ababa, the plane was able to land safely.
The locusts that almost brought down the 737 are part of the worst infestation to hit Africa in 75 years.
Swarms of locusts can blanket 460 miles at a time and consume more than 400 million pounds of vegetation a day; and the grasshopper-like insects increase logarithmically, meaning locust swarms could be 500 times bigger in six months.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calls the threat “unprecedented,” but attempts at aerial spraying have been too little, too late — largely because of FAO’s own politically-driven agenda to limit pesticides — and experts fear Africa may once again be tilting toward widespread famine.
As poor farmers futilely shoo the voracious insects away with sticks, this modern plague highlights the urgent need for pesticides to protect crops and save lives. It also casts into stark relief the tragic consequences of UN, European and environmentalist campaigns to deny these life-saving chemicals to developing nations.
Over the last decade, development organizations and activist NGOs have increasingly pushed organic-style agriculture on the poorest nations, making assistance dependent on a highly politicized version of “agro-ecology” that arbitrarily limits pesticides, bans advanced hybrid crops and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and extols the virtues of “peasant” farming. The result is that Africa has been left virtually defenseless against successive natural assaults to the continent’s ability to feed itself.
The locusts arrive on top of Africa’s on-going struggle with the Fall Army Worm (FAW), which has already spread to some 44 countries. It feeds on a range of plants, but prefers corn, the staple food for most Africans, and has reduced yields by 50% in many regions.
In the Americas, FAW is kept in check by a combination of insect-resistant GMOs and modern pesticides. Yet most African countries have not authorized GMOs because of well-funded environmental propaganda campaigns demonizing the technology — claiming GMOs cause everything from impotence to cancer and autism — and fear of losing their primary export market in Europe, which has arbitrarily restricted critical pesticides used in every other advanced, developed region of the world. The FAO, while discouraging pesticides and GMOs, advises farmers to pick off the insects one by one and crush them with their hands.
Add to this epidemics of Wheat Rust (potential crop loss 100%); Banana Wilt (50% crop loss); and Cassava Mosaic Virus (up to 90% loss). There are thousands of pests around the world that attack agricultural plants, and they don’t just kill crops. Molds that can only be controlled with pesticides produce highly poisonous metabolites called mycotoxins that, if they don’t kill you immediately, can give you cancer and destroy your immune system. They probably constitute the number one food health threat even in wealthy nations, but we keep levels safe with pesticides, GMOs, and expensive food inspection regimes — all things Africa is being denied or can’t afford.
Then there are the insect-borne diseases like Malaria, Zika, Dengue, and countless other parasitic and viral infections. When Zika or West Nile threaten our cities, we haul out the spray cans and ignore the griping of environmentalists. In Africa, however, the anti-pesticide groups hold sway. At their urging, Kenya may soon ban over 200 pesticides that evidence-based regulatory agencies around the world have deemed safe and that Kenya’s farmers desperately need.
Those who think small-scale organic farming is friendlier to mother nature are wrong. Organic farmers use lots of pesticides. They’re simply “natural” ones, like copper sulfate or neem oil, which are highly toxic to people and wildlife. They’re also less effective against pests, so they have to use more of them. Modern pesticides are among the most carefully tested and regulated chemicals in use, and they are used increasingly in targeted, precise ways to limit wider environmental impacts.
Most importantly, modern farming allows us to produce more food on less land. According to Rockefeller University’s Jesse Ausubel, US corn production has quintupled on the same amount of land.  He estimates that if American farming techniques were to be adopted globally, an area the size of India could be returned to nature over the next 50 years.
“Better Living Through Chemistry” was the catchy DuPont slogan of the 1960s. The slogan rings true for those of us living longer, healthier lives of plenty, with more food than at any time in human history. But if the campaigns against chemicals and the demonization of modern agriculture are successful, these gains may well be reversed.
Full post

Saturday, 29 May 2021



The State of the Climate 2020


No sign of a 'climate emergency'

London, 29 May - A new review of weather and climate data based on observational data from 2020 finds little evidence to support the idea of a “climate emergency”.

The annual report, by Professor Ole Humlum, reviews a wide range of temperature and weather data, as well as records on sea-level, storms and ice and snow cover.
Temperature records for the Earth’s surface show that 2020 was a comparatively warm year, but that by the end of the year there was a marked cooling driven by natural ocean cycles in the Pacific. This cooling was also observed higher in the atmosphere.
Sea ice levels globally remained low, but are now increasing in the Southern Hemisphere. Global snow cover remained stable and there is still no significant trend in tropical storms.
Professor Humlum said:
“The weather and weather extremes we are experiencing are still dominated by natural fluctuations. Rapid and frightening changes are nowhere to be seen in the observational data as this annual review shows.”

The State of the Climate 2020 (pdf)

Tuesday, 25 May 2021



Government U-turn on fining gas boiler use is welcome

Now we need a U-turn on the gas boiler ban


"A tremendous political revolt lies ahead unless ministers carry the public on this radical new journey" -- Steve Baker MP

London, 25 May - The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) has welcomed the government's promise to backtrack on fines for homeowners who refuse to replace their gas boilers. It warned, however, that government plans to penalise millions of homeowners through the backdoor will turn the Net Zero agenda toxic.
The adoption, from the 1960s onwards, of natural gas for domestic heating and then for electricity generation brought huge advances in prosperity and human well-being in the UK. The Conservative Party’s attempt to wind the clock back and force householders to discard natural gas prematurely, compelling them to use a more expensive and in many cases inferior heating source is to be deplored.
Even government itself seems to be getting cold feet. It is backtracking on earlier reports that it would fine householders that refuse to move over to heat pumps, which can cost more than ten thousand pounds to install, only work well in heavily insulated modern buildings, and will be very expensive to run as electricity costs rise due to the adoption of expensive low carbon sources.

But the promise not to “fine” comes with the barely concealed threat to coerce or penalise householders in other ways, for example through high taxes on natural gas and a surcharge on natural gas boilers.
It seems that ministers are aware that the heat pumps are just not good enough to make their own way in the market, and feel they need to use a big stick to force reluctant consumers to sacrifice their comfort and well-being.

Steve Baker MP said:
“While the policy making elite have persuaded themselves there is a consensus for their views, the public are increasingly at odds as the costs of Net Zero become apparent. A tremendous political revolt lies ahead unless ministers carry the public on this radical new journey."

Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF director, said:
“Voluntary adoption of heat pumps where they are economic is fine and needs no government pressure. But bullying consumers, first with rumours of fines, and now with threats of taxes and surcharges on a fuel – natural gas – that is cheap, clean and extremely effective in keeping homes warm shows that the government doesn’t really believe its own heat-pump propaganda.
"If it doesn't reconsider its planned ban on gas boilers it risks public outrage, turning the Net Zero agenda toxic."
Further reading

Net Zero cost sheet: Cost of decarbonising housing

Decarbonising homes to meet Net Zero targets will cost £20,000, MPs warn

Friday, 21 May 2021


 I was very glad to hear that Steve Baker MP has publicly announced that he is joining the Global Warming Policy Foundation. This is excellent news, as Steve has been a very influential MP who was a key member of the ERG group that enabled a proper Brexit to happen. You can read his recent article on the effect of climate change policy here

I hope he will form a group of MPs to warn the public of the cost of net zero policy and perhaps lead the government away from the disastrous course they are set on.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021


 This article highlights yet another feeble attempt to make people believe that there have already been significant increases in temperatures, when in fact the data shows that this is not the case. The IPCC reports show that we have only had an increase of 1.1 degrees C since the mid nineteenth century and the modern satellite records show we are currently warming at an average of 0.13 degrees C per decade. Obviously if that were to continue for a few hundred years eventually it would become uncomfortably hot. However, the climate is always changing due to a whole range of phenomena. The past records show that the Earth has had more cold spells than hot. 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021



This article should give us all cause to think. While we obsess over fears of global warming, the Chinese, while paying lip-service to GW, are continuing to rapidly develop on all fronts, including nuclear fusion where they seem to have developed a big lead over the West. 

Monday, 3 May 2021


Incomplete in that it does not include all the factors needed to explain what is happening and why the warming is much less than has actually happened. 

In its Second Assessment Report (AR2, 1995), the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed that a modest warming of the surface, particularly over the Tropics, would result in a significant increase in water vapor amplifying a modest warming from CO2 and resulting in more turbulent weather systems. It claimed this to be a “distinct human fingerprint” on climate. This was a late addition and was not agreed upon during peer review.

Clmate scientist Fredrick Seitz stated the claim was the worst abuse of the peer review process he had witnessed in 60 years of science. The distinct tropospheric warming fingerprint (the "hotspot") has never been found. 

Saturday, 1 May 2021



This article makes some excellent points. I particularly liked this excerpt:

 hyping the event as the “last chance to save the world”, with the result that the public ends up taking it about as seriously as shoppers took the man who spent decades walking up and down Oxford Street with a sandwich board carrying the words “prepare to meet thy doom”. People remember that we only apparently had five years to save the Earth 15 years ago. The fact that we are still here – in spite of carbon emissions that have continued to rise – somewhat undermines the message.  



This piece shows how the Met Office are putting out fake news to push the climate alarm message which is not supported by the facts. 

Thursday, 29 April 2021


 When I saw the article below, my first thought was - what about those who disagree about the conclusions and think there is not an emergency? Or that the policies being adopted are excessive in proportion to the issue that they are dealing with? You will see that this council has an "Assistant Director of Climate Change", which says it all!

Somerset council teaches every staff member about climate change

Somerset West and Taunton Council has become one of the first local authorities in the UK to train all its 600+ staff in climate change.

As part of efforts to address the climate emergency, the council rolled out climate change training to all councillors and employees, including everyone from human resources staff and IT professionals to gardeners and carpenters.

Providing climate change training to all employees was identified as a necessary step to achieving the authority’s goal of reaching net zero emissions for the whole area administered by the council by 2030.

Other policies outlined in the council’s Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan include investing in their own renewable energy, improving electric car charging infrastructure and building low-carbon housing.

The training, provided by a specialist climate change training company, was delivered virtually over 12 sessions in April. 

The interactive workshops covered the climate change impacts already happening, what is causing climate change, how bad things may get in the future and what everyone can do to reduce their own carbon footprint.

Commenting, Somerset West and Taunton Council’s Assistant Director of Climate Change, Chris Hall said: “The council recognised the importance of providing climate literacy training to its employees and members as a means of encouraging behaviour change in all that we do.

“Each person representing the council has the ability to influence the many small actions that lead to our goal of carbon neutrality.

“The training is our starting point to ensure that our diverse workforce has a baseline understanding of what climate change means for us locally, as well as the wider national and international impacts. 

“The training has been well received. Due to the method of presentation, people were engaged with the subject from the outset and despite a broad spectrum of understanding across the workforce, it appealed to all knowledge levels.”

Monday, 26 April 2021


  Andrew Montford: Net Zero is a disaster waiting to happen

The Daily Telegraph, 26 April 2021

Eye-wateringly expensive, and promising unreliable energy, decarbonisation is a dangerous daydream

You can almost smell the change in the air. A growing number of influential voices are beginning to ask the questions that everyone has been avoiding for the last few years. Can we really nudge people into accepting net zero –the decarbonisation of the economy? Is it practical? Can we afford it any more? Or will it prove to be the white elephant to end all white elephants?
They are right to be concerned. The bill has already been estimated at £1 trillion pounds – £30,000 for every household in the country – an eye-watering figure that was probably unaffordable even before the pandemic hit. But a moment’s reflection shows that even this number is far too low to be plausible. Although it is a tidy sum, 30 grand doesn’t go far when you are trying to decarbonise. Heating the nation’s homes is a case in point. The cheapest way of doing this is a combination of insulation and replacement of gas-and oil-fired boilers with heat pumps. But a heat pump and ancillary equipment will set the average homeowner back well over £10,000, and retrofitting insulation could cost twice as much.

Once you have converted 30 million homes, your £1 trillion decarbonisation budget is pretty much gone, before even thinking about the cost of decarbonising the electricity generation system, replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles, installing charging equipment, reinforcing the grid to cope with the extra demand, and weaning industry, freight, transport, shipping and agriculture off fossil fuels. Quite what all this will really cost is anyone’s guess at the moment, but it will certainly be well over £100,000 per household.

Forcing people to spend their own money on that sort of scale is hardly going to be a vote-winner, but then coercion seems to be the order of the day. The Committee on Climate Change – the Government’s advisers on decarbonisation – are urging a ban on sales of inadequately insulated homes. Such a policy would land like a lead balloon in the Tory shires.

And that’s only the start. Decarbonisation’s big secret is that we still have no zero-carbon technology that can balance the electricity grid when it is driven by offshore wind farms. Contrary to common belief, batteries are not even a plausible solution, and hydrogen is so absurdly expensive as to make its use unacceptable.

We are therefore heading for a situation in which the only way to meet supply and demand in a long lull in the wind (like the one we have seen over the past two weeks) will be rationing. That’s what smart meters are for – they will enable grid managers to switch off appliances in your home so that the grid doesn’t collapse. Yes, your home may be cold, and the electric car may sit idle in the drive, but at least the lights haven’t gone out.

It doesn’t have to be like this. A study I helped publish a few years ago showed that an electricity grid powered by nuclear and gas could deliver similar emission reductions to the one we are building, but at a fraction of the cost. New technologies like so-called Allam Cycle gas turbines (essentially a gas-fired power station with built-in carbon capture) could make the system zero-carbon.

But instead, we in the UK will be stuck with vast, unreliable offshore wind farms, which seem to exist mainly to mop up subsidies. It emerged last week that several of our latest offshore installations are taking home a third of a billion pounds in subsidy each year. Every year. The latest and largest, Hornsea One, will soon be sucking up over half a billion pounds of annual subsidy.

We have done the easy bits of net zero – replacing coal with gas made economic sense in its own right. The next steps are going to be harder for Tory canvassers on the doorsteps, particularly in Red Wall seats, where heating bills are high, and the kind of money needed to decarbonise isn’t found down the back of the sofa.

The lessons of the fuel tax rises and the gilets jaunes are there. The public will endure being nudged towards decarbonisation a little bit, for a little while. But if a little nudge turns into a great big shove, they are likely to turn round and give their political overlords a bloody nose. And with the scale of the disaster that net zero is set to be, it will be richly deserved.

Andrew Montford is deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Forum

Full column & 500+ comments (£)

Saturday, 24 April 2021



This report finds that 2020, just like any other year, saw a series of weather extremes. These included a heatwave in Siberia, a cold summer in the Northern Hemisphere, an active hurricane season in the North Atlantic, and wildfires in the US and the Arctic. But he observes that there is little evidence of any long-term worsening of these events, and indeed that most can be linked to natural climatic cycles.

Friday, 23 April 2021



This piece explains how the people who caused serious criminal damage were acquitted by a jury, despite the judge telling them they had no valid defence. We are living in crazy times with decisions like this.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021



My local paper has run this article about my becoming council chairman. As you can see they have honed in on some unpleasant criticism from my opposition. I have never denied that climate changes, but they cannot resist using that derogatory term in the hope of trying to make me unpopular. I prefer the term "climate realist", which, as a scientist, is what I am. 

Saturday, 17 April 2021


 UN Secretary General backs bashing the rich

Gaia Fawkes, 14 April 2021
To the usual roll-call of eco-extremists you can now add UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Loony leftie Claudia Webbe’s tweet that the “Earth is overpopulated; there are too many rich people. To solve the climate crisis; the rich must be abolished” has justifiably attracted a lot of mocking. She’s not the only one who thinks the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to bash the rich. To the usual roll-call of eco-extremists you can now add UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is calling on national governments to impose wealth taxes to combat inequality exacerbated by the pandemic:

“I urge governments to consider a solidarity or wealth tax on those who have profited during the pandemic, to reduce extreme inequalities. We need a new social contract, based on solidarity and investments in education, decent and green jobs, social protection, and health systems. This is the foundation for sustainable and inclusive development.”
Even the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, is calling for minimum corporate tax rates across the world’s major economies, presumably to pay for Biden’s mega-deficit-making stimulus splurge. The political and intellectual classes are pushing for a global paradigm shift, away from the low tax and free-market policies that, since the collapse of Soviet Communism, have seen global living standards rise at the fastest pace ever.
They are using the pretext of the pandemic and environmental alarmism to justify the undemocratic policies they have long wanted to implement. Big states with high taxes and controlled by a technocratic elite – “for our own good”.

Friday, 16 April 2021


 London, 16 April: The Global Warming Policy Forum has condemned what it called the “obscenity” of windfarm subsidies and has called for a complete rethink of energy policy.

GWPF research has shown that just six offshore windfarms are now sharing £1.6 billion pounds in subsidies between them every year. Three receive annual subsidies of over a quarter of a billion pounds each year. On a single day in April last year, Hornsea 1 received a subsidy payment of nearly £1.5 million pounds.

The level of subsidy is sufficient to cover the construction cost of these windfarms in just six or seven years, meaning that future payments will represent almost pure profit for the operators.
The cost of the Contracts for Difference regime is accelerating, and rose by £0.7 billion last year alone, reaching £2.3 billion in 2020. Consumers are already paying out £6 billion under the Renewables Obligation and another £1 billion under the Capacity Market.
Direct subsidies therefore amount to an annual payment from each household of £350, a sum that is rising by at least £25 per year.  

There are further bills to pay too, because windfarms are causing destabilisation of the electricity grid. The cost of the Balancing Mechanism, which deals with grid imbalances, is rising rapidly, costing each household £65 per year, a figure that is rising at a rate of £20 per year.
And the consumer is having to pay for upgrades to the electricity grid too.
Lord Lawson, GWPF director, said:
"We are in the middle of an economic crisis and consumers are hit with astronomical costs for unreliable wind energy. These multi-billion subsidies are not only a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, but are damaging the UK economy as a whole. This madness has to stop.”
Benny Peiser said:
"The level of handouts is an obscenity. Every time a new windfarm comes on stream, the consumer is hit with a double whammy – a relentless increase in annual subsidy payments to windfarm operators and an annual bill for fixing the damage that is done to grid stability. This can’t be kept hidden for much longer. The chickens are coming home to roost very soon, and there will be a big political price to pay”.