Gas is leaking from pipes beneath New York City and Bill McKibben has confidently informed us that this is simply more evidence that the climate benefits of shale gas are much worse than many claim. Unfortunately the only real message from the article is that Bill McKibben is rather selective about evidence when it comes to fracking and that his apparent willingness to “do the math” on climate change does not transfer over very well to the rather important question of where we get our energy from.
I’ll begin by tersely summarizing the report (which as McKibben notes was funded by an anti-fracking group). Essentially the gas pipes under New York city are old, and apparently leaking methane. This supposedly means that some of the claimed emissions reductions from shale gas are not happening. Leaking methane means the emissions are not being saved.
So, what do New York’s old and leaky pipes have to do with the claimed emissions reductions due to shale gas? Precisely zero. Here’s why. Continue reading
This morning the Guardian reported that relying on gas would push up UK energy bills by £600 by 2020, whereas renewables would only increase them by £100. The basis of the article is a report by the Committee on Climate Change. A quick glance at the executive summary of the report makes clear that the Guardian reporter mixed up 2020 and 2050. The £600 figure is a projection of costs in 2050. The £100 figure is one for 2020. Not exactly apples to apples.
A secondary point, not mentioned by the Guardian, is that the £600 figure comes from a high carbon price scenario. How high? Continue reading
The UK Chancellor George Osborne recently succeeded in getting a scenario into the UK government’s gas strategy. This involved having up to 48 GW of gas capacity in the UK by 2030. It is my view that this amount of gas capacity is, under any realistic scenario, more gas capacity than is consistent with decarbonising electricity by 2030. This view, it would appear, is also held by Greenpeace.
However, let’s consider how much gas capacity Greenpeace wants. Or, more importantly, how much gas capacity we would need if Greenpeace got what they wanted in terms of renewable energy. Continue reading
‘Fracking’ exploration could affect 60 per cent of UK
A rather frightening headline in today’s Independent. John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director, makes it clear that this claim is not simply a piece of idiocy from a sub editor at the Independent:
Two thirds of England, including large swathes of countryside, is now under active consideration for a risky, polluting, expensive form of fossil fuel extraction. Continue reading