Silence, for a while

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Over the next few months my writing activities should be going down to a minimum so that I can concentrate on my thesis. Expect silence, or crickets or whatever the phrase is.

My Energy Collective stuff, for those with enough time on their hands to read it, will be a lot slower. For a while I was knocking out something every week. The reason for that was that I wrote almost all of them last year, but decided just to publish them once a week for a couple of months as I thought it would boost my readership.

This seems to have worked. I now average around 80 comments per piece. Of course I should caveat that a lot of the discussion is rather vacuous – it is the internet after all.

But from now on it will likely be at most one piece per month. I’ve got something half finished about the long death of British coal, a primer on capacity factors, and on land requirements of wind farms. Plus I feel the need to write a link bait article called “How many wind turbines would it take to power the planet?”.  The piece I wrote with that title, but for the UK, is still the most read piece I have written at Carbon Counter. Rather strange given that it took me about half an hour to write it.

This stuff should be enough to get me through to the end of the summer, all the pieces need is some tidying and some guff to go around the graphs.

I do feel the urge to write a critique of the rather flawed Greenpeace report which claimed China’s coal boom is over. This report has been getting a lot of media coverage, and too much of it has been uncritical. Science journalists have rules they try to adhere to. One is that if a piece of research is published you get an outside opinion. Strangely this does not seem to apply when it comes to environmental journalists covering reports written by environmental groups.

But for now I am resisting the urge to write about it, and am trying to just ignore general media debates over climate change and energy.

Here though are some things Greenpeace do not point out. The slowdown in coal consumption in 2012 was almost entirely a result of a drought in 2011. This mean that hydro-electric output rebounded massively in 2012, i.e. coal consumption for electricity did not need to be much higher.

Greenpeace’s figures for later than 2012 are projections, i.e. made up figures of even lower reliability than official Chinese estimates. Their 2013 figure of 2.6% coal consumption growth however makes little sense. Official statistics show that output of coal power plants grew by 5.7% in 2013, steel production grew by 7.5%, while industrial output grew by almost 10%. These statistics cannot be reconciled.

Ah, now I am digressing and probably boring you.

Anyway, there will be no more blogging on Carbon Counter, except for periodic updates about things I am writing elsewhere.

For now here is a clip from the excellent The Trip To Italy, which I hope everyone is watching.




3 thoughts on “Silence, for a while

    Mark Brandon (@icey_mark) said:
    April 23, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Good choice. Hope it goes well. M


    Robert Wilson said:
    April 23, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Thanks. I might have to park the blog for a while. I have an awful habit of checking the viewing stats far too often. I’m obsessed by getting a reader from Greenland, you see.

    The viewing stats are also very depressing at times. It can be dispiriting to see who is linking to your blog. But it’s probably not a good use of time to update the blog when I am not on Twitter. So I’ll see if I can figure out a way of doing the equivalent of locking it away in a drawer, so that I can access it at a later point it I need to. Perhaps when I return to Twitter, which I plan to do at the end of the summer.


    Donough Shanahan said:
    April 24, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I guess you can live in hope that the quality of articles will improve in the general press while you are gone.


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