Monday, October 02, 2017

UK: Now wood burning stoves could be banned by radical new laws aiming to reduce air pollution in urban areas

And yet the national government has just converted one of the generators at the Drax power station to run on woodchips rather than coal

Wood burning stoves could be banned under radical new laws aimed to reduce pollution across urban areas, it emerged last night.

Sadiq Khan is seeking powers to prohibit all wood burning in parts of the capital where air quality is poor.

The mayor of London has written to environment secretary Michael Gove seeking new powers to tackle sources of air pollution, according to the Times.

It would mean tighter restrictions on the wood-burning stoves, with only low-emission versions allowed to stay on sale.

The stoves have become popular in middle-class homes and hotels, with 1.5 million across Britain and 200,000 sold annually.

Wood burning is most popular in the southeast, where 16 per cent of households use the stoves compared with less than five per cent in northern England and Scotland.

But recent research suggested that that the fumes emitted are highly toxic.

In January, King's College London found that during a period of very high air pollution, domestic wood burning contributed half the toxic emissions in some areas of the city.

Yesterday he mayor said he wished to 'protect those people that have bought wood burning stoves in good faith' but wanted powers to ban burning of any wood or coal in 'zero-emission zones'.

These zones could be created in 187 areas across London where pollution exceeds European limits.

Mr Khan's letter stated that councils should have powers to enforce the ban, including the ability to carry out inspections and issue fines.

In recent years many people have switched to wood burning because they believe it is greener than using gas boilers – but a wood stove can emit billions of tiny toxic particles that pollute the surrounding area.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the smoke from wood burning stoves contains the toxic pollutant formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer.


​What natural disasters should teach us,/b>

​Hurricanes, landslides and other disasters show Africans why we need fossil fuels

Steven Lyazi, writing from Africa

I express my deepest sympathies to the people in the Caribbean and United States who have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The loss of life was tragic but has thankfully been much lower than in many previous storms. Buildings are stronger, people get warned in time to get out, and they have vehicles to get to safer places until the storms pass.

I also send my sincere sympathies to my fellow Ugandans who have been affected by terrible landslides in eastern Uganda, near Kenya. Natural disasters often strike us hard. Sometimes it is long droughts that dry up our crops and kill many cattle. This year it is torrential rains and landslides.

This time we were lucky. The collapsing hillsides destroyed three villages, but thankfully it was daytime and people were outside. They lost their homes, cattle and ripened crops, but not their families. A horrendous mudslide in the same mountainous area in 2010 buried 350 parents and children under 40 feet of mud and rock.

People there have been cutting down trees for decades – for fuel, lumber and to grow crops. Now no roots hold the hills together when it rains. More cracks have appeared in the hills, so more slides are likely. But people don’t want to leave their lands, and they’re not planting new trees either.

Some people are ignoring all this history and the human roles in causing these “natural” disasters. They are blaming the rains and mudslides on global warming, climate change and the fossil fuels that modern industrialized countries burn to provide modern homes, travels and living standards.

These false claims are intended to divert us from real problems. They are intended to justify demands and campaigns that Ugandans and other Africans should rely on a few wind turbines and solar panels and should never use oil, natural gas or coal to provide cheap, reliable and plentiful energy so that we can live more like Americans or Europeans.

These people want to become our Jesus, and save us from “global warming disasters,” by keeping us poor and at the mercy of Mother Nature. Former vice president Mr. Al Gore said manmade global warming has increased the number and strength of tornadoes and hurricanes, Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier would disappear by 2016, and Arctic summers would be ice-free as soon as 2014.

None of this happened. So he just changed the year when the disasters will hit. Mr. Gore declares in his film that “it is right to save humanity.” Yes, it is and I support that with no argument.

But I would suggest that he and his friends begin by injecting their own billions of dollars into fossil fuels and nuclear energy to create jobs around the world, help us build modern homes, uplift economies so that people can live a self-sustainable life, and get rid of the diseases that are killing us.

He needs to stop trying to scare us by spreading false gospels about mankind and fossil fuels. He needs to stop trying to save humanity from movie disasters, when we face real disasters. He needs to stop making us rely on renewable energy, while he continues to have many big homes, drive around in big cars and fly in private jets all over the world.

Just in the last 25 years, fossil fuels have helped over 1.5 billion people in developing nations get electricity and escape deprivation, starvation, and lung and intestinal diseases that used to kill them and their children. But Africa, India and Asia still have vast regions that need to be electrified. More than a billion people in those regions still do not enjoy the wonderful blessings that electricity brings.

These places need more coal, gas and nuclear power plants. Thankfully they are building them, no matter what Mr. Gore and his radical friends say. Mr. Gore and his friends have fancy homes with every modern technology that electricity can bring. They have cars and modern hospitals.

My family in Kampala has a few of these things – a few lights and a radio, small stove and not even a little refrigerator. I just got a used computer that a friend sent me from the United States. Someday we would like a television and a normal sized refrigerator, like what we see in Europe and the States. Can we dream that someday we will have air conditioning?

Can the people in eastern Uganda dream of a time when they can rebuild their homes with more than mud and sticks? And actually have electricity, lights, refrigerators and stoves?

Radical Al Gore, renewable energy cheerleaders and climate activists have sweet homes and nice cars, jets and trains to take them anywhere they want to go 24/7. They cannot even come close to understanding how it feels to live in darkness, drink dirty water, and have no medicine except herbs and the grace of God when they get sick from malaria and other diseases they have never even heard of. They cannot imagine not being able to have a cold drink or hot coffee when they want one.

But they tell us we should be happy to enjoy the tiny improvements we might get from wind and solar power, as an “acceptable” and “preferred” and “sustainable” alternative to really better lives.

I have said this in my past articles, and I will still say it again. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 700 million people still cook with wood, charcoal and animal dung, Hundreds of millions get horribly sick every year – and thousands die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, because we have to breathe smoke from open fires and don’t have refrigeration, clean water and safe food. Hundreds of millions are starving and malnourished, and try to survive on a few dollars a day.

Mr. Al Gore, how many dollars do you “survive” on per day? How many homes and refrigerators do you have? Can your refrigerators hold more than a few vegetables and a few bottles of milk or water?

To use the words of Rabbi Daniel Lapin, our impoverished masses simply want to take their rightful, God-given places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. Instead, we are being told “that wouldn’t be sustainable.” We are being told that improving our health, living standards and life spans is less important than avoiding the forthcoming climate cataclysm that Mr. Gore and his movies and computer models say will happen if we Africans modernize with fossil fuels.

These claims – and the false solutions to make-believe problems sometime in our future – ignore the real disasters and deaths that face us right now, every day of the year. They are intended to divert us from the better lives and sweet homes we dream of. They are intended to make Mr. Gore and his friends and the radical cheerleaders feel like they are saving Africans and our planet, while in reality they are killing millions of us every year.

Right this very minute, climate alarmists are blaming hurricanes and landside on fossil fuels. While they enjoy fancy homes, cozy beds and sofas, heating and air conditioning that keep them comfortable all year round, televisions and Alexa music, air travel whenever they want to go somewhere – they tell us Africans we should be happy and content with our “simple lives.” They tell us we should keep our oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy underground and untouched.

This is disgraceful. It is unacceptable. We will no longer tolerate it.

Alexander King was the co-founder of the Club of Rome, which wrote The Limits to Growth book.  During World War II, he organized production of a new insecticide and gave it the name DDT. The chemical saved the lives of thousands of Allied troops in the Far East. It was also used to stop typhus epidemics in Europe after the war.

But later on he said: “My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem. Of course, I can’t play God on that one.”

But King and his followers did play God. They got DDT banned and even blocked its use in preventing malaria for decades. Millions of African parents and children died. Now his descendants want to keep us from using fossil fuels. Where is the justice and humanity in any of this?

Via email

Alaska Will Be The Centerpiece Of Trump’s Plan For US ‘Energy Dominance’

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made it very clear that boosting energy production in Alaska would be a major part of the Trump administration’s plan for U.S. “energy dominance.”

“The road to energy dominance goes through the great state of Alaska,” Zinke said in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Zinke touted Interior’s first successful sale of leases in Alaska’s Cook Inlet since 2008. That lease sale attracted more than $3 million in high bids for offshore drilling rights across 76,000 acres.

Zinke ordered officials in May to open the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), and the department more recently allowed seismic studies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

NPR-A was set aside by Congress for oil and gas production, but the Obama administration put roughly half the 22.8 million acre region off-limits to drilling. Experts estimate that the region holds 895 million barrels of oil and 52.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Alaska natives living near the NPR-A support efforts to open the region up to drilling, Zinke said. Alaska lawmakers have also pushed the Trump administration to do more to encourage energy production.

“The last administration turned their back on these patriotic and enormously proud people,” Zinke said, adding that “They have the right to make their own decisions.”

Alaska will once again, Zine’s remarks suggest, play a major role in energy policy. The Obama administration prioritized conservation over oil and gas production, closing off onshore and offshore areas to drilling.

However, Alaska’s energy woes began long before Obama took office.

Oil production peaked in 1988 at 2 million barrels per day, and natural gas production peaked in 1994 at 524,000 million cubic feet. Both oil and gas production have significantly declined from their peaks, according to federal data.

Alaska’s oil industry says higher taxes have hurt production, but the region has also faced competition from easier to produce foreign oil. In recent years, the U.S. oil and gas industry has shifted to focusing on fracking into shale formations.

But the major threat to the viability of Alaska’s oil industry is the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP).

The 800-mile pipeline transports North Slope oil to the coast where it can be shipped to west coast refineries. Pipeline capacity has fallen 39 percent in the last decade.

If pipeline capacity falls further, the system could be shut down to prevent any problems. The Energy Information Administration said the pipeline could shut down as soon as 2026 if production keeps declining.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Caelus Energy found a massive oil patch on Alaska’s northern coast in 2016, which was estimated to hold as much as 6 billion barrels of oil.

TAP did see an uptick in the amount of oil it transported in 2016 due to a new, high-performing oilfield coming online.

“We have a great opportunity to fuel the world,” Zinke said.


Shadows over Greentopia

Blackouts Stalk Green Energy Utopia

It is 7pm on a cold still night in the city which boasts “100% Green Energy”.

Thousands of electric cars are in their garages plugged into chargers; electric lights, heaters and TVs are running; electric stoves are cooking dinner, electric trains and lifts are moving late commuters and early revellers, and the pubs and clubs are busy.

The hills bristle with turbines, but there is no wind and not one is turning. Every roof is covered with solar panels, but there is no sunshine and the panels are fast asleep. The green city is facing peak electricity demand . . . on batteries.

But for several days, clouds have shaded the solar panels and there has been no wind to turn the turbines - the battalions of batteries are running out of juice. One by one they drop out. The street lights fade and the city goes dark.

In this green energy utopia all the wicked coal-powered generators have been closed or demolished, exploration for gas is forbidden, no one dares to mention nuclear, hydro schemes have gone (replaced by “Wild Rivers”), new hydro developments are stalled by green lawyers, and diesel generators and petrol cars are banned.

There is only one problem with this green perfection.

When the city wakes to another cloudy windless day, where will its electricity come from?

And when all the stoves and fridges, computers and TV’s, lifts and trains, traffic lights and water pumps, checkouts and ATM’s, heaters and coolers - - - all stop working, there will soon be an angry mob seeking the nearest politician to punish.


Australia: Victoria, NSW to be penalised for outlawing fracking under Grants Commission plan

States that fail to permit coal seam gas mining would be penalised under a fresh proposal from the Grants Commission to change the method of distributing goods and services tax revenue.

The adjustment would hurt Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, each of whom has complete or partial bans on coal seam gas exploration or development or has a moratorium on fracking.

The gas crisis has been averted, but state governments in NSW and Victoria are to blame for forcing their residents to pay more, says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The proposal, in a position paper prepared for the commission's review of the principles behind the GST distribution, is to treat royalties from coal seam gas in the same way as taxes on gambling. It would apply from 2020.

States that choose not to allow poker machines and collect poker machine revenue are regarded as having voluntarily forgone income and not compensated for earning less than the states that do.

The commission wants to consider whether "similar considerations arise in certain potential mineral and energy developments".

"In these circumstances, the commission could take the view that all states that have coal seam gas have the opportunity to exploit it and whether they do or not solely reflects policy choice," the position paper says.

The change would also apply to uranium. The commission says until now it hasn't needed to consider the question because neither coal seam gas nor uranium royalties have been big enough "to result in a material assessment".

Victoria imposed a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration in 2012. NSW banned all activity within 2 kilometres of residential areas in 2013. The Victorian decision was taken by the Coalition government of Ted Baillieu. The NSW decision was taken by the Coalition government of Barry O'Farrell.

The Baird government in NSW temporarily froze new exploration in 2015 while implementing a report designed to ensure the safety of coal seam gas mining by the NSW chief scientist Mary O'Kane.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attacked Victoria's position on Thursday, saying the only obstacle to getting Victorian gas out of the ground was the Labor government.

"The idea that Victorians are going to have to pay the cost of shipping gas from the Middle East or from Louisiana or from north-west Australia because they have a government that is not prepared to access the gas resources in Victoria is extraordinary," he said.  "It is a shocking indictment of Daniel Andrews and his government. There is plenty of gas in Victoria, onshore gas in Victoria."

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas ridiculed the Grants Commission position paper on Friday, saying Victoria would not be "held to ransom or bullied by an inept government that blames everyone else but itself for its own incompetence". "If Scott Morrison wants to know how to grow an economy and manage debt he should follow Victoria's lead."

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet​ said unlike other states, NSW did not have a ban on coal seam gas. "We believe states should make the most of what they have. When it comes to GST distribution, NSW is sick of subsidising inefficient and non-reforming states," he said.

A proposal by Santos to mine coal seam gas in the Pilliga Forest on the North West Plains is before the NSW Planning Assessment Commission.

The Andrews government said this week that it is "proud" of its permanent ban on fracking in Victoria, which became law in March.

The ban is supported by the Coalition, but the political agreement does not extend to the Andrews government's moratorium on conventional onshore exploration. The moratorium is due to expire in June 2020. In the lead-up, the government has asked scientist Amanda Caples to inquire into the "risks, benefits and impacts of onshore conventional gas".



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