Information for COP26
Three cheers for Boris project fear
It's clear the end is nowhere near
Gripped by panic, the facts opaque
Big pharma rules in this big mistake
No leaders here, just windbag fools
It's opinion polls that make the rules
So the vaccine dream has come to naught
Seems freedom from covid cannot be bought
They massage the figures to baffle and scare
They pay out £ billions without a care
No fuel, no power, no sense or hope
A muddled health service that just can't cope
And still they strut and spout nice lies
Careless, pompous, those most despise
Fine words and smiles at the climate jaunt
Smart suits and ties they love to flaunt
Whatever will they think of next
Don't hold your breath – it makes me vexed
If covid has been one of the world's greatest fiascos, then climate change is surely the next!
The only things likely to come from COP26 are hollow promises and hot air. Governments that rely on being popular to be re-elected simply cannot deal with long term planning – the need to be liked is paramount. Above all we must reduce the quantity of energy we use! Where governments will not act then the only real answer has always been to help ordinary people change their lives by providing information, experience and encouragement. There is, of course, great scope for reducing our carbon footprints - for example....
- leave all plastic packaging at the supermarket
- compost all your food waste properly
- use a bike or a much less powerful car
- use public transport
- grow your own food organically
- don't make journeys by air
- refill glass bottles
- insulate your house and wear warmer clothes
- don't use electricity for any form of heating – burn wood if you can
- use a composting or dry toilet
- Get your own electricity generating capacity
- DO NOT use an electric car
- DO NOT stop eating grass fed meat
- DO NOT cut your grass with a power mower (learn to scythe)
Most of these are self-explanatory but some need explanation.
1. The car
Our cars and our thermal power stations are the most serious producers of CO2. It would be sensible to have a fixed upper limit for the power of our cars – say 20 Kw – it could be slowly brought even lower. If cars were made of carbon fibre they would be strong, light, not rust – perfectly able to do 70 mph with 20 Kw. Electric cars are the ultimate madness because the electricity they use is produced in VERY inefficient remote thermal power stations (75% at present). An efficient modern diesel is more then 55% efficient. A remote thermal power station is (at best) 34% efficient, losing a further 10 percent in transmission and an additional 30% in battery charging losses. Each day an electric car loses about 5KwH of energy in what is called “vampire” losses. Worse still the production of an electric car produces about 10 tons more CO2 than producing a fossil fuel powered car. Finally there are significant costs in disposing of the used batteries (after 6-10 years) in landfill (mostly shipped to poor countries – as only 5% are recycled)
2. The Electric Problem
Remotely generated thermal power is VERY inefficient – the worst possible way to use our limited fossil fuels. Using it for heating in any form is highly wasteful. Even the heat pumps which our government is so keen on will save very little fossil fuel. Heat pumps can convert 1Kw of electrical power into 3 Kw of heat but you have to burn this much heat at the power station to let them operate. Worse still we do not have anything like enough generating capacity to heat the 18 million homes which now have gas central heating. Average annual heating requirement is about 12,000 KwH per household so at least 220 TwH of electrical energy will be required each year – almost double our present output even before taking account of the HUGE amount required for the electric car “dream”. The government's plans are pure fantasy!
3. The Flush Toilet – has 3 times the carbon footprint of our cars.
Our love affair with water-born sewage is a true “elephant in the room”. Each time you flush the toilet the carbon footprint is similar to driving your car 10 miles (difficult to get an exact figure – water has to be collected, purified, pumped to the home then the sewage has to be pumped for treatment and the so-called “waste” finally disposed of). On average each person in the UK flushes the toilet 5 times each day – 300 million flushes daily or about 100 billion each year. So not only are we are systematically flushing vital nutrients from the soil into our rivers and seas (utter madness), but we are also producing a carbon footprint which is probably three times bigger than we produce driving our cars.
4. The Meat Problem
Take a deep breath and read this carefully – there is so much UTTER RUBBISH printed about the carbon footprint of grass-fed meat. Ruminant animals have been grazing grass for thousands of years without any increase in global warming. The reason is simple. Every year each acre of grass collects about 4 tons of carbon from the air as it grows – rather more than the same area of forest as it happens! Some of this carbon is stored as grass roots down into the soil, the rest is taken up by grazing ruminants. The carbon which is released as methane by ruminant digestion is rapidly recycled to become the very same carbon that the grass collects as it grows. If the total number of ruminants does not change, there is never any increase in the ambient level of methane. In fact, the carbon in the meat we eat is excreted by our bodies and finds its way into the seas and rivers via the sewage system. This carbon (from grass) become food for algae which then die and are eaten by fish or deposited on the bottom of the sea/lake as sludge (there are millions of tons of this as sediment on the seabed). In this way those who eat meat are actually helping to reduce the carbon in the air – quite the opposite of what the mass media are saying.
5. Composting and Bio-digesters
Another “elephant in the room”! In the UK we bury about 10 million tons of organic waste in landfill each year (we don't actually know how much!). All this buried waste creates a vast quantity of methane (only a small fraction is used to generate electricity). It would be the simplest task of all to educate people to compost their own organic waste or to use bio-digesters instead of landfill. Remember that the plant nutrients we are wasting so disastrously will be vital for the soil when the era of fossil fuel powered industrial farming finally comes to an end. Not only does composting avoid the generation of methane, it also preserves the nutrients needed by our soil (as does bio-digestion).
6. The Madness of Wind Power
Expensive, unsightly, short-term and unreliable. We should be using water – both tidal and hydro.
7. Nuclear Fission power
The most dangerous toy that humans have yet invented (covid19 notwithstanding) – viz Chernobyl, Three-mile Island and Fukushima. There is no way to safely store highly dangerous radio-active waste for 10,000 years; Nuclear fusion is the way forward – the greatest and most important machine that humans have yet to develop (see the ITER).