Fracking and shale gas

December 10th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Baron Lawson of Blaby (father of Nigella) writes in the Daily Mail:

Thirty years ago, I was Secretary of State for Energy in Margaret Thatcher’s government, and one way and another I have been a close observer of the energy scene ever since. 

In all that time, I have never known a technological revolution as momentous as the breakthrough that has now made it economic to extract gas from shale.

Technology the Greens are trying to ban.

… shale gas is locked in dense rock. Energy companies must drill a well hundreds or thousands of feet deep to reach the layer of shale — which can be just 50ft thick — and then turn the drill sideways to bore horizontally.

Water, chemicals and sand are pumped into the hole under enormous pressure until the rock cracks, allowing gas locked up in the shale to escape and flow upwards into the well. 

This process is called hydraulic fracturing — or ‘’ for short.

So how significant is this shale gas, that the Greens want left down there?

The consequences are difficult to exaggerate. Not just in terms of the economic benefit of a new and abundant source of relatively cheap energy, but in geopolitical terms, too.

Until now, the West has been heavily dependent for its supplies of oil and gas on an unstable Middle East and an unreliable Russia. Crucially, all that has changed because gas and oil-bearing shale is scattered throughout the world — including in Britain. …

The dramatic news emerged a few weeks ago that the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer in 2017.

America is already the world’s largest natural gas producer, and it is estimated that, by 2035, almost 90 per cent of Middle East oil and gas exports will go to Asia, with the U.S. importing virtually none.

It is ironic that for decades the left have cried out that they want the US less dependent on middle eastern oil, and now that it can happen – they are fighting it.

For decades, the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, has had to shape, and sometimes arguably to misshape, its foreign policy in the light of its dependence on Middle East oil and gas. No longer: that era is now over.

For decades, too, Europe has been fearful of the threat that Russia might cut off the gas supplies on which it has relied so heavily.

No longer: that era will very soon be over, too. Thanks to the shale gas revolution, the newfound energy independence of the West is a beneficent game-changer in terms of world politics as much as it is in the field of energy economics.

When bullies lose their power, this is a good thing.

The company behind the exploration has announced that Blackpool is sitting on one of the biggest shale gas fields in the world — with a reserve of 200 trillion cubic feet lying under the Lancastrian countryside. 

To put that figure in perspective, it’s enough gas to keep the UK going for 50 years and create more than 5,000 jobs.

50 years of fuel in just one field. So what does this mean for ?

For the world as a whole, technically recoverable gas resources are now conservatively reckoned to amount to around 16,000 trillion cubic feet. In short, as a result of the shale revolution, the Earth can now provide us with about 250 years’ worth of gas supplies.

The so-called ‘peak oil’ theory, which suggests that within the foreseeable future the world will run out of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — has never looked more absurd.

If you hear about peak oil again, laugh. And point out even George Monbiot has admitted peak oil has not occurred and will not occur for many decades or more.

While the world’s shale gas reserves appear to be massive, they could even be dwarfed by global oil shale reserves in sedimentary rock, which contains solid organic material that can be converted into an oil-like product when heated.

According to the U.S. government, oil shale deposits in an area called the Green River Formation in the western United States are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels of oil — three times more than the whole world has consumed in the past 100 years.

And the Greens want us to stop building roads in New Zealand, because they say peak oil will lead to the death of the car.

We are living in an era when good news is thin on the ground. The shale gas revolution is the exception: a game-changing piece of good news, both economically and geo-politically, both for this country and for the world.

Hear hear.

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70 Responses to “Fracking and shale gas”

  1. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    James Delingpole has rightly labelled environmental activist groups as the Green Taliban. That is exactly what they are – utterly ruthless in pursuit of their blind ideology impervious to science and knowledge.

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  2. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Thorium reactors.

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  3. James Stephenson (2,176 comments) says:

    Time for the North of England to declare independence!

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  4. tvb (4,418 comments) says:

    All this is made possible due to high oil prices making this method of extracting gas economic. Meanwhile cars are becoming much more efficient and in time technology may replace oil. It looks like we have sufficient breathing space. The removal of the US dependence on the Middle East will greatly enhance global security. I assume the US will scale back it’s involvement in the region. No more Gulf wars hopefully.

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  5. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    +100 Kimble. And this should give us time to get the damn things built and operational, and start proving that they’re safe. Then we can use gas for mobile power (cars, planes and the like), and thorium for stationary power (on grid). Maybe solar and wind for off-grid stationary power.

    Each generation uses more energy than the one before, that’s what underpins our constantly increasing standard of living. If that stops (if the greens have their way) our kids will be the first ones with a standard of living lower than their parents. As such, this is truly fantastic news, we now just need to hold off the global warming folks for 10 more years to give us breathing space to put nuclear back on the table properly.

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  6. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    These Green idiots are trying to destroy the NZ economy

    They hardly ever talk about anything that would be good for the economy.

    But when the do what to they come up with
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10852998

    Rejoin Kyoto and pay more money to other countries????????
    How the fuck would that help the New Zealand economy?

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  7. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    The ignorance that underpins the campaign against shale gas is appalling. Its mostly the result of the lies propogated by the Green Party.

    What really needs to happen here in New Zealand is for the National Party to show some damn gumption for once and advocate for an enquiry into the brainwashing of school children by Green Party activists.

    Here’s an example of what is going on.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10852997

    Education is a cesspit of communist propagandists.

    There is no way these kids participating in this damn farce are aware of all of the arguments. They have been completely misinformed by Green Party activists introducing subversive messages into the education curriculum.

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  8. trout (939 comments) says:

    The success of fracking totally undermines the Green (anti) energy policy. They are forced to continue to oppose the activity regardless.

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  9. reversespin (69 comments) says:

    Absolutely agree with you DPF. The Greens are on the wrong side of history on fracking.
    But they can still argue that regardless of how cheap and abundant it is, or where it comes from…..burning hydrocarbons has negative externalities on the environment. The nature and extent of those externalities is subject to debate – perhaps this is not the place for that. But I think it is important to note that yes, while fracking and shale gas is a wonderful and abundant source of energy…..we are still burning hydrocarbons.

    It is economically sustainable for hundreds of years. But environmentally sustainable? The jury might still be out on that…

    Meanwhile, keep sticking it to the Greens!! Their hypocrisy, holier than thou attitude and inconsistency make my blood boil…

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  10. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    RRM is cautiously optimistic about the future of shale gas, but respectfully suggests that people should keep it in their pants until we actually see results.

    When bullies lose their power, this is a good thing.

    Hmm, would I rather be a political dissident / member of the underclass in a wealthy Muslim country with oil (e.g. present day persian gulf) or a poor Muslim country without oil? (e.g. present day north Africa) Decisions, decisions!

    The consequences are difficult to exaggerate. Not just in terms of the economic benefit of a new and abundant source of relatively cheap energy, but in geopolitical terms, too.

    And the Greens want us to stop building roads in New Zealand, because they say peak oil will lead to the death of the car.

    Hold up guv’nor, the price of petrol has more than doubled in the 16 or so years I’ve been driving a car. Let’s wait and see what shale gas actually does to the pump price of petrol, before we start making lofty predictions about the future eh?

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  11. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    If you hear about peak oil again, laugh. And point out even George Monbiot has admitted peak oil has not occurred and will not occur for many decades or more.

    Informed people always did laugh about “peak oil” hysteria. Just as they laugh, now, about the hysteria of AGW from burning that oil.

    The political activists behind the peak oil idea know it is total rubbish. That is why they are so strident about preventing oil extraction. They want to artificially bring about a shortage, in order to support the political changes they desire. It has nothing to do with the environment or energy supply.

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  12. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Oh joy ! and Ive just up updated my wheels to an SS commodore V8 6 spd manual…eat my dust and fumes wussel..

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  13. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    @reversespin: Agree this isn’t the thread to talk about AGW (although no doubt it will degenerate at some stage). But it is reasonable to point out that, to the extent that gas replaces coal, it reduces CO2 emissions per unit of energy. So on the question of whether it’s environmentally sustainable, it’s hard to say for sure, but what can be said is that it is _more_ environmentally sustainable than the currently available/viable alternative.

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  14. Lance (2,655 comments) says:

    @PaulL
    Agreed, gas is described as a transition fuel as it is much cleaner than coal or oil but does emit some CO2.

    The big question is how long is the transition?

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  15. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago.
    The political and economic ramifications are interesting. Bagrie from ANZ in a recent talk here told us he believes Europe will fall over and that France will be the country that causes the fall. He also noted he didn’t know what would cause France to go though.
    The answer is oil. The French are beholding to the Arabs and as the Arabs lose their income (and that will accelerate in the next 12 months). then their banking will collapse. Of course the Arabs also owe lots to others including Russia and China.
    so the fighting will continue.

    Remember where you read this.

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  16. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    @Kimble. Flibe energy are very quiet these days. Are they still in business?

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  17. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Oh and way back on the late 70’s I had a 72 Valiant Station wagon. great big grunty beast. Pull my tonne and half trailer sailer no sweat.

    Run on natural gas.
    Tga to Auckland for $11.00

    And us stupid Kiwi’s took the gas systems away, sold the technology oversea’s and supported the Arabs

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  18. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    @PaulL. No idea.

    I would love to invest in “technological advancement”, rather than companies that try to create new technology. Unfortunately that’s pretty much impossible. The closest I can get are personal bets with techno-pessimists that will take decades to pay off.

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  19. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    V2 –

    IIRC it was a good system for cars like Valiants where you might still have half a boot left after installing the gas cylinder… not so useful for everyone else, I guess that is why it died a natural death?

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  20. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    If anyone brings up Peak Oil you can throw this Harvard Kennedy School report in their faces: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/22145/new_study_by_harvard_kennedy_school_researcher_forecasts_sharp_increase_in_world_oil_production_capacity_and_risk_of_price_collapse.html

    You can only believe that Peak Oil is an imminent or medium-term threat if you don’t grasp how commodities markets work (it helps if you are generally ignorant of how supply and demand works).

    And yet – the Palmerston North City Council is spending $100,000 of ratepayers money to study how the city will cope with the Peak Oil phenomenon. They might as well spend that money studying how the city will cope with the end of the Mayan calendar.

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  21. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    Don’t forget people- the price of petrol is 50% tax and 30% environmental restrictions.

    Without government and the cost of compliance with irrational “environmental” laws, you’d be paying one fifth the price per liter.

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  22. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    rrm – pretty sure most cabs in aussie run on gas. i think the goal would be to have trucks and the like on gas and the rest of us as is :)

    i kinda liked the idea of bleeding the middle east dry of all resources before using our own :D

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  23. Griff (7,689 comments) says:

    Transport from burning dead dinosaur juice is here for the next fifty years.
    Electric vehicles still require energy gegeneration The extra capacity of which is supplied by coal fired stations.
    Batteries have a limited life replacing them destroys any saving in fuel.
    We have a huge resource of coal this can be converted to diesel.
    The co2 per km is less and the modern engines are both clean and powerful.
    A diesel vehicle fleet is a worthwhile objective.
    The present road users regime makes it expensive for diesel cars. The smaller the fuel usage the more road user cost become significant.
    The government should be making it easier to build dams geothermal and wind capacity The resource management act places both risks and costs to any project It should be changed to make it easier to build new infrastructure in particular renewable energy generation.

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  24. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “It is ironic that for decades the left have cried out that they want the US less dependent on middle eastern oil, and now that it can happen – they are fighting it.”

    thats because they thought the middle east was the only game in town! it was code for – public transport only! the figured that was the only alternative.

    i love how the left come unstuck year after year. miserable people they are

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  25. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    Transport from burning dead dinosaur juice is here for the next fifty years.

    At least fifty years dear Griff. Probably much longer. There is tons of oil in Antarctica and under the sea floor, for example.

    The great thing about “dead dinosaur juice” is that it’s an organic natural product and all the co2 in it came from the atmosphere. Its called a “carbon cycle”.

    Those who (for various misguided politcal reasons) are concerned about that fact, are welcome to crawl off naked into the jungle. They will not be missed.

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  26. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    The cost is going to be the sink holes already pocked over the US which will inevitably send small towns and municipalities to hell. Will the people accept this paradigm?

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  27. Griff (7,689 comments) says:

    You still are posting weirdo rubbish kea.
    The carbon cycle has bee relatively static for the entire time that man has escaped the planes of africa
    Man has steadily introduced more carbon that has been locked deep in the earth for millions of years It has not been part of the Carbon cycle due to this modest inconvenience man has been able to over come.
    You can understand this simple fact kea if you try :lol:
    we have added carbon to your cycle
    Going back to a time When the earth had all this extra carbon in its cycle will be very inconvenient to put it mildly
    what will we do with all the refugees when the grain belts becomes desert for instance

    Still waiting for your full story behind the great global warming swindle :lol:

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  28. chiz (1,144 comments) says:

    The journal Nature has just published a free article on alternative nuclear reactor designs which includes comments from the people involved with flibe so it is presumably still going.

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  29. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    what will we do with all the refugees when the grain belts becomes desert for instance

    Now now Griff, you must not fib to KB readers !

    You know dam well that when all that carbon (we are liberating) was last in the atmosphere, it was during a period of unusually high abundance, of life. They won’t be deserts, they will be bountiful plains of produce. Possibly with roving bands of feral vegans, browsing on the abundant fruits and berries.

    However I am being optimistic. The tiny wee amount of carbon we contribute, by burning a bit of oil, has no real effect.

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  30. Griff (7,689 comments) says:

    Pointless trying debate with you kea you just make up stiff and splert it out

    Still haven’t heard the rest of your story about the great global warming conspirawhacky

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  31. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    Griff, I have explained what is behind the AGW hoax and so have many others. You just ignore anything that does not support your faith based approach to evidence.

    Once again, here is the short version.

    1) Money

    2) Power

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  32. Griff (7,689 comments) says:

    Kea can not actually explain it so will just name two motivations.

    I have given you the names the payments the policy meetings and detail of the conspiracy I see in the oil industry paying the merchants of doubt to lie on their behalf.

    I asked for the details of the great hoax and swindle by the socialist one world government the UN all scientific bodies
    Including the Governments of New Zealand and most the world.

    Or are the guys in sun glasses parked outside of your room waiting in an unmarked black sedan

    Maybe your tinfoil hat has sliped out of tune

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  33. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Heh, but I’ve given you evidence that the oil industry pays more to climate scientists than to skeptics.
    You’re not a hypocrite are you griff?

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  34. Pita (373 comments) says:

    As soon as the first barrel of shale gas is recovered through fracking the misanthropic Greens will be heralding “Peak gas”

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  35. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    the conspiracy I see in the oil industry paying the merchants of doubt to lie on their behalf.

    Yes Griff you see a conspiracy. Though not in the multi trillion dollar AGW industry. No way !

    You imagine a conspiracy amongst those people who harvest oil for a living. Not those who’s sole source of income is the climate hoax. You silly boy.

    This post sponsored by BP & Enron

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  36. Athena (10 comments) says:

    Gas is a fossil fuel, the CO2 released dissolves in the oceans making them more acidic. Obviously this thread has many AGW deniers, but ocean acidification can’t be denied by anyone with a education in science

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  37. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    For the Green Party so-called Peak Oil, like “Global Warming,” was only ever a pretext. It’s their equivalent of “The Jewish Problem”; a fabricated crisis for which they offer a “solution.”

    It’s just a shame there’s no such thing as Peak Fascism.

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  38. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    wat, Who is you paying you “to lie on their behalf” ? My friend Griff wants to know.

    Everyone understands that unless we become homosexual communist vegans, the world will end.

    This post sponsored by Monsanto

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  39. Griff (7,689 comments) says:

    multi trillion dollar AGW industry

    Learnt from wwwfactspulledoutmyarse.com

    “The Jewish Problem”; a fabricated crisis for which they offer a “solution.”

    Godwin

    ;Peak Fascism.

    Strange leap of logic I thought we were commies and socalists

    Again lots of buzz words and rubbish and no actual content to your post

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  40. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    “In Doha, a big green rent-seeking machine”

    “The vast majority of those present in Doha depend for their livelihood on the perception of global warming as an existential threat. Their jobs are quite simply going to disappear if they come up with the wrong answer about climate change. Any statement that comes out of the UN climate machine — the UNFCC, the COPs, UNEP or the IPCC — has to be seen through this prism. When did you ever hear a bureaucracy announce that it was no longer required?”

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2012/12/the-big-green-rent-seeking-machine/

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  41. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    Hay Griff, where is the “science” to prove your conspiracy theory about BIG OIL ?

    Post sponsored by Schlumberger

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  42. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    PaulL@12.43pm accurately forecast that this thread would degenerate into yet another hang-out for climate change denial. That’s a shame, because there is a lot to talk about in terms of how these changes affect the outlook for future energy sources and the political consequences of same.

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  43. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    another hang-out for climate change denial

    What a twisted world the alarmists inhabit where the simple observation that there has been no warming for 16 years is presented as “climate change denial.”

    It’s an inversion of all science, logic, evidence and reality.

    Citing facts is now an act of “denial.”

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  44. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    mm, it is not “climate change denial, it is “reality acceptance”. Believing in your fraudulent little cult is not the default position.

    I see you contributed nothing in regards to “the outlook for future energy sources and the political consequences of same.” Do different standards apply for lefties?

    All you have done is your usual trick of the ad hominem attack followed by trying to claim the moral high ground.

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  45. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    mikenmild: I wish I could take a lot of credit for my prognostication. But forecasting that the sun will come up isn’t exactly a great mental feat.

    @Griff:
    It is true that the climate “industry” is large and that many jobs and funding streams depend entirely upon there being and continuing to be a problem.
    It is true that there is substantial confirmation bias in many areas of science, and that the area of computer modelling of climate is more prone to confirmation bias than many other areas (particularly as the results from one model are benchmarked against other models as a form of peer review – encouraging said models to converge).
    It is true that there is a level of observed warming, and then a level of predicted warming. And that the predicted warming is of much greater magnitude than the warming to date, and not supported by measurement but rather by models.

    It is my opinion that the costs of attempting to prevent warming given current technology are much higher than either the cost of mitigating warming with current technology, or preventing warming with future technology.
    It is my opinion that it is rational to constrain any attempts at reducing carbon emissions to those measures that are relatively inexpensive and that don’t create large locked-in interest groups that can never be shut down again.

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  46. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    Oh no! The wheels are coming off the “green” rent-seekers’ gravy-train!

    RENIXX® World, the Renewable Energy Industrial Index of the world’s top green energy companies, hit an all-time low below 146 on November 21, down more than 90 percent from the December 2007 peak…the subsidy-driven green energy wave soon hit a brick wall of fiscal reality.

    http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/climatism-watching-climate-science/2012/dec/6/so-hows-your-green-energy-stock-doing/

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  47. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    PaulL, I have told Griff that exact same thing many times, in very plain words. He does not want to know. His whole belief system is based on the models.

    Why do you think we should reduce carbon emissions, when AGW is not proven ?

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  48. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Yeah PaulL, Kea imagines someone sensible might be agreeing with him.

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  49. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    Oh dear mm. You really should think before you post. Remember many people are regular readers and know I have said the same thing numerous times. We can also look back at what has been said previously. I guess that makes me “sensible” too. Not much of a compliment coming from you though.

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  50. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    There are 3 main energy and emissions issues.

    1. the UK and USA can now replace coal fired power plants with gas powered ones. This means they will eventually be able to meet emissions reduction targets. This will place pressure on the reluctant fast followers to do the same.
    2. countries with access to sufficient gas supplies – whether local or via a pipeline (and have other forms of power generation) have the option of moving to gas for cars, or developing methanol or synthetic petrol (there is as yet little interest in the USA in either this or use of gas for cars).
    3. there are two types of shale – the one that is less valuable being left to last (this type involves methane release that makes it dirtier).

    Whether peak oil is deferred to the 22nd C or not is dependent on the amount of shale gas that can be extracted (hype vs reality) and the way it is used. If the shale gas is largely reserved for replacing coal – then emissions will fall faster but with less impact on the oil market.

    The geo-political issue is the relative change in dependence on coal or imported energy. It would seem the UK and USA are the main winners. If China does not have large shale reserves it remains dependent on coal (this undermines attempts to lower emissions and probably requires carbon tariffs in tradeable goods at the WTO leve to resolve) or more costly uncompetitive renewables or imports from the world market. Thus greater tensions between the world and China seem likely.

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  51. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Possession of resources in one geographical area does not necessarily mean an advantage for that area. It seems likely that China’s future energy requirements will be met one way or another.

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  52. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Of course it does. Those with the mineral resources get to sell them. The other party is the buyer. Consider how Norway and Oz are advantaged by this.

    If China has only coal and the rest of the world is being weaned off coal, then China and the world will have issues. As will Oz.

    They will be asked to move to use more costly renewables or import gas. One suspects they will invest a lot of money in either finding shale gas or clean tech for coal.

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  53. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    The changes in US power generation because of fracking

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2012/07/natural-gas-sets-record-in-equaling-coals-electric-output/1

    The economics of the coal vs gas rivalry (and wet vs dry gas economics)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2012/05/30/shale-gas-takes-on-coal-to-power-americas-electrical-plants/

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  54. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    SPC
    I would suggest that possession of resources does not guarantee that someone else will not come and take them, by force if necessary.

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  55. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    China’s attempt to project force is a little too local (the 200 miles of any rock in the sea they claim) to deal with the energy issue – it’s more a case of regional hegemony – having all their neighbour’s kowtow and the USA keeping out of it.

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  56. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Kea: runaway AGW is not proven. Warming from CO2 is clearly proven, and it may or may not prove to have a multiplier effect as CO2 levels increase. It is prudent to take lost cost measures (or even zero cost measures – like not subsidising fossil fuels as some Asian countries do) that reduce CO2. High cost measures, however, we should wait for more evidence on. Opinion only.

    Also, I reckon the things that will de-carbonise the economy are still in our future. The history of man is one of reducing carbon intensity. Peat -> Coal -> Oil -> Gas. Each step is shorter hydrocarbon molecules, and relatively less carbon. Each step also has increasing energy density. The next step is nuclear. My opinion only. Moving to diffuse sources of energy like renewables will not maintain our standard of living. They have their place, and the ongoing cost/kw reductions are great. But they won’t keep 8 billion people in the style to which they’d like to be accustomed.

    Finally, this is also why I’m not a strong believer in keeping our gas/coal etc in the ground in the hopes it’ll be worth more in the future. It won’t.

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  57. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Two very sensible comments PaulL (6.38pm and 7.57pm).

    Do you agree with PaulL mikenmild? Be careful, you might be labelled a denier…

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  58. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8058620/Study-shows-climate-predictions-accurate

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  59. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    SPC – I can’t disagree with that article:

    Since 1990 the average global surface temperature raised between 0.35degC and 0.39C – roughly what was predicted in 1990

    From the IPCC First Assessment Report

    Based on current models, we predict: under [BAU] increase of global mean temperature during the [21st] century of about 0.3 oC per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2 to 0.5 oC per decade)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_First_Assessment_Report

    So in 22 years there has been about .35 deg C (depends on which data set, I prefer the satellite sets like RSS), which works out to about .16 deg C per decade, which is within the uncertainty range of the IPCC report.

    Short summary:
    Predicted warming 0.66 deg C (+/- 0.44 to 1.1 deg C)
    Observed warming 0.35 deg C ( about half the central prediction, but within the uncertainty range)

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  60. Griff (7,689 comments) says:

    It is not a case of us keeping our current standard of living as the hoards in Asia and south America attaining our standard of living.
    That is the increase that will “cook the planet” talking about new Zealand’s emissions or even the states being static ignores the developing worlds increasing industrial revolution.

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  61. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Yes Griff, it is unethical/immoral in my opinion to deny to the developing hordes the standard of living that we have already attained, and the future increases in standard of living to which we all aspire. However, this will not necessarily cook the planet. Again, the key is technology, and technologies that don’t create so much warming. In NZ, we fail to exploit a range of renewable energy sources, particularly hydro, that are available to us. Nuclear has enormous potential, and has stagnated for 30 years based on hippie concerns about radiation that really come down to no more than “you can’t see it, and it’s evil.” Although I guess that works for CO2 as well. :-)

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  62. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    The arrival of shale gas is the end of nuclear in the UK and USA. It costs too much.

    Nuclear is for China.

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  63. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    Kea: runaway AGW is not proven. Warming from CO2 is clearly proven

    PaulL, I have no argument with any of that. What I contest is the claim that catastrophic climate change is coming, due to mans influence. Climate change is real. It is in a state of constant change and always has been. Future changes may not suit mans current way of living, but this planet is not here for our benefit.

    RightNow tells us: “I can’t disagree with that article:” The article claims climate predictions are accurate. He then goes onto tell us “Observed warming” was HALF what was predicted. He actually quotes that as evidence to support his beliefs. How can you reason with someone like that? These people are fanatics and are beyond reasoning with.

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  64. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    China also sits on huge amounts of shale gas:

    A preliminary EIA assessment of world shale reserves last year indicated that China has the world’s largest “technically recoverable” resources—with an estimated 1,275 trillion cubic feet (36 trillion cubic meters). That’s 20 percent of world resources, and far more than the 862 trillion cubic feet (24 trillion cubic meters) in estimated U.S. shale gas stores.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2012/08/120808-china-shale-gas/

    Not so much in India, but they’re still planning to tap into it:

    A study by US Energy International Agency estimates India’s shale gas reserves at about 290 trillion cubic feet (TCF), of which 63 TCF could be recovered.

    http://www.business-standard.com/generalnews/ians/news/indias-shale-gas-exploration-policy-to-be-ready-inyear/90508/

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  65. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Kea “He then goes onto tell us “Observed warming” was HALF what was predicted. He actually quotes that as evidence to support his beliefs.”

    Since my belief is that at most there is likely to be around 1.5 deg C warming over the next century, then I think that evidence very much does support my belief.

    Technically I can’t disagree with the article due to the large uncertainty range, but I thought it was clearly enough implied in my comment that the uncertainty range makes a bit of a mockery of the prediction. Too subtle I suppose.

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  66. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    So called, environmentalists, oppose all forms of energy production in NZ. The suggestion of a hydro dam always creates hysteria, but they even oppose wind farms ( I agree with them on that one, but for different reasons). After lying to us for years about “peak oil” they are now opposing oil extraction to try and create an artificial crisis. Backed up with even more lies about climate change.

    If someone would discover a very cheap and clean source of energy, they would be devastated and invent some artificial problem to oppose it. This has nothing at all to do with our environment and everything to do with political beliefs. This is a view held by many of the founding fathers of the environmental movement, including a Greenpeace founder, who actively opposes such groups now. It breaks the heart of us real greenies to see the movement overtaken by socialists. Ironic when one looks at the environmental record of socialist countries, which is the worst in the world by a considerable margin.

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  67. Kea (12,817 comments) says:

    … I thought it was clearly enough implied in my comment that the uncertainty range makes a bit of a mockery of the prediction. Too subtle I suppose.

    RightNow, given the absurd claims regularly made by climate alarmists, I could be forgiven for taking it literally. :)

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  68. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Right Now, a key detail is how much of the shale gas reserves can be recovered.

    If China has shale gas suffcient to replace their coal use, then it is India that may have continuing reliance on either coal or more costly nuclear.

    It is the replacement of the use of coal by shale gas that will reduce emissions levels.

    It is those countries that cannot do this that have the problem meeting emissions cuts targets. They will probably propose alternatives such as intensity measures.

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  69. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    SPC, I don’t really believe China or India (or even the US or Europe etc) predicate their use of shale gas primarily on emission levels. Cheap abundant energy is still the holy grail, and the potential reduction in emissions is just a bonus.

    Shale gas is still controversial on the emissions front, with claims (especially Howarth et al 2012 http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/howarth/Marcellus.html) that the amount of methane emissions makes shale gas worse than coal.
    It seems his conclusions have been roundly criticised though, and it isn’t hard to see how politically inconvenient they are for the Obama administration who are backing shale gas all the way.

    Other criticism of shale gas is that although it led to a reduction of coal burnt in the US, the coal was exported and burnt somewhere else, so net reductions weren’t that great (possibly greater if you count ‘carbon miles’). That’s irony right there, given the ‘carbon credits’ scam that allows countries to emit CO2 if they pay billions of dollars and then claim somehow they’re helping the environment, or the scenarios where manufacturing from developed countries shifts to developing nations where there are far fewer regulations.

    Personally I think shale gas will be great for developing nations because the developed nations will relax their grip on fossil fuels. The relationship between energy consumption and GDP is pretty clear http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Energy_consumption_versus_GDP.png

    The threat to the developed world is/was that as developing nations (with vastly greater populations) start using more energy per capita then fossil fuels run out faster (with higher prices, wars etc resulting). The days of cheap abundant energy were numbered. Shale gas tips that on its head.

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  70. St Hubbins (26 comments) says:

    If someone would discover a very cheap and clean source of energy, they would be devastated and invent some artificial problem to oppose it. This has nothing at all to do with our environment and everything to do with political beliefs. This is a view held by many of the founding fathers of the environmental movement, including a Greenpeace founder, who actively opposes such groups now. It breaks the heart of us real greenies to see the movement overtaken by socialists. Ironic when one looks at the environmental record of socialist countries, which is the worst in the world by a considerable margin.

    Well said, Kea – totally agree with these points you’ve made. Proof of this is nuclear energy – probably the “greenest” form of energy available in terms of CO2 emissions etc.

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