Engineering reality: fossil fuels are indispensable
The UK Climate Change Act precursor to the Net Zero CO2 Emissions policy came into law in 2008. The graph below shows a decade of actual data since 2008, taken from the annual “BP Statistical Review of World Energy”, followed by projections with impossible slopes which show that there is no hope of reaching Net Zero by 2050 or indeed anytime this century.
The UK data (blue) show that after a decade of Climate Change Act striving, we are still 79% dependent on fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) for our primary energy supply. What’s more, the graph shows that the falling trend has slowed markedly over the last five years. The electricity supply from UK flagship renewables wind and solar equated to just 3.5% of 2019 UK primary energy consumption (output based).
The world data show that after a decade of forlorn UN IPCC exhortations, the world as a whole is still 84% dependent on fossil fuels. What’s more, the electricity supply from global wind and solar languished at just 1.3% of 2019 world primary energy consumption.
A simplistic linear projection based on the last five years would indicates a UK Net Zero date sometime early next century. However such an extrapolation is meaningless as the task of decarbonisation gets progressively more unachievable and costly (probably £ trillions) as it goes on, i.e. having to transform the entire economy, not just the “easy” part of electricity generation which is already near the technical upper limits of renewables penetration, as explained further here, here and here.
This endeavour has already led to fuel poverty of over 25% here in chilly Scotland yet the trivial emissions savings have made imperceptible difference to the decades-long rising trend in global CO2 emissions as the global demand for energy has risen. All the main UK political parties, not just the SNP in Scotland, seem more concerned about grandstanding on the climate world stage than caring about the wellbeing of the Scottish people and the poor in third world countries who are being denied cheap, efficient fossil fuel energy.
The world data trend projects global Net Zero to sometime many centuries in the future! Even if the disputed climate science behind Net Zero were actually valid, extremely unlikely in view of all the failed modelling predictions, it would be pointless if not implemented globally and that is clearly never going to happen. The reality is that the politicised UN IPCC have badly overstepped the mark with their impossible Net Zero demand. One might even say they have “shot their bolt”.
Shame on our politicians and the scaremongering mainstream media for hiding these show-stopping facts from the general public. The sudden switch to Net Zero, an unspinnable net zero fossil fuels, has caught them out because for years they have got away with bamboozling everyone with implausible statistics on alleged progress towards the easily-fiddled Climate Change Act emissions reduction targets (exposed below).
The UK 2035 intermediate target of 66% fossil fuel dependency was stated by BEIS in this 2019 correspondence with ex-Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom. That point is well adrift of the UN IPCC-mandated target of 45% (global) emissions reduction by 2030 to avoid “1.5 degrees”. Progress from there would require a much faster rate of reduction between 2035 and 2050 than has ever been achieved, except possibly during the 2008-9 global financial crash (and probably the Coronavirus recession, held on next year’s BP Energy Review).
The 2020 BP Review also shows that UK total energy consumption in 2019 was down by 8% since 2009 but by only 1% since 2014. Energy consumption was supposed to fall by 20% by 2020 under the EU 20-20-20 energy directive enacted in 2009. We hear little of that directive these days because not just the UK but the entire EU is failing badly on meeting its energy efficiency target. Like Kyoto before it and the latest Net Zero fantasy (aka the Green New Deal), EU 20-20-20 is yet another example of a pie-in-the-sky energy scheme dreamt up by technically untutored politicians totally divorced from engineering reality.
The UK has wasted the past decade in ineffectual technical tinkering which has resulted in inflated energy prices (ref. fuel poverty), industries forced to close down or move abroad (e.g. Redcar steel) and worsening grid instability. This self-harming domestic tinkering has been doubly pointless as global CO2 emissions have risen about 15% since 2009. Politicians need to “get real”, to shake themselves out of their groupthinking bubble of self-delusion and face up to reality ASAP before they lead the country into a self-inflicted disaster.
Bogus emission reductions and ineffectual renewables
UK emissions reductions to date have been achieved partly by unrepeatable one-offs and by accountancy jiggery-pokery to claim “achievement” of political goals, for example by:
- One-off running down of high-emissions coal power (which still managed to keep the lights onduring the 2018 Beast from the East),
- declaring inefficient, expensive, air polluting biomass – felled forests shipped across the Atlantic for burning in power stations such as Drax – to be “carbon-neutral” despite generating higher CO2 emissions than coal,
- promoting biofuels with catastrophic unintended consequences of tropical deforestation, rare species endangerment and increased, unaccounted for global CO2 emissions,
- surreptitiously not accounting for the foreign fossil fuel consumption used to supply our imports, including dangerously-insecure interconnector-supplied electricity: “Hidden import emissions amounted to 46% of the UK’s overall carbon footprint in 2019, up from 14% in 1990”. Dissembling Tory politicians never admit this in their stock boast that “since 1990 we have cut emissions by 42% while our economy has grown by two thirds”. Clearly that economic growth was achieved despitetheir damaging climate policies,
- cheating by Volkswagen to fake the emissions ratings of their diesel cars, yet the guileful EU did not require this German company to pay any mis-selling compensation,
- Energy suppliers fraudulently claiming to supply “100% renewables” electricity, explained in this Dutch exposé where 69% of the country had been sold the 100% lie, a mathematical impossibility without even considering the details of the chicanery.
If these fiddles were resolved, e.g. by counting the 11% supply of 2019 electricity generation from biomass wood pellets as high-emissions fossil fuel rather than emissions-free renewables (to put into context, the 2018 supply from onshore wind was 9%), our fossil fuel dependency could even be seen to be increasing over the years rather than declining slowly as portrayed in the chart above.
The UK government seemingly has no idea how to implement Net Zero other than by building yet more intermittent, unscalable, polluting wind turbines and solar panels, leading the country into a disastrous energy supply cul-de-sac. Electricity still only accounts for about a quarter of UK final energy consumption, dwarfed by the heating, transport and industry sectors which overwhelmingly rely on fossil fuels. An all-electric UK would require a rewiring of all homes, businesses and streets at a cost of over £7,000 per household, excluding the costs of the requisite new equipment.
My perhaps atypical household uses about eight times more kWh of gas (mainly for heating) than electricity. Fortunately, gas is many times cheaper than electricity per unit of energy. Attempting to use scaled-up electricity – or hydrogen inefficiently produced using scaled-up electricity – in place of natural gas for heating would send customer bills through the roof.
Gas could even be cheaper and our dependency on some very dubious foreign suppliers could be much reduced if only politicians would allow fracking. We similarly import, mainly from Russia, 86% of the coal used not just for essential electricity generation but in various industries across the UK, yet we haveample reserves blocked by planning restrictions.
Expensive, user-unfriendly (charge point provision, charge point “rage”, charging times, range anxiety, breakdown hazard) electric vehicles will require a huge increase in grid electricity supply (see this sister paper, search for Postscript 4) but will achieve only marginal (if any) net overall CO2 emissions savings at huge mineral resource, environmental and ecological cost. Despite all the political hype they will probably flop with the general public, especially when the unfair and unsustainable purchase price, road tax and congestion charge subsidies are inevitably withdrawn. Politicians are setting up the auto industry for an even bigger fall over EVs than they did with diesel cars.
The penny has not yet dropped that all current UK wind turbines will have to be replaced before 2050 because of their short service life, perhaps twice for some of the offshore fleet exposed to extreme operating conditions, never mind expanding the capacity. Similar problems of short lifespan and high maintenance costs apply to solar panels. Remember Alex Salmond’s vain boast that Scotland could become “the Saudi Arabia of renewables” including marine technologies which unsurprisingly is all going nowhere.
Adding yet more intermittent wind power degrades the stability of the grid, with UK consumers already facing a £ multi-billion annual bill to prevent blackouts. Moreover it is delusional to think that grid-scale battery storage could bridge not-infrequent UK-wide multi-day becalmings. Weather-dependent renewables like wind and solar have to be 100% duplicated by conventional power stations (and even “dirty” diesel generators) for essential grid balancing and synchronisation and to take over completely when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
The crowning lunacy of this political obtuseness is that the life-cycle net system-wide CO2 emissions savings of wind electricity generation are actually quite modest despite the simplistic appeal of supposedly “free” wind, as the almost-stalled fossil fuel dependency chart would seem to confirm. The same arguments apply to solar power.
Meanwhile, all but one of our remaining nuclear (emissions-free) power stations will be at the end of their lives by 2030. Nuclear power currently supplies about 20% of UK electricity. After Gordon Brown sold off our once world-leading nuclear expertise to Japan for a song in 2006 we are reliant on foreign collaborations, including with China, to build new nuclear plants and progress is proving glacially slow.
Politicians were warned a decade ago by the then chief scientific advisor Professor Sir David Mackay that trying to power the UK economy with intermittent renewables was an “appalling delusion” but in their quasi-religious climate change fervour (or blind panic in the face of scientific uncertainty, a precursor to what happened with Coronavirus) they wilfully chose to ignore him and defy the laws of engineering and physics. Some technically naive politicians still think that their precious renewables are sustainable but this has never been the case due to their low ERoEI – Energy Return on Energy Invested.
After a wasted decade spent pushing unstable, unclean, unscalable, expensive, low productivityrenewables, politicians need to admit that their fantasy “low-carbon economy” (the pre-Net Zero political catchphrase) is a dead duck – unless they give priority to zero-emissions nuclear power. Nuclear together with medium-emissions gas for grid balancing would be a far more sustainable approach than the present Heath Robinson mishmash of short lifespan weather-dependent renewables cobbled together with expensive technical sticking plasters.
The dangers of “following the (wrong) science”
The following pair of graphs relate to NAOO’s Mauna Loa recording of atmospheric CO2 (the Keeling Curve), a central pillar of the global warming controversy. The small annual oscillations are due to the seasonal variations in the growth and decay of global vegetation.
The graphs show that the 2020 global economic slump caused by Coronavirus has had indiscernible impact on the steadily-increasing level of atmospheric CO2. The detailed vertically-stacked years show a higher increase in warming El Nino years (e.g. 2016 and 2019) and lower in cooling La Nina years (e.g. 2018) but show ENSO-neutral, ultra-low emissions 2020 as “about average”.
The science behind the Keeling curve’s relentless increase remains a disputed subject of debate – some say it is due to higher global temperatures resulting from the natural recovery from the Little Ice Age. Regardless of “the science”, the empirical reality is that since 1958 when the Keeling curve measurements started, global temperatures bear scant correlation with its slope. If the large natural El Ninos of 2016 and 2019 are disregarded, the only sustained global warming to date since before 1950 occurred during the long-ago 1980s and 90s, a brief warming spell which was almost certainly due to a predominance of naturally-warming El Ninos.
According to the Met Office: “To halt the CO2 rise and prevent further global warming, global CO2 emissions would initially need to halve [implying a 50% cut in global fossil fuel usage], and reduce by even more in the long term”. If this Met Office/UN IPCC “Project Fear” unverified theory of dangerous but still indiscernible man-made CO2 global warming were actually correct, it would mean that “tackling Net Zero” would require the equivalent (or worse) of a never-ending Coronavirus-style lockdown of the entire world economy.
Is this dire prospect really what our politicians want to showcase at the COP26 climate summit in full view of the world’s general public, most of whom don’t give two hoots about “climate change”? Or will they kick the can down the road as per usual, digging a deeper and deeper hole for themselves? Or will they finally have the common sense to face up to reality?
The engineering reality showing the infeasibility of Net Zero has been staring politicians in the face for years but they have kept their heads resolutely in the sand. They have also turned a blind eye to the scientific reality that the UN IPCC climate models are seriously flawed, as shown by the graph below from the 2016 testimony to the US Senate by a professor of climate science. It shows modelled temperatures racing ahead of actual temperatures. Needless to say it was ignored by most (not all) politicians.
Coronavirus has again shown the dangers of trusting unvalidated computer models and blindly following discredited “experts” who get feted by the gullible mainstream media. It is striking (see graphs below) how the UN IPCC’s exaggerated predictions of runaway global warming mirror Professor Neil Ferguson’s exaggerated predictions of runaway Covid-19 deaths, e.g. 40,000 in Sweden, actual outcome with minimal lockdown about 6,000, mostly in care homes. (Locked-down Scottish care homes also suffered badly for reasons which were predicted but not addressed).
The political over-reactions to climate change and Coronavirus have resulted in misjudged “cures” which are arguably more damaging than the actual “diseases”. Politicians need to be more sceptical (exactly the right word) when dealing with scientific uncertainty, to take decisions based on empirical evidence rather than conjecture and not be unduly influenced by hysteria whipped up by the scaremongering, biased mainstream media.
The obsessive political fixation on Net Zero
The UN IPCC Net Zero target allows that some fossil fuels could continue to be used if abated by expensive, inefficient CO2 sequestration schemes such as “bonkers” carbon capture and storage. The Paris Accord stalemate shows that few, if any, non-Western countries want to go down the Net Zero road and hobble their economies with such follies, so unilateral Net Zero action by the UK (which contributes just 1% of global CO2 emissions) would only make us more and more uncompetitive and do nothing for the global climate.
The clue to the anticipated failure of COP26 to agree “ambitious” (i.e. economy-damaging) global emissions reduction targets is in the “26” of the name, signifying a never-ending series of wrangles over irreconcilable political and ideological differences. The developing countries are not bound by the Paris Accord and “climate change” is low in their priorities. As they grow their economies to lift their people out of poverty they are all, like China and India, expanding their use of cheap, reliable, abundant fossil fuels, resulting in steadily-rising global emissions.
The forlorn political conceit that “by setting a good example” in decarbonising our own economy – which in practice means de-industrialising and becoming less competitive – we can persuade the developing countries to follow suit has been tested to destruction over the past decade.
The Western fixation on pursuing Net Zero unconditionally and without even reviewing the science or engineering feasibility is sheer lunacy. It seems the more the Net Zero endeavour is shown to be futile, the more cognitive dissonance kicks in and the more the Net Zero cultists double-down on their obsession. Fittingly, this psychological trait was academically confirmed in a study of a group who believed in flying saucers.
The irony is that if the whole world went fully Net Zero – which it can’t and won’t – the effects would be so globally debilitating that we in the UK would have to manufacture (or do without) nearly all the things we currently import and naively account for as emissions-free.
Perhaps if our politicians had not been so monomaniacally obsessed with “climate change” they might have been better prepared to deal with Coronavirus, or the many other natural and societal disasters which could strike at any time in the future.
The apparatchiks of the UN IPCC have never hidden their aim of bureaucratic, undemocratic world governance – like the EU writ large? – on the pretext of “saving the planet”. Fortunately for the general public who have never voted for any such imposition, their desperate “last throw of the dice” plan to impose global Net Zero “is certain to fail”.
It is obvious that “climate change” – not to be conflated with uncontroversial, generally-agreed environmental concerns – is simply a woke crusade for politicians (mostly left-wing) to flaunt their internationalist outlook and misconceived self-righteousness. (It also enables a great many “follow the money” individuals and businesses to profit financially). The reality is that their groupthink is exactly the opposite of virtuous as their misguided climate policies condemn the world to pointless economic debilitation, with the poor suffering the most.
It is also clear that politicians are not even serious about tackling the “existential threat” of alleged man-made climate change as they have so far done next to nothing to develop the only emissions-free energy technology which could realistically supply our future energy needs, i.e. nuclear power, never mind other drastic measures they could have imposed but have not, e.g. rationing of travel and heating.
In the ruins of Coronavirus it is time to call a halt to the great global warming swindle. The UK general public is fed up with the establishment’s obsession with “climate change” based on overhyped pseudo-science, unbelievable apocalyptic warnings and state-sponsored brainwashing. Worrying about climate change has always been a rich society’s luxury, an ideology-driven, virtue-signalling, identity-politics charade, an excuse to hold the general public in a state of fear and to disparage anyone not holding a suitably correct “liberal” worldview.
Now that the Coronavirus age of unemployment and debt has suddenly supplanted our prior age of affluence and absolved any guilt-trip need for hairshirt atonement, we need to repeal the unachievable economy-shackling Net Zero legislation, disband the pointless Committee on Climate Change, sideline COP26 and return to a more rational and sovereign climate policy of adaption as and when necessary.
We urgently need new policies to revive industry and level up across the regions, as promised in the December general election, not the old policies which lead inexorably to de-industrialisation, reduced productivity and lower standards of living. We need efficient, cheap energy to help boost the economy through the post-Coronavirus recovery, not the expensive, insecure energy we are stuck with at present thanks to all the costly wind and solar schemes and their associated green taxes and renewables subsidies.
We need to ignore the likes of Greta Thunberg, Caroline Lucas, the Committee on Climate Change, the self-described “Zero Carbon Commission”, the Extinction Rebellion-inspired Climate Assembly, UN envoy Mark Carney, shadow energy minister Ed Miliband, the BBC and the EU who would all happily sacrifice the economy on the altar of their misguided climate change religion. We should ignore snake-oil subsidy-harvesting renewables companies with their low energy density products who, together with the aforementioned Green Gollums, would take society back to the subsistence living of the seventeenth century.
We don’t need to panic about the fake “climate emergency“ or heed the fake “97% consensus” arguments. We need to examine all the facts no matter how “inconvenient” (to paraphrase science abuser Al Gore) and think, rationally. We need a dose of healthy scepticism to overturn the prevailing leftist ideological compulsion to “tackle climate change” no matter how ineffectual and costly, which is leading us to certain disaster.
Douglas S Brodie, Nairn, July 2020
The above paper and its sister paper UK temperature analysis from 1659 to 2019 were brought to the attention of politicians via a number of emails. The first email entitled “Climate change folly” was sent to the Prime Minister and his cabinet and copied to all Conservative MPs and MSPs. This somewhat unconventional approach was provoked by having suffered almost a decade of having correspondence with individual ministers disdainfully fobbed off with climate establishment boilerplate composed of nothing more than vapid clichés and unsubstantiated assertions, a prime example of which is copied below. Apart from ministers, politicians are not obliged to respond to correspondence from anyone who is not a constituent. The hope in this approach is that maybe a few politicians will pick up on the message and perhaps even use it to try to influence ministers.
For future reference, the Westminster firewall rejects emails greater than a certain length. A length of about a page is accepted.
The “Climate change folly” email is as follows:
To: The Prime Minister; all members of the cabinet
Cc: All other Conservative MPs and MSPs; Mr Drew Hendry MP, Mr Dominic Cummings, Lord Lawson
Bcc: Selected climate realists
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Climate change folly
Now is the time to decide how best to unshackle the country to boost the post-Coronavirus recovery. One of the worst mistakes that could be made would be to double-down on the follies relating to alleged dangerous man-make global warming, aka “climate change”.
For years you have got away with bamboozling the general public with your implausible statistics on alleged progress towards the easily-fiddled Climate Change Act emissions reduction targets. You may not realise it yet, but you have been well and truly caught out by the peremptory UN IPCC demand for global Net Zero emissions, an unspinnable net zero fossil fuels.
I urge you to read my latest paper Fossil fuel dependency shows net zero is impossible (scroll down through the cloud of titles to get to the start). It displays the impossibility of Net Zero in a simple decadal graph of world and UK fossil fuel dependencies, currently stuck at 84% and 79% respectively while global wind and solar electricity supply equates to just 1.3% of world primary energy consumption.
The paper deplores the waste of the past decade’s deployment of ineffectual weather-dependent renewables and bogus emissions reduction accounting practices (blame Ed Miliband for starting it!). It examines the dangers of “following the (wrong) science” and shows how the Coronavirus modelling experience has further eroded trust in the UN IPCC’s grossly exaggerating climate computer models. It exposes the stark reality that “tackling Net Zero” would require the equivalent of a never-ending global recession of Coronavirus scale (or worse). Finally, it mocks the forlorn political conceit that “by setting a good example”, we can persuade the developing countries to follow suit.
It is surely obvious that following the autocratic UN IPCC’s Net Zero strictures could only end in abject, humiliating failure. After Brexit, we surely don’t want policies dictated to us by another unaccountable foreign body. My paper concludes that we need to return to a more rational and sovereign climate policy of adaption as and when necessary, as Lord Lawson has advocated for many years.
If you still worry that “something needs to be done” about climate change, if you feel daunted by the science of climate change and perhaps glaze over at the mention of greenhouse gases, radiative imbalance and positive feedbacks, I have an easy antidote. Please refer to my paper UK temperature analysis from 1659 to 2019.
This gives a simple breakdown of our very own long-running Central England Temperature series to find no credible evidence of any discernible man-made global warming, ever. It also explains why the weather in pre-industrial times was much more extreme than in today’s benign climate, making a mockery of your intelligence-insulting “climate emergency”.
The facts show that Net Zero is unjustified, unachievable and unaffordable. It’s high time you removed the climate change blinkers from your collective eyes. Coronavirus amply justifies a long-overdue U-turn.
Douglas S Brodie, Nairn, July 2020
The above “Climate change folly” email received no response of any kind, a disappointing and even undemocratic result considering that the Prime Minister and a dozen of his cabinet were also sent properly addressed personalised letters expanding on the emails.
The next correspondence of note was an opportunist email entitled “Climate change policy detachment from reality” sent to Scottish Economy Minister Fiona Hyslop MSP, also copied to a small group of mainly Scottish Conservatives. It was prompted by Ms Hyslop’s announcement of SNP plans for a post-Covid “green recovery”.
To: Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scottish Secretary for the Economy
Cc: Mr Alok Sharma MP, UK Business Secretary; Mr Douglas Ross MP, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives; Ms Ruth Davidson MSP; Mr Edward Mountain, MSP for the Highlands and Islands; Mr Alister Jack MP, Secretary of State for Scotland; Mr Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness and Nairn
Dear Secretary Hyslop,
Climate change policy detachment from reality
I watched your announcement on the Nicola Sturgeon Coronavirus TV show briefing of 21/8/20 about the SNP plans for “building a green economy” and supporting “the transition to renewable energy sources”, supposedly to assist Scottish economic recovery from the ravages of Covid-19.
These plans are exactly what we should NOT be doing because they are a shocking waste of scarce post-Covid resources. The misguided attempt to decarbonise the economy over the past decade using expensive, inefficient, low-productivity weather-dependent renewables has caused sky-high Scottish fuel poverty and the erosion of business competitiveness. This self-harming endeavour has been doubly pointless as it has had negligible impact on the decades-long rising trend in global CO2 emissions (up a chunky 15% over the last decade) as global demand for energy has risen, and continues to rise. Your latest plans will only make things here in Scotland even worse, to no useful global purpose.
You talk about the “transition” away from fossil fuels as if it were a forgone certainty when it is clearly nothing of the kind. Easily accessible data show that the UK is currently 79% dependent on fossil fuels for its primary energy supply, a figure which has barely changed over the last five years despite the relentless deployment of yet more expensive so-called renewables. The world fossil fuel dependency figure is a chunky, barely changing 84%. To give an example of expensive renewables, the new Beatrice wind farm in the Moray Firth enjoys an index-linked price of over £150/MWh (and hefty constraint payments when excess supply has to be curtailed) versus the current wholesale electricity price of about £30/MWh.
How do you think you can “transition” from 79% fossil fuel dependency to net zero fossil fuels by 2045 using unsuitable technologies like windmills and heat pumps? What is the point of such an expensive, disruptive and unachievable Scottish (or UK) undertaking when the non-Western rest of the world is clearly never going to follow suit? The only certain result will be further self-impoverishment and loss of business competitiveness.
Your educational background suggests that you are not technically qualified to give objective answers to such questions, so in these circumstances I would humbly suggest that, for the sake of the “wellbeing” of the Scottish people (to crib one of your new green buzzwords), you need to be much more sceptical about the obviously flawed “green” advice you are being given by your chosen advisors. You should commission independent, unbiased due diligence on the relevant science and engineering, not least because energy is not even a devolved issue.
For details on the above statistics and a more rational energy policy please refer to my “lockdown” paper Fossil fuel dependency shows Net Zero is impossible (scroll down through the cloud of titles to get to the start). It explains how Coronavirus has unexpectedly thrown up several new arguments against the delusional, unworkable UN IPCC Net Zero emissions policy. I would respectfully ask that, for the sake of the long-suffering Scottish general public, you attempt to justify your self-harming decarbonisation plans against the facts and arguments contained in this paper.
It is obvious that Scottish decarbonisation will do nothing for the alleged, unproven threat of man-made global warming. No doubt you reject this heretical thought as it goes against your belief that climate change “needs to be tackled”. Happily, I have an easy antidote to your worries. The reality is that you can disregard the UN IPCC’s unbelievable alarmist climate change pseudo-science because, to channel Hans Christian Andersen, the “Climate Change Emperor” really is stark naked, as explained in my second lockdown paper UK temperature analysis from 1659 to 2019.
This paper gives a simple breakdown of the long-running Central England Temperature (CET) series to find no credible evidence of any discernible man-made global warming, ever. It also explains why the weather in pre-industrial times was much more extreme than in today’s benign climate, making a mockery of your intelligence-insulting “climate emergency” declared without a shred of scientific or statistical evidence.
I challenge you to rebut this CET analysis without invoking the false “97% consensus” mantra and without resorting to vapid climate change clichés and unproven pseudo-scientific assertions of the sort put out by the politicised, untrustworthy UN IPCC.
You (and the UK government) are taking the electorate for fools. The facts show that Net Zero is unjustified, unachievable and unaffordable. It is high time you and your colleagues removed the climate change blinkers from your eyes. Coronavirus amply justifies a long-overdue U-turn.
Douglas S Brodie, BSc [sent 23/8/20]
The above email to Ms Hyslop elicited an email reply from the Scottish Government, reproduced below without page break footers and with the author’s name redacted.
Douglas S Brodie, BSc
Our Reference: 202000078911
Your Reference: Douglas S Brodie, BSc
18 September 2020
Thank you for your correspondence of 23 August, which has been passed onto me for response. I notice that you have previously corresponded with the ScottishGovernment on the topic of Climate Change, and so I will not revisit the information covered in previous responses.
Our recovery from COVID-19 is being informed by experts across academia, science, industry, business, trade unions and environmental organisations. We have received evidence and advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change, the Sustainable Renewal AdvisoryGroup, the AdvisoryGroup on Economic Recovery and the Just Transition Commission, among others. All of these groups have highlighted the benefits of delivering an economic recovery that prioritises sustainability in our society and economy. Whether that be in job creation, sustainable investment, protection of the natural environment, climate change adaptation or embedding resilience to future shocks, the opportunities are abundant.
As colleagues have outlined previously, our advice is that the global climate emergency is irrefutable. That is why Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to declare a climate emergency. It is also why, in response to the Paris Agreement, an agreement signed and ratified by 189 world leaders within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Scottish Parliament passed the historic Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019.
With regards to our transition from fossil fuel dependency, Scotland’s renewable energy generation hit a record high in 2019, when 90.1% of gross electricity consumption came from renewable sources. Our target is to produce the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s energy demand through renewables in 2020
Between January and March of this year, Scotland hit a new record high of quarterly renewable electricity generation, with the equivalent of almost half of Scotland’s total electricity consumption for the year generated through renewables. These figures demonstrate Scotland’s overall progress towards net zero, and Scotland’s emissions are down 50% since the 1990. Scotland continues to outperform the UK as a whole in delivering long term emissions reductions, and in western Europe is second only to Sweden. I hope that this clarifies the progress that Scotland has made in emissions reduction and renewable energy, and reassures you that we are using the best evidence available to inform our green recovery from COVID-19.
Axx Hxxx (redacted)
DECC : Domestic Climate Change Division
The above email reply from the Scottish Government is a prime example of a boilerplate “fobbing off” letter, totally ignoring the main points in my own email. However it served a useful purpose as it gave the excuse to reply to the reply in an email entitled “The SNP’s Net Zero detachment from reality”, copied to all Conservative MPs and MSPs in the hope that the subject title might catch their attention and that some of them might actually get the message.
To: Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scottish Secretary for the Economy
Cc: Selected Tory politicians; Mr Drew Hendry MP; Mr Fergus Ewing MSP
Bcc: Selected climate realists
Dear Secretary Hyslop,
The SNP’s Net Zero detachment from reality
Thank you for the reply (ref. 20200078911) on your behalf to my recent email entitled “Climate change policy detachment from reality”. As I expected, your reply is also detached from reality for the reasons given in the comments below. I don’t expect you to reply to this.
The full set of correspondence is too long to copy into an email so for the benefit of all addressees I have posted it online, appended to my paper Fossil fuel dependency shows Net Zero is impossible (scroll down through the cloud of titles to get to the start).
My hope is that that the Conservative politicians copied on this email will learn from my exposure of SNP climate dogma as laid out below and elect to row back on their own futile and ruinous climate and energy policies.
Douglas Brodie, Nairn, September 2020
Comments on the Fiona Hyslop reply
The reply from the Scottish Government to my 23/8/20 email to Economy Minister Fiona Hyslop on the SNP’s delusional Net Zero emissions policy was entirely predictable. It is a prime example of head-in-the-sand denial of reality, totally ignoring my main points and showing yet again the extent to which such climate change fanatics are impervious to rational arguments.
As usual they bang on about renewables, oblivious to (or in denial of) the simple arithmetic reality that their policies are achieving next to nothing towards their (unachievable) climate objectives. Their fixation on (bogus) emissions reductions blinds them to the reality that their dependency on fossil fuels has hardly fallen at all over recent years, as for the UK as a whole.
Their boast that renewables supplied 90% of gross 2019 Scottish electricity comes from the Annual compendium of Scottish energy statistics 2020. This publication also states that renewables supplied just 21% of total Scottish energy in 2018. The corollary is that after ignoring the small contribution from Scottish nuclear power which will soon all be shut down for good without replacement because the SNP abhor nuclear, about 79% of Scottish energy still comes from fossil fuels. 79% is, in fact, the fossil fuel dependency of the UK as a whole as charted in my paper Fossil fuel dependency shows Net Zero is impossible.
The reply makes no attempt to address the two show-stopping realities spelled out in my paper. Firstly, UK and world fossil fuel dependencies currently standing at 79% and 84% respectively have done little better than to mark time over the past decade of emissions reduction striving, as clearly shown by a simple decadal graph. All those new windmills don’t seem to be saving much in the way of fossil fuel consumption, as was forewarned years ago. The UK figure obviously excludes the massive foreign fossil fuel consumption used to supply our copious imports. The facts show that getting to net zero fossil fuels by 2045 (or indeed ever) is technically, logistically, financially and politically impossible. Secondly, most developing countries have made it clear that they will not join in the UN IPCC’s 2050 Net Zero endeavour, rendering our domestic Net Zero policy pointless before it even starts. (The recent 2060 “promise” from China should be taken with a large pinch of salt).
The SNP Scottish Government sets great store by offshore wind power (despite having no domestic supplier) but makes no reply on its cripplingly-high costs as exposed in my email to Ms Hyslop, e.g. Beatrice at over £150/MWh, around a shocking five times higher than the current wholesale price. Perhaps they have swallowed the climate establishment propaganda false cliché that offshore wind power is getting cheaper when in reality it is getting more expensive. Unbelievably, many years after similar prattle from Alex Salmond, Boris Johnson has just (25 Sept) told the UN he that would like the UK to become the Saudi Arabia of wind power. Boris is turning out to be a massive disappointment.
The SNP are oblivious to (or use doublethink to ignore) the collateral damage caused by their blinkered, hysterical obsession with climate change and renewables. They preside over Scottish household fuel poverty at the shockingly high level of 25% (Compendium page 58) which will only get worse as their strivings get even more demented, pushing energy prices even higher and causing yet more damage to the economy and loss of international competitiveness for Scottish businesses, the misery compounded by inevitable rolling power cuts or other forms of rationing during cold, dark, windless midwinter when power is needed most.
The SNP don’t even care if their climate change efforts come to naught (as is inevitable) just so long as they can self-righteously but misguidedly claim that they have “acted for the best”. In a recent preview of forthcoming policies, Nicola Sturgeon pointedly didn’t say that she wants to “tackle [alleged man-made] climate change”, her new catchphrase is that she just wants to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change. The SNP revel in foisting their authoritarian yet pointless climate change dogma onto the general public regardless of the disastrous consequences; just as they think little of ravaging the country’s social fabric and decimating the economy through their inappropriate and unsustainable handling of Coronavirus (cf. Sweden); just as they would throw Scotland into chaos and penury through their incoherent and untenable plans for separation. They are so misguided on practically everything, not just on their make-believe climate science and engineering. If we can’t vote them out of office because of the split unionist vote then we at least need a Canada-style Clarity Act to put a stop to their neverendum nonsense.
The reply author shows she has no valid arguments when she makes the unjustified assertion that “the [politician-declared] climate emergency is irrefutable”. This is contrary to what the UN IPCC itself says and is in denial of the everyday observed reality that our current climate is relatively benign, as explained in my paper UK temperature analysis from 1659 to 2019. She thereby fails on my challenge not to reply using any “vapid climate change clichés and unproven pseudo-scientific assertions”. She also fails on technical competence by her slip of confusing national energy supply with national electricity supply.
What is “irrefutable” is that the Scottish Government is living in cloud-cuckoo land on its climate and energy policies. It long ago abandoned good practice policy-making based on empirical evidence and the unbending laws of science and engineering in favour of following the evidence-free dogma of reality-denying ideologues like the Committee on Climate Change supported only by the shoogly crutches of the UN IPCC’s grossly-exaggerating computer climate models and its infamous, now-debunked global temperature hockey-stick graph.
The SNP’s plans (apparently now supported by Boris Johnson) for a post-Covid “green recovery” are delusional and are not supported by the general public. To the contrary, Coronavirus gives ample justification for rowing back on our current futile and ruinous climate and energy policies. It is high time we reverted to a more rational and sovereign climate policy of adaption as and when necessary. We should follow the bold, sensible action of President Trump and withdraw from the damaging, unachievable, pointless and fundamentally anti-democratic Paris Climate Accord.
It is assumed that there will be no further correspondence on this topic.