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Monthly Archives: September 2017

The early end of British coal

Wind and coal

In its heyday, the British coal industry produced more than 280 million tons a year.  Today, what remains produces less than 9 million tons – less than was produced at the height of the 1984-85 miners’ strike.  Since then, demand has fallen steadily as industrial users either closed or used …

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IRA ghost may come to haunt the Tories

Industrial Relations Act protest 1972

The echoes of the 1970s are all around us.  Minority governments propped up by the Ulster Unionists, social division over Europe, the rise of extremist political parties, and terror attacks in our cities.  It is, however, the ghost of the less well known of the two IRAs that were around …

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Beware of Greeks bearing fake news

Greek fake news

What have Greece and the UK got in common?  In addition to being the two worst performing economies in Europe, it turns out that they also both have politicians who fiddle the data to pretend that they are doing better than is actually the case. Britain, famously, hides massive underemployment, …

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Cool wind or hot air?

Nuclear wind power

The revolution is here at last!  That was the message from John Sauven, Director of Greenpeace, in the Guardian last week.  Following a meeting with the CEO of Dong (Danish oil and natural gas) Energy, Sauven gushed: “This isn’t just a hymn to the glory of an oil and gas …

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UK Banks still vulnerable

Bank failure

Ten years on from the global banking meltdown, UK banks are still vulnerable according to Martin Wolf in the Financial Times: “Senior officials argue that capital requirements have increased 10-fold. Yet this is true only if one relies on the alchemy of risk-weighting. In the UK, actual leverage has merely …

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Fracking “technological breakthrough” is theft

Fracking pads

Nobody doubts that the cost of US fracking has fallen since oil prices collapsed in June 2014.  However, there is considerable disagreement over the causes.  While critics point out that since 2014 wages and service costs have fallen dramatically, the fracking companies have been keen to claim that technological improvements …

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UK government delays fracking protections

Get off my land

The government has come in for criticism over fracking from an unexpected quarter this week.  The Country Landowners Association (CLA) – a membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales – has written to Energy Minister Richard Harrington MP, raising concerns about the lack …

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Human extinction guaranteed

Human extinction guaranteed

Some climate scientists revised their models this month.  Taking account of recent data, they discovered that your children will still probably die a horrible death due to climate change and its consequences; just not quite as quickly as had been thought. How this new research was reported says a great …

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Who pays for North Sea decommissioning?

Oil Decommissioning

An argument has broken out between Oil and Gas UK – the industry trade body – and an Edinburgh geologist over the future of North Sea oil.  According to Professor Roy Thompson, the end is in sight and: “The UK urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting …

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Tory power grab for Celtic shale

Fracking Scotland

Hidden in amongst the Tory ‘power grab’ that is the EU Withdrawal Bill is a clause that allows English ministers to take full control over fracking licenses and decisions in Scotland and Wales.  The change is just one of a raft of clauses that seek to neuter the devolved Scottish …

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