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In This Issue
- Events of the Quarter:
▪ Net Zero 2040 Page 1
- Forthcoming Events:
▪ 30th June – Putting Wildlife on the Map Page 2
- Discussion Editorial:
▪ The Fossil Fuel Lobby’s Smoke & Mirrors Act Page 2
▪ Climate Crisis – Priority 1, Energy Generation Page 3
- Recent Events:
▪ Review AGM & Talk “Climate Crisis – Paradise Regained” Page 4
- In Case You Missed It:
▪ More Than 800m Amazon Trees Felled Page 5
▪ Canada’s Wildfires are Extreme and Getting Worse Page 5
Event of the Quarter
Net Zero 2040: The IPCC’s report of 2022 report was heralded by the UN Secretary General as a “red code for humanity”.
Its 2023 report was released on the Spring equinox. On this occasion he described the report as a “survival guide for humanity”. The urgency in that warning is stark.
In essence the report says there is a more than 50% chance that global
temperatures will reach or surpass the Paris COP 15 target of 1.5o C before 2040. It also held out the prospect that depending on how quickly or slowly we
leave the current high emissions pathway, the Planet could hit that threshold sooner.
Ironically, the day after IPCC gave its warning there was no mention of it in the media! The emphasis was on Putin fawning over Xi, and Partygate.
A month or so later, the World Meteorological Organisation underlined the warning by announcing that there’s now a 66% chance that we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027.
At the same time NASA spotted the formation of El Niño in the Pacific, which augurs extra warmth across the globe.
Governments should be emphasising that 1.5o C is an average, and many places are already well above that. They should also be insisting that the objective of Net Zero 2050 now Net Zero 2040. The urgency to get GHG emissions under control is now even greater.
Putting Wildlife on the Map: This event will be held in Crowcombe Village Hall on 30th June at 7 pm. The speaker will be Elizabeth Atkinson.
Elizabeth has had a life-long passion for wildlife and the natural environment. She now combines these interests with her professional skills in education and community engagement to lead Somerset Wildlife Trust’s “West Somerset Wildways” wildlife mapping project.
The event will explore the wonders to behold when we take a close-up look at the nature around us, and show how a new citizen science project, West Somerset Wildways, is helping to put our local wildlife on the map.
This project is a great way to get involved with conservation from your doorstep. If you want a way to help your local environment, come along and learn how!”
This is a new feature with which we are experimenting in this issue. The topics raised below are important in our battle against Climate Change. The approach outlined is not the only one. We invite you to challenge them, and tell us what you feel should be done in the field of Energy.
Please send your views to us at email@example.com.
In our next issue we will discuss other Climate Change concerns.
The Fossil Fuel Lobby’s Smoke & Mirrors Act: “Renewables” are not enough the Fossil Fuel Lobby (FFL) cries! We have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere if we are going to push back the existential threat faced by our species. How best can we do that?
By Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS), claims the FFL. What isthat? It is, it explains, The implementation of CCUS entails seamless integration of subsurface and surface technologies from the reservoir to the topside of the offshore facilities. Meanwhile onshore, the CO2 utilisation programme enables us to derive value from waste. This end-to-end solution will not only optimise operational results in terms of monetisation of high CO2 fields but also support the sustainability goals. Ahem.
In brief, CCUS extracts CO2 from the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels or in the production of materials using huge quantities of fossil fuel generated energy (e.g. steel and cement).
Once extracted, the “captured” CO2 is stored, under pressure, in underground sites such as depleted mines, oil, or gas fields. Any CO2 not so stored, they say, will be “permanently locked up” in construction materials such as concrete.
It is a very expensive, multiphase technology. It is difficult to understand the concept, and therefore raises a number of questions. How does one extract just CO2 out of the air, and leave all other gases in it? Once stored underground will it leak out? Isn’t it better just to keep fossil fuels in the ground?
To a layman it sounds almost illusory. In fact to many it might well appear to be a FFL ruse to allow the continued production and use of fossil fuels. Naturally, FFL has a special interest in prolonging the production of those fuels.
Who do you think the leading investors in CCUS are? That’s right, no surprise – fossil fuel companies. As of 2022, about one thousandth of global CO2 emissions were captured by CCUS, and most projects are for fossil gas processing. With the FFL’s backing, influence, and power, CCUS is projected to increase more than sevenfold over the next decade.
For better viewing of these data please zoom in 200x
Is this just FFL blah, blah, or smoke and mirrors to allow them to have more time to make bigger and better profits? It reminds one of the Mankov cartoon in which a CEO tells his Board “while the end-of-the-world scenario will be rife with unimaginable horrors, we believe that the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit”.
Climate Crisis – Priority 1, Energy Generation: Surely the first act to beat the climate crisis is to generate carbon free energy, and stop using fossil fuels altogether. What follows are proposals for “strategic pegs” on which one might hang a policy for a quick turn around in the Planet’s emissions crisis.
Strategic Peg 1: Transition soonest possible to solid oxide fuel cells and graphene batteries.
The technology exists. Invest in them, subsidise their use, and push for economies of scale to lower prices and make them affordable to all. Several companies already have advanced systems in place which can be tapped in quick time.
Fuel Cells give us total independence. Each household, office, factory, or vehicle will have its own fuel cell or bank of cells, and consume only the power it needs, when it needs it. It will use either Hydrogen or Ammonia as fuel.
Hydrogen is of course the holy grail of fuels. It is abundant, but tricky to move around and needs special storage facilities.
Ammonia is three parts hydrogen and one nitrogen. It is easy to transport and store; a large part of the infrastructure is already in place; it is cheaper to liquefy; is less flammable than hydrogen; and can be burned directly or “cracked” into hydrogen.
Energy storage where needed with graphene batteries has a series of benefits compared with lithium batteries. They are more efficient, more powerful, faster charging, cheaper, safer, longer lasting, and 100% recyclable.
Fossil fuel companies have the muscle to make fuel cells ubiquitous within a few years. Many big pension funds and investors are already demanding that they establish more stringent carbon emission reduction targets for the rest of the decade. Fuel cells are a way of satisfying that demand.
Strategic Peg 2: Become grid independent. The grid wastes 8% to 15% from the point of generation to that of consumption. Fuel cells have much greater efficiency. The inevitable increased demand for electricity (e.g. from the Internet of Things, EVs and air conditioning) carries the threat of frequent outages. A personal fuel cell guarantees one’s own supply.
Doing away with the grid also releases huge quantities of copper, aluminium, gold, silver, and tungsten for other applications, while no posts to carry cables means thousands of trees are saved.
Strategic Peg 3: Solar and wind are weather dependent. They need the support of additional, storage technologies to optimise their value. While nuclear, although non-CO2 emitting, has toxic waste that lasts tens of thousands of years. In addition, both are grid dependent.
Solar, wind, and nuclear electricity generation should therefore be transitioned out. Until such time as electrolysis by fuel cell becomes available (currently in the trial stage), plants for the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia should be sited as near as possible to solar, wind and nuclear generators to minimise gird networks.
AGM & Talk “Climate Crisis – Paradise Regained”: This review has been written by QE’s Chairman, Ian Myers of the Environment Agency.
Quantock Eco held its Annual General Meeting on 28 April 2023 at Crowcombe Village Hall. It was fairly well attended and good to see many familiar faces. We covered the usual items although since becoming a Charitable Incorporated Association there were a few additional requirements on us to include.
A formal report to the Trustees is available along with a statement of our accounts. The key items were that the management team agreed to continue for another year. Jem Gibson has also joined the team to act as an event coordinator which has allowed Julian Anderson to relinquish some of his workload and step down as co-Chair. Ian Myers will be the sole Chair moving
Our long-standing Chair, co-Chair and founding member Julian Anderson then gave a comprehensive and engaging talk entitled ‘Climate Crises – Paradise Regained’. It was a fantastic and enlightening presentation.
It not only laid out the fundamentals of our climate and ecological emergency but successfully added in paradigms and thinking from a range of different perspectives. Despite being very clear about the challenges humanity now faces it also set out a positive way forward. Julian made some key points which are summarised below.
The talk started by defining the problem as observed by Julian over many years which is something many of us have done. We have been presented with similar facts and depressing predications of our future before – we all appreciate the trajectory we are on. Julian systematically set out how our forests and oceans are under threat with the global rise in temperatures melting permafrost and icecaps and leading to increased GHGs and extreme weather events.
The solutions to these impacts are available. Julian suggested a rapid move away from fossil fuels with replacement by fuel cell technology and the restoration of nature through rewilding and regenerative agriculture.
We needed to fund these changes and penalise polluting activities – we currently do the opposite. We also have to address the issue of population control by empowering and educating women and we can expect and need to manage inevitable migration. Much of this will be achieved if we create a far more conscious society based on reciprocity and regeneration.
We can expect a push back – there always is when new ideas are suggested although many of the changes Julian set out are not that new – many
have called for similar approaches. The fossil fuel industry supported by vested interests and the global banking system is holding the world and its future to ransom – we now need to act to save humanity from itself.
What was perhaps different was Julian setting these issues as a conflict between the paradise of the earth and humanity. Our greed and our collective myopia despite our obvious intellect is gradually and progressively taking us in the wrong direction.
The well entrenched culture of consumption is or will impact adversely on our lives. We have of course left it late – we need to do ‘everything, everywhere, all at once’. Perhaps the real starting point for all this is a change in our mindset.
In summary Julian’s talk added some real value to how we now need to live our lives, how to think and behave – I’d urge you to read it in article form – to be published as a Special Issue in July, and share it.
In Case You Missed It
More Than 800m Amazon Trees Felled: More than 800m Amazon trees felled in six years to meet beef demand: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/02/more-than-800m-amazon-trees-felled-in-six-years-to-meet-beef-demand
Canada’s Wildfires are Extreme and Getting Worse: While Canada has had large fires in the past this early in the year, rarely has so much land area burned. Nova Scotia, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan have been hit especially hard. For more see Why Canada’s wildfires are extreme and getting worse, in 4 charts – The Washington Post
We welcome discussion, so please let us have your views by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on Quantock Eco see our website
www.quantockeco.org.uk or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/331095730922655.
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QE/jda – 23/06/2023