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That mankind is changing the climate is commonly accepted

The claim is supported by increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil-fuel burning, a global temperature increase from 1975-1998 and future temperature projections derived from climate models. The Kyoto protocol based on model projections aims to keep future temperature elevations below 2ÚC by severe reductions (decarbonisation) in GHG emissions, and fossil-fuelled electricity generation is considered a primary emitter. But the alternatives, so-called renewables, are very expensive and area-hungry. Biofuels from cereals have actually increased world food prices; wood has...

In the News

Read recent news related to Scotland surrounding the themes of Our Planet, Our Resources and Our Technology.

Farming in harmony with wildlife

Intensive production methods have skewed agriculture’s connection with nature and that must be reversed, says Edward Baxter The Land Reform Review Group’s proposals for radical change in the ownership of land in Scotland published at the end of May this year are of no small consequence. Two years in the gestation and fraught with much politicking, their report included a proposal for the absolute right to buy for some agricultural tenants, those few thousand individuals holding secure ’91 Act tenancies. The upshot of this proposal will be an argument about the capital...

Thorium has the power to transform our energy

by ANTHONY TREWAVAS Nuclear power need not be a threat, says Anthony Trewavas Use of thorium instead of uranium in reactors can allay virtually all public concern over weapons proliferation, radioactive pollution, toxic waste and fuel that is costly and complicated to process. Thorium is the most abundant, most readily available, cleanest and safest energy source on earth; yet it remains unknown by both the public and politicians. Novel reactor design, the liquid fuel thorium reactor (LFTR), uses thorium fluoride as both coolant and fuel. It has enormous advantages over the use of...

Only nuclear power ticks all the boxes

THE Scottish Government has ambitious plans for spending vast sums of money on huge numbers of wind turbines and experimental wave and tidal energy projects. But there is a growing realisation that this simply pushes up electricity bills while reducing energy security and making it increasingly likely that the lights will go out. This might be feasible when it is English consumers who are bearing the brunt, but an independent Scotland would be crippled by shouldering the costs of renewable energy alone. With this in mind, we should ask what has driven the Scottish Government to...

Scientific Alliance Slams Audit Scotland Renewables Report

Scientific Alliance Scotland has questioned whether Audit Scotland is giving value for money to Scottish taxpayers after reviewing its report on Renewable Energy published last week.  The Alliance has called the report “complacent and anodyne” and is highly critical of the partisan nature of the Audit Scotland advisory group.  Scientific Alliance Scotland Chairman Professor Tony Trewavas said: “Far from being the thorough and forensic dismemberment of current Scottish Government renewables energy policy which it should be, this report is very disappointing....

The Costs of Wind Energy

There are costs and benefits to everything in life. The costs of wind energy are high and the benefits few. Every country needs a cheap, reliable supply of electricity and wind energy is neither. Cheap-because money spent on expensive electricity is not available to spend on education, health, infrastructure. Cheap- because electricity is essential for heating, cold houses kill every winter. Cheap-because the price of our goods in global markets is underpinned by electricity price. Cheap-because only a vibrant, creative economy using the cheapest energy will survive in an uncertain future....

Fracking is more efficient than wind farms

by DR JACK PONTON IT IS an article of faith among the environmental lobby that wind energy is benign and undisruptive, and that obtaining shale gas by hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) is damaging and disruptive. The claims that fracking causes earthquakes, wholesale pollution of watercourses and inflammable tap water are easily dismissed by impartial examination of actual experience. The technique has been in use for decades in the United States, and to a lesser extent in the UK. None of these things have happened. Activists have simply alighted on an unfamiliar...

Cruachan - Double or Quits?

The reports that the Scottish Government is encouraging a doubling of the installed generating capacity at the Cruachan pumped storage station in the expectation that this will increase our hydro output does not suggest that Scotland's energy policy is getting back on the rails. There seems to be no limit to the additional burdens the Scottish administration is prepared to load on the electricity consumer while denying him a secure electricity supply. The point needs to be made that a pumped storage station does not produce energy; it consumes it and over 20% of the energy used in...

Ten myths concerning nuclear power

by KEITH BURNS Fruits of modern technology in power plants should be embraced for the good of all, says Keith Burns Civil nuclear power’s historical links with nuclear weapons (and Chernobyl, Fukushima and suchlike) colours our perceptions of this important source of energy. We don’t eschew high explosives for their many valuable uses because they can kill people when abused. We keep driving cars despite the daily death toll. The fruits of technology always present us with the Faustian dilemma of use for good or evil. The safe application of knowledge depends on the...

Current Issues

To see UK electricity demand
and the contribution from
wind, see www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

 

What's New

Letter published in The Times, 19 May 2014, A proper energy policy means tough choices