Monday 27 April 2020

Michael Moore's New Documentary

Michael Moore's new documentary "Planet of the Humans" ranks as one of the greatest documentaries and productions I've ever seen. It proves that the fossil fuel and renewable industry is one and the same. It proves that the mainstream environmental movement runs on $ , not genuine green credentials. The solution perhaps was not spelled out enough at the end, which is that people need to reduce their consumption habits. Only when ordinary people change their habits and take responsibility , can the environment be saved. It won't be done by capitalism, socialism or any other ism.

The youtube link is here, I would recommend watching it on the TV rather than a laptop, which can be done by using chromecast.

Donations towards the production :

Saturday 25 April 2020

Coal mining in Ancient Ireland

While there is much archaeological evidence about the mining of metal and the use of charcoal in ancient Ireland, there is little or no mention of pit coal in Irish history, that is, coal mined from the earth. However, two different references, from the 1800s, mention a discovery made in 1770 that suggests the ancient Irish were experts at coal mining. The mine was located at Ballycastle in Co.Antrim.
It was found to be an extensive mine, wrought by a set of people at least as expert in the business as the present generation. Some remains of the tools, and even of the baskets used in the works, were discovered, but in such a decayed state, that on being touched, they immediately crumbled to pieces. From the remains that were found, there is reason to believe that the people who wrought these colleries anciently, were acquainted with the use of iron, some small pieces of which were found; it appeared as if some of their instruments had been thinly shod with that metal.
This colliery must have been worked at a very remote period -- at all events, more than one thousand years since, and this argues for the civilization of the inhabitants of Ireland at a period long antecedent to that at which it is generally considered the arts and sciences were first introduced here (From the Irish Fireside, 1883).

Another smaller account is given in the The Industrial Resources of Ireland printed in 1845:

It appears to have been the oldest worked colliery in Ireland, perhaps in the [British] empire, as during the year 1770 the miners broke into an old gallery, the walls of which were lined with stalactites, evidently of great age, and antique mining tools were found therein. The residents of the district had never heard of a tradition of the mine having been anciently worked, and the excavation must have been made at a very remote period indeed. 

 Unfortunately, there was no tradition of archaeology in Ireland at the time, so this invaluable discovery never made it into the archaeological literature (or museums).  While we know the ancient Irish were expert metalworkers, the discovery of the mine in 1770 suggests they were also experts at coal mining. Pit coal would have allowed them to work with much higher temperatures than with charcoal. 

This area of Antrim also had a history of salt production since at least the 16th century :
In 1669 the Hearth Money Rolls state: ‘Neare unto this point are two salt pans where salt is artificially made by the boyling of salt water with pit coale which coal pits are very near to the pans aforesaid and yield great profit to the possessour….’. 
 With six tonnes of fuel needed to produce one ton of salt through the evaporation method, the need for convenient and plentiful energy was paramount.

There was of course no better energy source than coal. It's very possible that coal was used in ancient times in the production of salt.   One has to wonder whether somebody during this period noticed the power of the steam that could be generated from coal and whether any attempt was made to harness this power. Perhaps, they thought of an easier way to move those large rocks.....

Sunday 19 April 2020

EU Fossil Fuel Imports have Increased

Surprise, Surprise - The Renewables Program has Failed

One might expect that after installing all this renewable energy, that European Union countries would be importing less fuel. But the failure of their ideologically driven energy policies can now be understood by this simple graph. Gas imports are well up, and even oil and coal are slightly higher as compared to 2007. If the ultimate goal is to "divest" from fossil fuels , then we have got no further on. Perhaps it's time to do a proper cost benefit analysis before we go any further?

Sunday 12 April 2020

Wasteful Spending Must be Cut in Wake of Coronavirus

Now that Ireland is entering a period of extended lockdown, which the people are complying with, people are asking what will the future hold.  Money will of course be tight in the future,  so wasteful spending will need to be curtailed.

The virus will simply not go away post lockdown but will be around in our environment for some considerable period of time. Quite considerable sums will have to be spent recalibrating the health service. In this context we have the European Investment Bank, the Commission's Bank, providing €530 million to fund the Celtic Interconnector to France:

We already have so much wind on the Irish grid, that huge surges occur whenever a low pressure system passes through. Not only are conventional plants being curtailed, but so to are the two Waste to Energy plants in Ireland, 50% of whose electrical output is renewable as that is the fraction of biomass in the incoming municipal waste. Their furnaces have to be maintained at a minimum of 850 C, to combust the incoming waste, so the steam is diverted away from the generators and into the cooling system. in 2018 these two plants curtailed the equivalent renewable electricity of 1.5 times what the Dart used that year, dumping instead the energy (in the case of Dublin Waste to Energy into Dublin Bay). As we know the whole programme is a mess.

If we consider the East West Interconnector built a few years ago from Malahide in Dublin to North Wales, this was a completely uneconomic project, as the Irish Academy of Engineers pointed out several times, neither was there any justification other than to facilitate more wind energy. Hence no commercial bank would have provided the funding. The EIB stepped in with a €300 million loan, the EU Commission gave direct funding of €100 and suddenly the €600 million project was viable. The UK paid not a penny for the infrastructure and our network charges on our electricity bill, which is around 30% of it, went up by about 5% to pay these loans back. We don't have those hundreds of millions to be just wasted in this manner in the months ahead, there is after all resonance in that we need ventilators not wind turbines. 

The millions to be spent on the North south Interconnector now also looks questionable. What of the billions being spent every year on NGOs ? In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, difficult financial decisions will have to be made to ensure essential services such as health and social welfare are maintained. Priorities will have to change.

Wednesday 8 April 2020

WHO not Fit for Purpose

Two months ago, the WHO claimed that the coronavirus was not a pandemic, and claimed that it could be contained without recommending the only solution that could contain it  - closing the borders to Europe. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak is not yet a pandemic, and⁠—despite the growing number of cases and deaths⁠—is hopeful that the disease’s spread can be limited, therefore containing the crisis before it could actually be considered a pandemic. 

They were wrong. This is the greatest health crisis in the 21st century and they got it completely wrong. They backed the wrong horse, climate change. Does obsession with the climate lead to neglect on real issues? Most likely, yes. 

They are not fit for purpose and should be replaced. 

Sunday 5 April 2020

Threat to the Environment is from Government Policy not Climate Change

There was some very positive news recently, as environmental campaigner Peter Sweetman, managed to quash an attempt by the Irish Government, specifically the Minister for Culture and Heritage, to remove protections for the rare Pearl Mussel in the river Blackwater. The Minister eventually admitted that they had breached the Strategic Environmental Directive (SEA) before the High Court Judge could rule. So on the one hand, the Government pays plenty of lip service to Climate Change and reducing emissions, but then sinisterly sets about destroying what's left of our environment. By so doing, it is able to lay the blame at "climate change" and divert blame away from itself.

The Department claimed that the protections for the pearl mussel would negatively affect their plans to urbanize more of Ireland's environment:

The Department meantime was made aware by Cork County Council and Irish Water that the inclusion of the 
pearl mussel in the qualifying interests for the Blackwater Main Channel was making it extremely difficult to allow 
developments to occur in the towns and villages along the river. Partly in that context, but mainly given the 
approach  recommended by the national expert, the Department decided that the Blackwater Main Channel 
should be removed  from the First Schedule to the 2009 Regulations, while retaining two tributaries, the Allow 
and Lickey.
And of course, the national experts, the ones who's job it is to restrain stupidity, are the very 
ones giving credence to it. 

Well done to Peter Sweetman for doing the job that our well funded NGOs are supposed to be 

Saturday 4 April 2020

March in Ireland is Becoming Colder

Latest temperature data from Met Eireann shows that March is becoming colder in Ireland when temperature records from the past four years are compared with the long term average.  This will mean longer winters as we have had in 2020 and later growing seasons.

In 2016, the EU warned that :
A warming of the climate is expected to result in an earlier start of the growing season in spring and a longer duration in autumn. The date of the last frost in spring is projected to advance by about 5–10 days by 2030 and by 10–15 days by 2050 throughout most of Europe  

Which shows how hard it is to predict the future climate. We, here in Ireland, actually experienced the opposite, prolonged winters and delays to the start of the growing season.