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We need to talk about the oil

Posted on January 21, 2017 by

The link between the rise of modern Scottish nationalism and the production of North Sea oil is pretty indisputable. Both took off in the early seventies, with that decade’s campaigns powered by the slogan “It’s Scotland’s Oil” and it’s still a given in media circles that the desirability or even the feasibility of Scottish self-government depends principally on the spot price of Brent crude.

I’ve always found that argument a bizarre one, firstly because it takes no account of people’s emotional attachments to either the UK or Scotland, and secondly because as this site has repeatedly pointed out Scotland is both a producer and consumer of hydrocarbon fuels, so low or high prices are neither an unalloyed good or an unalloyed bad thing for her citizens.


What is incontestable is that the revenue from 45 years of North Sea production has not been well managed by the United Kingdom in comparison to the other states who have benefited from this bounty.

So far so uncontentious.

Outside of constitutional questions, party politics in Scotland revolves around health, education and jobs, with every party more or less in favour of all three. But what if there was an existential threat not just to this trinity but to our entire way of life? Where would that fit in to our politics?

Mauna Loa is about as far from Scotland as you can get in the northern hemisphere. It’s a volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific, and near its summit is a scientific observatory. Every day since 1956 it’s measured the composition of the atmosphere, far away from human activity. Their complete data set of carbon dioxide concentration measurements, sometimes called the Keeling Curve, is available here.


Despite the distance and the seemingly esoteric nature of the measurements I think this, rather than GERS, is the most important data set in Scottish politics;

What we see is a plot of the carbon dioxide in the air over the Pacific from the late nineteen fifties to today. The red line is the actual measurements and the black line is a smoothed version of that. The regular yearly cycle in the red line is caused by the changing of the seasons. This fluctuation gives us a sense of the change driven by plant and microbial life.

The second important aspect to the graph is the slope of the black line, which shows an increase in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere since 1956, but which we also can clearly see is not straight. The slope of this line has increased over time, meaning that the rate of change of our atmosphere is also increasing.

I can feel that I’m losing some of you already.

The direct connection to Scottish politics is that the increase in carbon dioxide is the result of our burning fossil fuels – amongst them the same oil and gas that fuelled Scottish nationalism. There’s a good correlation between the amount of these we know we’ve burned and the Keeling curve. Fossil fuel consumption took off after the Second World War and so did the quantity of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. If we produce carbon dioxide faster than it can be taken up by plants then the amount in the atmosphere will increase even further.

At this point it’s fair to ask “So what?” The thing is that the behaviour of our atmosphere depends on its composition and particularly on the concentration of carbon dioxide. If we change this it is quite possible that we’ll change its behaviour. The behaviour of an atmosphere means the climate and weather on the surface of the planet underneath, the only place we have to live, and part of which is Scotland.

Atmospheres don’t respond to negotiation or legislation. They don’t have any memory of how they’re supposed to behave or any moral obligation to us. You can’t argue with the atmosphere – it just just does what it does.

The climate in Scotland has always changed. Reliable records of the British Isles’ weather start in 1766 but there are many indirect methods of estimating historical temperatures, particularly from deep Antarctic ice cores, which go back over 100,000 years. Many Scottish hillwalkers will actually have seen evidence of Scotland having been both colder and warmer than today in the glaciated uplands and the Bronze Age tree stumps which pepper the peat hags well above the current tree line.

We also know that the climate in Scotland has changed in historical times just from things like the proliferation of abandoned Victorian outdoor curling rinks. Ice is very rarely thick enough to walk on these days and no one would get many members for an outdoor curling club.


Our winters are much warmer than they used to be and the worry is that we have caused this ourselves. It’s quite possible that if we burn more coal, oil and gas our atmosphere and sea will behave in ways that aren’t compatible with wheat and potato cultivation in western Europe. Additionally, natural systems sometimes respond very suddenly to gradual changes so there’s no guarantee that what happens will be gradual or manageable.

Because we’re talking about the future we’re talking about something that’s uncertain. We need to be clear about the difference between direct measurements, indirect measurements and the outputs from models based on the first two that we see trumpeted in the papers regularly.

Direct measurements are like those in the Keeling Curve. There is nothing to prevent any one of us with a couple of hundred pounds to spare buying an atmospheric data logger, taking it to the top of Schiehallion and beginning their own atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements. These are the measurements in which we can have the most confidence because we can reproduce them ourselves and anyone who gets going now will be able to watch the concentration go from around 406 parts per million to about 410 over the next year.

Indirect measurements are things like temperature data derived from actual measurements of isotope ratios in ice cores. We’re all free to critique the direct primary measurements and the treatment of them to derive the secondary data and, since most of us don’t have the necessary access to Antarctica, coring drills or mass spectrometers, there has to be a degree of trust in the people producing these measurements for them to be useful.

Model outputs like projections of future temperatures, wind speeds or rainfall are highly contestable. They depend on massive data input sets and complex calculations by software that is rarely fully understood even by the people who wrote it, running on hardware that no single person understands.

The point of modelling isn’t usually to predict the future because you can only do that for the simplest systems, like a pendulum. You can know where a pendulum will be at any time after it’s released with great accuracy, but hang a pendulum from another pendulum and let it go and you have much less idea what’s going to happen.

Atmospheres are much, much more complex than double pendulums. Modelling of complex systems like that is done to tease out and refine arguments, to narrow down ranges of possibilities, but not to calculate the future.

What we actually need to keep in mind all the time and to wave in the faces of our elected representatives is the complete set of direct measurements, the data we can be absolutely sure of – the Keeling curve.

The current position is that – notwithstanding the peculiar man who just became President of the USA – almost all governments notionally accept that continuing to burn fossil fuels might cause our atmosphere and seas to turn on us. In our country, like most important things, energy policy is entirely reserved to Westminster.

Nonetheless our devolved administration takes a keen interest in the topic and also in environmental matters – proudly publishing Scotland’s history of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions since 1990. Someone more cynical than me might suggest that these data are simply a reflection of Scotland’s deindustrialisation over the same period but, given that industrial policy is reserved too, maybe we can let that go.

What we do know is that our government is keen to prop up the oil and gas industry and committed itself to “maximise the safe production of oil and gas from the fields off Scotland’s shores” had we voted Yes in 2014. The crucial question is; just what is the maximum amount of oil and gas that can safely be extracted from the North Sea given what we know about our atmosphere?


It seems to me that an independent Scotland could take one of three approaches:

(1) We could just ignore the Keeling curve and become a rich petro-state. This means using the shared, common resource of the atmosphere as a dump for the waste from our wealth generation, without that wealth being shared or common – the “hope for the best and screw the rest” strategy.

(2) We could become a petro-state with attempts at technical mitigation of the emissions from our power stations. The 2013 White Paper mentioned carbon capture and storage (CCS), but there’s only one operating industrial scale CCS plant anywhere in the world and it’s only a pilot. No one knows if the technology is really practical or the geological storage stable in the long term. The UK closed down its own CCS pilot project in 2015 and it isn’t a technology that can be applied to mobile sources or at the domestic scale.

The EU has, since 2005, tried to limit the change to the atmosphere through a market-based trading scheme, and we can tell whether it worked or not just by looking for a downward inflection point in the Keeling curve after that date. (Spoiler: there isn’t one and it didn’t work except for moving money from our energy bills to various shady bank accounts.)

All the mitigation schemes I’ve seen so far operate a bit like federalism for desperate Unionists – it would be nice if they magically worked, but they don’t.

(3) The third possibility is that Scotland accepts that our hydrocarbon reserves may be our asset but they’re equally a shared, whole-world liability. This means extracting only the minimum quantity of oil and gas required to build a renewable energy infrastructure and leaving the rest under the ground. It also means changes to the way we live that would fill several books and the pants of any mainstream politician.


We’re going to have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels sooner or later because it is in their nature to run out, or at least become very hard to get at. And this is a real thing, happening right now. The composition of our atmosphere is changing, we are changing it, there’s no way of knowing what the consequences will be but lots of people think they’ll be awful.

Some will doubtless say that this argument can’t be made by someone who has gas central heating and a car, to which I say; it simply doesn’t matter. This article could be written by someone in a cave or by someone who’s just taken a long-haul flight to set fire to a coal seam and the Keeling curve will be utterly indifferent to that.

We have to deal with the possibility that if we’re going to extract and burn our oil and gas and luxuriate in the wealth that generates then it is quite possible that the very poorest people in the world will pay for it.


Soapbox is a weekend column designed to provoke debate on non-party-political issues. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Wings Over Scotland, except when we write them ourselves, obviously.

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255 to “We need to talk about the oil”

  1. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m an option (1) guy myself. Scotland is far too small to ever hope of making a difference in terms of climate change, and the more money we can get from oil the more we can spend on building renewables.

    (More negatively, even if we manage to build a country that runs entirely on renewables and produces surplus energy for export – which is perfectly possible well within our lifetimes – we’re all going to die along with everyone else when China and India and Trump’s America flood the atmosphere with carbon anyway, so we may as well enjoy ourselves now.)

    I say rip every last drop we can get out of the sea, so long as we spend the money wisely for the future. And of course, there’s only one way we can control that.

  2. Ian McCubbin says:

    The Scottish Government has so far invested more in renewables than rUK.
    The road to the managment of Scottish watwrs oil prosuction can only change when Scottish Government has control of output and eevenue from that.
    I am sure they would reduce output from al fields.

  3. Derick fae Yell says:

    The article conflates extracting, and profiting from, oil – and burning it.

    The two are not the same

  4. Bob MACK says:

    I can understand the philosophy behind your thinking Allan . An independent Scotland with a different voting system may allow that philosophy to come to the fore, but I think the moral objections to creating a polluted environment must surely take precedence.

    I would rather sit on an I unspoiled beach or coastline than deal with some of the events we are already experiencing due to global warming. The belief that we should do something because everybody else is doing it holds no water for me personally.

    Industry money and success, or a natural beauty created over eons. That is the choice I suppose.

  5. Bill McDermott says:

    I am with you Alan, but there is another outcome we could think about and that is not to burn oil and gas but to use it in manufacturing plastics. We could even experiment by making those plastics bio-degradeable.

  6. Stoker says:


    That article is a stoater. It’s a keeper! Thank you very much!

    Perfect time to inform folks – I’ll be doing the WOS archive links right up to and including all of 2016 so anything from 01/01/17 onwards that tickles yer grey matter, make sure you save it.

    You can save it to your bookmarks, save it via using or downloading via the pdf button provided at the end of every WOS article.

    Thanks again Alan, i’ll be able to return to that article time and time again.

  7. Sean says:

    Excellent post. There is a finite carbon budget. This is simply the amount of carbon based fuels that we can afford to burn and still have a reasonable chance of avoiding catastrophic climate tipping points. We are talking extinction level events. Current best case estimates for the carbon budget are that we can afford to use no more than the oil and gas reserves already being extracted. There are no safe scenarios which allow for the development of new oil and gas fields.
    Put simply, the economics of Scottish Independence need to be post carbon. Our massive oil and gas reserves will need to be left in the ground. We will need independence to ensure that this happens. Left to the current Westminster establishment the extraction will continue but this is no longer about the economic value. This is about Scotland helping to secure our sustaining ecosystems by preventing further oil and gas extraction. The oil and gas currently under extraction should be used as the material and economic feedstock for a massive expansion in renewable technology.
    We need to change our paradigm now.

  8. Ken500 says:

    With poverty in Scotland before devolution on levels with Gaza which poorer people in the world will pay for it. The population of the world will peak and then fall. It is in the majority of industrialised countries, Europe etc (without migration). In China it is falling. The ‘one child’ policy is changing to embrace more choice. Their pop imbalance was distorting their economy. With the majority in the world racing for renewables. Ever widening use of contraceptives and personal control over fertility

    It is possible even India’s population will fall. It can cause less strife. Nothing is ever said about the affects of the climate changing. Making for less use of fuel and energy. The human race has long been working it out. New technology and extras. It turned out Malthus was wrong. Medical science. 1960’s invention of the Pill etc.

    Prince Charles, the prophet of Doom, one the biggest consumer on the Planet might have to rein it in.

  9. HandandShrimp says:

    Logic dictates that 3 is the correct option but we live in a complex world where the people of the world’s largest economy have just elected a leader that thinks all those numbers are a Chinese plot to make American China’s bitch.

    Below a certain price oil is going to stay in the ground and if American goes back to coal and other cheap and very dirty means of energy production driving down energy prices then we need to move through the 2, 3 options in planned way.

    If the US starts a trade war and OPEC limit production and drive prices sky high then I think we would need to look at a 1 through to 3 combo. Use what is likely to be a short to medium term boost to prepare for a world where carbon energy very rapidly becomes a no go area. Trump can only be there for 8 years. Reality will bite.

  10. Les55 says:

    It’s a reasonable article as far as it goes, but burning oil is wasteful and a petrochemical industry is what we need to achieve, there lies future employment and not exporting fuels.

  11. pmcrek says:

    Oil has several key uses in modern society not related to energy production, not extracting it for these uses would be idiotic.

  12. Fred says:

    Fresh water, the new oil & Scotland has 90% of the British total! 🙂

  13. Alan Ritchie says:

    Needs to be biodegradable plastics that don’t eventually degrade into carbon dioxide or methane.

  14. Mark Rowantree says:

    Realism would push me reluctantly towards Option 2: nonetheless, Imwould aspire to the 3rd option.

  15. Dan Huil says:

    I’ll be boring and say we should have a mix of energy supply. We might as well, since the technology is there, take as much oil out from under the sea as possible but not use it all at once. We should follow Option 3 then store the rest for emergency use or sell it off when the price is high. We should of course keep developing Scotland’s renewables industry – and thankfully we are already one of the world’s leaders in that sphere.

    I see no harm in keeping an eye open on the development of nuclear energy as researched by other nations. Eventually it will reach high levels of safety and the problems of waste will be solved – although this might not happen for many years.

    From what I can gather Scotland is in very good shape as far as energy needs and development in the future is concerned. That is of course dependent on Scotland regaining its independence and being in control of its own natural resources.

  16. Wee Folding Bike says:

    The graph is a wee bit naughty. If someone submitted that for a Nat 5 or Higher I’d send them back to sort out the vertical axis start point.

    As you might be able to tell I ride a bike almost every day. This is only partly to help the environment and it’s not quite zero impact. Bits wear out and have to be replaced. Some of the bits which wear out are plastic or use oil in their manufacture. Nonetheless it’s much more sustainable than using the car. I do this in Scotland, all year, all weathers. I don’t see this as particularly difficult and it’s not so long ago that lots of people did it. Old film of factories and ship yards shows large numbers or people leaving on bikes at the end of the shift. Even with motorists on the roads it’s not dangerous. When you factor in the cardiovascular benefit it’s safer than not cycling.

    Mostly I just like riding a bike.

  17. Hamish100 says:

    The BBC Shereen show once again

    Run down Scotland There is no appetite for independence. Independence for Scotland is as bad as brexit ? Really. Shereen just giggles.

    BBC shortbread . Job done

  18. galamcennalath says:

    Burning oil and Gas is even worse than burning food. The first cannot be replaced as a resource, the second can. We should be using some oil and gas for chemical, plastics etc, and moving away completely from burning.

    Renewables can replace oil and gas for energy needs.

    As Stu says, what we do alone is irrelevant in the debate about whether CO2 causes global disaster.

    However, those countries which use up their oil and gas will have none for other purposes. Those who conserve them will. If the world survives.

    We set an example, and others might also look to the long term. Make their hydrocarbons last centuries, rather than decade. And perhaps save the planet in the process.

    Which I don’t think is any one options 1-3! It has an element of national self interest combined with move to renewables.

  19. DerekM says:

    no1 and use it to create a massive renewable energy industry.

    The solution is not Scotland going totally green but Scotland doing what she does best and invent something that drags this sorry ass planet into the 21st century,that is how we can have an impact by making something to replace fossil fuels that other countries can copy,and if you kind of look at history you could be mistaken for the world waiting on us inventing it.

    Though it would make certain interested parties furious.

  20. Smallaxe says:


    Sorry, I could not greet you this morning, problems with wi-fi and I’m with BT. So I had to talk to a guy in Mumbai who said he could not understand MY accent!! I had great difficulty understanding His accent so I spoke to him using the NATO phonetic alphabet.He told me that I did not sound English FFS. It was with great difficulty that I refrained from cursing.

    Sierra Mike Alfa Lima Lima Alfa Xray Echo 🙂

    Peace Always

  21. schrodingers cat says:

    rising sea levels……meh, i live in the top flat ….

  22. Smallaxe says:

    Sorry, my last post should have been on the previous thread.Head spinning!
    Peace Always

  23. schrodingers cat says:

    finding it difficult to get upset about having warmer winters in scotland.

  24. Fred says:

    Anent the rising sea level, the south of England’s sinking below the waves while Scotland’s still rising from the ice-bounce!

  25. HandandShrimp says:

    rising sea levels……meh, i live in the top flat …


    Behave or I’ll tell Paula.

  26. Clootie says:

    Great article…until the options. Had these been presented in a more balanced arguement then a good debate can follow. When the writer “forces” the case it takes away from a well written piece.

    We need investment to build a renewable industry which is a local Holyrood regional issue.
    Global warming / pollution is a World geopolitical issue which should be pursued and to which we should contribute and sign up to.

  27. Broch Landers says:

    Quality article.

    Great editorial decision.

    Option 4 would be no more oil or gas, no ifs no buts, stopping right away on day one of indy.

    So option 3 is the way to go. It’s actually a compromise.

  28. eScarII says:

    Good points well made. Practically speaking when will we stop extracting oil from the ground? When it’s all gone? Or some hypothetical point in the future when we don’t need it any more?

    There will always be a torrent of people who believe their contributions to the problem, their oil, their stack or chimney is just a drop in the ocean – and they will argue we should take just a little bit more… They’re the folk who cause species extinction and stampedes for cheap tellies.

    Finally a point on Carbon capture – Nature as per usual has provided us with many extremely efficient carbon capture mechanisms in the form of Trees and types of sea algae. Reforestation is one mechanism I think needs to be considered to fight global warming. It’s simple, it’s cheap and could be popularised. We’d just need the land and a commitment to changing our way of energy production. Not easy, but certainly easier than the alternatives.

  29. schrodingers cat says:

    everything is relative, i mean, an imminent global catastrophe, for whom? I heartily support the friends of the earth but im not necessarily a supporter of the people who live on it. indeed a sudden drop of 90% of the worlds population could be considered catastrophic for mankind but the earth would benefit greatly from it. I would feel very sorry for the 90% that drowned but as long as me and mine were ok, i’d get over it. The oil would then run out much more slowly.

  30. Jack Docherty says:

    I wouldn’t like to be living in any littoral environment going forward, which is a key consideration for where to re-locate given the short period to retirement.

    For the people living on the Mekong, Congo or Ganges Deltas etc, or any other third world littoral location, I don’t know how they are going to cope. Probably these populations will gradually migrate and cause pressure elsewhere, which will result in increased demands for life-essential resources and will likely lead to conflict.

    I also wonder how disastrous the effect will be on the world’s fishing activities if edible species are not able to adapt quickly enough to increased levels of dissolved Carbonic Acid, which may result in the large scale disappearance of many species over a short timescale.

    An interesting article on BBC TV this morning focused on Long Track competitive Speed Skating. Apparently the sport was invented on the Cambridgeshire Fens about 100 years ago as they were frozen over during winter. Not now, as the article above alludes to. The UK team trains in the Netherlands in purpose built facilities that were built by the Dutch. The Dutch took the decision to invest in these facilities after their own low lying water systems stopped freezing over in winter. Also, these facilities (17 in total) are used by the general public for recreational speed skating and not just by top level athletes.

    Of course the Netherlands is a small-ish exporting nation at the heart of Europe, with a very healthy GDP per capita (2015 data), a reasonably low poverty rate and a ‘stable’ economic outlook as described by the main ratings agencies. They have a culture of investment for public benefit.

    If we are to be leaders in the world of renewable energy technology, to benefit from the revenues that a position like that will deliver and to have a governance model that looks positively on society and is willing to invest in a wide range of infrastructure for the benefit of the economy and the population (wherever they have come from), then there is only one end-state that will deliver that.

  31. Alan Mackintosh says:

    Hmm, some thoughts.
    First of all, CO2 lags behind temperature change, rather than preceding it, by around 800 to 1000 years if I recall.
    CO2 seems to have been given a negative connotation in that it is seen to be something undesirable. To anyone with the slightest grasp of biology it should not come as asurprise that it is in fact a plant nutrient. The higher atmospheric concentrations have seen increased crop yields and tree growth. The Sahel region has been “greening” as the higher concentrations allow the vegetation to survive due to them not having to open their stomata as much, hence losing less moisture during respiration.

    Much is made of the greenhouse effect and CO2’s role in this. It actually has a minor role to play. The major greenhouse gas is water vapour and the way in which it happens is that incoming infra red radiation passes through and warms the earth and the outgoing IR is trapped. Everyone should have seen this effect with the contrast between a clear frosty night and a cloudy night. If you point an IR thermometer up on a clear night it will show minus 35 C or so.

    CO2 does trap some of the outgoing IR, but it’s effects are limited to two narrow bands of IR wavelength. Once these bands are saturated the cumulative effect of more CO2 cannot trap any more IR.

    There are more effects in play that are outwith our control. Whether or not the sun is going through a quiet phase in the solar cycle with no sun spots as at the moment or a more volatile phase with high sunspot numbers. Why are sunspots important? They release vast numbers of solar particles which interact with the atmosphere and act as “seed” for water vapour molecules to cluster and hence form droplets and eventually clouds. Research is being done on this by Svensmark and others.

    Closer to home the effects of the oceans play a huge role. The Pacific Ocean goes through modes of either El Niño or La Niña, which brings floods or droughts to both South America or Australia. This year has been an El Niño, which has influenced this mild year. In addition there is the North Atlantic oscillation, which plays a role here, changing our weather with the jet stream allowing Arctic air to slip South or keeping it to the north.

    I may return later with some more, but I’m aware that posts that are TLDR tend to get skipped, but this post has reminded me of a couple of quotes.

    Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

    Life without energy is brutal and short.

  32. Legerwood says:

    Good article. Two points though about Approach 2.
    1 Carbon Dioxide Storage
    The Norwegians have been capturing and storing Carbon dioxide for almost 20 years and have been monitoring it throughout that time to ensure it is behaving as the initial modelling said it would.
    “”Norway has long experience of usingCCS techniques. Since 1996, CO2 from natural gas production on the Norwegian shelf has been captured and reinjected into sub-seabed formations. The CCS projects on the Sleipner, Gudrun and Snøhvit petroleum fields are the only CCS projects currently in operation in Europe and the only projects in the offshore industry.

    Since 1996, nearly one million tonnes of CO2 per year has been separated during processing of natural gas from the Sleipner Vest field, and stored in the Utsira formation.

    Since 2014, CO2 from natural gas production at the Gudrun field has also been separated out at the Sleipner Vest platform and stored in the Utsira formation.

    Since 2008, the Snøhvit facility on Melkøya has been separating CO2 from the wellstream before the gas is chilled to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG). The CO2 is transported back to the Snøhvit field by pipeline and injected into a subsea formation. During normal operations, up to 700 000 tonnes of CO2 a year is stored here.””

    The Boundary Dam carbon capture and sequestration power station is a fully commercial system. Yes it has had teething problems but what new technology does not? The best way to improve technology is to use it and that is what the Canadians are doing.

  33. One-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture,

    main culprit is the production of synthetic fertiliser using Harbor Bosch process,

    the production of fertiliser has enabled farmers to quadruple yields and has led to population boom,

    fertiliser production takes between 3 > 5% of worlds natural gas yearly,

    refrigeration of food and burning of natural forests to produce food also contributes massively,

    the Chinese no longer have one child policy.

  34. Grouse Beater says:

    A very good article but it loses impetus when low scoring further use of oil. For example, petrol driven vehicles will be with us at least another 20 years so we may as well exploit that need keeping in mind car manufacturers are under pressure to reduce emissions year-by-year, either in pure combustion engines, or by hybrid technology.

    Trump is going to make sure US vehicles will reign supreme at least until his ashes are scattered on his favourite golf course, which as we all know, are the very best in the world. (My Trump-Car essay is below.)

    Your weekend reading:

    Trump mistakes a car for an alien:
    The cuddliness of Englishness:

  35. CapnAndy says:

    When you think about it, North Sea oil and gas has been a curse, simply because the availability of piles of oil money has allowed the rise of incompetents in government. It’s been used to deindustrialise the UK, it’s been used to pay off the banks, it’s been used to finance foreign wars, but worst of all it’s allowed the rise of incompetent politicians who have time and time again bought themselves out of their self inflicted mistakes. Now, all of a sudden, there’s not so much easy money around and chickens are coming home to roost.
    Aberdeen,really, should be like Dubai or Doha, skyscrapers, supercars, their own F1 circuit. Ask yourselves…What happened?
    It would be an interesting exercise to wonder what the country would have been like had we not discovered North Sea Oil and gas.
    With regard to climate change, I fear we haven’t seen anything yet. Last time I looked, the Atlantic sea temperature had risen by 2 degrees. It doesn’t sound a lot, but remembering that the oceans and atmosphere are a giant heat engine, it is a lot. As the temperature continues to rise we shall see extremes of weather such as wind and rain that most people can’t imagine.
    It’s not going to be nice.

  36. schrodingers cat says:

    Jack Docherty says:

    For the people living on the Mekong, Congo or Ganges Deltas etc, or any other third world littoral location, I don’t know how they are going to cope. Probably these populations will gradually migrate and cause pressure elsewhere, which will result in increased demands for life-essential resources and will likely lead to conflict.

    so essentially, what you’re saying is, a gradual increase in sea levels is less preferable than say, an overnight sunami?

  37. Mark says:

    What we know is that the cost of extracting oil in Scotland is higher than in some other places due to both societal and geological reasons. Oil will only be extracted if doing so is profitable; without profit, there is no long-lasting incentive to do anything. The price of oil is dictated by a combination of supply and demand: when the oil price rises, it makes it more profitable for producers to supply oil onto the market, either by releasing reserves or by opening up new production capability (such as tar sands or fracking), so more will be supplied until the free market reaches its equilibrium point.

    Oil is in demand because it is an economically efficient way of delivering energy for the various things that humans do around the world. So far, oil or refinements thereof have been very good at powering vehicles and being burned to produce electricity for the national grid. While oil and gas isn’t clean, it is cleaner and easier to manage than burning coal. All those coal miners who turned out for Trump on promises that he would roll back the environmental restrictions on coal are actually suffering because it is now cheaper to get energy from natural gas and other oil sources in the United States. There is still plenty of coal that could be mined and burned for energy, is just that it isn’t economically worthwhile to do so any more.

    We are on the cusp of oil becoming obsolete just like coal. While oil will still be needed for production of plastics and other chemicals, 87% is currently used for energy. The cost of producing energy through other means is going down and down, most notably with photovoltaic solar. A consortium is building an 800MW PV solar plant in Dubai using which they will be able to produce electricity cheaper than natural gas. This solar production is totally unsubsidised (aside from being financed using state borrowing). When demand increases for a product, supply increases to match, and with high-tech things like photovoltaic cells this means a massive reduction in cost per unit as production plants and processes become much more efficient with scale. The next solar plant will be able to produce energy even more cheaply, as will the next after that, and the next after that.

    While photovoltaic solar might not be the solution in Scotland, the price paid for oil produced here will be affected. If China and the United States (both of which have large regions of high solar irradiance) cut their oil use it would cause demand to drop dramatically. Brent crude isn’t like Scottish whisky or salmon where people will pay a much higher price because of its national origin. If demand across the world goes down, so will the price of our oil, and it really wouldn’t take much for it to drop low enough to make Scottish production totally uneconomic.

    Considering Scotland’s domestic power needs, there is great interest in building HVDC links from regions with high insolation like southern Europe or northern Africa and selling that electricity to regions without the same capability. Simultaneously, as the cost of photovoltaic solar goes down, the amount of insolation needed to make solar installations worthwhile goes down as well. Tesla is planning to sell solar roof tiles which should be only marginally more expensive than traditional roof coverings. If you get a quote to install solar panels on your roof you’re not only paying for the cost of the energy generation itself but the cost of installing it. If you’re building a new roof anyway, if the cost of the PV roof tiles isn’t much higher than the cost of traditional coverings, then there’s no good reason not to put them in anyway. Eventually roofs do need to be replaced and there will be other new structures built, so we’re going to see far more solar happening totally accidentally.

    We’re also very near the electric and autonomous car tipping point, which will effectively overnight end the use of fossil fuels to move things around on the roads. Electrification and autonomy work hand-in-hand, with the problems faced by one being mitigated or solved by the other. Charging your car if you don’t have a driveway isn’t a problem if your car can drive itself to get charged overnight and come back before you realise. If you don’t need to own a car because you use self-driving taxis all the time, then the time needed to charge the car is immaterial when you don’t need to use the same vehicle all the time anyway. Since autonomous commercial vehicles will have an insurmountable cost advantage over human-driven ones, it could take just months or weeks for the transformation to be complete. If all those vehicles are electric, then that’s a similarly massive drop in oil demand at the same time.

  38. Capella says:

    Great article, thanks. I’m struck by the phrase “like most important things, energy policy is entirely reserved to Westminster”.

    From the remarks made by Kezia Dugdale, Ruth Davidson, Jeremy Corbyn and others, it sounds as though there is very little understanding of how much is reserved to Westminster.

  39. Liz Rannoch says:

    A great ‘makes you think’ article.
    Apart from the emissions we need to get away from plastics – and yet again Scots have come up wi’ a new ‘cling film’ see:
    Although it could take a hell of a lot of langoustines!

    I’ve thought for years that we should be building houses with solar panels on the roof, individual wind turbines, ground/air heat exchangers and integrated sockets for charging electric cars. We could then use the money from the oil/gas to pay for upgrading current housing stock and concentrate on wave/tidal power and more hydro (national and local).
    Oh Rev – never thought I’d hear you call Scotland ‘too wee’, but I’ll let you away wi’ it, seeing as it’s you… sir.

  40. Macart says:

    You learn something new every day.

    TBF my support of independence isn’t based on an oil price, but still, it’s a resource and revenue stream we’re lucky to have at our disposal.

    Make the best of it IMV.

  41. yesindyref2 says:

    Option 2 for me. Totally for propsperity reasons for Scotland.

    Well done Rev for your comment first on the thread, I’m busy so skipped down (maybe read the article later), but that got my attention and made me look at the 3 options. I totally agree with us being too small to make even the slightest scrap of difference. We could all drive petrol-guzzling 4×4 to our private 100ll airplanes, and fill the skies over Scotland all day long and make absolutely no difference. None.

    My reason for 2 rather than 1 is totally CCS, but apart from existing stations, new ones MUST be 100% CCS. The proposed one for Hunterston turned out to be only 25% to start with – and even that small amount not guaranteed. So it could have started life as just dirty coal (yeah sure, more efficient new processes) burning to the detriment of my life and that of the kids. NAC rejected it unanimously.

    Reason for supporting CCS is purely cynically in terms of Scotland’s potential wealth. Apart from being able to sell the technology worldwide in time, the North Sea – old oilfields – has and I forget exactly, 1/4 maybe even more of the whole of Europe’s potential carbon storage capacity, and that could be worth a lot of revenue, probably much more than oil itself.

  42. heedtracker says:

    I say reforest the planet. For example Scotland alone once had the famous Caledonia forests, and an enormous rain forest down the west coast, like in the US. Our Highlands are effectively a wasteland now for the blood “sports” industry. Everyone’s got a reason to not regrow forestry everywhere.

    Forests do migrate though, with climate change and across continents like Europe and America. Its human activity that destroys them completely.

    America’s giant forests were used to build America and still are. Much of Europe’s great forests went to build the 14th century Venetian trading fleet.

    Scottish forests now lie at the bottom of the Mediterranean having been used to built the English Napoleonic wars navy. The very last of the Scots pine went into Victorian coal mines.

    And then we get to the lost equatorial rain forests of south America, Africa and the Congo delta, or south east Asia.

    Just takes good government, which means we’re all screwed.

  43. Corrado Mella says:

    Crude oil has multiple uses.
    The highly refined fuels we burn in engines is just one.

    There are over 3’000 other products and byproducts we make from crude oil that we cannot affordably replace with others.

    See here for direct products:

    And here for byproducts:

    I’m not a big oil shill and I’m conscious that the links referred might be partisan, so don’t bark at me. Nevertheless, they’re factually correct.

    I’m just realistic: we can’t just stop extracting oil because burning some of it does bad, we need it for other uses.

    The money we make out of it can be ringfenced for research into cleaner or entirely clean uses of refined fuels, effectively offsetting the temporary damage with a long term strategy to contain, reduce or eliminate adverse effects.

    We must also be conscious that weaning off from fossil fuels is a long term effort, and suddenly stop using oil does far worse immediate harm to us than a responsible, measured use with a clear objective to reduce CO2 emissions to the level required by the planet to fulfill its carbon cycle.

    Yes, the planet needs some CO2 to function. All plants need it to grow.

    As often, in medium stat virtus.

  44. Dr Jim says:

    But it really does’nt matter though which option because when push comes to shove there’ll be a new shiny option discovery called the Zigno Blob or some such thing which will be guaranteed to make cars go further and not kill anybody when you knock them down and cure cancer at the same time and they’ll sell us that until somebody else tells us that the Zigno Blob technology creates harmful emissions to the Modi Spinkers which are vital to the earths cohesion and if we keep using it we’ll spiral into space

    Can I have the option of not clever enough and too gullible to decide, but I suspect most folk will go for the current option which is La La La I don’t care shutup and don’t talk to me while I’m buying overpriced sweeties from the petrol station to go with whatever I put in my car to make it go


    This is not a reflection of my own views which are I F…..g hate diesel, it kills you in all it’s ugly forms, including so called “clean” buses and manky death spewing taxis which make me cough

  45. Les Wilson says:

    In an ideal world we could be only slightly helpful in reducing industrial gases that cause global warming. The bigger industrial countries are the real culprits and they will not change, until oil runs out, there is too much money in it for them.

    What I think WE should do, is to draw some benefit from oil sales to improve the lives of people in Scotland/ housing/ infrastructure but with our eye on the future developments of green energy, whatever that may come to be. There will be many types coming,hydrogen,tidal, solar, and new technologies to be harnessed.

    This is where we should be working, developing these new technologies and finding new ones to benefit all of mankind.
    We are good at inventing as our history shows. We can do it again in renewable energy invention and development.

    So yes, take a windfall and let our people see some benefit at last, but also to use a substantial proportion for long term benefits will both help the planet and all the life across the planet. Scotland can be a force for good, and that is a good idea.

  46. Stoker says:

    Scotland’s wealth of opportunity

    Economic impact of the historic environment: £2.3b
    Rural and Island Economy: £32b
    Construction Industry: £17b
    Whisky Exports: £4.3b
    Food and Drink Industry: £13b
    Tourism Industry: £10b
    Aerospace, Defence and Marine: £5b
    Chemical Industries: £9.3b
    Business Services Industry: £10b
    Life Sciences: £1.9b
    Creative Industries: £2.8b
    Financial Services Industry: £7b

    25% of Europe’s potential wind and tidal energy.
    10% of Europe’s wave potential.

    Oil & Gas Reserves: £1,500b

    source: Your Future
    (a free guide to Scotland’s referendum – p22/p23)

  47. Dr Ew says:

    Ah-HA! I knew it!

    Trump is wrong about climate change – it’s not a Chinese hoax, it’s an ENGLISH hoax!!!

  48. bobajock says:

    Well, would Scotland manage it better? Use it less rather than try lining the pockets of the 1%? Easy answer.

    The secret is to offset your bad with good (its happening in Scotland), then do less and less of the bad as you coerce your requirements into something a bit different.

    Voila. You have solved the Scotland issue, but the ocean of USA/China/India et al will wash over you.

    Become a leader, help and show others how.

  49. Christopher Whyte says:

    I’m an option 3 type of person, but more because I think one good example can forge a change throughout the world. The problem is how you sell that change at a point where people think it’s a good idea. “Save the planet” is much too abstract for people who, really, only want jobs that they can live on, decent schools for their children, GPs that’ll take care of them when they’re sick, and their bins emptied.

    It’s an issue of message, and it’s why the Greens remain wholly unpopular despite some strong policies. You can prattle on about Land Value Tax, increased local democracy or a renewable revolution all you want; people don’t actually care if their kids become dumber while their hours are cut to the point of in-work poverty.

    Spot the difference between these two messages:

    1) We intend to divest from fossil fuel use in order to create a renewable economy that protects the planet from our ravages.

    2) We’re moving to renewables because it’ll shove your energy bills down, create jobs and increase public spending.

    You could be talking about the exact same policies but one message will be met with loud cheers in bohemian areas like Glasgow Kelvin or university campus’ around Scotland, while the other will see some head-nodding throughout the people that might actually make an electoral difference.

    Perhaps I’m just being an idealist (given yesterday’s ugly inauguration across the pond, that reality is more likely), but if Scotland were to make it work then it’d be much harder for bigger countries to ignore when their people start wondering why their nations are burning a hole in the planet when, actually, there’s a workable alternative that saves them money.

    Just my two pence.

  50. galamcennalath says:

    heedtracker says:

    I say reforest the planet.

    Excellent point.

    If there was massive international planting of forests, what would be the impact?

    A lot of carbon would be absorbed as the trees grew over the next 5o years. It is was worldwide, what would be the impact? Are there estimates?

    Scotland can play its part. Then there are places like Brazil where they destroy dense forests to provide poor cattle grazing. That seems madness. OK, our ancestors didn’t the same thousands of years ago, but are we not better informed now?

  51. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Can we crowdfund a WOS coring-drill and send it, along with the resident trolls, to Antarctica?

  52. heedtracker says:

    Dr Ew says:
    21 January, 2017 at 12:39 pm
    Ah-HA! I knew it!

    Trump is wrong about climate change – it’s not a Chinese hoax, it’s an ENGLISH hoax!!!

    In the late 60’s, oil was discovered 100 miles off of Dundee, now the Forties field, one of the worlds biggest offshore oil and gas fields. The very first finds were flown straight to London, BP and the planning began

    Fast forward in UKOK time, 1976, Glasgow, Parkhead Forge Steel plant closes for good, over 35 thousand jobs lost. The closure is one of several in a Scottish steel and construction industry already out dated, declining, caught in endless union battles with various UK govs.

    What might have turned around all of this decline during this period of not Scots oil and gas discovery, really giant discoveries that have made many nations like Norway wealthy, debt free with full employment?

    Instead, our chums in the south, in the early 70’s, in City, Treasury, Lab and Cons, all planned and then pumped billions into the steel and rig builders of the far east, bought Japanese steal, invested korean shipyards. Then the floated everything back to the North Sea on barges. A great triumph of British engineering, our chums in the south boasted.

    Then Snatcher Thatcher sold off BP in 1979, for peanuts, one of several bargain basement tory “privatization” triumphs. All that investment potential in Scottish industry lost, all the state owned oil co’s flogged to the City for cheap, all the revenue from NOT Scots oil and gas flowing out, up and over Scotland, to our chums in the south for 40 years, and then we became the scrounger region of the UK.

  53. gordoz says:


    Poor Kez ; cannae see the irony – LABOUR NORTH

  54. Douglas says:

    I’m a modified option one proponent. For now we should be doing EVERYTHING possible to keep the oil, shale gas, coal, anything nonrenewable, in the ground.

    Maximum cynicism.

    Till independence.

    At which point we use the lot as best we can while building pumped storage hydro-power and supporting grid we need to operate a fully renewable energy generation infrastructure. After that sell what is left and bank it.

    China and the US can sort themselves out – they are the powers that can make a difference and also have massive areas susceptible to flooding.

  55. James D says:

    A couple of points about CO2 and the Keeling Curve –

    “By supporting the Bern model and similar carbon cycle models, the IPCC and climate modellers have taken the stand that the Keeling curve can be presumed to reflect only anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The results in Paper 1–3 show that this presumption is inconsistent with virtually all reported experimental results that have a direct bearing on the relaxation kinetics of atmospheric carbon dioxide. As long as climate modellers continue to disregard the available empirical information on thermal out-gassing and on the relaxation kinetics of airborne carbon dioxide, their model predictions will remain too biased to provide any inferences of significant scientific or political interest.”

  56. Liz g says:

    A well written article, I kind of followed, for a wee change!
    I guess I could look at enough of the science and understand the basics…If I wanted too…But I don’t.
    And I don’t because I don’t need too.

    It just seems to me that getting things as clean and pollution free as possible,as fast as possible and also concentrating on an energy source that won’t run out, is a no brainier…. Really just common sense.
    Don’t actually see why there is any argument to be had.

    Crops and livestock arriving at the table uncontaminated by whatever shit is being pumped into our environment..What’s not to like… Also our exports would I think be very popular!
    For me it’s the water that seals the deal,we should never do anything that would risk it’s quality,we also have enough of that to sell, not forgetting our Whisky which needs quality water, therefore we should be persuing the cleanest environment that’s within our power to achieve.
    And we should become known for it.

    No Scotland won’t save the planet doing it…But it wouldn’t hurt it either.
    What Scotland might actually save is the other’s who could use this technology to survive in the third world.
    And those who are being persecuted and killed for oil.
    Like I said I don’t need to understand the science to know that.

  57. Henry McMillan says:

    What a good soapbox piece! Lets be responsible earthlings.

  58. Muscleguy says:

    There is also the argument that goes that the recoverable oil deposits are not infinite and oil is useful for more, much more, than transport or heat generation. Plastics are the big one but many other feedstocks for other products originate in oil like solvents used to make things like computer chips or many other very useful and essential chemicals for the modern world. Even electric cars need greasing for eg. We need to tarmac our roads too.

    There are various schemes to grow oil replacement feedstocks derive from plants. But the acreage needed would be huge and soils are under stress already and food security is not going to get better with a changeable climate.

    So we are still going to need oil and we can keep it in the ground for that. We could even if we were smart set up more refineries and ensure we use our oil for such purposes instead of selling it into a market where anything could happen to it. We then sell the value added outputs instead of the raw oil.

    There is no a priori reason why we have to go on burning the stuff.

  59. ScottieDog says:

    @Liz g
    It’s one thing to hand our kids a broken economy but I feel if we can avoid handing down a broken planet surely that’s the thing we should be aiming for, and of course a source of hydrocarbon that is still in the ground that they can decide what to do with.

    The economy is a subset of the environment and to have a resilient economy it has to be based on a broad ranging sustainable energy and regenerative environment.

    Yes water is the bottom line but the most efficient store for water is healthy soil. Our current farming techniques are simply mining the soil – a big source of CO2 emissions all on its own.

    Practices such as permaculture look to not only sustaining healthy soil but regenerating it in additon to creating polycultures which are far more resilient to pests and of course the extreme weather conditions associated with climate change.

    We will only get so far dedicating large swathes of land to single crops and destroying the soil by spraying them with hydrocarbon based solution.

    I feel that no matter what trump does we can prepare and repair our own neighbourhood and make it better for our kids.

  60. schrodingers cat says:

    we should be as self sufficient as possible, in all aspects of our society, not just energy, it probably wont save the planet but it might save scotland?

  61. Legerwood says:

    There is a tendency for people to say that Scotland’s efforts to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions are insignificant because we produce so little Carbon dioxide in the grand scheme of things. This is a specious argument on two counts.

    Firstly, the Carbon dioxide we produce within Scotland may be far less than other countries but it does not take into account the Carbon dioxide produced elsewhere , eg China, producing the goods we import. Together they may still appear insignificant but not to do anything to try to reduce them sends all the wrong messages which is the second point about why not doing anything is not an option.

    Not only does it send all the wrong messages it cuts Scotland out of the international endeavour to find solutions. An isolationist position that would cost us dearly economically.

    There us another point and that is with regards to large Carbon dioxide emitters such as China.

    There is almost a knee-jerk response in any discussion on Carbon dioxide emissions to mention China as a prime culprit and in doing so ignore, e completely, unaware of the steps China is taking to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases. They are not stupid and can see the damage being done from their emissions and are taking effective steps to reduce them.

  62. Artyhetty says:

    Interesting read, there is a huge amount of info on the web as well.

    I had a couple of dithering friends prior to 2014, who when I mentioned our oil, said, ‘aye, but it’s dirty isn’t it’. Had to agree with them, but, had to say, do we want to continue to allow our neighbour to siphon off pretty much all revenues from Scotland’s oil, squandering the proceeds and keeping Scotland poor, begging bowl in hand!

    The ScotGov have been doing a great job against huge odds, in investing in and promoting renewables. If we take our independence in the near future, then it makes sense to use it well. To continue to invest in renewables in Scotland is the wisest and most responsbile approach. We would be wise to use any oil extraction to invest in renewables, then leave it in the ground.

    We have known for years that the development of the west cannot be sustained, but mostly it has been ignored. Shame, it may be too late already.

    Nuclear, no thanks, waste storage already a huge concern. Also we have an amazing array of resources in Scotland for renewables.

    I came across a ‘Robert Burns Chronicle’ from 1966, some great ads in it. One stands out though, ‘A new landmark in Ayrshire’, Hunterston, the world’s largest nuke station. It says, ‘Scotland uses more nuclear electricity per head of population than any other country in the world’. Says the ‘South of Scotland electricity board’. Where did the electricity from Hunterston go, did Scotland use it all?

    ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’. Will they though? I see plenty people dumping stuff that is easily recyclable, into the rubbish bins, and every time I think, do you really consider the earth to be just a big massive bin, just for you!

  63. Robert Peffers says:

    @Alan Brown:Generally a good article, Alan, but there are several errors and inaccurate conclusions. I’ll highlight a couple.

    “The link between the rise of modern Scottish nationalism and the production of North Sea oil is indisputable. Both took off in the early seventies.”

    I’m about to dispute your indisputable facts. I was born pre-WWII in what was then Midlothian but is now West Lothian. I had several family members who worked in the Scottish Oil Industry at the Pumpherston Oil Works. Not only that but I have been an SNP supporter since around 1946 even although I was not old enough to vote for them.

    Here is what I remember about the history of the early Scottish Oil Industry. If anyone knows different please correct my memories:-

    “After Scottish Oils Ltd, was formed the crude oil works at Pumpherston were closed in 1926 because the local supply of shale had become uneconomic to extract.

    The Pumpherston refinery continued as the main site for Scottish shale operations with the plant refining the output of all remaining Scottish crude oil. A Cracking Plant was constructed in the refinery in 1929 that greatly increasing the output of road fuels and it had the benefit of UK government tax preference.

    In the late 1930’s, brickworks were built on the former site of Pumpherston Mains to produce, “Scottish Oils Ltd (SOL)”, bricks using spent shale from the old shale bings.

    Then, in 1947, a synthetic detergent plant producing detergent products derived from shale oil products was established within the refinery.

    As an aside this plant provided the form of detergent in 45Gal drums used to disperse oil spills from North Sea, and other oil spills, when North Sea oil came on stream.

    Parts of the BP, Pumpherston, Refinery were then processing crude oil from various parts of mainland Britain including crude petroleum from oil wells in Nottinghamshire. (These parts continued as a refinery after the closure of the Scottish shale oil industry until 1964), when the site processed only detergent products under the company name of, “Young’s Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd”.”

    The next point is that the Scottish economy has never actually depended upon oil at any time then or now. This is clear when you know that the Westminster Treasury receives every last penny of the total revenues gained from both oil & gas extracted from the Scottish Territorial Waters. This is between 95% & 98% of the total UK oil & Gas revenues.

    This revenue is claimed by the UK as being from, “Extra-Regio-Territory”, and is accounted as belonging directly to the UK – not to Scotland. There are claims that Scotland gets a per-capita, (8.4%), share of that revenue but this is total lies. That 8.4% is only a figure used to compile other statistics. Nowhere does Scotland actually get 8.4% of the revenue.

    To put that another way The Scottish direct income is derived only from the Scottish Block Grant and that is NOT dependent upon other than the Westminster decided, (by Barnett Formula), Block Grant and subsequent Barnett Consequentials.

    Furthermore, to claim that oil & gas production should stop is idiotic and the main reason for that is that there are literally thousands of other products derived from the crude oil and neither the crude oil or the gas add any CO2 to the atmosphere unless they are burned as fuel.

    I’m inclined to believe in, “Greenie”, ideals but the Green Party, and several other organisations, not only go well over the score but their scientific conclusions are not nearly so scientific as they imagine and claim.

  64. Hamish100 says:

    Without being too selfish on the oil maybe we could when in control of our resources build some new water tanker ships(yes water) and transfer some of our H20 on the ships -built in Scotland to serve the water starved countries eg in Africa- not necessary for drinking but for irrigation or both. Better than handing out cash to corrupt governments. Irrigated crops will use up C02 used by the oil to transport the water.

    Just a thought for a Saturday afternoon while the wifes out shopping.

  65. ronnie anderson says:

    Rev I was getting despondent on reading that piece until I read your comments and restored my belief in our rights to a better life style as other `Nations have enjoyed for so long. We’ll all go to hell in or out of a handbasket so we may as well build or Scottish Nation with all the revenues that Oil brings.

  66. Piotr says:

    To avoid catastrophic global warming we need to be Carbon Zero, that is to say net CO2 emissions must be net zero before 2070, preferably 2050. The Keeling curve must rapidly become a Keeling flat line (how are we doing?). Scotland, with its abundant renewable energy supplies, is well placed to take advantage of this challenge. We should seize the opportunity.

    It is difficult to see a long term economic strategy that does not acknowledge or work towards this end makes any sense.

    Time to roll up our sleeves.

  67. AR Brown says:


    Surely if you can fold a bicycle you can fold a graph? I know what you mean, it irritated me and NASA are naughty, but you could argue that the abscissa ought to be 280ppm, the generally accepted post-ice age pre-industrial level. That, not zero, is the starting point for this curve.

  68. yerkitbreeks says:

    This article seems to concentrate wholly on BURNING the extracted fossil fuels, but what would the contemporary world be like without petrochemical products which aren’t burnt ?

    Clue – have a look at the guttering on all modern homes, for example !

  69. AR Brown says:


    “Logic dictates that 3 is the correct option but we live in a complex world….”

    Indeed. That about sums it up. 3 without a generalised mobilisation of society is unthinkable, and we’ve never done that in peace time.

  70. Liz g says:

    Scotti Dog @ 1.59
    I agree that we should be looking to hand on the best Environment possible to our kids,and I, and, I think, most people want to get as pollution free as possible in and around our own personal spaces.
    But the main thrust of my thinking is that,no matter what the big polluters do (and we can’t control that) we have an opportunity to market our produce to,it has to be said those with enough money and knowledge…In other words those who have a choice…..Not to want to eat or drink the chemical laden mass produced processed crap.
    A good Environment is also a selling point for the tourism,well a wee bit …If it was marketed right.

    Just as an FYI… I have read more than once affluent Americans avoid American Beef and GM produce,but I don’t know if it is true…But then again it doesn’t have to really be true to be selling them food that they know doesn’t contain the stuff they are suspicious of…..

    Remove oil from the equation and almost everything else our economy depends on could benefit from getting known as coming from one of the cleanest environments possible.
    I take your point that we cannot exaust the land it’s self,but a wee bit of forward planning and a Big bit of land reform, should ensure that we don’t.
    After all now we know better.

    Oh my I am beginning to sound like I am in the Green party, I’m not I don’t belong to any party!!

    Which leaves our renewable Technology,in developing that our market’s would be the countries who have no oil or money for oil,and there are a lot of them.
    We would as has been pointed out even have enough oil to go on selling the things that oil also makes/is used for,and because we are not burning most of it,we will have that ability for quite some time.

  71. Breeks says:

    Whatever we do with our oil, it’s going to be a fraction of what we might have done with it with more prudent investment and diligence in harvesting such a rich resource. We could have been ahead of the Norwegians, whereas as it stands, we might never catch up. That’s the legacy of underachievement which our children, and their childrens’ children will have to live with.

    Perhaps the best lesson we can learn about “our” oil is the difference between rational, logical, and future proof investment, and the short term plundering of a finite resource with globally significant and irreversible side effects.

    We have a new, bigger and brighter opportunity with our renewables industry and capacity to have another heaven sent bounty which is even bigger than oil, IF we learn from our mistakes with oil, and seize control over what belongs to us.

    Europe’s need for energy is already struggling with capacity in extreme conditions, and these circumstances can only increase the pressure on conventional sources of energy. We can help. We can supply. We can produce what they need in limitless quantity. We are on their doorstep with unique strategic conditions and we are equally uniquely placed to supply their demand.

    Unlike oil, if Scotland can produce clean, pollution free, renewable energy, then the smaller Carbon footprint suggests we can produce a great surplus supply of pollution free, renewable green energy without the damaging side effects of fossil fuels. This is a FREE resource that ISN’T going to run out, and doesn’t impose anything like the burden of existing carbon or nuclear based energy.

    30 years from now, I might not see it, but Scotland could be the engine room for a large part of Europe, and making sure that wealth is spent investing in our people and capitalising of the long term opportunities for Scotland to be leading the way in renewable technology and research. We don’t plunder, we don’t exploit, we invest, we research, we improve.

    The potential is what we allow it to be. With surplus energy unburdened by environmental constraints, perhaps Scotland might even realise Nikola Tesla’s ambition of free energy for all. Just imagine that. No more fuel poverty for anyone. Better mobility for all in hydrogen driven cars which produce nothing but water. Special tariffs on older properties so we don’t lose our majestic heritage because it’s too expensive to heat and can’t be insulated without tons of plastic insulation.

    What do we do about our oil? We use it as a horror story to drum it into our kids that Scotland’s resources belong to Scotland, and it is only Scotland who should be developing them in Scotland’s best interests. Leave our affairs to Westminster, and Scotland will see no benefit whatsoever, and find itself paying through the nose for our own natural resource while the Home Counties around London add another 0 to their house prices.

    If we can develop a capital fund from what is left of our oil, then yes, using that oil must add to the release of carbon and CO2, but once we stop pumping that wealth into the profligate UK treasury and start pumping it into renewables, research and development, then suddenly it is perhaps, the very best moral and ethical thing we can do with our oil. The faster and sooner we develop alternatives, the more of the stuff we can leave in the ground.

    It isn’t just a country we can hand down to our kids.

  72. heedtracker says:

    Clue – have a look at the guttering on all modern homes, for example !

    Its also about sustainability. Chuntering on about global reforestation, is more than just soaking up CO2, which the oceans seem to be doing most of, and getting more acidic.

    There is what’s called the vegetable layer, or top soil that’s a like a skin, typically 15 cm deep across some of the Earth’s land mass. So take Scotland’s farmable land, the vegetable layer, and it is all down to several thousand years of forestation biomass. Its hasn’t just appeared out of the ether.

    In the good old days, farming coped with land that started to drop in productivity by crop rotation and fertiliser, animal poop. Today, fertilizers, GM and pesticides have replaced all the old rotation but that doesnt mean that fertile soil is not being over farmed, degraded, poisoned and lost. It is. Everywhere.

  73. Noel Darlow says:

    To say that Scotland’s emissions are too small to matter is like going to the pub with a large group of friends, drinking all night, but refusing to put anything in the kitty.

    Actually it’s worse because, if we don’t all share the cost, the pub will burn down.

    It’s quite wrong to say that what we do doesn’t matter both. Google Tragedy of the Commons. We can’t tackle climate change unless all countries act together, large and small. As a country which played a leading role in the industrial revolution, and a historically high emitter, you could say that we have a moral duty to take a lead in the drive for a low-carbon future.

  74. Ken500 says:

    Mad Cow prevented Beef being exported from Britain for years. Nuclear contamination also led to a cull of many animals. US bans trans fats. GM crops are not supported by the majority in Scotland. Although trials were permitted. Scotland is surplus in food and energy. Scottish high quality foodstuff go all over the world.

    In many US States driving and alcohol consumption is pitched at 21 year old limit. Cutting crime and accidents. 25% of accidents are caused by (10% ) of drivers i.e. 18-24 year old drivers. There could be approx 20% less accidents and less crime committed under the influence of drink/drugs.

  75. heedtracker says:

    Oil is also used for fertilizer but this is what a real and not dystopian future looks like. I’m from Aberdeen. As a kid in the late 70’s, early 80’s, you could catch the single decker ski buses on the North Deeside road, Aberdeen to Glen Shee, for a fiver, pretty much from Union street all the way up to Braemar and through out the winter. All of this has gone. You used to be able to see snow capped Grampians, from Aberdeen, right until June. All of its gone in 30 or 40 years.

    You can of course still see the Grampians from Aberdeen, still swathed in huge smoke clouds, as the big Balmoral scale estates scorch with fire every living thing and over hundreds of square miles of what was once the Highland snow lines. All for blood sports.

  76. Ken500 says:

    The EU is limiting pesticides. Set aside.There is also organic foods. Grow under restricted conditions. Or veggie. Or organic veggie. A tax on sugary drinks? Minimum pricing? A surcharge on plastic bottles?

  77. Liz g says:

    Ronnie Anderson 2.52
    Would it really be better life style Ronnie?
    Apart from,you live in a Cancer hot spot, espically for unusual childhood cancers (we may be eating our way to most cancers… Allegedly…) being reason enough to clean things up.
    Try leaving a towel on the line for 48hrs then see what it smells like,and you will see what I mean.

    Do you really see Scotland getting anything other than dominated by Big shots from Big oil?
    I think it’s too late to do what Norway did it has all already been sold off.
    All we would get to do is tax it.
    I would shut them down for environmental reasons over time,then after they have gone, what’s left is ours.
    As long as we were only using it for the “by products” they won’t I don’t think have any come back.

  78. Glamaig says:

    Carry on selling the oil and use the proceeds to develop sustainable energy, and become a world leader in that, and an exporter. Sets an example of what is possible. Then the rest of the oil/coal can stay in the ground as a future reserve. (the only worry I have about that is some bastards might invade us to get their hands on it, after they have run out).

    Visualise the world you want, and do something to make it happen. Option 1 is hopelessly negative and if thats everybody’s world view we are all fked.

    I guess that makes me closest to option 3.

    Recommended reading by a physicist who knows what he is talking about, and describes the options, backed up by actual numbers:

    Sustainable Energy without the hot air, by David MacKay.

  79. Robert Peffers says:

    @Alan Ritchie says: 21 January, 2017 at 11:08 am

    “Needs to be biodegradable plastics that don’t eventually degrade into carbon dioxide or methane.”

    Much of todays plastics are indeed biodegradable and some others do not degrade but also do not pollute the atmosphere. Carbon Fibre type perhaps?.

    Anyway here is the scientific truth. The elements of the planet Earth are an almost fixed quantity and any changes are forms of reaction. In other words we cannot decrease the total and we cannot increase it either. We can only convert them as we do when we burn fossil fuel. As we also do with Nuclear Reactors which reaction produces heat, heat makes steam and steam drives turbines and turbines change kinetic energy into electricity and much of that electricity is then reconverted back into heat and that goes up into the atmosphere.

    As a matter of scientific fact the biggest gaseous addition to global warming is actually from farts. I kid you not. All living animal life farts out methane and methane is a greenhouse gas. How about we ban all farmed sources of meat and dairy production and kill off all horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry?

    Here’s a wee bit of real scientific fact for you. There are three main causes of Global Warming and they are not all The Greenhouse Effect caused by Greenhouse gasses:-

    (1) Astronomical Causes
    •11 year and 206 year cycles of solar sunspot activity.
    •21,000 year cycle of Earth’s combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun.
    •41,000 year cycle of the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth’s orbit.
    •100,000 year cyclic variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit.

    (2) Atmospheric Causes.
    •Heat retention due to atmospheric gases. Mainly gaseous water vapour also carbon dioxide, *methane*, and a few other miscellaneous gases – the actual, “greenhouse effect”.
    •Solar reflectivity: Due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps.

    (3) Tectonic Causes.
    •Landmass distribution: Shifting continents causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents. Whenever there is a large land mass at one of the Earth’s poles, either the north pole or south pole, there are ice ages.
    •Undersea ridge activity or, “Sea floor spreading”, causing variations in ocean displacement.

    And you thought it simply a matter of CO2?


  80. Croompenstein says:

    I remember when it was acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer, don’t hear about it so much now. I’m not saying that C02 levels are not concerning but the Earth is approx 4.5 billion that’s billion years old and is likely to be here for another 4.5 billion years… we wont be

  81. bjsalba says:

    I cannot get
    black pudding
    au natural.

    It now mostly comes entombed in plastic.

    I will not buy this crap. I would rather do without.

  82. artyhetty says:


    Indeed and of course Scotland’s peat bogs are natural carbon sinks. Watched a wee film on image archive on NLS website other day, some peat bogs were being removed for farming, hmmm.
    The bogs were 10s of metres deep, absolutely amazing.

    You can find maps on the NLS website now, which show land use in Scotland, I think from 1930s to now. It can be overlapped to show the difference, and some of it is shocking in terms of deforestation, much of which was not for Scotland’s benefit, and what you said earlier our nice neighbours plundered Scotland’s forests for their war ships over the years.
    They even took our rocks to build their roads, and still do! They nearly took all of the Salisbury crags in Edinburgh, having taken lots out already, but were stopped at the 11th hour.

  83. artyhetty says:


    Yep, and most food packing plastic is ‘not currently recycled’. So thank you mother earth for being a rubbish dump for the pasta, rice and all manner of foods bags. I have challenged Sains on this, they said they are a responsible company. Not in book, every time that packet goes into landfill!

  84. Lou Nisbet says:

    ‘ software that is rarely fully understood even by the people who wrote it, running on hardware that no single person understands’

    This is verifiably nonsense. The writer is claiming to know what evry person involved with a particular software/hardware discipline knows? I don’t think so.

  85. Noel Darlow says:

    The two major impacts of climate change – food supply and mass extinction – have barely been mentioned so far.

    Energy from the sun mostly arrives at the tropics. As this energy seeks an equilibrium it fans out across the globe through the atmosphere and (mostly) into the oceans, driving our highly dynamic climate systems: winds, rains, ocean currents etc.

    Warming doesn’t just mean everywhere gets a little hotter: it means massive disruption to these finely-balanced climate systems. Pumping in massive amounts of extra energy will push them into new kinds of patterns and global agriculture is extremely vulnerable even to small changes in climate. You only have to look at the recent El Nino for an example. A single, modest climate blip resulted in food shortages for almost 100 million people in South America and Africa.

    To understand just how serious this is we need to do a thought experiment. Imagine the amount of available food slowly declines to zero and the price correspondingly rises to infinity.

    The poorer nations of the world – who can’t afford to buy extra food on world markets – would initially suffer more frequent famines. This will be a trigger for mass migration and increased armed conflict and as the food situation continues to get worse and worse, the population will decline to zero in the long-term. They will either leave, starve, or be killed.

    The rich nations will initially experience irritation at rising food prices but this would quickly turn to alarm as stagflation sets in and then sheer panic when economies – and civil order – are threatened with collapse. At that point, we suffer the same fate as the poorer countries: famine, mass migration, armed conflict.

    OK climate change is NOT going to take us all the way to the end of this zero-food scenario but it certainly can take us a long way down that road and just how far we go depends how quickly we can cut our emissions.

    We are already committed to (at least) a couple of degrees of warming and very serious disruption of the global food supply which will ultimately lead to deaths from famine and its secondary effects in the hundreds of millions in poorer nations.

    The unpleasant truth is that the developed world will largely shrug that off but they won’t be able to ignore relentlessly rising food prices. In the worst case emissions scenarios this will have a massive effect on the world economy similar to a new OPEC oil price shock every decade or so. Some countries which import a lot of food – the UK perhaps? – would go to the wall.

    Forget about sea level rise. We could actually manage a phenomenon which will play out over centuries and millennia. It would be expensive but we could do it – but we cannot do anything about food if we replace the climate to which global agriculture is so finely-tuned with a new, unstable climate full of strange new patterns and unprecedented extremes.

    Arguably, this isn’t even the worst impact of climate change. In a hundred thousand years or so CO2 levels would return to normal. The graph has a long tail and climate would be near-normal long before that, perhaps after a several tens of thousands of years.

    That’s a blip in time compared to the effects on biodiversity. Climate change will cause a mass extinction and we know from the fossil record that it takes many millions of years for biodiversity to recover following an extinction event, even the smaller ones.

    This is longer than the expected lifetime of our own species. For all of the rest of human history, our descendants will be forced to live in a relatively denuded world stripped of much of the rich diversity of life which we know today and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. It takes a very, very long time for organisms to co-evolve in the complex webs of dependency which we find in mature ecosystems.

    Again, we are already committed to a certain amount of climate change and possibly the loss of 25% of the Earth’s species. If we don’t cut emissions hard and fast many, many more species will be lost forever. It is simply unthinkable that we could allow this to happen.

  86. bjsalba says:

    They banned the chemicals that were causing the hole in the ozone layer.

    It healed.

  87. Hamish100 says:

    On BBC news 24 A US commentator Stryker McGuire (yes that is his name) of Bloomberg Markets discussed the US UK relationship to the economy. He stated that UK wont get preferential treatment but the crunch comment for me was that RUK exports more to Scotland than the US!

    Can see why England needs us.

  88. Noel Darlow says:

    Note that using oil for plastics does not change the amount of emissions. It all ends up in the atmosphere, eventually.

    Also, planting trees only provides a buffer not a permanent change in the carbon balance. Once a forest is mature it can’t absorb any more CO2. Thus we still have to cut our emissions.

    Finally, Alan Brown is far too hard on climate models. They can actually work very well. For example, some models have spontaneously reproduced the Pacific Decadal Oscillation without having it programmed into them. That shows some serious predictive ability when you think about it.

  89. Shug says:

    One for your thoughts
    I have come across a number of people now who express the position the SNP is to late with the ref2
    Trump in America and strains in Europe and Russia- perhaps we should stick together
    The word is too scary now

    Interesting positions aheads

  90. galamcennalath says:

    Shug says:

    The world is too scary now

    I’m not suggesting YES adopt its own Project Fear against this Union because I think events will do that for us. Fear will be spread.

    Shortly, folks are going to realise that the scariest place they can be over the next few years it attached to sub fascist isolationist England. Worse, an England destined to become a satellite state of Trump’s USA.

    It is going to become apparent that an iScotland could be one of the safest options. This is, assuming we send Trident packing,

  91. Hamish100 says:


    tell your soothsayers they are talking crap.

  92. Glamaig says:

    Shug says:
    21 January, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    One for your thoughts

    Funnily enough Brexit has united the EU like never before. EU/EEA is now the stable continuity option. We need to ditch the nutjobs in Westminster.

  93. CameronB Brodie says:

    I agree that human society needs to adopt new values and change existing practice, if we are to better manage our environmental impact, but is Scotland really in a position to change global consumption patterns?

    I don’t see Scottish altruism having much of an impact on patterns of economic activity in China and India, tbh.

    Investing Scottish oil revenues in renewable technologies, improved energy-efficiency and better flood management, would provide a pragmatic compromise that maximises utility whilst acknowledging the possible future risk.

  94. heedtracker says:

    artyhetty says:
    21 January, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Scotland’s very much a microcosm of how the whole planet is exploited for the fastest buck possible. From the Clearances for sheep to not North Sea oil and gas. Ultimately we have to be grateful today that we have missed all the most visceral and actual human exploitation too, from being transported off our homelands by elites that thought human life worthless, 14 hour days down coal mines for pennies, running across no mans land into German machine guns, and so on, all for King and Country.

    There is a little hope,

    But now we’re out of the EU, all paid for by exact same lunatics that want to keep Scotland to heel. So its only going to get worse.

    Environmental benefits of rewilding the Highlands are pretty obvious but its also a far more sustainable economic model too. Blood sports wreak environmental havoc, alien species fast growing forestry is almost as bad as none, filthy rich estates owners have dodged any kind of taxation for generations.

    I know SLabour desperately want back in but they’re only going to be focused on London and what’s best for England and their vast metropoli. We’re merely a region, owned by the super rich, as we race about around the peripheries of our own once staggerly beautiful country, trying to earn some kind of living.

    You can see why tory masters detest Scottish democracy with every word their BBC led gimps bash out on their behalf, or no words at all, keep the blighters in the dark everybody, its the teanGB way, in Jacob William Rees-Mogg style overworked patrician toryboy blah blah bleh. And now they can all Heil Trump too.

  95. Breeks says:

    I know oil has a lot of uses, but I’m sure some 90%, might even be 96% I remember reading, of crude oil is turned into petrol, diesel or Kerosine, and is burnt as fuel. Yes, it does make plastics and chemicals too, but much smaller quantities, and the cash of the crop is in its value as fuel, not chemicals.

  96. Lollysmum says:

    Good to see Soapbox back again Rev. Gets you thinking about the issues that matter.

  97. Phil says:

    Re: Fred @ about 11:00 , 21st Jan

    I believe one will find that Isostatic Rebound has just about ceased as of 10 or so years ago – Highlands of Scotland were rising and SE England was sinking but now much more stability is reported. Bearing upon this argument? None.

  98. Robert Peffers says:

    @Dan Huil says: 21 January, 2017 at 11:13 am:

    “I’ll be boring and say we should have a mix of energy supply. We might as well, since the technology is there,”

    That, Dan is the most reasoned comment so far.

    I posted already that much of the stuff coming from both sides of this, (far more complex than either vocal side realises), is the scientific fact that not only are the World resources of fossil fuels a finite resource but the the total of World resources is unable to be increased or decreased significantly overall.

    Both nature and human efforts can only convert one thing into another. Also, to date, there is nothing we do that does not have side effects.

    If we use a fossil fuel to produce kinetic energy, or simply to convert it directly into heat, there are what we class as losses. Nothing, though is ever actually lost. A petrol or Diesel engine has a side effect that it produces heat but that heat has to go somewhere. We either have to use it to heat the vehicle’s interior or radiate it to the atmosphere. Every vehicle has a radiator to radiate waste heat to atmosphere.

    Nuclear Reaction has three forms, fission, fusion, and radioactive decay. Fission, besides producing heat, also produces what we call waste but which is really just an undesirable change of the atom. Fusion works by combining the component parts of atoms and may be the Holy Grail but perhaps a combination of the two is the real solution.

    Decay is natural spontaneous change in the atom. If a substance is radioactive it is a substance naturally decaying into another substance.

    If you place one radioactive source beside another non-radioactive substance, the radiation from the first will irradiate the other substance and it very well may change.

    The change, though, may be very short lived, (short Half-life).

    The eventual solution is not to be banning useful processes but converting harmful side effect processes into benign, or even useful processes. Here’s another common engine example. We slap a couple of pulley wheels and a belt onto an engine and a generator and use kinetic energy to generate electricity to ran the vehicle’s accessories and charge the vehicle’s battery for when the engine is not running.

    As the guy says, “It ain’t Rocket Science, Bob”, and Auld Bob retorts, “Naw! it’s Nuclear Physics, Quantum Physics an mechanical engineering science an no muckle easy tae pit intil plain Inglis”.

  99. Alan Gerrish says:

    Jack Docherty @ 11.55am

    “An interesting article on BBC TV this morning focused on Long Track competitive Speed Skating. Apparently the sport was invented on the Cambridgeshire Fens about 100 years ago”

    I have not seen the programme, but on reading this and bearing in mind the source of the information was the BBC, my Wings-altered state of mind made me immediately go to Wikipedia to see if they agreed. After a preamble about skating being around for 1,000 years in northern Europe, they went on to say:

    “However, skating and speed skating was not limited to the Netherlands and Scandinavia; in 1592, a Scotsman designed a skate with an iron blade. It was iron-bladed skates that led to the spread of skating and, in particular, speed skating. By 1642, the first official skating club, The Skating Club Of Edinburgh, was born, and, in 1763, the world saw its first official speed skating race, on the Fens in England organized by the National Ice Skating Association.

    In other words, the world’s first “official” speed skating race was organised by the English National Ice Skating Association, even although the first “official” skating club started in Edinburgh 120 years previously. Strange to think that a skating club in Edinburgh hadn’t had any “official” races in 120 years!

    Or is it just a case of:
    “Is it true, or did you hear it on the BBC?”

  100. Bill Hume says:

    As I don’t want to “piss on anyones parade” can I make some things clear before I start.
    1 I believe in Scottish independence.
    2. I believe global warming is mostly man made.
    3. I love the idea of renewable energy.
    4. I think wind turbines are ugly.
    That said, I’ll take the the wind turbines over global warming any day of the week.

    Has anyone done a total energy life cycle cost on a wind turbine?

    I live close to Whitelees wind farm and I’m impressed that in the middle of winter it can convert a cold wind into energy that can be used to heat me up….it’s a bit magical.

    But (that word again), how much energy goes into making a wind turbine against how much energy is created by a wind turbine over it’s total life cycle (including de-commisioning)?

    I wonder if anyone actually knows?

  101. Robert Peffers says:

    @schrodingers cat says: 21 January, 2017 at 11:38 am:

    “finding it difficult to get upset about having warmer winters in scotland.”M

    The Scots problem is not warmer Winters. What climate change is doing to Scotland, probably mainly due to the Gulf Stream, is changing the seasons.

    We used to have four and one would slowly merge into the next one. Not any more. One day it is a certain season and the next day it is the next season and it is like clockwork.

    It has also reduced the seasons from four to two …

    That is we now have a Rainy season and a Rainer season,

  102. Stoker says:

    WOS archive links for March 2013 now over on O/T.

  103. Glamaig says:

    @Bill Hume
    Good question especially considering the concrete bases. But according to this paper wind turbines produce around 25 times the energy used to build and install them, and pay for themselves in terms of energy in 3-6 months. Presumably they have taken the concrete into account but I cant access more than the abstract.

  104. Sean Watters says:

    The Energy Return on Energy Invested for wind turbines varies, but 18:1 would be typical.

  105. CameronB Brodie says:

    Are you stirring again? 🙂

    Sorry if I appeared too ‘opinionated’, I was on a bit of a mission. 😉

  106. heedtracker says:

    Shug says:
    21 January, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    One for your thoughts
    I have come across a number of people now who express the position the SNP is to late with the ref2
    Trump in America and strains in Europe and Russia- perhaps we should stick together
    The word is too scary now

    Interesting positions aheads

    Shug for gawds sake read a newspaper, stinky old Graun, Thursday 19 January 2017 18.43 GMT, although JC’s maybe changed his mind again.

    Jeremy Corbyn

    Corbyn to order Labour MPs to vote for article 50 trigger
    Leader signals his MPs will be instructed to vote to start EU divorce after expected loss of government’s supreme court challenge

  107. Wulls says:

    Anyone here read Fred Hoyles “Energy or extinction”
    I think it was written in the ’60s.

  108. Ian Sanderson says:


    “Ice is very rarely thick enough to walk on these days”…

    My mother walked me along the Forth & Clyde canal in mid-1947

    My DOB is Nov ’47

  109. Legerwood says:

    Wulls says:
    21 January, 2017 at 6:08 pm
    “”Anyone here read Fred Hoyles “Energy or extinction”
    I think it was written in the ’60s.””

    Yes, I’ve read it in the early 1980s. If I remember correctly he is all for nuclear power and had calculated that the UK would need 200 nuclear power stations. But those calculations would have been based on a UK that still had a manufacturing base albeit one where the heavy industries were in decline.

    Also read Peter Chapman’s Fuel’s Paradise. He goes for a mixed approach.

  110. Hamish100 says:

    Cameron B Brodie

    My comment was to shug the doubter. A Troll in drag?

    To summarise my posts over the past 2 days.

    1. Have a referendum that we will win not when the agitators want one ie tomorrow– for we know why
    2. Supply water tankers built in Scotland to help drought area. Produce crops from irrigation. Reduce CO2
    3. A US commentator confirms a brexit UK will get no favours from Trump. RUK sells more to Scotland than USA. RUK needs us.

  111. Legerwood says:

    Bill Hume @ 5.11

    I don’t know the energy cost of Turbines over their lifetime but even a cursory knowledge of Turbines CA power stations would suggest that wind turbines would work out more cheaply in energy cost terms.

    Power stations of whatever fuel type require lots of copper, a scarce resource. Nuclear fuel, eg uranium, is also becoming a scarce resource. Nuclear power stations also require lots of water, another dwindling resource, plus all the shielding for the core – concrete (?). Then there are the decommissioning costs and of course storage and processing of the nuclear waste.

    Think turbines would still come out ahead of that lot.

  112. CameronB Brodie says:

    I know you were but I can’t say about the other.

    Mood is hard to convey on t’internet. I was trying to show there are no hard feeling on my part. I chose to express this through the medium of stirring, sort of.

  113. heedtracker says:

    Think turbines would still come out ahead of that lot.

    They’re worth their weight in gold, just for silly enraged tory entertainment.

    Although shitheed tories have set back renewable energy at least 30 years in their UK zone. Europe’s decades ahead of us. It alway was a culture shock going to European countries 30 years ago and checking out giant wind turbines all over the place, in the middle of Dutch motorways, the west flight path approach to Copenhagen, coasting down lines of huge offshore turbines, spiralling pretty spectacularly away? really spectacular!

    Whole of Netherlands rail network is now completely green electric power and so on. All it takes is good government, not mad tories, red or blue.

  114. galamcennalath says:

    Global warming is just just about warmer weather, it’s about changing global atmospheric and oceanic currents.

    The Gulf Stream is two conveyor belts in the ocean, one near the surface taking warmed water north, one deep taking cooler water south. If that system stops, then the EU, never mind Scotland, is in serious trouble.

    Our climate is much milder because of the Gulf Stream, without it, think Alaska or Hudson Bay. No agriculture as we know it. Bitter winters.

    Release beavers into the wild, nah, we could have wild polar bears.

    Just saying ….

  115. Robert Peffers says:

    @eScarII says: 21 January, 2017 at 11:50 am:

    “Good points well made. Practically speaking when will we stop extracting oil from the ground? When it’s all gone? Or some hypothetical point in the future when we don’t need it any more?”

    Dinna talk tripe, eScarII. We will always need mineral resources. Oil & gas, per se is not the problem. Neither are any of the so called fossil fuels. It is burning them to produce motive power or heat and light that causes problems. The proper wisdom is to first identify the real problem and solve the real problem. The real problem is how to produce heat, light and motive power without burning valuable natural resources.

    Just like the Luddites attempted to solve a problem that did not actually exist by destruction of the new looms is one of them. Their real problem was not the new looms but the fear of redundancy. Easily overcome by retraining them and assuring them of good well paid jobs. Instead it ended by the authorities shooting the Luddites.

    “There will always be a torrent of people who believe their contributions to the problem, their oil, their stack or chimney is just a drop in the ocean – and they will argue we should take just a little bit more… “

    More likely it will always draw a load of nutters out of the woodwork to spout utter bollox at anyone daft enough to listen. Oil is a resource that has literally many thousands of mineral bi-products. Do not confuse the use of oil with the use of oil as a fuel.

    “They’re the folk who cause species extinction and stampedes for cheap tellies.”

    Utter pish! What cause most species extinction is loss of habitat by humans urbanising their natural habitats. CO2, does not kill animals – mainly it is killing by other animals or loss of habitation and the worst predatory animal on Earth are Homo Sapiens.

    And you will be one of that torrent of folks who cause old people, sick and disabled people and babies to die in Winter from cold related problems because you put animals before people.

    Go read :-

    Global warming is a far more complex problem than CO2 in the atmosphere. (As I have already posted).

    In fact CO2 is not even the primary so called Greenhouse Gas. Methane is more of a problem just for starters. Grazing animals, both domesticated and wild are a prime source of methane. They are all prolific farters.

    “Finally a point on Carbon capture – Nature as per usual has provided us with many extremely efficient carbon capture mechanisms in the form of Trees and types”

    More uninformed utter pish! Yes trees do absorb CO2 but older trees are NOT prolific CO2 storers. New growth is. Matter of fact the Prairie States and such like grain growing areas are far more efficient as they make quick growth and then are harvested and replanted and because they span a continent there is always a large area of new growth in every season.

    Furthermore trees cast their leaves and this forms a deep layer of decaying vegetation that as it decays produces methane gas – a more prolific greenhouse gas than CO2.

    Plainly anyone with a couple of active brain cells can identify the problem is not with oil, per se, it is with burning the bloody stuff. Furthermore, the problem is only partly cured by changing the fuel used to generate electric power by changing one fossil fuel to another or to the worst and dirtiest fuel on this planet … Nuclear Fission reactors.

    While a nuclear reactor in the UK is clean at the reactor it is NOT clean where they store the waste. Not only that but the mining, milling, processing and pelleting of the nuclear fuel is extremely dirty releasing Radon gas into the atmosphere and polluting local water tables with radioactive, soluble in water, heavy metals. It uses fossil fuels as does transporting the processed fuel to the reactors and taking away the radioactive waste.

    Note that just today the Tory led Dumfries and Galloway Council announced that the already planned radioactive waste storage facility at the Chapelcross nuclear Plant is to be increased in size. So the UK government is about to have built another Nuclear powered generating station but plan to store their radioactive waste in a Scotland that has a government, and a majority of people, that are against nuclear power.

    By the way among the most efficient of the actual CO2 carbon sinks is the active peat bogs of Scotland and the South American Pampas plains.

    Rain forests with thick floors of many layers of methane producing rotting vegetation and prairies that instead of ploughing back in the straw and chaff burn it are not as good at storing CO2 as were claimed.

    So go learn some real science before advocating killing off innocent old, young and ill people in Winter Scotland.

    Go read this :-

  116. Hamish100 says:

    CameronB Brodie – No problems.

    I think Shug is away to stir. No doubt another troll is on duty soon? SenileDave where are you?

  117. heedtracker says:

    SenileDave where are you?

    He gets weekends off. UK civil service does like the 5 day week.

  118. Stuwin says:

    Burning fossil fuels is a waste when you consider that they are the precursor for many modern materials i.e. Plastics and the building blocks of more complex chemicals. We don’t need them as fuels but we do need them as a feedstock for the chemical industry.

  119. schrodingers cat says:

    an alternative view

  120. brewsed says:

    While ‘Its Scotland’s Oil’ did fuel nationalism, there is a growing realisation that ‘Its Scotland’s Renewables’ which will be the future fuel. There are a number of lines on graphs converging to tipping points; the cost of generating electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, tide, etc., are, generally, decreasing. Generally, because the cost of developing and testing newer and more efficient technologies for harvesting renewable energy masks this. (Yeah, OK, Solar in Scotland sounds somewhat oxymoronic) Storage of energy is also developing and, at some point, there will be a tipping point where batteries are as cost effective as a tank of hydrocarbon fuel – or flow batteries, or pumped storage, or hot salt energy storage, or pressurised gas energy storage, and so on. This will happen. And Scotland is ideally placed to benefit – technical skills, loads of wind and loads of tides. There may even be some hot rocks near Peterhead.

    But energy is not a devolved matter.

    And the cost of connecting to the UK national grid is disproportionally more expensive in Scotland, especially north Scotland, than darn sarth. (There was a graph showing this on Twitter recently).

    Until Scotland has control over its energy it will not be able to fully realise that potential.

  121. yesindyref2 says:

    @Conan the Librarian
    I never did anything like that when I was young, oh no.

    Might have gone out on Lake of Mentieth all the same.

  122. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “To say that Scotland’s emissions are too small to matter is like going to the pub with a large group of friends, drinking all night, but refusing to put anything in the kitty.

    Actually it’s worse because, if we don’t all share the cost, the pub will burn down.”

    That may be the worst analogy ever. It’s more like we’ve gone to the pub with 100 rugby players, and are hoping to avoid there being any rowdy behaviour by drinking orange juice while they all sink five pints an hour.

  123. bjsalba says:

    Screw the Oil! Who (apart from English turds) cares about it?

  124. ian m says:

    The Earth is doing one of three things

    in stasis
    If humankind was not on the planet it would still be warming cooling or in stasis
    We are currently in a warming period
    How much of the warming is attributable to human activity….nobody knows because scientists are too feart to tell the truth.They will not produce a paper that goes against the Scientific community because if they do they will be ostracized and lose funding and probably their job
    Data sets which are the raw information eg what do the thermometers read on January 21st across the USA that type of information is constantly subject to being rounded up to fit the position that temperatures should be getting warmer.
    Some data sets are revised and the old information erased.One of the major reporters is NOAA and their raw data has been manipulated 3 times.
    Co2 is not the bad guy.Higher Co2 levels increase productivity with high growth yields for farmers so more food for world populations
    Clean Air and Clean water that is all we need.
    The Sun, Volcanic eruptions and cows farting have more impact on Earths temperature than humans

  125. yesindyref2 says:

    Mmm, UK = 1.18% of worlds emissions (2014). Scotland = 9.4% (3023) but has reduced more, so say 9.2%.

    Scotland = 0.1% of the world’s emissions – that’s 1 in 1,000.

    BFD (if anyone remembers the old joke about the sign language monkey going up into space and the rocket goes up 2 feet and then lands again, the monkey is asked by the assembled media what he things and gestures “2 feet up big … deal”.

  126. yesindyref2 says:

    And that was before Longannet shut down. Never forget what the UK Government did to Logannet with its cancelled CCS project. Bastards.

  127. heedtracker says:

    Noel Darlow

    “Also, planting trees only provides a buffer not a permanent change in the carbon balance. Once a forest is mature it can’t absorb any more CO2. Thus we still have to cut our emissions.”

    Is that a guess or do you have the science? Look at the Mauna Loa record.

    They almost exactly match a massive world wide destruction of most equatorial, south American and African forestry biomass begun in the sixties and mainly by western investors, cheap beef and palm oil.

    And forests do not mature, they have a life cycle that matches any other bio mass, and are as vulnerable, as vulnerable to destruction from global warming as the oceans are. Forests are as much a CO2 sink as the oceans.

  128. yesindyref2 says:

    I’ll try that again! (7.5 hours pressure-washed vibrating cold fingers)

    Mmm, UK = 1.18% of worlds emissions (2014). Scotland = 9.4% (2012) of the UK’s emissions, but has reduced more than the UK, so say 9.2%.

    Scotland = 0.1% of the world’s emissions – that’s 1 in 1,000.

  129. CameronB Brodie says:

    The bottom line is, the world will struggle in meeting growing demand for energy and the consequences of it’s production and consumption. So it all boils down to a big cost-benefit analysis of impact studies and moral judgements about how we do things.

    At present, a government which is controlled by the MPs of a neighbouring nation (who Scotland has no influence over), make these decisions on behalf of Scotland. For the benefit of who though? At the start of the 21st century, it no longer matters which party controls Westminster, they are all neo-liberal. So, should Scotland be content with the imposition of radical ideology* undermining Scotland’s moral being? Should nations act as colonies? How does that contribute to a sustainable global future?

    “The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” (Article 1.1, Declaration on the Right to Development)

    “The human right to development also implies the full realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, which includes, subject to the relevant provisions of both International Covenants on Human Rights, the exercise of their inalienable right to full sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources.” (Article 1.2)

    * neo-liberalism demands a radical re-positioning of what constitutes individual liberty.

  130. One_Scot says:

    Shug, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and take your question as genuine.

    IndyRef2 cannot be called before Article 50 is triggered, and even then it will not be called until negotiations between the UK and the EU have reached a point where it is clear that Scotland’s requests have been ignored.

    To put in simple terms, it is a game of chess, you cannot just flip the board over and say fuck this pish, you have to strategically move all of your pieces into the correct positions, before you can say ‘Checkmate’.

  131. Shinty says:

    Alan Gerrish – Thank you, I didn’t know that.

  132. ben madigan says:

    @ one Scot Glad to see you agree with the SNP plan for this chess match

  133. CameronB Brodie says:

    P.S. One of the most significant factors influencing energy use, is the spatial distribution of economic activity. IMHO, the spatial distribution of Britain’s economy has been harmfully distorted by the influence of London, which is rather polluted. The UK government acknowledges this but have only promissed HS2 will arrive at York, at some time in the future. There is no business case, apparently, to connect Scotland.

    So much for joined-up thinking in a paradigm of neo-liberalism.

  134. Robert Peffers says:

    @bjsalba says: 21 January, 2017 at 3:54 pm:

    “I cannot get
    black pudding
    au natural.
    It now mostly comes entombed in plastic.
    I will not buy this crap. I would rather do without”

    Please yersel, bsalba, but the fact is the container neither adds or subtracts from the haggis taste.

    It may, or it may not, change how you cook the Haggis but it won’t change the taste.

    What will change the taste is the ingredients the maker of the Haggis puts into the container.

  135. One_Scot says:

    Ben, thanks for the link. A well detailed analysis of the situation.

  136. Alan Mackintosh says:

    To pick up on Roberts point about methane as a GHG and my earlier post about CO2 and the IR bands. Methane is a more potent GHG as it absorbs the out-going IR radiation at a different wavelength (which is unsaturated) from CO2(which is saturated) and can thus absorb more of the available IR. The same principle applies though in that once the outgoing IR wavelength specific to Methane is saturated any extra methane beyond the saturation point cant absorb more outgoing IR.

    Given that we here on Wings have a healthy disregard for the propaganda that we see on the BBC and other MSM regarding Indy, why do people then think that they might be telling the truth regarding AGW?

  137. Rock says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell,

    “we’re all going to die along with everyone else when China and India and Trump’s America flood the atmosphere with carbon anyway”

    China already has and mainly to satisfy rampant consumer demand in the west.

    Anyone wanting to save the atmosphere should first cut down drastically on their own material consumption.

    How many cheap unnecessary things do we buy every day, just because they are cheap?

    How many things do we waste everyday just because they are cheap?

    How often do we “upgrade” our electronic gadgets?

    “Charity begins at home”.

    So does saving the atmosphere.

  138. Rock says:

    “Re-cycling” is an enormous con to keep on fuelling rampant consumerism.

    The energy wasted on re-cycling outweighs any savings made from the products “re-cycled”.

    Waste not in the first place.

    Transportation of goods by road instead of by rail causes major pollution, not to mention the traffic jams.

    But then we have become a society wanting instant gratification and couldn’t wait a while for anything.

    Both the atmosphere and society are being destroyed.

  139. Cath says:

    “We’re going to have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels sooner or later because it is in their nature to run out, or at least become very hard to get at.”

    There is a big point here that’s often missed in all the well, the US and China are going to do it anyway, we can’t make a difference so we may as well make money from it ideas. And that is in the uses oil has beyond fuel.

    We are now utterly reliant not only on oil, but on the by-products of oil refining. For plastics, petrochemicals, medicines etc. In a sense it was oil that drove modernisations in many fields, way beyond transport.

    If oil is going to run out, which apparently it is, fuels can be replaced, and will be replaced as they become increasingly expensive to produce and the difference between them and other fuels becomes less. But the other uses, such as in medicines, plastics etc probably can’t be replaced. So as oil becomes increasingly expensive, it’s uses are likely to change.

    So keeping the oil in the ground as a resource, stewarding it, and waiting until its value rises isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It may be that in 50 or 100 years time, counties with oil are sitting on a far more valuable resource than now. And one which won’t be being used in such a destructive way by then.

  140. Robert Peffers says:

    @Noel Darlow says: 21 January, 2017 at 4:10 pm:

    “The two major impacts of climate change – food supply and mass extinction – have barely been mentioned so far.”

    Do not you lot ever listen to reasoned and proven science?

    There is very good reasons why there is no big mentions of either food supply and mass extinctions.

    I’m an octogenarian and throughout my entire life there have been food shortages on a regular basis in the World as have there been mass extinctions.

    Now my family were not bothered by religious issues and we kids went to whatever denomination of school was either the better or nearest to home. I spent time in both RC and Protestant, (in those days passing themselves off as non-denominational), state schools.

    I well remember how in RC schools they collected coppers from the pupils to help the, “Black Babies”. The reason being these children were starving and dying from diseases we had never heard of.

    We also heard about the, “Spanish ‘Flu Pandemic”. an influenza virus that spread on a worldwide scale and infected a large proportion of the world population.

    These Pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recorded history.

    We also heard of Earthquakes, The Black Death, Hurricanes and World Wars, (other than the one we lived through).

    Then Later I spent a quite short time as a National Serviceman in Korea. My older cousin came home a nervous wreck from His National Service fighting Jungle Warfare in Burma. He did recover.

    There has always been famine and pandemics and as for food shortages – while the Western World has a problem with obesity and disposing of so much waste food the other half of the World has children dying for lack of food,

    By the way: Scotland’s oil & gas reserves and her geology are testament to climate changes. You only get coal, oil & gas where there has been dense jungle in the past and it has lain buried for millennia.

    Then our history reports that all Scotland was once covered by the Great Caledonian Forest and that we have had several Ice ages. How the hell do you imagine the archaeologists are digging out the remains of things like Mammoths?

    Perhaps some old guys from Africa towed them here and buried them because they didn’t like the smell of decaying Mammoth flesh.

    Go read the comment I made earlier that contains reference to just how complicated this Global warming actually is and how little of it is actually caused by the Greenhouse effect of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Notice also that there are Billions spent every single year on the CO2 scam where big companies buy and Sell Carbon Credits in order to make money from Government grants. Then check up to see who is funding the films, videos and printed matter to have the public kept in fear and ignorance. Yes! That’s right Guys like Al Gore and big business.

    Global warming is a fact but this idea of Carbon Credits does nothing to reverse it but big business wants to keep it. We are most certainly not spending billions to help matter upon the right things and what we are doing now will never have a great effect of prevention.

    But good science and engineering might and would do it a damned site faster with the cash we gift to big business for no good effects. Scotland, not for the first time in our history is actually leading the way.

    What is more we have the natural resources to make it work both for Scotland, Britain an a good portion of Europe.

  141. galamcennalath says:

    Trump making vows on terrorism.

    Odd priority when the US has almost 1000 gun related homicides PER MONTH. Put another way that equates to a 9/11 every 3 months. And of course most of the perpetrators are US citizens.

  142. Croompenstein says:

    The big question is if someone takes a potshot at Trump will the secret service shout… Donald duck.. 🙂

  143. Roger Hyam says:

    Option one goes belly up when other countries stop using oil and the price drops. There is a lot of it about and cheaper than we can get it out of the North Sea – especially in a protectionist world. Eventually the value will drop (not to zero) and we need something to take its place so we may as well do renewables now and start the weaning process.

  144. Susan Macdiarmid says:

    Cath check out Cuan Tec, Strathclyde Uni. Cling film alternative. We can find non oil materials to replace plastic although goodness knows how we will deal with the environmental pollution from all the plastic we have already made.
    Scotland has vast resources of creativity (as well as renewables) and I am firmly in the option 3 category.

  145. yesindyref2 says:

    This website is about “don’t believe the media”, and as far as anti-Indy and anti-SNP propaganda and distorted twisted reporting is concerned, regulars don’t.

    But, having had the time to actually listen to (Sky-plussed) Trump’s speech and the dreadful ITV commentary from a newscaster better reading from an autocue talking over everything in sight totally inane waffle, and some really dodgy US commentators totally inventing what wasn’t even in his inaugaral speech, and the ITV guy even saying Obama sat there “stony-faced”, this message needs to be heeded – about everything, not just Indy and SNP:

    Don’t believe the media“

  146. Robert Peffers says:

    @Lou Nisbet says: 21 January, 2017 at 4:06 pm:

    “This is verifiably nonsense. The writer is claiming to know what evry person involved with a particular software/hardware discipline knows? I don’t think so.”

    Oh! If it is verifiable then please do verify it?

    I used to do a bit of coding. Way back in the days of CP/M before Gary Kildall was conned by Bill Gates but soon we had computers compiling the raw machine code.

  147. yesindyref2 says:

    @Roger Hyam
    Current Brent Crude price: USD 55
    Cost to extract according to Oil & Gas UK: USD 19 and dropping.

  148. Cactus says:

    Aweright One_Scot at 8:28pm and ben madigan thereafter.

    I second your cool comments.

    En passant…

    Cheers dudes 🙂

  149. alwi says:

    This is quite good:

    (Use browser other than IE)

  150. Robert Peffers says:

    @Noel Darlow says: 21 January, 2017 at 4:22 pm:

    “Note that using oil for plastics does not change the amount of emissions. It all ends up in the atmosphere, eventually.”

    You cannot have it both ways. Lots of plastic is recycled and lots are buried in landfill. Nether is great but it doesn’t end up in the atmosphere. In fact the worst abuse of plastic is the plastic granules added to such things a facial scrubs.

    “Also, planting trees only provides a buffer not a permanent change in the carbon balance. Once a forest is mature it can’t absorb any more CO2. Thus we still have to cut our emissions.”

    Or recycle the trees as was done in the old art of coppacing:-

    “Finally, Alan Brown is far too hard on climate models. They can actually work very well.”

    That’ll be why there has been only a tiny change in the carbon footprint in spite of the many billions of Dollars given to big business every year by the tax payers for decades, then?

  151. sinky says:

    O/T Amateur BBC national TV news refers to Bonnyrigg Rose juniors as an amateur side.

  152. yesindyref2 says:

    They depend on massive data input sets and complex calculations by software that is rarely fully understood even by the people who wrote it, running on hardware that no single person understands.

    That is rubbish. The model, the calculations and even the raw data might not be understood, that depends on the user, analyst, statistician or modeller, but any decent old-timer programmer who did it for a living, would have no problem understanding the programs he or she designed, wrote and tested, and very little problem understanding computers which are, at their heart, 1s and 0s and binary adders (AND / OR / NOT / NAND), whether valves, transistors, chips, wafers or whatever else. It’s the same thing, just smaller and faster.

    And hey, processors process instructions, and storage (slower) stores data, memory (faster) stores stuff ready for the processor and stores results.

    It’s really not computer science.

  153. handclapping says:

    To all those querying the practicallity of photovoltaics in Scotland, we are talking climate change. It could be the Costa Clyde. We also may not be in a Gulf Stream for warmer winters, oodles of rain and wind and tide races in the Pentland Firth. And this could happen fast as climate is a dynamic system.

    We should also consider a Scotland where large parts of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness are underwater if we allow global warming to continue over the longer term

    One thing forcertain is that the effects of climate change on us will not be the priority of our masters, unless we are our own masters.

  154. heedtracker says:


    Scotland cannot afford to become independent, says Jeremy Corbyn

    Remark to Scottish Labour audience in Glasgow rubbished by Nicola Sturgeon, who attacked Labour’s ‘pitifully ineffective opposition’

  155. heedtracker says:

    Yes the poor English. Red tories now trying to out UKIP Eddie Hitler. Maybe someone should tell former Lab Further Education Minister Sion Simon, there is a straightforward solution to poor England not getting money and er, devo power,

    “Labour is the party of working men and women in England. It was always so,” he said.

    “But it will not always be so unless English people, particularly in hard-pressed urban areas, start to feel they’re getting their fair share of the national pie.

    “I will fly the English flag in the West Midlands. We have put up with this unfairness for too long.”

    He argued the combination of Brexit and a new constitutional settlement in England was an opportunity to redress the distribution of funding, and hit out at the last government for not listening to English concerns.

  156. galamcennalath says:

    May says Article 50 will be declared end March.

    The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome will be 25th March.

    Coinciding would be a bit provocative!

  157. Robert Peffers says:

    @Breeks says: 21 January, 2017 at 5:05 pm:

    … the cash of the crop is in its value as fuel, not chemicals.”

    Oh! Come on now Breeks. Yaise the heid min!

    Here’s an example for you. Way back in the 1950/60s you could buy a new car and two years later the bloody thing was riddled with rust holes. The chrome plated bits were dropping of it and the sham upholstery was splitting everywhere.

    Yet the technology was there to manufacture cars that could last a damned site longer. Big Business just did not want it to last longer so as to not only sell you new vehicles but in between times get your money for spares.

    You were also very lucky if your car, even modest small compacts, managed to get even 30 MPG from their inefficient engines. Any handy amateur home mechanic could strip down an engine and by just decent engineering application make the bloody load of crap a good deal more efficient. Thus to either get better performance or better MPG.

    Which was why the UK manufacturers woke up one morning and found Japanese carmakers had taken over their markets.

    The reason we do not have alternative fuels or good electric vehicles is because the big companies only ever make real improvements to outdo a competitor who is looking like outdoing them. As long as the oil companies can make big profits from oil we will not see big finance put into alternative fuels. Mind you they can now see the writing on the wall.

    If you doubt me then consider Volkswagen and the Diesel Engine scam. Did they actually have to cheat or was it just too tempting to cheat?

  158. eric says:

    Thanks for the article – I think this should have been part of the debate a long time ago. Yes Scotland’s emissions from fossil fuels are a tiny part of the world’s total, but that’s no argument for inaction. My vote will be a far smaller fraction of the total cast if there’s another referendum, but you wouldn’t tell me just to stay at home. Another comment mentioned that there are huge natural sources of methane emissions – true and good to know for context, but its the little extra that humans are adding on top that is overloading the system and pushing us into dangerously fast climate change. Any bit of global emissions we can control, we should reduce.

  159. Meg merrilees says:


    Earlier this week they were saying 9th March when TM will be giving a speech in Europe. The 25th March coincides with the 60th Anniversary of the EU and that would be a bit tasteless; however, with the N.Ireland election only completing on March 2nd then perhaps they will have to choose a third date?

    Not long!

  160. cynacalHighlander says:

    ian m says @ 8.02pm

    Total bollacks.

  161. Smallaxe says:

    The answer to a lot of our problems lies here.

    Peace Always

  162. heedtracker says:

    Andy’s a Jock but it is best to let the English biggies only to explainerise UK politics these days. Piers Morgan’s definitely the new Heil Trump man in the UKOK zone media now. Wonder how much he charges, timeshare in Trump Tower NY NY, next to door to Liggers Neil’s pad.

    BBC Politics

    On The Andrew Marr Show tomorrow, guests include Prime Minister Theresa May, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
    Plus papers and Trump with Piers Morgan and Anushka Asthana from The Guardian.
    9am, BBC One

  163. Robert Peffers says:

    @Glamaig says: 21 January, 2017 at 5:36 pm:

    “Good question especially considering the concrete bases. But according to this paper wind turbines produce around 25 times the energy used to build and install them, and pay for themselves in terms of energy in 3-6 months. Presumably they have taken the concrete into account but I cant access more than the abstract.

    Yes indeed it is a good question but there is another thing about renewable energy and engineering principles that is usually overlooked. I’ll attempt to explain it.

    When dealing with any other fuelled form of generating electric power there are laid down methods of calculating efficiency. The kind of thing is –

    You calculate the cost of building, and maintaining the machine. You add in the cost of fuelling it and disposing of the waste matter – Ash/CO2/fumes. et al. and you calculate losses such as heat loss and so on.

    You end up, after all calculations, with the cost of what you put in with the cost of what you get out minus the losses.

    Now here are why the thing about renewables. Losses hardly matters –

    With the fuelled generator you must continue to go on feeding fuel in and disposing of waste throughout the life of the machine. Plus the costs of transporting the fuel in and the waste out.

    With a renewable machine the fuel makes its own way to the machine and there is no waste to remove. So no matter what you get out it is 100% gain as the fuel is also free.

    As to maintenance. Let’s compare a gas fired station with a wind farm. You have a large and complex gas station to run and a large staff to pay to run it.

    With a wind farm, if a turbine fails, you can use a crane to remove the defective turbine part and replace the turbine with a refurbished unit and return the defective unit for factory refurbishment and use it for the next repair.

    You never need to pay for fuel and never pay for waste disposal so what you get out is as near as dammit 100% gain – minus some cheaper maintenance. costs.

  164. Vambomarbeleye says:

    All this may be overtaken by events. The world is fast becoming much more politically unstable. Especially North Korea and Middle East. You won’t be worried about global warming in the middle of an atomic winter.

  165. Cadogan Enright says:

    And sea level rises are accelerating – now 3.4 mm a year and rising at a geometric rate

    I’d say use the oil funds to pay for Scotland’s 100% conversion to renewables and leave the rest underground.

    The boost to competitiveness and the balance of payments from this would offset loss of oil revenue

  166. Hamish100 says:

    What a conundrum- prevent sea levels from rising or watch Pacific Quay and the House of Commons go under.

    Life is not fair

  167. Liz g says:

    Smallaxe @ 11.22…Wins the debate…Yay
    Soooo… Scotland hemp capital of the globe.
    World peace more likely.
    Will it solve global warming…Don’t know but we will all be be very happy either way….

    Actually it is surprising how many things hemp can be used for!

  168. Ghillie says:

    Leave the oil in the ground and then it’s like a gold reserve.

  169. Valerie says:

    Just to say, I’ve enjoyed this article, and the comments and debate that’s followed. Provocative and educational.

    I sometimes feel its all a moot point when we have the obscenity of Trident, and the rusting hulks of nuclear sub’s sitting at Rosyth.

    Then, you get this. A missile misfire the week before the HoC vote, and covered up.

    This UK govt is ripping the piss and still folk up here will lap it up. I wonder if we are just deluded that things will change, when this is the scale of deception.

  170. Meg merrilees says:

    Anybody just heard the latest re Trident on the BBC R4 Midnight news? Also article in the Sunday Times.

    Apparently reports are coming out about a problem a few months back in a test firing in Florida where the missile veered out of control towards America!!!

    It seems that since the missiles cost £17m each there have only ever been about three to four test firings…

    The WM Government emains committed to the system and says it has no worries about their reliability???

  171. Chick McGregor says:

    Something I have been aware of for some months is the fairly recent publishing of two papers on the drop in productivity of wind turbines with time.

    Both papers, due to industry ‘newness’ I presume, vary significantly in their estimates as to how much that might be.

    The lower estimate of the more optimistic paper puts it at about 1.5% per year whereas the higher estimate from the least optimistic paper puts it at 13% per year.

    Even that lower figure gives cause for concern because the compound effect over the 20 year lifetime (somewhat arbitrary, but a commonly touted lifetime figure) on output of a typical turbine would, if that figure is true, would drop to around 75% of its initial value.

    If the higher figure of 13% per annum is used, it would drop to about 25% of its initial output after only 10 years.

    Time will tell and perhaps both may turn out to be pessimistic.

    There is insufficient data on OFF shore as yet to make even an initial stab at how that might fare, but all are agreed that a combination of a more hostile environment and difficulty in performing PMs must mean if anything it would be worse.

  172. Meg merrilees says:

    08.15 minutes in.

    Just caught the tail end of it before first posting.. listened to the item now…

    HMS Vengeance test fired the missile in the Atlantic ( not Florida, sorry) and whilst the test was a success for the crew and the boat, the MOD has not denied that the missile may have veered off course.

    Concerns have been raised that on this occasion, the Gov did not issue a report and video of the successful test ( as they normally do) and there are suggestions that the matter was hushed up before the discussion and vote in Parliament, in July, when MP’s voted to commit large funds to the renewal of the programme.

    Front page article in the Sunday times.

    Wonder what Angus will ask about at PMQ’s this week since this news is coming out only days before the UKSC ruling on tuesday. Coincidence?

  173. Thepnr says:

    There is a place for oil extraction in an Independent Scotlands future, surely that is obvious. There is also much more to obtaining the oil.

    We need to build things, we need to fabricate the structures and i stall them, we need to service them with ships and people on board. We need administrators onshore to organise travel and we need the helicopters to get them there.

    Norway do everything much better than the UK, there is not even a small town in Norway that has not benefited from their management. I’ve seen it, Bodo for example is a small town north of the Artic Circle, it has a large factory making winches for deep sea exploration.

    In Norway the benefits are all over the country from North to South and East to West. No town misses out and that’s a fact.

    In my view their is as much oil remaining West of Shetland to be found that there has already been found. When Independent we should use that resource to increase the wealth of this country in order to divest it into other areas such a renewables which I fully support.

    Energy from oil can be used to support energy from nature. We will need the funding.

  174. Artyhetty says:


    Oil left in the ground, while decommissioning the means (rigs) to extract it is not gonna be lucrative.
    Gold reserves, as you compare, are in fact extracted gold at great cost to the environment and people who live in gold rich (though they are mostly impoverished ) areas. The extracted gold becomes a ‘reserve’ as it sits in underground vaults, having been processed using deadly chemicals, leaving deadly waste in most cases in the ground and in rivers etc.

    It is a bizzare situation, extract the gold from underground, while ruining the environment, then store it underground as a ‘reserve’. Maybe it’s just me but the irony in that gets me every time.

    So glad Scotland has no gold, non, zilch. Phew! -;)

  175. geeo says:

    Regarding the botched missile test cover up story…the last paragraph tells you all you need to know.
    “The failure means it is 16 YEARS since (hms) Vengeance has successfully fired a missile, but has nonetheless returned to active service”

    What a farce….and this was AFTER a multi million pound refit !!

  176. Artyhetty says:


    You sure know how to cheer us all up don’t you. Are you sure that N.Korea and the middle east are the most politically unstable areas on the planet? Unstable maybe, but any armageddon is unlikely to be due to those politically unstable areas. The fckers across the pond and closer to home are not particularly stable, imv, and they have a big red button. Now who’s being cheery!

  177. Breeks says:

    Smallaxe says:
    21 January, 2017 at 11:22 pm
    The answer to a lot of our problems lies here.

    Peace Always”

    That will be good news for Dundee Jute. If I recall correctly, Dundee jute made a lot of the ropes, rigging, sails, canvas and fabrics used in shipping, and the proverbial covered wagon trains in North America were covered with Dundee jute.

    Scotland / Dundee has a long history with hemp until plastics and modern fabrics came along, but the same progress which outdated the use of hemp is finding new properties and innovative uses for old ideas. Maybe hemp is in for another boom time.

    I like the idea of natural fibres, hemp, linen, cotton, wool, tweed; all given a kicking by modern synthetic materials, but better for the planet. What goes around comes around, but we’ve only got the one planet for it to go around.

  178. Meg merrilees says:

    Thanks K1.

    Story now been moved to the main item on the BBC Homepage and UK website; not reached the Scotland webpage yet.
    Dashed inconvenient of the Sunday Times to publish this story don’t you think?

    You couldn’t make it up… After 4 years of a refit, millions of pounds and months of tests, HMS Vengeance has been certified ‘fit to return to service’ even though it has not actually successfully carried out the job it was designed for in the last 16 years!

    That information is in the 3rd link above, from Sky news.

    Chilling reading!

    Waiting for tennis again…zzz.

  179. Meg merrilees says:


    Just discovered this on the BBC2 IPlayer – 6.30am on Saturday 21st January, a 1936 film of the story of Mary, Queen of Scots. Hollywood, best style, black and white with Katherine Hepburn.

    Can’t decide if it’s ridiculous or hilarious! The accents are weird.

  180. Thepnr says:


    Unfortunately the last Jute Mill in Dundee closed in 1998.

    “Jute is a pioneer of the decline of old local industry – others like shipbuilding and coal in other parts of Britain came later. Dundee was one of the most globalised cities in the world in the early 1900s, certainly more so than it is now. The city was at the hub of global trading in jute, importing from India and exporting around the world. That faded with the decline of the local jute industry as it faced a number of pressures.”

    Hey though we can always get it back, if we chose to invest.

  181. Breeks says:

    It’s disgusting the way the UK press is now fawning over Trump and his Trade Deal. This is the US President backed by the KKK and building a wall to keep out Mexicans. It is equally disgusting how the BBC is now fawning over Marine La Penn claiming there will be more Brexits “toppling like dominos” and destroying Europe. Once upon a time, and not so long ago, La Penn was the French equivalent of the National Front.
    The BBC and U.K. Press is utterly reckless and vile in its character. “We are leaving the EU so the EU can burn in Hell”. How fucking dare you. I am a European.

    While enlightened parts of the world look towards saving the health of our planet and defusing the likelihood for wars, we are stalked from behind by cynical dark forces who cheat, manipulate, lie, and distort the truths which they don’t want people to hear.

    Throughout my faith in Scottish Independence, I have never felt antipathy towards the English people or Scottish BritNats. I found optimism in how often their hostility towards Scotland’s self determination revealed itself as shallow repetition of known falsehoods endlessly regurgitated with no constructive alternative philosophy. Scotland should not be independent because. Because what? Just because….

    My views are changing. As England lurches to the right, indulging and embracing racist bigoted pillocks like Farage, May, Trump, La Penn, my motivations too are evolving. No longer is my sense of Scottish Nationalism simply the pro Scottish perspective, and stepping away from the Union because that was a constructively better deal for Scotland, these days I increasingly want to distance myself and stand apart from a “British” ideology and pervading malignancy which I find repugnant, dangerous and disgusting. I feel very sad saying it, a reluctant truth, but my pro Scotland is evolving into anti British. It feels like the British are choosing to be my enemy.

    They indulge in hate politics, falsehood, distortion of the truth. Ruth Davidson has a brass neck they could use for making war medals for duplicity above and beyond the call of duty, and her fickle agenda is as much debased by her inconstant opinion as it debased by the transparency of her inconstant opinion. “The Single market is vital!… oh wait, no, no it isn’t”. Fuck off you lying, chancing hypocrite.

    I’m not sure when it happened to any hour on any particular day, but I have crossed the Rubicon. In the very real sense. It is now Independence or bust, because my sense of personal identity has nothing in common with this United Kingdom. I even find it increasingly hard to maintain a serviceable degree of respect for anything proud to be British, but as God is my witness, it is not Scottish Nationalism which has done this to me, it is the brutal decline of U.K. humanity and its toxic embrace of base and primal hatreds.

  182. Thepnr says:

    Dundee was known as the city of Jute Jam and Journalism, the Jute and Jam are long gone all we have left now is Journalism.

    Hahahahaha What a joke but who’s laughing?

  183. Meg merrilees says:

    Well said Breeks!

    I listened in disgust to Le Pen and Wilders being presented as normal politicians on the BBC today and presented as though Europe is unravelling as we speak. Patriotism is the policy of the future. Voters in France , Germany and the Netherlands would follow their counterparts in the US and UK to reject the arguments of the political establishment.

    I’m glad to be Scottish and have Nicola and our chance to reject all of this.

  184. ebreah says:

    Some interesting read found this week:


    This is why I think we need to be aware of our history and Robert Peffers’ contributions are most appreciated

  185. DerekM says:

    @ Artyhetty

    Aye its grand we have no gold oh wait!


    I wonder if we have any diamonds oh no…

    Phew they seem to have forgotten about them.

    no no dont tell me we have platinum as well

    Of course like the oil its all worthless.

  186. Sharny Dubs says:

    I don’t have time to read through all your posts so apologies if someone has already covered this, but….
    Some few years ago I read an internal company document written by the MD of one of the big one’s that pointed out this observation.
    We have become so good at finding and extracting fossil fuels that we have basically come to the end of that road. We know where it is, we know how to extract it, the only thing is when it become economical to do so.
    One of the real challenges is how efficiently we use the resource. A light-bulb is what? 60% efficient? A car engine 40%? A lot of co2 going up in noise and heat. Yes we need to work on renewables, yes we need to reduce plastic (or make it biodegradable), but imagine if we can make the use of fossil fuels 60% more efficient? not only do we give our emissions a serious reduction but we extend the life expectancy of the resource giving us longer to find an answer.
    As for the rest of it, do you really think controlling our consumption is going to impact on what China does or the our new man in the Whitehouse? I think not, but at least we can show a good example. Scots have cracked so much tech in the past, lets put our shoulder to the development of efficiency that everyone will adopt because they can save money!

  187. carjamtic says:

    Thanks Meg Merrilees @ 1:05

    Re :Trident

    The only real deterrent is to remove the hazard,their argument/defence is full of holes.


  188. Robert Louis says:

    Breeks at 433am,

    I don’t often merely re-post what others say, but I think Breeks speaks for most Scots, when he wrote,

    “I’m not sure when it happened to any hour on any particular day, but I have crossed the Rubicon. In the very real sense. It is now Independence or bust, because my sense of personal identity has nothing in common with this United Kingdom. I even find it increasingly hard to maintain a serviceable degree of respect for anything proud to be British, but as God is my witness, it is not Scottish Nationalism which has done this to me, it is the brutal decline of U.K. humanity and its toxic embrace of base and primal hatreds.”

  189. Socrates MacSporran says:

    As someone who thought Kevin McKenna had reached his Level of Incompetence years ago, when he was made Editor of Celtic View, I have been consistently amazed at his continued rise through the ranks to become a media megastar.

    But, today’s offer in the Observer takes the biscuit. A load of pointless waffle about Ruth Davidson. OK, it is funny, but, on a day when hemp is being openly discussed on Wings, Kevin Bhoy is truly getting money for old rope.

    Or, writing shite about a wee shite if you like.

  190. Dr Jim says:

    Journalists don’t like Donald Trumps freedom of speech to call them all liars
    Ironic how the press call HIM dangerous when it’s them who helped create him

    The liar calling the liars liars

  191. Nana says:

    Britain must relax immigration rules for Australians if it wants a free trade deal, says high commissioner to UK

    Brexit: Labour vows to reject Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill if…

    Parade route from Capital to WH. Entire stands empty. Crowd thin.

    Trump inauguration: President attacks ‘dishonest’ media over crowd photos

  192. Artyhetty says:


    Indeed, but shhhh. No minerals, nothing, not worth prospectors time and money. 🙂 Defo not.

    I see the tory rags are bleating more SNP bad today, let’s hope people have plenty to do today, like a nice walk, gardening, cooking, anything. You can’t get the time back spent reading lies in the dead tree scrolls. Ever noticed these rags use heavy paper to print their lies on, they should be taxed heavily for ruining the environment, all that paper what a damn waste.

  193. Ghillie says:

    Artyhetty @ 1.39 am

    I wasn’t suggesting extracting the oil and THEN storing it in the ground.

    ‘Leave the oil in the ground and then it’s like a gold reserve’ said I.

    I meant leave it be. We know it’s there. A known resource with value.

    I imagine future generations might have a need for oil that does not involve burning it off. And for now we can continue to build on Scotland’s inovations in the field of renewable energy. And continue working towards a better future.

    Btw Scotland does have gold. Kildonnan in Sutherland is popular for panning for gold (though the midges are ferocious!) and recently, a small commercial gold mining operation was opened near Loch Lomand. Scotland has pearls too!

    I get what you are saying though. And for that very reason, though oil is an economic asset, and for now we use it extensively, I don’t enjoy seeing it extracted to the severe detriment to our enviroment and risks to the lives of the oil workers. We do now have better ideas on how to run our vehicles and heat our homes.

    As I say, we know it’s there. Might come in handy one day.

    Scotland is self suffcient and highly productive and rich in natural resources and resourceful people, even without the natural gift of the oil too = ) We are truly blessed.

  194. Breeks says:

    Thepnr I’m a Duncan of Jordanstone kid at heart. Good times.

    If I was onipotent king for a day, Dundee would do very, very well for itself and want for nothing.

  195. Ken500 says:

    Trump calls the Media a bunch of liars. Fox/SKy fakes news reports it and continues to lie. The joys of twitter and the internet.

    Since 2010 Tories (Osbourne) have been taxing the Oil sector at 60% to 80% when the price had fallen 75%. Losing £Billions of revenues and thousands of jobs. (Approx £24Billion+ in Scotland) Importing (£Billions) more Oil & Gas. Putting up the balance of payments deficit and the debt.

    The Tories are the only Gov in Europe that does not support Renewables and supports Nuclear. . (The most destructive of all). Wasting and spending £Billion on Hinkley Point, HS2, Heathrow and Trident. They are all obsolete and all be redundant before they are finished. The Tories are cutting spending on essential services the NHS/Education social care etc.

    There is absolutely no way May or Johnston (Farague) will have a ‘special relationship’ with Trump. Poles apart.

    The Green 6 male MSP’s support women’s rights? No gender balance there. Don’t let women speak for themselves. Many University Depts are like that promote women’s rights by all males employees. Hypocrites.

  196. Smallaxe says:


    Thank you, Kettle’s on

    Peace Always

  197. Ken500 says:

    The majority in Scotland don’t read or believe the Tory rags. Non Dom tax evaders. Readership plummeting. How to destroy their own industry. Do the world a favour. They are on the internet exchanging information. On ever popular websites. Get rid of SKy.

    The BBC show women’s tennis matches but do not show more popular Andy Murray’s matches. Gender imbalance.

  198. gus1940 says:

    Given his track record and performance since his inauguration can I suggest a feature along the lines of ‘Top 10 Trump Lies Of The Week’ or if that is too restrictive ‘Top 10 Trump Lies Of The Day’

  199. heedtracker says:

    Trump calls the Media a bunch of liars.

    John Oliver explains just how much of liar Donny T actually is, instead of listening to our PM say absolutely nothing on Andrew Marr’s regular news from Pres Trump and America.

  200. North chiel says:

    Marr convienently lets TM ” off the hook” as she repeatedly refused to answer as to whether
    she new about the ” nuclear test ” misfire” prior to the HOC vote on trident renewal.

  201. Robert Peffers says:

    @Cadogan Enright says: 21 January, 2017 at 11:59 pm:

    “And sea level rises are accelerating – now 3.4 mm a year and rising at a geometric rate

    Both NASA and yourself are drawing very unscientific conclusions that the scientific conclusions very much prove to be wrong.

    “I’d say use the oil funds to pay for Scotland’s 100% conversion to renewables and leave the rest underground.
    The boost to competitiveness and the balance of payments from this would offset loss of oil revenue.”

    Assuming, of course, that Scotland can find enough markets for her surplus power and support for any lead that Scotland has, assuming the lead Scotland had still exists, after the setbacks Westminster placed to Scotland’s previous lead in certain renewable engineering.

    You obviously missed, or did not understand, the proper scientific evidence I posted yesterday but now with a few notes added.

    The rise in sea levels is most unlikely to be mainly due to the rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

    I repost the scientific facts here once more :-

    (1) Astronomical Causes all but Sunspot activity *significantly affect sea levels

    •11 year and 206 year cycles of solar sunspot activity.
    •21,000 year cycle of Earth’s combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun.
    •41,000 year cycle of the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth’s orbit.
    •100,000 year cyclic variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit.

    (2) Atmospheric Causes. All these affect sea levels and not just CO2
    •Heat retention due to atmospheric gases. Mainly gaseous water vapour also carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other miscellaneous gases – the actual, “greenhouse effect”.
    •Solar reflectivity: Due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps.

    (3) Tectonic Causes. All these affect sea levels
    •Landmass distribution: Shifting continents causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents. Whenever there is a large land mass at one of the Earth’s poles, either the north pole or south pole, there are ice ages.
    •Undersea ridge activity or, “Sea floor spreading”, causing variations in ocean displacement.

    It is thus totally futile to imagine that CO2 level restraint, (that is also subjected to distortion as offending industrialised states buy credits in order to continue to pump CO2 to atmosphere), All other causes of sea level change are all mainly beyond our control and CO2 is thus infinitesimal in comparison.

    You may also note the recent increases in frequency and severity in earthquake activity the other more significant causes contribute to. CO2 is akin to using a thimble to bail out a sinking boat and not calling for the RNLI lifeboat or helicopter rescue.

  202. woosie says:

    North Chiel;

    Looks like yet another vote misguide by stealth. WM covered up the total cockup of a missile test before the mps’ vote on trident. It certainly would not have been approved had they known that it doesn’t actually work!

    Tresemme should be impeached without delay.

  203. Morag says:

    The graph is a wee bit naughty. If someone submitted that for a Nat 5 or Higher I’d send them back to sort out the vertical axis start point.

    No, I don’t think the graph is naughty at all. It shows an increase which is cumulatively many times the natural seasonal fluctuation, and which is inexorably continuing, up and up and up.

    The natural, normal concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is not zero and in this context the zero point on the y axis has no meaning. Squidging up the graph to include the zero would simply give a false reassurance.

  204. gus1940 says:

    Having watched last week’s documentary on the Trump Family History and last night’s similar one on PBS but which put more emphasis on Trump’s personal business history I find it extremely depressing that The US Electorate allowed itself to be conned by such a vile creature.

    One of the most worrying things is that in his promises to the masses he has obviously studied the methods used by Hitler in the 30s to make himself popular.

    Where I do agree with Trump is that The US Political System is totally corrupt and his use of the term Swamp is not far from the truth.

    The trouble is that although a clean-up is long overdue the wrong person in the form of Trump has latched on to it and is exploiting it.

    I understand that Trump is not a longstanding member of The Republican Party even having been a Democrat in his younger days.

    What I cannot understand is how The Republicans allowed him to worm his way into the leadership campaign and take it over.

    Given that most leading Republicans abhorred him and all he stood for is there no way that they could have used their power to kick him out of the party leaving him standing as an Independent and their own more reasonable choice standing on the Republican ticket?

    Perhaps their hatred of The Democrats won the day as kicking Trump out would have split the Right Wing vote allowing a walkover for Hillary.

    As for his choice of the old Sinatra song ‘My Way’ to go along with his inauguration I have never been able to understand its popularity as I hate it and consider it to be a hymn in praise of selfishness and narcissism – so I suppose it was the right choice for Trump.

  205. Bob MACK says:

    This Trident missile thing is very very important. If the missile veered off course towards America then was destroyed in flight, then there was no guarantee that the rest of the missiles on board would not do the same thing, until they had been received checked at home Base in Georgia.

    Result would be that no missile protection would exist on Trident for several months.

    The UK would have had no deterrent at all, except one that had the instincts of a homing pigeon.

    Can you imagine the reaction of the American public to have a British missile land on their soil, armed or not. No wonder they want it kept quiet.

  206. Ken500 says:

    John Oliver conveniently lies and doesn’t show how Trump spoke about how stupid the Iraq invasion was and how the Bankers should have been put in jail. No coverage of that footage anywhere. Plenty on non political correct speech though.

    The 2008 Banking crash which prevented the completion of the Menie Golf Development.

    Spending and wasting £Billions on redundant obsolete weaponry, banking fraud and tax evasion. Cutting spending in healthcare/education, social care killing Innocent people.

  207. gus1940 says:

    As of 2 days ago would it not be appropriate to substitute the ‘W’ of Whitehouse with one of the other 25 options.

    I leave it to other wingers to make suggestions.

  208. Robert Peffers says:

    @Chick McGregor says: 22 January, 2017 at 12:41 am:

    “Something I have been aware of for some months is the fairly recent publishing of two papers on the drop in productivity of wind turbines with time.”

    More unscientific gobbledegook, Chick.

    All systems that generate power are subject to a decrease in output. They all get turned off for maintenance, testing, repairs and breakdowns.

    These causes all increase with all machines as they age. An old car needs more spares and repairs than a new one. Which is why the makers guarantees are limited.

    The only way to look at this wind turbine productivity is in comparison to the other generator systems. These claims are obviously just one more of the attempts to retain the other systems and stop renewables by those with vested interests.

  209. Dr Jim says:

    I’m almost bursting my sides at this thin skinned brittle ego maniacal stupendously stupid English prime ministers inability to conceal her depth of character which is as transparent as glass and as fragile as a Jacobs cream cracker

    Her performance on Marr was down to it’s usual bog standard level of low despite Marr being as gentle as an inbred servant of the Tories could possibly be in the wake of the Trident missile fiasco, which appears NOT to be the news today because something far more important has surfaced from the depths and that is a SNP donor who gave some dosh to the party some years ago hasn’t given them any more,
    look the other way folks something never happened

    I gave the SNP money the other day, nobody talks about me and hundreds of thousands of others who donate as I do on a monthly basis
    And here’s what the media like the Labour party don’t get, every time they attack politicians of any party for no reason other than because they can, folk like me will donate more to our chosen parties

    Blow for Sturgeon, well no it’s not, it’s another funding opportunity for Sturgeon thanks very much
    But it’s less people buying yer crap papers for distorting the truth
    Newspapers have been losing sales almost faster than we can count since people had the ability to find out the truth now the right wing mental brigade are going to stop buying them because Donald Trump’s just told them not to, newspapers are fast running out of folk to peddle their troublemaking shite to, because pensioners don’t buy them anymore they just stand around looking at them in supermarkets before they take their groceries home

    My cup runneth ower th day

  210. t42 says:

    a 1.8 degree rise in global warming over 100 years is not very important. there are 1000 issues more important. so why all the government funding to encourage an anti global warming industy?
    for the answer you need to speak to the man who first encouraged the government to use climate change as a mass hysteria psyop for specific political purposes.
    the original political purposes for the psyop still exists today.

  211. Robert Peffers says:

    @geeo says: 22 January, 2017 at 1:53 am:

    “Regarding the botched missile test cover up story…the last paragraph tells you all you need to know.”

    The UK Government have form, geeo.

    During the war a new submarine HMS Thetis went on her first dive trial from Birkenhead … and sank.

    It was hushed up. Read all the story here :-

    ” What a farce….and this was AFTER a multi million pound refit !!”

    I have a vague memory of a covered up story about a Rosyth refitted sub that just disappeared off the Firth of Forth in WWII.

  212. Breeks says:

    Going back 20 years or so, I once did some research into installing a wind generator, and there was an issue of dropping efficiency, but this was mainly to do with the blades needing a clean to remove dirt and biological growth which increased the air resistance passing over the blade, and making it less efficient as it passed through the air.

    That seems to me like a matter of routine maintenance, not an argument against the principle of wind power. I say routine maintenance, but you’re not talking about a quick spring clean, these blades are huge.

    As I recall, a figure of about a third drop in efficiency between a clean blade and a weathered one.

    But this was 20 years ago…

  213. Morag says:

    … a sudden drop of 90% of the worlds population could be considered catastrophic for mankind but the earth would benefit greatly from it. I would feel very sorry for the 90% that drowned but as long as me and mine were ok, i’d get over it.

    Uh, no, I don’t think you would. You and yours couldn’t possibly be OK in these circumstances. You’re talking about the complete breakdown of civilisation. Just go read any post-apocalyptic novel to get a flavour of the sort of world you’d be living in. Breakdown of law and order, abandoned farms and factories and shops, looting, no mains services, disease rampant.

    The survivors would be reduced to small bands fighting for the remaining remnants of civilisation. There would be no oil extraction any more and petrol and oil stocks would soon run out. People would have to learn subsistence farming and learn it fast.

    Antibiotics would run out. Diabetics would have no insulin. Cancers and heart attacks would probably be fatal as treatment would be unavailable. There would be no vaccines for the new babies.

    Sure, the earth would be fine, and in the longer term might at least remain habitable for mammalian species. But you know what? The earth will be fine anyway. It’ll go on orbiting round the sun in whatever condition it’s in, and let’s face it, it’s been a pretty hostile place for human life for most of its existence.

    It’s not the earth we have to worry about, it’s the earth in a condition which favours human habitation. If we screw that up, all of us are stuffed. Because if the resulting catastrophe is such that civilisation breaks down, nobody is going to come out of it happy except the mad survivalists and even them only for a short time.

    The modern “just in time” supply chain means that every city is in a perilous state, dependent on a constant stream of deliveries to keep the shops stocked and dependent on mains services to keep the homes comfortable. They say that a dog is only two meals away from being a wolf, and human civilisation is constantly only a few days away from food riots and looting.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  214. Alan mackintosh says:

    @T42, Maurice Strong perhaps?

  215. Meg merrilees says:

    3 times Marr asked May if she knew about the botched Trident test before the vote – 3 times she chose not to answer the question.
    Not surprising really…

    How many times did Dalyell question Thatcher about the Belgrano and she chose not to answer the question.‘thatcher’s-torpedo’

    Oh yes, make no mistake, there is a certain type of Conservative woman leader who is ruthless (no pun intended) and truth less. ‘I tell no lies’.

    Shape shifters.!

  216. heedtracker says:

    Ken500 says:
    22 January, 2017 at 10:28 am
    John Oliver conveniently lies and doesn’t show how Trump spoke about how stupid the Iraq invasion was and how the Bankers should have been put in jail.

    Trump was FOR the Iraq war, or at best he was mute. His opposition kicked off when it was well under way, on costs.

  217. Pete says:

    I seem to recall way back in the 70’s, I think, the big scare was global cooling bringing about a new ice age.
    Scientists climb on these bandwagons principally to get funding from gullible institutions to keep their pet research projects going.
    The current warming is probably down to the El Niño effect and should start to cool again.
    The weather is constantly changing and during the Middle Ages temperatures were higher than they are today.
    We need to accept these changes and plan our defences against the negative effects rather than just making our industries uncompetitive against foreign competition.

  218. heedtracker says:

    But you know what? The earth will be fine anyway. It’ll go on orbiting round the sun in whatever condition it’s in, and let’s face it, it’s been a pretty hostile place for human life for most of its existence.

    What does “fine” mean?

    The holocene, caused by us. Again Scotland’s an example of human holocene. Total extinction of all large fauna, on the British Isles, total destruction of most fauna.

    UK fishing industry has almost emptied the seas around the British isles of any life. Its been the EU ability to control and restrict what little remains of the UK fishing industry to at least allow what remains to try and recover.

    Now we’re out of the EU regulation and same bunch of quick buck nutters are back.

  219. heedtracker says:


    “Scientists climb on these bandwagons principally to get funding from gullible institutions to keep their pet research projects going.
    The current warming is probably down to the El Niño effect and should start to cool again.”

    Yes, ignore scientists, take the advice of Pete, commenting on the internet.

    Stoopid experts.

  220. DerekM says:

    Are Nuke bombs meant to have a return to home base guidance system on them.

    Did you hear that loud laughing and clunk noise that was Putin pissing himself and falling of his chair.

    So let me get this straight we have more chance of nuking ourselves than anybody else with the mighty UK nuke trash cans.

  221. Morag says:

    What does “fine” mean?

    It means fine, on its own terms. The Earth doesn’t care whether it’s a green and pleasant land with exactly the conditions human beings find most comfortable, or a rock where it rains methane.

    It’s us who won’t be fine, not the Earth.

  222. Thepnr says:


    A fine retort 🙂

  223. Bob MACK says:

    I agree with Moray really civilisation. It will disappear completely as survivors of major catastrophe search for resources. You will enter the realm of kill or be killed.

    We like our veneer of civilisation but really we remain primitive. There are many examples of plane crashes in remote jungles or other theaters leading to cannibalism and indeed murder to provide sustenance.

    The earth will endure whilst we go backwards.

  224. heedtracker says:

    Thepnr says:
    22 January, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    A fine retort

    No its not. Its empty. Mass extinction of some life on Earth is not the Earth being “fine.” Its beyond trite to say that.

    This is a nice way of looking at what the “fine” Earth actually means.

    Although the original author is another wind turbine opponent, spoils his Channel view in front of his house you see.

    He also says that catastrophes like Chernobyl are interesting, in that they have sterilised human activity an area of the planet that has now begun to recover its past human free existence. That was a his quick response to opposition to issues like UK nuke power plants, weapons, and Sellafield nuke fuel reprocessing.

    People worrying about whole lifetime costs of wind turbines should check the same costs for just one nuke power plant, in the UK.

  225. heedtracker says:

    We like our veneer of civilisation but really we remain primitive

    Speak for yourself padre 😀

  226. heedtracker says:

    Fact is, our engine tech has not changed since it was invented. Its still exact same internal combustion engine, jets, cars or power plants.

    Every year, engine manufacturers produce exact same technology, just in different packages and marketing. Unless of course it really is impossible to build engines that really are only capable of extracting say 30% of hydrocarbon energy they burn.

    Any efficiencies they have introduced, computer chips, stronger alloys, have only resulted in much bigger cars and jets.

    There’s a clear problem that none of the big manufacturers are prepared to address and its all down to making as fast a buck as they can get us to spend, and tax, via cheap, wasted oil and gas.

  227. Alan Mackintosh says:

    Heedtracker, well you mentioned Gaia. What does James Lovelock who proposed the theory of Gaia think of Climate change?

    Lovelock maintains that, unlike most environmentalists, he is a rigorous empiricist, but it is manifestly clear that he enjoys maddening the green movement. “Well, it’s a religion, really, you see. It’s totally unscientific.”

  228. Thepnr says:


    The Earth doesn’t care either way if it is populated by humans or not.

    I think that’s Morag’s point. Earth is just another planet though a special one in humans eyes and only humans eyes because it is a planet capable of supporting life.

    Does a dog or a blade of grass feel responsible about greenhouse gases? Of course not but they represent life in its many forms.

    The Earth is what it is, populated by humans or not. We only think we are the bees knees but who’s to say that when we become extinct (as we likely will) that there will not be a better “being” to take our place?

    The Earth is fine and always will be maybe just not for US

  229. Thepnr says:

    Always? Until the sun explodes that is.

  230. heedtracker says:

    Alan Mackintosh

    He does like to troll. That crack about Chernobyl meltdown sterilising the Ukraine region was a classic. A lot of old gits loathe humanity though. Its what they do.

    Although he is right. If a Trident nuke goes off on the Clyde, prevailing winds alone will mean the end of most of Scotland, local casualties aside, it would make much of it uninhabitable for several hundred years.

    All of which would actually make it interesting listening to SLab dopes explain just how many great nuke weapon jobs there were for everyone in Argyll. Its all to the good for the Greatest British empire ever.

  231. heedtracker says:

    Thepnr says:
    22 January, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    We’ll have to disagree what “fine” means 😀

  232. Thepnr says:


    I’m fine wie that 🙂

  233. Meg merrilees says:

    E mails gone off to Nicola, Bruce Crawford and Steven Paterson re TM’s denial of the Trident misfire.

  234. Meg merrilees says:

    Just joined The SNP.

  235. Breeks says:

    17 million quid for a shot and it’s a dud.

    Kim Jong-un must be running around North Korea high fiving everybody he meets.

    Has anybody checked whether the missile went off course because there happened to be a coybow riding it like a bucking bronco at the time?

  236. Artyhetty says:

    Regards the earth’s survival, my son was watching something the other day about nuke power stations, which in the event of the human demise, would go into meltdown. It would recover, but it would take a very, very long time.

    Methane, it’s shorter lived than CO2, but it’s nasty stuff.

  237. Fred says:

    Doubtless the cockroaches would be fine! mebbes even the human wans!

  238. Thepnr says:

    Meg merrilees

    Just joined The SNP.

    Good for you Meg, I can’t help but feel the SNP have just gotten better 🙂

  239. ian m says:

    Bill Clinton was an abuser of women please do some research, it is only a small part of how bad a person he is.
    He covered up drug running when he was Governor
    A large number of people died around the Clintons The Arkansas coroner pronounced a bullet in the back of the head as suicide with no gun at the scene.
    All those women marched to protest against Trump for not being a nice person and about to set womens rights back and yet Hillary organised the character assasinations of Bills victims (Bimbo eruptions)

  240. K1 says:

    You’re a fucking idiot Ian m.

    ‘about to set womens rights back’?

    This hasn’t even started yet wi Trump.

    Educate yersel’ and don’t come on tae dud threads posting pish and think we don’t notice.

    This bill was introduced on the 3 January by a bunch of Republicans who now control both Houses:

    A BILL
    To end membership of the United States in the United Nations.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    This Act may be cited as the “American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017”.


    (a) Repeal.—The United Nations Participation Act of 1945 (Public Law 79–264; 22 U.S.C. 287 et seq.) is repealed.

    (b) Termination Of Membership In United Nations.—The President shall terminate all membership by the United States in the United Nations, and in any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations.

    (c) Closure Of United States Mission To United Nations.—The United States Mission to the United Nations is closed. Any remaining functions of such office shall not be carried out.


    (a) Repeal.—The United Nations Headquarters Agreement Act (Public Law 80–357) is repealed.

    (b) Withdrawal.—The United States withdraws from the agreement between the United States of America and the United Nations regarding the headquarters of the United Nations (signed at Lake Success, New York, on June 26, 1947, which was brought into effect by the United Nations Headquarters Agreement Act).


    No funds are authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for assessed or voluntary contributions of the United States to the United Nations or to any organ, specialized agency, commission or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations, except that funds may be appropriated to facilitate termination of United States membership and withdrawal of United States personnel and equipment, in accordance with sections 2 and 3, respectively. Upon termination of United States membership, no payments shall be made to the United Nations or to any organ, specialized agency, commission or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations, out of any funds appropriated prior to such termination or out of any other funds available for such purposes.


    (a) Termination.—No funds are authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for any United States contribution to any United Nations military or peacekeeping operation or force.

    (b) Terminations Of United States Participation In United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.—No funds may be obligated or expended to support the participation of any member of the Armed Forces of the United States as part of any United Nations military or peacekeeping operation or force. No member of the Armed Forces of the United States may serve under the command of the United Nations.


    (a) Withdrawal From United States Government Property.—The United Nations (including any organ, specialized agency, commission or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations) may not occupy or use any property or facility of the United States Government.

    (b) Diplomatic Immunity.—No officer or employee of the United Nations (including any organ, specialized agency, commission or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations) or any representative, officer, or employee of any mission to the United Nations of any foreign government shall be entitled to enjoy the privileges and immunities of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, nor may any such privileges and immunities be extended to any such individual. The privileges, exemptions, and immunities provided for in the International Organizations Immunities Act of December 29, 1945 (59 Stat. 669; 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq.), or in any agreement or treaty to which the United States is a party, including the agreement entitled “Agreement Between the United Nations and the United States of America Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations”, signed June 26, 1947 (22 U.S.C. 287 note), and the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, entered into force with respect to the United States on April 29, 1970 (21 UST 1418; TIAS 6900; UNTS 16), shall not apply to the United Nations or to any organ, specialized agency, commission or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations, to the officers and employees of the United Nations, or of any organ, specialized agency, commission or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations, or to the families, suites, or servants of such officers or employees.


    The joint resolution entitled “A joint resolution providing for membership and participation by the United States in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and authorizing an appropriation therefor”, approved July 30, 1946 (Public Law 79–565, 22 U.S.C. 287m et seq.), is repealed.


    The United Nations Environment Program Participation Act of 1973 (22 U.S.C. 287 note) is repealed.


    The joint resolution entitled “Joint Resolution providing for membership and participation by the United States in the World Health Organization and authorizing an appropriation therefor”, approved June 14, 1948 (22 U.S.C. 290), is repealed.


    Effective on the date of the enactment of this Act, the United States will end any participation in any conventions and agreements with the United Nations and any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations. Any remaining functions of such conventions and agreements shall not be carried out.


    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the rights of employees under subchapter IV of chapter 35 of title 5, United States Code, relating to reemployment after service with an international organization.


    Effective on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall notify the United Nations and any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations of the provisions of this Act.


    Except as otherwise provided, this Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the date that is two years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

  241. Chick McGregor says:

    Hi guys.

    Been pretty much off line this weekend due to anticipation of new grandchild. Duly arrived about 3 hours ago, a wee girl.

    However, in regard to Robert’s comment at 10:32 am

    I recognise that ‘gobbledygook’ is a usually pejorative term intended to convey a level disapprobation.

    In this case, I would suggest that a more fruitful approach might be to direct such reservations at the authors of the two papers.

    They are:

    Professor Gordon Hughes, Ediburgh University
    ‘The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark’


    Dr Iain Staffel (and others), Imperial College London
    How does wind farm performance decline with age?

    Now, I myself, am rather skeptical on their conclusions, particularly in the case of Professor Hughes, who is a business economist and has ‘previous’ regarding antipathy towards wind power generation. You might think his figure would surely have become vindicated in the field if it were true, his claim that the older, smaller turbines seem to have fared better is down to their size, but I am dubious whether his argument that the much larger new machines will fare worse (drawing analogy with the history of larger bearings machine generally) will turn out to be true.

    However, I see no reason to discount the ICL paper off hand since it was conducted by scientists, and furthermore, scientists with a particular interest and perhaps even arguably a stake-holding in renewables.

    I am content that duty was duly done by drawing the existence of these papers to people’s attention and am happy with my own subjective comment –

    “Time will tell and perhaps both may turn out to be pessimistic.”

  242. Titler says:

    The idea that China is unconcerned about carbon output is decades out of date; this was true in the 1990s, when the first wave of global talks about environment began, but is absolutely not true today. China in fact sees green energy development as a national priority, in part because it knows the West isn’t going to push as hard, and it wants to corner the economic market for the technology.

    “No more. Costs have since plummeted and by 2020 China – which is now the world’s top clean energy investor – hopes to be producing 110GW of solar power and 210GW of wind power as part of an ambitious plan to slash pollution and emissions. By 2030, China has pledged to increase the amount of energy coming from non-fossil fuels to 20% of the total.

    Earlier this month, meanwhile, China’s energy agency vowed to spend more than $360bn on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind by 2020, cutting smog levels, carbon emissions and creating 13m jobs in the process.”

    And with those jobs, comes expertise. With the expertise comes the ability to win more contracts for installations abroad. With installations abroad comes soft power in the countries you’ve just built them in, because now their jobs depend upon you too…

    Scotland staying on oil might please some older Nationalists still thinking in terms of the 20th Century, and those who want an excuse to spend like mad and say “Told you we can be rich” to the rUK… but you’re selling Scotland short in the medium to long term.

    If you don’t invest, train, gain the expertise now, you’re just exchanging one hegemony today for another tomorrow. Yes, the current lack of skills, training, investment, even sensible thinking about a post-oil future is the fault of Westminster. Or even the Western model in general, hence President Trump right when we’re running up against the last chance to make any difference.

    But the idea that you can win around an electorate which despairs of any real change by following in the same stupidity as Westminster is staggering. The future, at least for those on the genuine Left, is to go with the Science and to go Green.

    And China knows it; one benefit of the One Party State is they don’t have to listen when their public votes to shoot themselves in the foot. Which is why it is sending so many of it’s students here now; its Fire Sale time in the West, a fire they lit in their own basements that then started to burn their own houses down; time to grab everything worth having, and then do it cheaper, cleaner, faster back East.

    Oh, and as for “posting on dud threads”… it’s simply the case that not everyone lives on Wings, but only pops by to read what you’re talking about every few days; by which point the 3-4 past posts now have hundreds of comments each. Nothing to do with trolling. Simply if you want to post what will likely be an outsider perspective, it’ll likely appear towards the end of a thread, not right at the start.

  243. JaceF says:

    I remember back in 98 when Bush wouldn’t sign the Koyoto climate agreement, it was a hot summer. I thought how dare he doesn’t he know about how evil CO2 is and how it’s killing the planet, who are these deniers that can’t see what’s obvious? So armed with some Al Gore and facts from the website real climate I went looking for the flat Earth climate deniers who I imagined would be as stupid as young earth evolution denying Christians.

    Basically upon looking into the arguments I have come to the conclusion that catastrophic anthropogenic man made climate change is a neoliberal device to impose taxation and sanctions on ordinary people. Science should be agnostic but we have seen the rise of the science activist driven by a political narrative, data is tortured to fit this narrative and ultimately we all lose but the biggest loser is science itself.

    I am by no means saying that CO2 doesn’t contribute to the greenhouse effect but 5% of the Earth’s atmosphere is greenhouse gases, 95% of that is water vapor only 3% is CO2 and the man made contribution amounts to a small fraction of that. Of the 400ppm CO2 cited above only 15ppm come from the burning of fossil fuels, this is well within the annual natural variation of CO2 concentrations.

    Climategate should have been enough to put the climate change movement to bed or at least instigate a complete step back and look again at the science. There’s a reason Michael Mann’s hocky stick graph is no longer used and there is a reason why people are skeptical that has nothing to do with being ignorant.

  244. Noel Darlow says:


    All plastics are “biodegradable”. It’s just that some will take hundreds of years to degrade.

    Even plastics buried in relatively shallow layers of topsoil will eventually release their carbon into the atmosphere.

  245. Noel Darlow says:


    Sorry I didn’t answer any of your point in my last post. I think I responded to the wrong comment.

    A new forest will absorb carbon until it stops growing. At that point, the decay of old growth is (roughly) matched by the amount of new growth and no net carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere. That’s what I meant by “mature”.

    There thus a finite limit to the amount of carbon a new forest can remove from the atmosphere. New carbon sinks buy us some time but only until they fill up.

    Other natural processes such as the formation of carbonate rocks are continuous. They don’t ever stop. In the long-term these kinds of processes are much more important in determining the amount of emissions we can produce without altering the climate.

  246. Noel Darlow says:

    @Robert Peffers

    “I’m an octogenarian and throughout my entire life there have been food shortages on a regular basis in the World as have there been mass extinctions.”

    The source of my argument re biodiversity recovery times is Kirchner & Weil 2000. There haven’t been any mass extinctions during your lifetime.

    Yes food shortages have always happened but they are about to increase to a degree which the modern world has not seen and cannot adapt to. In this century there will be deaths (at least) in the hundreds of thousands in the worst-affected areas and rising food prices for everyone.

    There is a very simple rule which we all must follow in scientific discussions: the limits of what can reasonably be claimed about matters of science are defined by the set of published papers which have not yet been refuted.

    A lot of work has been done to investigate potential impacts of climate change on the food supply and on species extinctions. The outlook is not good.

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