Ex-SpAd Spins for Murky Lagoon

tomos

Tomos Davies, a SpAd who advised the government on green energy, is in hot water after getting a job with the Cardiff lobbying firm Deryn less than a year after he left his government job. Spin merchants Deryn, a firm which has a hand in far too many Welsh government lobbying scandals, employed the former Special Adviser from the Wales Office.

Until recently Tomos Davies was advising UK Government Ministers on policy issues, including the proposal to a build tidal lagoon off the coast at Swansea. Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Neil McEvoy has complained to the Cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, that he is in breach of the rules governing SpAd employment. Davies, he complains, jumped straight into lobbying work and failed to get Civil Service clearance to work for the firm.

McEvoy cites Davies’ ConservativeHome article praising tidal power as evidence of lobbying on behalf of one of Deryn’s clients in breach of the rules, especially as one of Deryn’s clients is trying to build a tidal lagoon off Swansea. In it Tomos claimed, without irony, that “the unit cost of power from the project can, at a manageably small scale, match that of Hinkley”. Hinkley’s energy costs are among the most expensive in the world. Guido thinks Tomos Davies might be left high and dry…

New Green Leader Says UKIP are Fascists

New Green co-leader Jonathan Bartley is a complete non-entity, so it was important for him to make a good first impression on today’s Daily Politics. Would the smug former Tory take a more moderate, sensible tone? Nope, he said UKIP are “fascist” and compared them to the Nazis. Now the left is in control of the Labour Party, what is the point of the Greens?

Cancel Hinkley, Because It Ain’t Worth It

hinkley

This chart from Bloomberg Energy is devastating. For the same budget as Hinkley we could get 20 gigawatts more electricity from gas, or the same for a fraction of the cost. Even solar would produce more energy at that price. Though with green renewable sources the capacity has to be discounted to reflect how much of the time the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Even so, that renewables are anywhere near competitive in cost terms means this has to be looked at by Phil Hammond with his calculator. George Osborne looked at it in political terms – the Chinese and the French will no doubt create some geo-political problems if May cancels the deal. The dash for gas makes far more sense…

Sturgeon Blames Brexit for Bust

OILBEDAMNED

Nicola Sturgeon chose to jump on a Scottish government report yesterday which claimed the Scottish economy would be hit hardest by Brexit, in a bid to shift the blame for Holyrood’s nose-diving oil revenues caused by economic incompetence. Sturgeon claimed:

“The only way to protect Scotland’s economy – and the clear benefits which come from being part of the world’s biggest single market – is to work to ensure we protect our relationship with the EU.”

Sturgeon led the SNP’s moratorium on fracking just before and during the oil-price plummet, leading to the bottom falling out of the Scotland’s public finances when the more expensive North Sea oil was unable to compete. The official government revenue report today shows a drop of 97% in oil revenues, from £1.8 billion to just £60 million in a year. Nicola, calling for a second independence referendum to prevent a maximum loss of £3.7 billion a year to the public finances, already presides over a deficit of nearly £15 billion a year. What do you say, Merkel – fancy welcoming another Greece to the EU?

How to Make Canadian Mining Interesting

Theresa Longo

The other week Gaia reported on how the Canada Oil Sands Community were attracting publicity with a controversial “lesbian kiss” advertising strategy. Now one of Canada’s leading mining corporations, KWG Resources, has given them a run for their money:

When criticised about the video, CEO Frank Smeenk simply said “sex sells”…

Lights on in Brussels But Nobody’s Home

lights

Over in Brussels, the European Parliament’s grandiose Altiero Spinelli building is shuttered up with the Eurocrats and their bag-carriers off on summer holidays. Inside the 17-storey high-rise office block resembles a scene from an apocalyptic horror movie, not a person in sight. That hasn’t stopped them from leaving all the lights on. You won’t meet your carbon emissions targets like that…

Pics via Bill Etheridge

Hinkley’s Welcome Pause

70602819_hinkley_edf

Gaia has been sceptical of the case for Hinkley Point C on the grounds of cost, the history of over-runs and the manifest problems with these type of EPR reactors. The guaranteed price of the energy and the subsidy required seem a high price to pay – even considering the strategic importance of have diversity in energy supply. So the government’s decision to reconsider the deal is not unwelcome.

There are also legitimate security concerns about giving China a stake in Britain’s energy supply – concerns that George Osborne ignored. That there was a political consensus – the deal has antecedents going back to the last Labour government – does not mean it was well judged. There were terrible deals done under PFI which were unopposed by the Tories at the time. This is the biggest public-private partnership in history, a pause to check the small print and that the sums add up given the history of financial shambles under Brown and Osborne seems prudent.

See also Hinkley Point C

Canadian “Hot” Lesbian Oil Advert Pulled

LESBIAN OIL

An advert for Canadian oil showing a steamy lesbian kiss was pulled after killjoys lashed out. The ad, fronted by the Canada Oil Sands Community Facebook page, featured a raunchy tryst with the caption “In Canada lesbians are considered hot! In Saudi Arabia if you’re a lesbian YOU DIE!”

canada oil sands community

While the page has removed the advert, it today uploaded a new one depicting two men being hanged, with the text:

“Did you know it’s against the law to be gay in Saudi Arabia? If you get caught being gay you die. Why is Canada importing oil from places like this when we have our own?”

Pro-fracking groups in Lancashire should listen and learn…

UK Taxpayers’ £245 Million Loan to Corruption-Hit Brazilian Oil Firm

PETROBRAS

Scandal-hit Brazilian oil company Petrobras received £250 million from the UK taxpayer last year, extending its credit line to over £1.1 billion. While loans to companies buying British goods is fairly standard practice, the government decided to extend Petrobras’ line of credit after it became embroiled in a huge corruption and bribery scandal that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. What’s worse, the state-owned company has had a plummeting credit rating in recent months, with Moody’s giving them a rating of B3 and the Wall Street Journal calling them “the World’s most indebted oil company”. What could go wrong?

H/T Greenpeace Energy Desk

DECC RIP

decc

So farewell, then, the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It’s merging with BIS into the new Greg Clark-led Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Hopefully that streamlining brings greater efficiency. Here are some of their greatest hits:

  • Paying £600 to promote just one job advert on LinkedIn – which nobody clicked on.
  • Running a photo contest about what climate change might impact in the average Brit’s “day-to-day life” – and choosing a photo of a dead zebra as the winner.
  • Shelling out £1.3 million in bonuses – including nearly £300,000 to already well paid top civil servants.
  • Spending £500 per day on printing – despite having run a “Think Before you Print” Campaign.

Take your hot air with you…

Germany’s Eco-Loons to Ban Non-Electric Cars

Would you rather

Following their disastrous and costly ban on nuclear power, Germany is doubling down on long-term anti-market greenery by mandating that all cars be emissions free by 2030. Rather than letting the market decide – as it has (mostly) with the vastly successful Tesla in the US – German lawmakers will force the switch with continued subsidies worth £3,160 per green vehicle. In 14 years time, you won’t be able to buy a proper Mercedes in Germany…

WATCH Boris v Salmond LIVE

Bennett Battle Bus’ Giant Carbon Footprint

BENNETT

Natalie Bennett told Britain to vote Remain to save the planet this morning. Standing in front of a 12.4 tonne BSE battle bus…

Guido’s data bods have been crunching the numbers. A very conservative estimate tracks the bus as having covered some 900 miles since April. With the six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz Tourino boasting just 14.1 miles per gallon, it has used at least 63.8 gallons of fuel – 290 litres – on its journey round the country. That’s roughly equivalent to two entire barrels of oil, or a carbon footprint of one tonne of carbon dioxide. Sure Nat’s bike saved a few litres, though…

Piers Corbyn Forecast “Tremendous Dry, Sunny June”

piers

Jeremy Corbyn’s big brother Piers is wrong about many things, but how good is he at his real job – forecasting the weather? A few days ago Piers predicted a “tremendous dry, warm and sunny flaming June”:

“We are forecasting a tremendous dry warm sunny ‘Flaming June’ for most of the month. The start will be dry, warm or hot, with sunny, blue skies. It will be more variable near the south and east coasts of England while Scotland will be very sunny. Some great weather is on the way.”

Tell that to commuters battling biblical weather on their way to work this week:

warning

When Guido bumped into Piers at the Brexit: The Movie party he warned us of storms coming mid-August. Time to get the sun cream out then…

H/T @tompeck

Earth is Greener!

greening

Carbon dioxide emissions from industrial society have driven a huge growth in trees and other plants across planet earth. Gaia is greening!

A peer reviewed study by a team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries, published in Nature, says that if the extra green leaves prompted by rising CO2 levels were laid in a carpet, it would cover the continent of North America.

Gaia has long argued that extra CO2 benefits plants and trees. Data from NASA satellites over the past 33 years shows significant greening of between 25% and 50% of the Earth’s vegetated land, which in turn is slowing the pace of climate change as the plants are drawing CO2 from the atmosphere. Gaia is healing!

Natalie Bennett’s Best Bits

The grass is always greener…

US Nuclear Power Station Took 43 Years to Finish

hinckley

As news breaks that the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point could cost an additional £3 billion, a smaller story from the US serves as a stark warning of the risks when building new plants.

Watts Bar nuclear power plant’s second reactor is scheduled to finally go into operation this summer. This project has taken 43 years, with shifting regulations, unsure demand and spiralling costs all helping to create a stop-start pantomime.

There has been criticism about the decision to build an EPR reactor at Hinkley Point, seen as overly expensive and previously dogged by severe delays – Finland cancelled their new EPR reactor last year after the project had gone over budget and schedule, France saw the cost of one such project nearly treble, and China is facing significant delays on the construction of its own EPRs. In fact, since the first order was placed in 2003, not one of French company Areva’s EPR plants have been completed: of the three EPR reactor projects signed up to so far, one is delayed, one is delayed and over budget, and the other is cancelled. These are the reactors Britain will likely be lumbered with…

News of these delays, and the lessons from America, should be of concern to DECC. Having already signed up to the most generous nuclear subsidy package in history, there is a real danger that Hinkley Point C becomes a mega-watt white elephant. French company EDF has refused to sign on the dotted line until summer. There is still time for a strategic re-think…

Corbyn’s Brother Hopes He Votes Leave

One man stole the show at the after-party for the premiere of Brexit: The Movie, Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers. Guido shared a beer and a laugh with the Labour leader’s climate change sceptic, Brexit-backing sibling, who explained that Jezza is a “long-term Eurosceptic” who “has been voting with Graham Stringer [the Labour Outer] for years”, but is now in “party management mode“. Piers insisted “I don’t know how he’s going to vote”. But he expressed a hope that his brother “does the right thing and votes out”…

The sponsors for Martin Durkin’s must-watch documentary put £30,000 behind the bar at the W London in Leicester Square, which went by midnight. Piers then went all meteorological on us, warning guests that major thunderstorms are coming our way around mid-August, approximately the 13th or 14th, including the possibility of hailstones. He advises holidaymakers best avoid Britain, France and most of western and northern Europe for the period. It’s his brother who will be experiencing real turbulence…

DECC: Please Think Before You Print

paper printing

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has come a long way since the 2009 “Think Before you Print” campaign. Their own accounts reveal the department spent £14,516 on printing and binding alone in February – £500 per day. According to a DECC spokesperson, the heightened cost was due to the Oil and Gas Authority scanning their “licencing documents to ensure they had copies as part of their office move last month.” They could buy 37 iPads with one month’s printing expenditure…

Solar Eclipsed as Subsides Slashed

Solar copy

Guido highlighted back in January that the government’s tapering of subsidies for renenwables could potentially see the death of subsidy junkies in five years. Solar looks to be the first to take the plunge…

The Guardian reports that the solar panels industry has collapsed in the wake of subsidy withdrawal.[…] Read the rest

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Charles Moore on the aid charity’s sex scandal…

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