Archive for the 'gas' category

Inside the frack-heads’ not-so-secret agenda

This piece was first published in the ODAC Newsletter, 14 December 2012.

The announcement on Thursday that the government is lifting its moratorium on fracking held all the surprise of turkey on the Christmas menu.

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Golden rule of gas: don’t believe the hype

This article was published in Unconventional Oil & Gas Monitor, 4 June 2012.

Like it or not, the unconventional gas industry has a lousy reputation. It is widely blamed for water contamination, earthquakes and fugitive emissions of methane that by some estimates make its climate impact worse than coal.

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Climate cost of Total’s North Sea leak

First published at New Scientist, 30 March 2012.

Coverage of the gas leak at Total’s Elgin platform in the North Sea, off the UK coast, has so far focused on the potential for an explosion, and damage to sea life from hydrogen sulphide contamination – the latter now discounted. But methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, so what about the global warming impact? Here’s what emerged from the back of my envelope.

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Gas: climate panacea or industry propaganda?

First published in the New Scientist 25 February 2012.

I once hitched a lift from New York to London in the private jet of an American gas billionaire.

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Gas galore?

This article was first published in the New Scientist print edition of 21 January 2012, and will appear online at

It may come as news to hard-pressed European households, but the world is enjoying a glut of natural gas.

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David MacKay interview

First published in Sustainable Business, 4 June 2011.

My interview with David MacKay has the feel of a university tutorial. Perhaps it’s not surprising, since the chief scientific advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change is a professor of physics at Cambridge. But the impression is reinforced in his cramped office on the sixth floor of DECC, where I negotiate piles of paperwork and shuffle furniture so we both can see his computer screen.

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DECC model highlights inconvenient energy truths

First published in Energy World, 1 June 2011.

For those of us with an anorak in the closet, the government’s new online energy planning tool, the 2050 Pathways Calculator, has provided hours of perplexing fun.

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How long before the lights go out?

This article was first published in the Telegraph on 4 February 2010.

Bad news for energy consumers continues to come thick and fast. Bills have more than doubled in the last six years, and could rise a further 25% in the next decade according to a wide-ranging report published yesterday by Ofgem. But even more worrying was the watchdog’s analysis of Britain’s energy security – or lack of it.

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The great biogas bungle

First published in The Ecologist on 4 August 2009, and Sustainable Business, October 2009.

When David and Ruth of The Archers decided to set up an anaerobic digester to make biogas from farm waste, they quickly ran into trouble. Intended to produce electricity for the national grid and heat for their poly-tunnels, the project was defeated by boardroom bust-ups and NIMBY protests led by local battle-axe Linda Snell.

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Still no UK energy policy

First published in the The Independent on Sunday, 26 April 2009

“All targets and no trousers” seemed to be the gist of the reaction from environmentalists to the Budget this week.

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Peak oil “opportunity”

Peak oil is not a threat but an opportunity to force through the policies needed to combat climate change, according to London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

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Norwegian gas will go to highest bidder

(Podcast) Britain can expect no favouritism from Norway as the European gas market tightens over the next decade. Norwegian supplies will be allocated on a strictly commercial basis, according to Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy Liv Monica Stubholt.

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