An exchange of opinions on Climate Change

A power station engineer had written to me, after I had made these are the postings:

Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Still Steams Ahead

Nottingham’s part of 48 hours of nationwide action against E.ON

thus prompted this exchange:

Subject: Ratcliffe Power Station.
Good Morning Alan,

Just reading the article on Ratcliffe and the protestors, saying the enviroment is getting too hot.

I have worked on Power Stations for over 25 years, I have seen dramatic changes to power stations over the last 7 or 8 years, with regards to enviroment status, many millions have been spent to bring them in line with the legal specifications, to maintain these regulated emissions they mix Biomass fuels with the coal to provide cleaner emissions.

With regards to the world getting hotter! I believe that this is a cycle of the natural earths elements, I assume that we could possibly accelerate this in some respect, so what do we do, do we go Nuclear? it is difficult to state exactly the harm all working generated machinery does and the power sources which drive our day to day living.

I would like to hear your veiws on power stations?

So, then I replied ……..

—–Original Message—–
From: Alan Lodge []
Sent: 01 December 2008 12:23
Subject: RE: Ratcliffe Power Station.


thank you for your note.

I am a photographer, who has covered these issues for a little while now. Of course, I’m not only reporting on these issue, but have formed my own opinions.

Many people are concerned at the lack of progress made by governments and companies in combating emissions,  chemical pollutants, CO2 and heat. The  timescale some think might be more urgent than authorities seem to currently acknowledge, which means that concerned citizens have to take a pace forward and engage in actions that ‘stand in the way of the machine’ or, raise everyone else’s awareness on the nature and urgency of the situations in front of us.

Of course it might be as you say that we are seeing some ‘natural cycles’ in the world.  There have been many before.  But then again, it might be otherwise, that human activities when taken together with these cycles, might be enough to finish us [or other parts of flora & fauna] off.  Might! Who knows. But by the time one side or the other is ‘proved’ to be correct, irreparable damages might have already taken place, with no route back. The famous tipping point! Thus, I think many with concerns on this issue would favour the precautionary approach thinking that we cannot go on like we are.  No, not nuclear of course.  The heritage this guarantees for future generations is clearly going to be as grim [or grimmer] as any legacy of climate changes that we leave to them.  Biomass / fuels are also  problematic, since again authorities and companies appear to lack social responsibility in the balances they create between the need for land to grow fuels or food.

I wonder if you could comment with you wide experience of engineering in power stations, if you think your skills and the money to maintains these technologies, might be better placed with renewables?  Sustainable technologies, systems that you can just hypothesise as working for a large period of time, without running out of scares resources. Of course, they are not up to the job yet.  But that is surely down to the levels of experience, expertise and invention. But also, the very minor percentages of budgets to make progress with such developments, oh and a planning system to better accommodate them.

On the other side of the equation from generation is consumption and conservation. The pace of home insulation, better development in industrial process and transport changes required are lamentable.  There is most probably going to have to be a change in society that we may also have accept that we are simply going to have to make do with less!  Shocker, what like a lot of the rest of the populations of the world.

I thank you for writing to me, and now you have my 6 pence worth, but Iwould like you to add your thoughts as a comment to my Indymedia posting at:

At the bottom of the text there, you will see a link “Submit an addition or make a quick comment on this article”.  this opens another page, fill in the boxes and contribute.  I personally think it would be nice if you would, and for you then to engage with those that might also comment there.  Please do it.

Very best




Ratcliffe Joiner 080217_G9_059

A couple of days later, the Committee on Climate Change report was published earlier in the  month.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent body established under the Climate Change Act to advise the Government on setting carbon budgets, and to report to Parliament on the progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The the CCC’s report: Building a low-carbon economy – the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change is published today, and can be downloaded from:

In the press release, they summarize by saying:

They recommend a minimum 34% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, with a 42% cut if a global deal is achieved.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today urged the Government to commit unilaterally to reducing emissions of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the UK by at least 34% in 2020 relative to 1990 levels (21% relative to 2005). This should be increased to 42% relative to 1990 (31% relative to 2005) once a global deal to reduce emissions is achieved. The CCC says meeting these targets is necessary to contain the threat of climate change. Building a low-carbon economy, the CCC’s first report sets out the analysis underpinning these recommendations and the proposed level of the first three carbon budgets covering the periods 2008-12, 2013-17 and 2018-22. The budgets are a worldwide first, designed under the Climate Change Act, which also establishes the CCC as an independent advisory body to Government. The report sets out how the budgets can be met by using existing technologies, and by putting in place a range of policies to move to a low-carbon economy:

* Moving away from using fossil fuels towards using cleaner forms of generating electricity and heat including greater use of renewables (wind power, biomass heat and heat pumps), nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS);

* By using energy more efficiently in our homes and office buildings and in industry, through better insulation, use of more energy efficient appliances and through reducing waste by turning lights off, shutting down computers and using air conditioning less;

* By reducing transport emissions, developing electric cars, improving the carbon efficiency of engines, developing use of sustainable bio-fuels, better journey planning and more use of public transport.

* Through purchasing offset credits (e.g. Clean Development Mechanism) to meet the 42% target, but not the 34% target.

These significant reductions can be achieved without harming the UK’s economy and at a cost less than 1% of GDP in 2020. In other words, an economy that might grow by 30% in the period to 2020, would instead grow by 29%. The CCC advises that this is a price worth paying, given the long-term costs of inaction on climate change.

Chair of the CCC Lord Turner said: “Climate change poses a grave threat to human welfare, the environment and the economy. We need to act now, in the UK and as part of a global agreement, to significantly reduce our emissions. It is not too late to tackle climate change, but it will be unless the world takes action soon, and the developed countries need to lead the way with strong commitments and strong delivery against the budgets. The budgets we have proposed are achievable given available and developing technologies, and provided the policies in place are implemented and where necessary reinforced. The reductions required can be achieved at a very low cost to our economy: the cost of not achieving the reductions, at national and global level, will be far greater”.

Committee on Climate Change (CCC)

Now, many of us still think that the report still allows for larger temperature changes over the near future period, than is probable healthy. However, companies like E-on are not going to like it one bit, probably they will still lable the reports as too draconian.

E-on doesn’t appear to have digested the report yet, since just before posting this, I have checked to see if they had made a press release at:

They haven’t yet, but think we should hang on their every word, when they do.

Onwards and upwards.

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