Manifestos & Climate Change Facts
45 Longdown Road, Sandhurst
26 November 2019
Tel. 01344 772130
Dear Prime Minister,
I much admire your spirit, fortitude and common sense, and wish you well in the Election.
But, please may I ask, has anyone in your party or among your advisors actually worked out some realistic numbers for anything like the scale of the UK Climate change action that is required?
Your party says it is aiming for the UK being net-zero on emissions by 2050 and does at least realistically accept the need for some emissions requiring Carbon Capture & Storage, e.g. steel and cement production, in order to maintain any semblance of our modern industrial society.
However, just to maintain our present rate of total energy consumption, which was 143Mtoe (Million tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2018, and assuming no further growth in our economy and no further increases in our population due to immigration over the next 30 years, after making an allowance for CCS and our existing renewable energy capacity, I have calculated that will require us to be able to increase our renewable energy capacity to least 110Mtoe or 1279TWhr of electricity a year from renewables by 2050.
All of this could be generated by about 20 times as much nuclear power as we have now; but since that is most unlikely to be built in time, let alone afforded or tolerated, I have ignored this option.
The best “green” alternative works out at about 18 times as many wind turbines, both on land and offshore; as well as about 18 times as many solar panels on roofs and solar farms as we have now. Based on our current numbers, that would mean putting up about 144,000 more turbines on land at the rate of about 13 a day, and 36,000 more offshore at the rate of about 3 a day, every day, 7 days a week, for 30 years. It also would mean fitting solar panels to around 18 million more homes at the rate of about 1600 a day and building about 5500 more large solar farms at the rate of about 1 every two days, 7 days a week until 2050.
While we are doing all this, we will also have to gradually “electrify” over 30 million cars and about the same number of gas boilers and gas cookers, as well as everything else we use that runs on a fossil fuel. I seriously doubt all of this can even be done, let alone afforded, by 2050.
So, I really don’t see how it can possibly be done by 2030 as the Green Party propose! But at least they are being honest when they say we must hugely reduce our energy consumption – to make this energy transition even humanly possible in time to meet the 2018 IPCC Special Report requirements.
Clearly this cannot be done while at the same time your party is still striving for ever more economic growth and encouraging more immigration to help fuel it. Both will continue to increase our total energy consumption, thereby forcing us to put up ever more wind turbines and solar panels.
Where is all the additional energy coming from that is needed to build all this new renewable energy generation capacity anyway? Wont that mean that, at least initially and for many years yet, the UK will be consuming a lot more fossil fuel energy to build it, and wont that further add to climate change? We are a long way off being able to power heavy construction plant by electricity, and do you have any idea how many tonnes of steel and concrete goes into putting up a wind turbine?
As an Engineer by profession I like to deal in hard facts. So, I would much appreciate receiving your comments and, hopefully, some better numbers to work on before I cast my vote on Dec12th.
Bill Dowling C.Eng MI Mech E (Retired)
Boris Letter 26.11.19, click here for download, wordDoc.