Absurdly Restrictive Rules Hamper Fracking – Increasing costs and Reducing Efficiency

Cuadrilla’s Fracking Operation Credit: The Times

Financial Time October 31st, 2018

The head of the energy company that is seeking to become the first in the UK to start commercial fracking for gas has warned the government that its regulatory system risks “strangling” the nascent industry.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, called on the government to relax operating rules that have forced the company to halt work several times after it unleashed earth tremors at its fracking site in northern England.

Fracking has revolutionised the US energy industry, and Cuadrilla is hoping to replicate this success in the UK, although it has encountered strong opposition from environmental protesters worried about pollution and earthquakes.

Since it began fracking tests on October 15 at its Little Plumpton site near Blackpool, Cuadrilla has caused 31 tremors, including three that were of sufficient magnitude under its operating rules to require the company to stop work.

Mr Egan said the government needed to move “within weeks” to relax the rules covering Cuadrilla or it may never discover if the UK’s shale gas resources are commercially viable.

“It could be strangled before birth, this thing,” he told the Financial Times.

Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — involves pumping water, sand and chemicals deep under the ground at high pressure to release gas from rock formations, often in wells that run horizontally rather than vertically.

Under Cuadrilla’s operating licence, the company has signed up to a so-called traffic light system devised by the government that requires it to stop work if activity above 0.5 on the Richter seismic scale — a level imperceptible to humans — is detected.

Over the past two weeks, three tremors measuring more than 0.5 have been recorded — the highest one being 1.1. These three constitute “red lights” that require a halt to operations.

Mr Egan said the government should allow Cuadrilla to maintain operations amid tremors measuring up to 2.0 on the Richter scale — a level he insisted would pose no risk of damage to the surrounding area.

Other countries including Canada and the US allow seismic activity well above 2.0, he added.

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2TW of Coal Fired Power to Derail Climate Targets

Coal fired Power Plant, Credit: African Briefing

Financial Times, 31 October 2018

Leslie Hook, David Sheppard and Myles McCormick

A fleet of new coal plants in Asia threatening to derail global emissions targets has exposed the growing “disconnect” between energy markets and climate goals.

Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said the growth of coal-fired power in Asia was worrying because the new plants would “lock in the emissions trajectory of the world, full stop”.

Asia has 2,000GW of coal-fired power plants that are operating or under construction — more than 10 times as much as the EU — and many of them are inefficient plants.

While the coal fleets in the US and Europe are older, 42 years on average, and nearing the end of their life, Asia’s coal plants are just 11-years-old on average and most still have decades left to operate.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions ticked up 1.4 per cent last year, following several years of staying flat, and are set to rise again in 2018 owing to greater demand for fossil fuels. Asia accounted for two-thirds of the growth in emissions last year.

Last year China’s coal-fired power generation grew 4 per cent, while India’s rose 13 per cent, according to IEA data. The rate of investment in the construction of new coal-fired power plants, however, also slowed down last year, according to the agency………

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U.N. Ignores Economics Of Climate

New Nobel laureate  and Yale Professor, William Nordhaus says the costs of proposed CO2 cuts aren’t worth it.

Wall Street Journal, Bjorn Lomberg, 10th October 2018.

Yale’s William Nordhaus wins 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics

The global economy must be transformed immediately to avoid catastrophic climate damage, a new United Nations report declares. Climate economist William Nordhaus has been made a Nobel laureate. The events are being reported as two parts of the same story, but they reveal the contradictions inherent in climate policy—and why economics matters more than ever.

The laureates of the Nobel Prize in Economics displayed on the screen, William Nordhaus, left, and Paul Romer during a press conference at the The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Monday Oct. 8, 2018. Yale University’s William Nordhaus was named for integrating climate change into long term macroeconomic analysis and New York University’s Paul Romer was awarded for factoring technological innovation into macroeconomics. (Henrik Montgomery/TT via AP)

Limiting temperatures to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges, is economically and practically impossible—as Mr. Nordhaus’s work shows.

The IPCC report significantly underestimates the costs of getting to zero emissions. Fossil fuels provide cheap, efficient power, whereas green energy remains mostly uncompetitive. Switching to more expensive, less efficient technology slows development. In poor nations that means fewer people lifted out of poverty. In rich ones it means the most vulnerable are hit by higher energy bills.

The IPCC says carbon emissions need to peak right now and fall rapidly to avert catastrophe. Models actually reveal that to achieve the 2.7-degree goal the world must stop all fossil fuel use in less than four years. Yet the International Energy Agency estimates that in 2040 fossil fuels will still meet three-quarters of world energy needs, even if the Paris agreement is fully implemented. The U.N. body responsible for the accord estimates that if every country fulfills every pledge by 2030, CO2 emissions will be cut by 60 billion tons by 2030. That’s less than 1% of what is needed to keep temperature rises below 2.7 degrees. And achieving even that fraction would be vastly expensive—reducing world-wide growth $1 trillion to $2 trillion each year by 2030.

The European Union promises to cut emissions 80% by 2050. With realistic assumptions about technology, and the optimistic assumption that the EU’s climate policy is very well designed and coordinated, the average of seven leading peer-reviewed models finds EU annual costs will reach €2.9 trillion ($3.3 trillion), more than twice what EU governments spend today on health, education, recreation, housing, environment, police and defense combined. In reality, it is likely to cost much more because EU climate legislation has been an inefficient patchwork. If that continues, the policy will make the EU 24% poorer in 2050.

Trying to do more, as the IPCC urges, would be phenomenally expensive. It is important to keep things in perspective, challenging as that is given the hysterical tone of the reaction to the panel’s latest offering. In its latest full report, the IPCC estimated that in 60 years unmitigated global warming would cost the planet between 0.2% and 2% of gross domestic product. That’s simply not the end of the world.

The new report has no comparison of the costs and benefits of climate targets. Mr. Nordhaus’s most recent estimate, published in August, is that the “optimal” outcome with a moderate carbon tax is a rise of about 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. Reducing temperature rises by more would result in higher costs than benefits, potentially causing the world a $50 trillion loss.

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Iceman: A 5,000 Year Old Reflection for Modern times

The Storyline

The Ötztal Alps, more than 5300 years ago. A Neolithic clan has settled nearby a creek. It is their leader Kelab’s responsibility to be the keeper of the group’s holy shrine Tineka. While Kelab is hunting, the settlement is attacked. The members of the tribe are brutally murdered, amongst them Kelab’s wife and son, only one newborn survives and Tineka is gone. Blinded by pain and fury, Kelab is out for one thing alone vengeance. He sets out after the murderers on what turns into a grand odyssey where he must fight constantly for the infant’s survival; against the immense forces of nature; against hunters he encounters; and, amongst the loneliness of the quest, against a growing sense of doubt over the morality of his mission.

Beside the generally engaging storyline –  this film likely quite accurately portrays life well before modern time.  Life was far from easy, childbirth was dangerous and without pain killers, danger was ever-present, be it danger from the environment or danger from fellow-man keen to secure new resources, whatever they may be.  It is a very worthwhile reflection, a reflection on our current abundance, long lives and freedoms.  We live in a world which by comparison is largely devoid of suffering, where  individual rights have supremacy, where long life is almost assured and where the frontiers of human thought can be explored.

This is a remarkable film not for its entertainment value but as a reflection on our forebears, the suffering they experienced, the challenges they faced and modern abundance, accepted simply as an entitlement by the vast majority.  There can be no guarantee that we will not revert to such times and we likely will.

The lead character is based upon Otzi- the Iceman discovered in the Swiss alps, now a 5,000 year old fully preserved human, the oldest preserved human ever discovered.

A remarkable film and not a single word of a spoken modern language.  Strongly recommended.

Hungarian Government Announces Public Tender for the Recsk Cu-Au Deposits & Assets

Hungarian National Asset Management Inc., (“MNV”) has announced the public tender for the Recsk Deposit and assets in Hungary.

The Recsk Cu-Au-Pb-Zn-Ag-Mo property in Hungary hosts arguably one of the largest and highest-grade undeveloped copper-gold porphyry and skarn systems in Europe.  With 240,000 metres of drilling, two 8 metre internal diameter, 1,200-metre-deep, concrete lined shafts and 9 kilometres of underground development, the Recsk deposit is estimated to contain 5.6 million tonnes (12 billion pounds) of copper and 4 million ounces of gold. 

Distribution of Copper and Molybdenum on the 700mRL, showing surface drillholes (black), development (blue) over intrusion thickness and thickness of volcanics. Copper grades of greater than 0.2% have been mapped over a strike of 2 kilometres and a width of 800

Cmi Capital Limited

Cmi Capital is available to assist a suitable party to participate in the tender.  Cmi Capital held extended discussions with the Government of Hungary prior to the announcement of the tender and as such has a unique understanding of the deposit and the political and economic environment.  Cmi Capital or an associated corporation seeks a long-term concentrate offtake agreement on commercial terms and may at its sole discretion provide up to US$250 million in an offtake pre-payment repaid from production with the usual customary terms and conditions following completion of an advanced economic & technical study.


Despicable Research – Reprehensible Conclusions

A considered work by Alessandro Strumia, but one that is so politically incorrect and despicable that it requires censure, sanction for the author and dismissal.  What do you think?

Credit: Ananya Kumar

If the presentation had been about the other end of the IQ curve would anyone have objected.  Would anyone have disputed that there are a greater proportion of men with a lower IQ than women? Would anyone a have disputed that there are a higher proportion of low IQ individuals in prisons?  Would anyone have disputed that there are more men in prison than women because more men commit more crimes? Would anyone have called for convicting more women to even up the demographic?

Men and women have similar mean IQs with a  quite different standard deviation.  That is there are longer tails at the low and high ends of the curve for men.  Likely there is a good evolutionary reason for this disparity.


A Feminist Version of Mein Kampf

Feminist journal Affilia: Journal of Women & Social Work, has published a fake research article titled:

Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism

The last 3,600 words is Mein Kampf (Vol. 1., Chapter 12) rewritten from the perspective of intersectional feminism, using peer-reviewed references and terminology.  The paper received praise from its academic reviewers  “The reviewers are supportive of the work and noted its potential to generate important dialogue for social workers and feminist scholars.” 

James A. Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian wrote 20 fake scholarly papers and had several accepted and published in journals. Credit: New York Times, Mike Nayna

Peer-reviewed literature has an important impact on society.  This paper received approval for publication because to nicely fitted the ideological position of the reviewers, despite the evocative title.   It says a great deal about the standards of academic research in certain portions of the social “studies” disciplines and the corruption of academic principles that has occurred on campus.

It would seem that all research is not created equal and the same must apply to post-graduate degrees in general.

You can watch the authors response to the acceptance of an earlier published research paper on dog rape culture published in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography


The Benefits of a Standup Desk

New Standup Desk

Just got a new Standup Desk.    If you are spending all day sitting you might consider this –  it is a lot healthier and far better for blood circulation and general physical fitness.  It is not so easy to stand all day and I have added 15 cms of foam to the floor and a nice red bar-stool.  Strongly recommended.  Beware –  it does change the way you work but it makes it far more productive on telephone calls as I can easily walk to the white board for note taking etc.  At sunset the barstool also comes in useful 🙂You might note the wall map,  we reprocessed 6 million km2 of gravity data to better understand Tertiray basin structures and to assist in a regional geological and structural interpretation.

Sn-W-Critical Metals & Associated Magmatic Systems

Southern Atherton Tablelands. Credit: Cairns Tours

An EGRU conference with a session in honour of Dr Roger Taylor

24 – 28 June 2019

Tinaroo Lake Resort

Tinaroo, Atherton Tablelands, tropical north Queensland, Australia

The conference will address advances and breakthroughs in understanding the setting, genesis and  characteristics of magmatic systems  related to Sn-W-Critical Metal mineralisation, including Rare Metal Pegmatites.   The program will feature presentations from world-class researchers in the field, including:

  • Rolf Romer (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany)
  • Jingwen Mao (Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, China)
  • Shao-Yong Jiang (China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China)
  • Dr Phillip Blevin (Mineral Systems, Geological Survey of NSW, Maitland, Australia)
  • Zhaoshan Chang (Colorado School of Mines, Denver, USA)
  • David Cooke (CODES, Hobart, University of Tasmania)
  • Dr Peter Pollard (Pollard Geological Services, Brisbane, Australia)
  • Dr Yanbo Cheng (EGRU, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia)

See you at the event –  should be well worth attending.  If anyone is interested in a little pre-confernece rainforest hiking for 2-3 days before the event –  message me.

Sn-W-Critical Metals Conference FF 2018-08-21 LR

Dickinsonia was an animal!

A recent paper in Science authored Ilya Bobrovskiy, Janet Hope and colleagues from ANU, the Russian Academy and European institutions has remarkably (and convincingly) discovered molecules of fat in Dickinsonia, a marine genus of the Ediacaran biota.

Dikinsonia samples from Quantitative study of developmental biology confirms Dickinsonia as a metazoan , Renee S. Hoekzema, Martin D. Brasier, Frances S. Dunn, Alexander G. Liu proceedings of The Royal Society. Published 13 September 2017.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1348

This has confirmed that the 558 million year old Dickinsonia is the earliest animal in the geological record and maybe a presursor to –  you!

Organically preserved Dickinsonia fossil from the White Sea area of Russia. A Dickinsonia fossilILYA BOBROVSKIY / AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

The strange creature called Dickinsonia, which grew up to 1.4 metres in length and was oval shaped with rib-like segments running along its body, was part of the Ediacara Biota that lived on Earth 20 million years prior to the ‘Cambrian explosion’ of modern animal life.  The Ediacara biota are a diverse assemblage of macroscopic body forms that appear in the sedimentary rock record between 570 million and 541 million years ago. First recognized in Namibia and Australia, these remarkable organisms have since been found in Russia, China, Canada, Great Britain, and other regions. Although they immediately preceded the rapid appearance and diversification of animals in the Cambrian (541 million to 485 million years ago), their position within the tree of life has long been a puzzle. Some Ediacaran fossils appear segmented, but most lack obvious characters such as appendages, a mouth, or a gut that might link them to animal clades.

Dickinsonia costata (~7.7 cm long), SAM P13750/P40679 (South Australian Museum, Adelaide, Australia)

Prior to this study  Dikinsonia affinities were unknown and while its  mode of growth is consistent with a bilaterian affinity some thought that it belong to to the fungi, or even an “extinct kingdom”

Dickinsonia costata (centimeter scale), YPM 35467 (Yale University’s Peabody Museum, New Haven, Connecticut, USA)

Bobrovskiy et al. conducted an analysis using lipid biomarkers obtained from Dickinsonia fossils and found that the fossils contained almost exclusively cholesteroids, a marker found only in animals.  Thus, Dickinsoniawere basal animals. This supports the idea that the Ediacaran biota may have been a precursor to the explosion of animal forms later observed in the Cambrian, about 500 million years ago.

Obtaining evidence of cholesteroids first involved finding exceptionally well preserved fossils.  The Dikinsonia fossils used in this study came from a narrow strata in the remote White Sea are of Russia.

Lead senior researcher Associate Professor Jochen Brocks said the ‘Cambrian explosion’ was when complex  and other macroscopic organisms—such as molluscs, worms, arthropods and sponges—began to dominate the fossil record.

“The fossil fat molecules that we’ve found prove that animals were large and abundant 558 million years ago, millions of years earlier than previously thought,” said Associate Professor Jochen Brocks from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

“Scientists have been fighting for more than 75 years over what Dickinsonia and other bizarre fossils of the Edicaran Biota were: giant single-celled amoeba, lichen, failed experiments of evolution or the earliest animals on Earth. The fossil fat now confirms Dickinsonia as the oldest known animal fossil, solving a decades-old mystery that has been the Holy Grail of palaeontology.”


The enigmatic Ediacara biota (571 million to 541 million years ago) represents the first macroscopic complex organisms in the geological record and may hold the key to our understanding of the origin of animals. Ediacaran macrofossils are as “strange as life on another planet” and have evaded taxonomic classification, with interpretations ranging from marine animals or giant single-celled protists to terrestrial lichens. Here, we show that lipid biomarkers extracted from organically preserved Ediacaran macrofossils unambiguously clarify their phylogeny. Dickinsonia and its relatives solely produced cholesteroids, a hallmark of animals. Our results make these iconic members of the Ediacara biota the oldest confirmed macroscopic animals in the rock record, indicating that the appearance of the Ediacara biota was indeed a prelude to the Cambrian explosion of animal life.

Read the Paper Here


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