Why am I getting a little bored of COP26?


I am about to confess something Im not sure whether what remains of my reputation will survive it. It is true: I am getting a little tired of global warming and climate change.

I am not saying that I no longer feel strongly that we have to tackle it as soon as we can – sooner! It is something about the way the government is pretending that – despite their rhetoric – that somehow it doesn’t quite matter yet (how else can we understand the fact that the budget contained nothing that could possibly help?), that it is all a dull technocratic business about how well we have actually managed to decarbonise, that that my multiple failures will be gently understood by the BBC.

How differently could they do it? I have no idea, I’m afraid. That is why I made that confession above. But I do have a few clues.

Human survival is also a theological and a spiritual question – but neither the government nor the BBC would ever dare admit such a thing. It is depressing, come on now – admit it! – listening to the perfect droning on about what we should have done.

It may in fact have been summed up in Greta Thunberg’s clever though unfair phrase describing the COP26 as “blah, blah, blah”.

I have a feeling this sense of powerlessness is partly related to that – that there is so little we can do when we know perfectly well that the governments around the world won’t do it either.

The annoying thing is that I know I’m not alone: I am waiting to be encouraged and enthused by the government, to be told what I could do – as Reginald Dorman-Smith managed to when he launched Dig for Victory in 1939 – and finding that, unexpectedly, 1.4m people got out their spade to help.

That is the most irritating gap in Boris Johnson’s rhetoric – why doesn’t he just ask for our help?

It so happens that I have been trying to buy a new fridge-freezer and, really – it could not be more confusing for a green consumer.

To start with, none of the retailers seem to be at all interested in efficiency. Except, to give them credit, Amazon. Then you find that all the possible models are rated either A+ or F.

This is peculiar enough, until – after some research – I discover that grade inflation, so to speak, has meant that, in 2018, they reduced A+ to F. They mean exactly the same – just that the A+ models will usually pre-date the change.

This is a ridiculous situation. Whoever the regulator is for this kind of thing seriously needs replacing.

This is just one example of the strange divide in all our minds about the climate – part of the time, we believe the BBC and their patronising commentary, or the government with their technocratic guff…

No wonder there is still a long way to go.

So yes, I have huge admiration for those grandparents, respectable people, glueing themselves to motorway junctions in protest at the moment.

But the supposed big issue which appears so huge to ministers and commentators – should you disrupt traffic in the name of ‘insulate Britain’ or not – is really not very difficult.

You should. I know there have been views expressed here that, at least, appear to go the other way. But it makes sense, politically, not to deliberately disrupt people who are commuting to work on very little money, trying to get by.

I know, they will be made to think. I just remember what the great campaigner Des Wilson used to say about that: “Yes, and I can l tell you exactly what they are thinking!”

If we are disrupting anyone, we need to disrupt the lives of those responsible for the damaging decisions. Otherwise, it may just rebound on us.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.


  1. Prisss says

    I’m getting ‘bored’ too: Climate change is a symptom. Energy supply is the cause. Which means thermodynamics rules. Period. Railing at the long term global weather forecast is a convenient but irrelevant distraction. For whom? For starters those who would have us fight between ourselves over thermodynamically incompetent ‘cures’ to the ‘symptoms’.

    Greta Thunberg’s “blah, blah, blah” observation sums up how “cleverly” she has been misled. Had she been invited by those close to her (she’s been diagnosed as high functioning autistic – an ‘aspie’ like me) to look at causes. Instead she ought to be SHOUTING very loudly NUCLEAR ENERGY NOW FOR ALL – NOW.

    Let me explain how and why climate change in and of itself is a “convenient but irrelevant distraction” from its own cure. Its taken as an ‘article of faith’ by many, that we should “demand” those in power urgently start “shifting away from the fossil fuel industry and investing in renewable energy”. For example:


    First: in 2020 wind supplied c2% of global energy, and solar c1% with electricity generation being only 9% to 15% of global primary energy consumption. In 1950 fossil fuels’ share of global energy supply was c70% which steadily increased to 80% in 1980, and stands at c85% today.


    Second: the energy densities of wind, water & solar energy is hundreds of times lower (i.e. high entropy) than fossil fuels or uranium (low entropy). This means the energy inputs to build them, end up not being able to yield enough excess energy to build themselves out. Nor service, or recycle and replace themselves after their 25 year or so life cycles expires.

    The message when whole system energy costs analysis are properly included in a ‘disaggregated’ EROI (Energy Returned Over Invested) calculation is: wind, water & solar low energy density energy harvesting infrastructure are thermodynamically incompetent.


    Third: global reserves of the necessary technological metals and other mineral inputs (lithium, copper, cobalt, indium, tellurium, platinum, rare earths, etc…) and building sand, and available land & sea coast area, are orders of magnitude too small to scale-up enough to replace fossil fuels from the current 3% of global energy that such ‘modern renewables’ supply to 100%. For example Solar and Wind farms require between 400 and 750 times more land than nuclear and natural gas plants.


    Thermodynamics dictates that low energy density energy harvesting infrastructure (wind water solar) will always rely on high energy density fuels i.e. diesel or natural gas to exist at all, because battery (e.g. lithium, hydrogen etc…) energy storage density will always remain far too low i.e. far too heavy and inefficient to power remote mining, refining and transport activities.

    So how does Greta and her ‘advisors’ and the anti nuclear energy ‘green’ lobby think those in power can magic out of thin air the orders of magnitude increase in global mining & refining activity, and the energy for process heat and transport fuels to scale up wind and solar farms 3% of global energy supply to 100%, if not fossil fuels?

    And how do we avoid inevitable environmental and social destruction in the global south to get ever harder to extract mineral supplies required implicit in the “clever” – i.e. Greta has been gaslighted – “blah, blah, blah” observation?

    Answer: we must EXPLICITY include nuclear energy when we “demand” those in power must “invest in renewable energy” as well as wind, water and solar energy harvesting infrastructure. If not, then unless we get rid of 95% of the worlds population and return to 14th century standards of living, this demand conflicts with the laws of thermodynamics and physics. Does Greta really want a return 14th century as the final declarations from COP26 with her “clever” “blah, blah, blah” observation? No of course not: ergo she has been very deeply misled.

    Here are a few, amongst hundreds of peer reviewed science referenced links I could have given spelling out this message: there aren’t enough minerals, nor land & sea area, nor fossil fuels – by orders of magnitude – to scale up any build out of wind, solar & water low energy density harvesting infrastructure to replace fossil fuels.














    Thermodynamics is trying to deliver us two messages:-

    A) Easy to access fossil fuels are getting too inefficient to economically extract.

    B) Uranium can be ‘mined’ from seawater until the sun goes supernova.

    Regards, https://tinyurl.com/atomichumanism

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