Tag Archives: global warming

Global Warming -farming-recycling


Jet contrails do produce “global dimming” which reduces global warming but, in the process, produce enormous amounts of CO2. That can be removed in enormous quantities actually quite easily.


In the 24 June issue of New Scientist, Ed Hawkins, University of Reading, UK, and Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, both are quoted as observing that we really do need, urgently, to invent a way to remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a huge scale.

The classic way of solving a problem is to find a mirror image problem and put the two together.  Link farming (globally we need more food) and urban waste production (as global population and wealth rise, we get more unban waste) in the right way and that could deliver the invention. Well, we already have it and it has been done and on a scale that could be applied globally.

Search https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217 The Carbon dioxide bit starts at page 45.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 6 August 17

Global Warming can be arrested.


Hydro at Lynmouth


Some will remember the flood of Lynmouth in 1952 in which 34 people died.  Lynmouth, however, has a much more positive contribution to world power history.   In 1890, a small scale hydro-power system was built in the gorge above Lymouth and it was the first in the world to provide pump-back storage at the top to provide a reserve of water to produce power at peak demand. In 1987, a 500m long, 500mm diameter pipe with a 77m head was commissioned to drive a 300kW turbine. Since, the feed pipe diameter has been increased to 700mm and two more turbines. The organisers want to expand further and, to our national shame, get political prevarication and ignorance from the authorities. The truth is that hydro here lives quite satisfactorily with an SSSI and a very pretty area of natural beauty of significant tourist attraction and an example to the rest of the world. Hydro is one of the answers to reducing global warming and we need more urgently, very urgently.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., 10 November 2016

The circular economy: 5. Not as clever as we might think



Working from the bottom upwards; The earth beneath our feet is complex, we are in the early stages of developing energy sources which are not only “renewable” but also sustainable. Now look at the sky; think how much energy is needed to evaporate enough water to form a single cloud.

The science: The problem with ignorance is that it does not know what it does not know. Whatever we might think, the global biosphere is very complex.  Think of the super-computers that are now being used to try to forecast the weather in the UK – not very easy because weather systems are very complex, global and involve enormous amounts of energy and atmospheric gases.

The bad news: When ice melts at the polar icecaps, sea levels rise on low level islands and people lose their homes or drown. As we produce more Carbon dioxide, coral reefs die. By the way, the Thames barrage is just about on its limit; if the wrong combination of moon (tides) and wind occurs, it may not be high enough – will not soon but we do not know exactly when.

The good news: I remain optimistic about our technological ability to slow down and hold the decline.  There is some progress. What I am less optimistic about is whether our politicians, who because of democracy are inevitably interested in the next election,  will do enough, fast enough – because it will involve some tough decisions.

Bill Butterworth 12th March 2016

PS If you are a gardener, try reading “How garden composting works” published by MX Publishing and set your garden soil alive.





Western world at night

Europe at night. the light gives an idea of the power, in terms of not only light but heating, we are consuming. Most of it comes from burning fossilised fuels which, in turn, produces Carbon dioxide – in larger quantities every day.

The Science: In the UK, 2015 marked the first year in which average temperatures for the whole year were 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels.  Latest predictions in climate change studies indicate that there is a potential for temperatures to rise by a further 4 degrees by 2060. At that level, the human race, and many other species, could not survive.  That is only 44 years from now.  Many people reading this would otherwise be still alive by then.

The bad news: We really are not doing enough to slow that rise down.

The good news: The biggest single cause is the production of greenhouse gases by burning fossilised fuels.  We could do something about that. Will we?

Bill Butterworth  27th February 2016

P,S.  Generally, I plan to post a Sunday blog on The Circular Economy and environmental, waste or food piece on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.  If you are a gardener, try looking at “How to make garden recycling work” by Bill Butterworth, published by MX Publishing and available from bookshops or Amazon.  If you are a farmer, try another in the same series, “How to make on-farm composting work”.

Gas v. Electricity


The clock is ticking,



We have so far been able to generate electricity by a variety of “renewable” energy sources. That is all in the right direction in terms of trying to reduce global warming. However, most UK homes are heated not by electricity but but gas and we do not get gas from solar or wind turbines.  That is where shale gas fits in; as a short term measure to buy time to develop truly sustainable energy supplies right here in the UK.

For more information, also see last 2 posts at  www.safeshale.co.uk

Bill Butterworth 24 January 2016


Possibly sustainable

photo (00000006)

The world is crammed full of beauty. How long can we preserve that beauty and enjoy it?

I have had a number of conversations recently with fairly sensible, well-educated people who, without being miserably pessimistic, just quietly accept that the global biosphere can and will do very nicely without the human race which they accept is approaching the final lap in its own demise.  It is not difficult to find evidence that we, as a species, are pushing our luck and there is no reason to believe that we will last forever and plenty of reason to suppose the contrary.                                      Despite that, there is evidence of the ingenuity of the human race in pushing the frontiers back.  There are people working on a vaccine which will tackle all viruses within a type – influenzas for a start.  There are people working on new anti-biotics.  There are people who are trying to arrest and reverse climate change (as this post keeps suggesting; we can do a lot with more green leaves).

Too little, too late?  Probably. I remain optimist.  It does not seem much use to be anything else.  If we fail, then at least we will have been cheerful along the way. Nevertheless, to succeed, optimism has to produce action, real, sustainable action.  Better start now.


Bill Butterworth  6th January 2016

Proving what we already know about shale gas

Arctic wasteland

The Antarctic – the coldest place on earth. there is no doubt that global warming is ocurring but we still use energy. 

  • Machiavellian caution.
  • Bad experience with shale.
  • Safe technology and regulation.
  • Government invests £30 million in testing practical procedures and performance.

“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.  For the reformer has enemies in all who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.  This lukewarmness arises partly from fear of their adversaries who have the law in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything until they have had actual experience of it.”

NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI   The Prince and The Discourses 1513 – Chapter 6

We know that some of the practices involved in shale exploration and production in the USA and some other places was environmentally wrong and some had serious long term consequences.  We know we do not want that here in the UK. We know that all burning of hydrocarbon fuels is producing global warming at probably higher rates that we like to admit and that the consequences are likely to be serious.  Most reasonable people believe that and would like to try to avoid it.  We also know a few other things relevant to the shale discussion.

  • Some hydrocarbon fuels are worse polluters when used than others; brown coal is killing China, diesel produces significant particulates, petrol produces much Carbon dioxide per mile and so on. All do have real disadvantages.  Shale gas is a relatively clean-burn fuel; it does produce Carbon dioxide but not much else.
  • The risks in shale exploration and production are widely aired and much discussed. (See this blog 27 January 15.)
  • Some of the technology for safe shale extraction is known and proven. (See this blog 4 December 14.)
  • Some of the technology is less well established but still potentially safe. (See this blog 5 December 14)
  • We live in the most inspected, the most monitored, the most regulated society the world has ever known.
  • The government has earmarked £30 million for research to trial, monitor and test exploration and production of shale. A small handful of universities are already spending that cash.

Machiavelli was right. Innovation and change always have detractors. However, GB has always been a trail blazer and we do now have the opportunity to lead in safe shale.  Logically, as our population in the UK is expanding by something of the order of 250,000 per year, we do have to have more energy and we do need to start building its supply right now.  This a matter of leadership; do we in the UK want to develop energy security and care for our own people or not?

Bill Butterworth   15 November 2015