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Offshore Valuation report launched

The Offshore Valuation is published today by the Offshore Valuation Group, chaired by the Public Interest Research Centre. It is the first comprehensive valuation of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource over the long-term that explicitly assesses electricity exports to Europe.

The Offshore Valuation Group is an informal collaboration of government and industry organisations that has commissioned an independent report to address the question: what is the value of Britain’s offshore renewable resource? The group includes the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, The Crown Estate and eight companies across the energy sector.

You can download a copy here [zip file].

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The Offshore Valuation

The Offshore Valuation is the first comprehensive long-term valuation of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource that explicitly assesses electricity exports to Europe.


“I welcome this report which, as the first of its kind, highlights the huge potential for low carbon energy generation off our shores. It sets out the scale of how much can be achieved if we set the right framework and work together to deliver the impressive potential from a low carbon economy and tackle the challenge of climate change.”
– Jane Davidson, Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing

It is widely acknowledged that within Europe, Britain holds the largest resource of offshore wind, wave and tidal power. Until now the full scale of the economic opportunity this represents has been unknown.

This new report suggests that the offshore renewable energy industry in the UK, using less than a third of the total available resource, could:

  • Generate the electricity equivalent of 1 billion barrels of oil annually, matching North Sea oil & gas production
  • Create 145,000 new jobs in the UK and provide the Treasury with £28 billion in tax revenues annually
  • Ensure Britain could become a net electricity exporter
  • Result in cumulative carbon dioxide savings of 1.1 billion tonnes by 2050.

The Offshore Valuation Group is a group of organisations drawn from across industry and government, chaired by the Public Interest Research Centre. The Group have provided funding, direction and detailed input to the project. Boston Consulting Group carried out the study.

The Offshore Valuation Group comprises the following organisations: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Government, The Crown Estate, the Energy Technologies Institute, Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), RWE Innogy, E.ON, DONG Energy, Statoil, Vestas, Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP), and Renewable Energy Systems (RES). The study also received funding from the Committee on Climate Change.

The report was launched on 19th May at the All-Energy Conference in Aberdeen. You can download the full report and the Executive Summary. The dedicated website for the report can be found at:

This is a project that originated as a recommendation in PIRC’s Climate Safety report and through a conversation with Ed Miliband, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. PIRC is extremely grateful to the JJ Charitable Trust, the Mark Leonard Trust, and Network for Social Change for providing funding for this project, as well as to our core funders who have provided us with the space to develop this work.

“Having been involved for nearly two decades in the creation and establishment of the UK’s oil and gas industry, I find the first stirrings of Britain’s nascent renewable offshore energy sector very exciting… The publication of the Offshore Valuation is a major first attempt to put a real value on what the renewable energy resource around the coasts might bring in terms of jobs, investment, infrastructure creation, income and, of course, clean and affordable energy. It is required reading for all decision makers in the energy and environment sectors” – John D’Ancona, Director-General, Offshore Supplies Office (1981-1994)

Debunking Shellenberger and Nordhaus, again.

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are names that may be familiar. They are the authors of The Death of Environmentalism – a notorious critique on the tactics of the green movement that attempts to address environmental goals from a radically different perspective. Most recently, the two penned a withering attack on environmentalists and climate scientists.

Shellenberger and Nordhaus re-state a plethora of half-truths, misrepresentations and outright fantasies that have lately become almost canonical in the public sphere.

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Why fishermen believe in climate change (and everyone else believes in overfishing) 8

How much of what is recorded as scepticism about the scientific reality of climate change is simply a desire for it not to be true – or at the very least, for it not to be as bad as the scientists and politicians say? This is a question that cannot easily be answered.

When people are motivated not to believe something, they are also motivated not to acknowledge that their non-belief is anything other than rational. But two fishy tales shed some light on one type of climate change scepticism, and highlight a major challenge for climate change communicators: how do you persuade someone to believe something that they really don’t want to believe? Read more

Matthew Nisbet on the over-reaction of science & ways to move forward

Matthew Nisbet over at Framing Science has an excellent blog post on the potential over-reaction by climate scientists to the events of the last few months. The piece is written from a US perspective, but I think it applies equally here in the UK. He notes:

Multiple surveys show a decline in public concern with climate change and it”s clear that political momentum for policy action has stalled. But there are several likely causes, the direct efforts of the climate skeptic movement just one of them, and probably one of the more minor causes.

These other factors include the economy, confusion over colder weather and other perceptual biases, general distrust of government, climate policies such as cap and trade that are not easily sold as effective or in line with public values, the absence of strong Presidential leadership on the issue, institutional barriers in Congress and at the international level, and the continued belief by some scientists and advocates that public support and policy action will turn on science rather than on a calculation of values and trade-offs. Read more

This week’s top climate science links

Dive right in:

  • Climate Change: A Threat to Global Security. US & UK Defense agree. – “I am struck by how similar UK and U.S. thinking is on the national security implications of climate change. Our defense departments agree that the impact of climate change is likely to be most severe in areas where it coincides with other stresses, such as poverty, demographic growth, and resource shortages: areas through which much of the world’s trade already passes.”
  • A Superstorm for Global Warming Research – a terrible terrible piece from Der Spiegel, who are usually pretty good at science reporting. Two of the authors have previously written some very misleading and inaccurate articles on climate change. Watch this space for updates…
  • Visualizing Arctic Sea Ice Extent Trends – “If you find yourself asking “what about … or what happens when…”, it’s probably time to make another chart that directly addresses your new “compared to what” question. Don’t expect one chart to answer multiple questions.”
  • Arctic ice recovers from the great melt – Wow, a semi-decent piece by Jonathan Leake! Apart from wrongly attributing the recent ‘spurt’ in ice growth to the Arctic Oscillation (it was more likely just a response to changes in regional atmospheric circulation) it’s a measured and almost insightful piece… is something weighing on his mind perhaps?

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Don’t leave climate change to the politicians 2

We saw in December that governments seem to be expected largely to take responsibility for dealing with climate change, rather than to encourage people to be responsible themselves.

This struck me then as a problem, and data from January’s Mori poll adds weight to this thought, suggesting that there is a real risk in politicians being the main group that’s heard to talk about climate change. But the results also give us some of the most striking results I’ve seen to suggest that the British public are in fact pretty concerned about climate change. Read more

Let the sunshine in: Why permanently changing our clocks is good for tourism, road safety and climate

Good morning! Welcome to the first day of British Summer Time. With luck you’ll have remembered last night to set your clocks forward by one hour: one more hour of sunlight to enjoy each day, as we adjust our hours of activity to fit better with the changing seasons.

Today also marks the launch of a campaign to see the UK’s clocks changed permanently – shifting them forward by two hours in summer, and one hour in winter – in order to boost tourism, reduce road accidents, and cut carbon emissions.

The campaign – called Lighter, Later – is being coordinated by 10:10, the civil society movement working for a 10% cut in the UK’s emissions in 2010. It is being backed by a wide range of organisations, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Age Concern, the Tourism Alliance, and Sport for England. Read more

The Science Museum has not gone climate change “neutral”, whatever that means 1

The Times and the Daily Mail mangle the story, ignoring the obvious: that the Science Museum understands how to communicate science to a large and diverse audience.

“Global warming scepticism forces Science Museum to rename ‘climate change’ gallery” headlines the Daily Mail. Only slightly less sensationalist is the Times, with: “Public scepticism prompts Science Museum to rename climate exhibition”.

So does the Science Museum believe that the scientific consensus on climate change has diluted or weakened? Actually, no. But you wouldn’t know that from the headlines. Read more

Climate science in six paragraphs

Several weeks back, amidst the media storm, Richard Somerville a Lead Author of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment report (IPCC AR4) wrote a short and punchy “response to climate change denialism“. We finally got round to posting it here.

It’s a great, simple communication by a veteran climate scientist. It’s not going to solve the climate communication problem, but it’s the sort of thing we need to see a lot more of. Short, punchy, accessible writing (and imagery) that scientists and others can use when covering the basic science and beyond… Read more