An interesting view on the way forward from Mike Mackenzie reproduced with his permission from his blog “Views from an Island”

We have an abundance of renewable energy to create green hydrogen

Scotland could reach a net zero target for CO2 output quite easily. That of course is predicated on becoming Independent for the simple reason that virtually all energy powers are reserved to Westminster.

Until then we will be dragged along in the slipstream of the UK Government whose agenda is generally not what it seems. As always the prerogative is to firstly serve their financial masters in ‘the City’ and to help the elites remain elite. Serving the public comes quite a long way down the list of priorities and climate change is only interesting insofar as it may provide new ways of hoodwinking and exploiting the population. That is why they work so hard at ‘guilt tripping’ the public. When we are suitably guilty and ashamed and have become dizzy with different accusations it becomes easier to pick our pockets. 

Climate change they say is all our fault, the fault of the public, the fault of each of us as individuals. Likewise the damage to the global ecosystem, loss of species and habitat, the general environmental degradation we have all become aware of in recent years, is all our fault. Indeed we are repeatedly told that it is specifically my generations fault and each and every one of us is supposed to carry our individual share of guilt. And of course like guilty children we are, the implicit narrative suggests, going to have to suffer.

You could call this existential guilt trip the new religion, a mixture of the worst aspects of Calvinism and Catholicism on steroids, a dogma of despair. It is a proposition I entirely reject. Like almost all of my generation these past forty years or so I was merely getting on with life, doing my best to get by with the odd bit ( much too little ) of rest and recreation along the way. There was never a time I can recall when any of us were consulted about any of the big or even the small decisions that have led to climate change. Like most folk I eat the food that is available to buy. I use the fuel that is available and seems to me to offer best value. I live a lifestyle that is largely defined by macro-economic forces, by big business and by government. I remember when ordinary people in Scotland were much poorer and I have enough of the canny Scot in me not to waste money, not to live high on the hog, not to consume beyond the point of common sense or to squander any resource wantonly. 

I therefore reject this guilt hypothesis entirely and yet we and our children and grandchildren will have to deal with climate change and I agree that Scotland should play its part and even play a leading part in demonstrating what can be achieved. The first thing is to achieve a net zero CO2 target.     

The reason why Scotland can achieve this goal easily and without much pain is because we have 25% of Europe’s wind energy resource, 25% of Europe’s tidal energy resource and 10% of Europe’s wave energy resource. With the island of Tiree being the sunniest place in the UK and our long hours of daylight in summer solar energy has a part to play too. Put another way, we have renewable energy resources sufficient to produce at least ten times our own energy needs.

We need not therefore worry too much about our ability to produce clean energy. Already we generate well over 100% of our current electricity needs from renewables and are on course to producing much more. It is in the storage of energy and the adaptation required to meet our energy needs in heating and transport that the challenges lie.

And even these challenges are fairly easily surmountable and achievable with existing technology. The conspicuously absent part of the solution so far has been the tiny hydrogen molecule. Part of the reason for that has been the expense of production. The technology for producing green hydrogen is pretty straightforward and merely involves using electricity to hydrolyse water. This is a process which with ever cleverer catalysis is on the cusp of becoming much more efficient. With wind energy prices falling at a staggering rate and predicted to fall much further the production of copious amounts of clean burning hydrogen is just around the corner.

As an energy dense substance hydrogen is a great way of storing and transporting large amounts of energy and this presents few technical challenges. As a fuel for heating our buildings in our variable, warm one day cold the next climate, it excels. We merely need to replace our gas network piping with pipe and fittings that can contain this tiny molecule and we have solved the problem of an entirely clean green heating fuel. This is no more difficult than the smooth transition we accomplished when we changed from town to natural gas in the 1960’s. This solution is so obvious that already a major gas boiler manufacturer has produced a boiler that can be retro-fitted to run on hydrogen. There is no reason why hydrogen boilers should cost any more than natural gas boilers do today. At around a £1000 for an average boiler this shouldn’t present householders with too much pain. 

If we were to become the socially and regionally fair country we aspire to in an Independent Scotland we could make bottled hydrogen available at competitive prices in all parts of the country that are off the gas grid thus also solving the rural fuel poverty problem at a single green stroke.

Of course there is nothing to stop us insulating our buildings a bit better along the way where and when it makes sense to do so. We should though, resist the wholescale pell-mell rush to insulate which is being proposed. This is a recipe for a bungling approach that will inevitably be exploited by cowboys and leave us with shoddy work and a hangover of the sort of insulation and cladding problems that the Grenfell Towers tragedy has done.  

That leaves the other big energy consumer of transport to be dealt with. Once again it is difficult to deal with this until we have the full powers of Independence. For example the current Scottish government target for introducing electric cars is impossible to meet until National Grid upgrade the grid network to meet the demand for electricity that this will place on it. National Grid are a private company nominally under Westminster control so I’m not quite sure how the target will be met ahead of the rest of the UK. 

There is no doubt though that electric cars are a large part of the answer. This solution doesn’t work well though for vehicles that are in use for many hours each day or for larger vehicles or construction plant and machinery. Fortunately that innovative company, JCB, have already come up with the answer and have developed an internal combustion engine that runs on hydrogen. These engines are no more expensive to manufacture than petrol or diesel engines. Once again the transition can be relatively painless.

There is much more that can be done but the above will take us comfortably and easily to net zero CO2 in a relatively pain-free way. What is lacking in Scotland is the necessary power and the political will to get on an do it. What we need is less talk and more work. Action will speak louder than words. We need to regulate big business and markets better. We need, through taxation and other means, to reward good and socially responsible behaviour. We need to reject the notion of individual guilt for the smokescreen it is and hold our governments properly to account for failing to regulate our exploitation and that of the planets resources by big business and financial elites. 

Scotland can have a leading part to play in tackling climate change in demonstrating what can be done. We have had enough of smoke and mirrors and target setting. This is a situation where demonstrating what is possible really matters. If we as individuals are guilty it is in not demanding more of our governments. Scotland’s government needs to get on with achieving Independence and then demonstrating to the world how we can tackle climate change.          


I enjoyed this article from the very start because like Mike I share the view that the World’s politicians are using the very real problem of climate change to manipulate the public with the “giant guilt trip” which they then plan to use to empty our pockets and dictate our future lifestyles to their, not our, design.

We need more action and it needs to be backed by fact. How practical is it for instance to use electric cars in rural areas like the Highlands of Scotland? Seems to me that there is a lot of work and investment to be made before that becomes a realistic option for many.

Like Mike, I am attracted to the development of green Hydrogen, it requires electricity to create but thanks to Alex Salmond recognising the advantages early on, Scotland is in a very strong position with renewables to make use of the abundance of good sites for all types of renewables which gives us big advantages over many other nations. Our battle, as usual will be to keep control of those assets and advantages and that is why independence is crucial to that future. Make no mistake as an abundant supply of renewable energy becomes more valuable by the day an Independent Scotland could offer very attractive location packages to energy dependent industries, particularly in manufacturing where potentially there are many thousands of new jobs for the taking. We need all the powers and control of our own resources to make that happen.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.


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  1. Why Scotland should be Independent in one article above.

    Until we have all the powers of Independence we cannot make progress on any front. Westminster/London is a legacy construct of the Empire. It bears no resemblance to a progressive society for the People. The shape of the UK was to maintain a wealthy elite and that pyramid model has a very high peak and very steep sides centred on London.

    A Billionaire pays off Prince Andrews £1,5 Million loan, MPs are earning six figure sums to push the interests of Private Companies in Parliament, The triple lock is removed from pensions, Rolls Royce Nuclear power stations are pushed as the answer to the environmental crisis and all that is just this week.

    If we ever get “permission” from Boris we will once again be on the back foot arguing about currency, trade, Defence etc – Why? We will once again allow those who control the media, the Bank of England, The Civil Service to produce fear story after fear story.

    Imaging a women seeking divorce from an abusive partner having to justify to the court how she would live without him! She like Scotland just wants out and knows she can do fine and how she does it shouldn’t be the issue.

    Liked by 20 people

    1. Scots are clearly an abused and deceived ‘partner’ looking to divorce from a charade of a union, but arguably more importantly, we remain an enslaved people seeking emancipation. We may recall how we were sold:

      “.. the bribes in money and advancement offered by the English and accepted by the Scots (elite), and the manner in which the Scottish commissioners placed their personal gain before both the honour of their nation and the wishes of those whom they were supposed to represent, makes one of the most sordid incidents in the whole history of Scotland. Not less than £20,540 17s. 7d. was necessary to purchase their consent to the proposals; and, while the Duke of Queensberry as Lord High Commissioner received the vast sum of £12,235, it cost only £11 2s. to overcome the scruples of Lord Banff. On April 22nd 1707 the Scottish Parliament adjourned for ever; and immediately Queensberry set out amid the execrations (riots) of the people for London. On his arrival there he was met by a procession of forty coaches and some four hundred gentlemen, who escorted him to his house in Kensington. On the following day he was received by Queen Anne, who thanked him for his services on her behalf and created him Duke of Dover, Marquis of Beverley and Baron Ripon, while the English Parliament voted him an annuity of three thousand pounds.”
      (Source: Sitwell, S. and Bamford, F. 1948 ‘Edinburgh’. London: Lehmann)

      Liked by 14 people

      1. Thar’s mony mair yairns aboot thon mankit an deceitfu Treaty whit aye hauds Scotlan doun in aw weys, e.g.:

        “When the Act was presented to Lord Seafield (Lord High Chancellor) that he might give it the royal assent, he touched it with the sceptre and said: “There’s an end of an auld sang”. It would seem that a man so lacking in all patriotic feeling might well have been bribed to support the Union with a much smaller sum than the four hundred and ninety pounds which he obtained.”
        (Source: Sitwell, S. and Bamford, F. 1948 ‘Edinburgh’. London: Lehmann)

        Liked by 7 people

      2. There’s more…In addition to being sold by the ‘nobles’ into colonial slavery, we were to be indentured for the ‘privilege’:

        “The Scots, until now free of national debt, were to accept responsibility for part of that which England had become liable since the arrival of King William, in exchange for which the equivalent sum of money was to be advanced to Scotland, and this was to be repaid by the Scots over a term of years. As the twelve great wagons containing the ‘Equivalent Money’ (£398,085 10s.) were escorted through the streets to the Castle by a troop of cavalry…scarcely had they left the fortress on their return to England than the mob had overwhelmed the guards, breaking up and burning the vehicles which had carried this Judas money to the capital.”
        (Source: Sitwell, S. and Bamford, F. 1948 ‘Edinburgh’. London: Lehmann)

        Liked by 4 people

  2. It is better to use electricity to run heat pumps for domestic heating there are energy losses in making hydrogen energy from electricity and electricity travels easier. Use hydrogen for transport

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The problem with heat pumps is that they too are not efficient. Two of my closest neighbours have brand new houses, highly insulated and have heat pumps. They are always complaining that their houses are cold and take so long to heat up. They both have had install log burning stoves to subsidise the heat pumps. You might find this informative……..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is a big issue that has very poor independent advice available. Home Energy Scotland largely just push the air to water heat pumps (which qualify for a large Gov subsidy) when an (unsubsidised ) air to air heat pump system may be a better choice, especially as a retrofit. What I found out by digging into it was that heating, insulation and ventilation all need to be taken into account to avoid solving one issue but creating another. By chance I found out about two systems that appear to form part of an overall solution (heating and ventilation). None of the companies that I dealt with mentioned either of these other options, nor did Home Energy Scotland. Meanwhile companies are happy to install a heavily Government subsidised expensive heating system that may well prove to be ineffective, expensive to run and cause other issues such as dampness if insulation is increased but ventilation isn’t also addressed.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. They need to leave the heat pump on all of the time. I had one in my previous property. It was most efficient simply by topping up when the house went below the thermostat temperature. Setting times to put the heating on doesn’t really work well with heat pumps as it did with gas.
        There are also ideas now to put large heat pumps in series (for district heating) a bit like a step up transformer.

        I’d say there’s definitely a place for them but my main gripe is that they are too often being put into badly insulated buildings. The incentives attempt a ‘one fits all’ strategy which is not what we need.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Until then we will be dragged along in the slipstream of the UK Government whose agenda is generally not what it seems.”

    Some great ideas there Mike, however, until we have all the levers of government including energy, only obtainable through independence, Scotland will never get near to fulfilling its potential.

    Liked by 11 people

  4. Good article from Mike. I follow his blog. Turning to production, could you and hopefully Mike do some digging re predilection for east coast offshore wind. My thoughts are that this is controlled by Crown Estate (treasury) via leases. There is huge opportunity to assist west coast communities and especially the islands by establishing new grid networks without the “establishment control” yours aye for Alba.

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    Liked by 6 people

  5. “As always the prerogative is to firstly serve their financial masters in ‘the City’ and to help the elites remain elite. Serving the public comes quite a long way down the list of priorities and climate change is only interesting insofar as it may provide new ways of hoodwinking and exploiting the population. That is why they work so hard at ‘guilt tripping’ the public. When we are suitably guilty and ashamed and have become dizzy with different accusations it becomes easier to pick our pockets”.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen the truth of this matter (as with many others) more succinctly and accurately expressed!

    Liked by 14 people

  6. A thought provoking piece from, Mike Mackenzie. It’s people like Mike, that Alba desperately need to be talking to in order to beef-up and promote, in an exclusively Scoto-centric way, the party’s environmentalist credentials. My comment is underlined by Alex Salmond’s recent strong T.V. showing re: carbon capture and also by my personal experience amongst the very fairly estimated 430,000 “guilt-trippers” in attendance at the recent COP 26 demo in Glasgow.* Predictably, Mike was forced to add that Scottish Green ambitions, in effect, are subject to the profiteering ambitions of the City of London and ye olde British colonialist elite. How well the realisation of Scotland’s Green ambitions would seem to interlock with her needful decolonization from England.** Get on the blower Alba! Mike Mackenzie and his associates have many things to say that you really do need to know.

    * That Alex was invited to contribute at all was a big enough surprise!

    ** While I’m at it, Alba: I believe one of your own party members has recently written a book on the subject of the crying need for Scotland’s decolonization from England. Doun-Hauden is the title. Anybody read it, yet?

    Liked by 12 people

  7. A rational scientific view on green hydrogen from ABC news Australia.

    «Like any gas, hydrogen can be compressed and stored in tanks, then used as needed. However, the volume of hydrogen is much larger than that of other hydrocarbons; nearly four times as much as natural gas, for instance.
    Storage requires compression to 700 times normal atmospheric pressure or refrigeration to minus 253 degrees Celsius, which is near absolute zero.
    It is estimated that the cost of doing this could add anything from 60 cents to $7 per kg, making it less competitive with other fuels.
    On top of the cost of storage, there’s a problem with pipes.
    Hydrogen atoms under pressure are small enough to slip through solid steel, meaning natural gas plumbing often cannot be easily converted for pumping hydrogen, Dr Beck said.
    Appliances set up for natural gas, like stoves and heaters, would also need to be replaced or refitted to handle hydrogen.
    Given that’s the case, in many instances it might be easier to simply use electricity, she said.
    “However, there are certain things you might not be able to directly electrify, or there might be some places where you’re not able to generate renewable energy,” she said.
    “In these places, having a liquid fuel is a very useful thing.
    “That’s where green hydrogen could be a very useful part of the puzzle.”
    One solution to transportation problems is converting the hydrogen into ammonia (where three hydrogen atoms bond to a nitrogen to make NH3).
    Unlike hydrogen, ammonia can be relatively cheaply stored under pressure or refrigerated as a liquid at -33C at normal atmospheric pressure.
    For many applications, once it arrived at its destination, the ammonia would then have to be converted back into hydrogen.
    With each conversion — from water to hydrogen to ammonia and back to hydrogen — energy is lost.
    Because of these shortcomings, hydrogen will struggle to compete with electricity in most situations, said Peter Newman, a professor of sustainability at Curtin University.
    “Creating a whole new hydrogen grid will take decades and why bother when we already have an option that will be cheaper than gasoline and diesel in the 2020s?” he said»

    Norway’s energy needs are supplied by hydro electricity.
    Scotland too has an abundance of water. Why go down the eco blind alley of hydrogen? Hasn’t Scotland had enough of blind alley stratagems?
    Get real!.

    Liked by 3 people

      You are so right, Ottomanboi – and so is Robin McAlpine.

      We don’t need hydrogen to anything like this extent in Scotland, and it’s not the godsend that Mike McK makes out. There is so much more can be done on a number of other fronts – which also gives us flexibility, as we don’t end up putting all our eggs in one very expensive and impractical basket.


  8. Extremely honest account, Mike. Says it all. Independence is absolutely crucial to everything we do and don’t do. Unfortunately, the FM and her cohort are mired up to their armpits in corporate American predatory capitalism. Everything and everyone has a price stuck on them and some parasite somewhere is reaping the benefit.

    Liked by 12 people

  9. A good article from Mike with some good ideas, some of which could be implemented straight away. The article shows clearly why Westminster will never let us go willingly. A country like Scotland, rich in resources and people is far too valuable to them, and will continue to be so long after the oil is gone.

    Some people think that heat pumps will help to solve our energy problems.this guy would disagree. He’s quite funny too. 🙂

    Electric cars will bring new problems as well. I watched a video recently about a new Chinese electric car coming onto the market which accelerates from 0 to 50mph in 3.5 seconds. Tesla is even faster. Imagine what the boy racers will do with those.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Renewable energy is arguably much more valuable than North Sea oil ever was. Apart from not ever running out or polluting anywhere near the scale of fossil fuels, the cost advantage of wind and solar generated electricity power have now been evident for several years when it became cheaper than the historically cheapest option of natural gas.,_Lazard)_-_renewable_energy.svg

    The recent spike in the price of gas only makes the cost advantage of renewables even clearer, especially if the avoidance and disruption of such massive swings in price of fossil fuels are also taken into account.

    Nuclear is also cost uncompetitive (and also pretends that decommssioning isn’t a huge issue in itself, as would be an accident) – ‘The price for Hinkley’s electricity was fixed in a so-called “strike price” at £92 per megawatt hour, rising with inflation. The latest offshore wind farms have agreed strike prices of around £40 per megawatt hour’. – BBC

    Yet despite this fortunate position with renewable energy, the SNP recently decided not to create their loudly promoted energy company in Scotland (why?) and we continue to get lumbered with subsidising rUK’s electricity generation fossil fuel dependency (40% gas, 20% nuclear, 7% oil) and subsequently pay the rUK’s higher price for electricity generation, despite Scotland’s electricity being from 100% renewable sources. More wasted money to rUK that could be better used in so many ways. We need to get adults into Holyrood to address issues like this.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Renewable energy is now providing a much better return on investment than oil or gas. That’s why big oil is fighting like fury to put hydrogen at the forefront of energy infrastructure – because they want to get into this market, even though their production of hydrogen will use more carbon and energy than if we just used fossil fuels directly. New oil exploitation has to stop – it’s perfectly legitimate to try for carbon capture in the North Sea, even if it does help to bring more oil out of these fields, but new exploration provides a bulwark to big oil’s failing investments.


  11. I don’t agree with regard to electric cars; conversion of existing vehicles would be a better way to go, I think, because then you don’t have to use energy creating new vehicles, waste the energy that was used to create the existing ones and the then expend energy to re-process the materials from the existing ones.

    As for performance, an electric motor gives maximum torque at zero rpm, so standing starts are their forte.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. National Grid don’t run te great majority of electricity distribution infrastructure in Scotland. It’s run by SSE and SP Energy Networks.

    As such, spouting that ‘Scottish government target for introducing electric cars is impossible to meet until National Grid upgrade the grid network to meet the demand for electricity that this will place on it. National Grid are a private company nominally under Westminster control so I’m not quite sure how the target will be met ahead of the rest of the UK’ is misleading, ill-informed tripe.

    The gas infrastructure is Scotland is run by a company called SGN.

    Anyway, if there is more demand for electricity, or hydrogen, the companies will be glad to flog it to us no matter what flag we’re flying.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Remember that one of the last vehicles to use hydrogen was called the ‘Hindenburg’, and if you used it in a car, your fuel-tank would be pressurised to 10,000 pounds per square inch and full of the most inflammable gas known, which doesn’t occur naturally this side of the Sun. The same goes for the fuel-pump. The same goes for the fuel storage tank. The same goes for the tanker. That’s a ‘fairly easily surmountable’ change for every single petrol station, everywhere, and the entire fuel manufacturing and distribution infrastructure. Then you would have doddery old fools not sticking a nozzle in a hole, but making-up a 10,000psi connection at the fuel station. Presumably after they had spent £1,000 of their pension on replacing a perfectly good boiler.

    Hydrogen for mass-transportation is about as far-fetched as burying all the CO2 in the World forever in ‘carbon capture and storage’ schemes (there has only been one of signnificance, anywhere, and it didn’t work).

    Both technologies are being punted big-time by large oil companies. They are especially keen on producing hydrogen from hydrocarbon gas.

    What any of that has to do with Scottish independence escapes me. A more practical point would be to stop the Scottish government having an energy/net-zero/sustainability policy written by corporate lobbiests from the likes of Shell.

    To give an idea of ‘fairly easily surmountable’ change from the Scottish government: They just delayed the introduction of their bottle and can return and refund legislation again, for two years, this time. A practical point would be to stop the Scottish government having a recycling policy written by corporate lobbiests from the likes of Amazon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All you have to do is use one of the gas leak (A FLIR ) Camera to see the risk. On any gas plant you can examine fittings made up by trained experienced technicians and find dozens of leaks. These fittings are made up for long term integrity not as would be the case with a refuelling nozzle and an untrained “operator”.
      How many people know about explosive mix thresholds or ignition energy?

      I share your concern.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. There’s also talk of producing hydrogen from water; I heard a radio 4 programme that suggested that it’s more energy efficient to produce it from urine, as the atomic bonds involved weren’t as strong. That might even contribute to the purification process, too. Anyway, once you have your hydrogen, the problem is storage; due to its small molecule, it can excape through welding impurities that wouldn’t allow hydrocarbons (for example) through.

      Western Isles Council and the Post Office (in the Western Isles) ran a joint trial of hydrogen-powered vehicles some years ago; there was no fanfare so I’d guess that it might not have been practical.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Great article which cheered me after the cop 26 flop (plus the sight of a certain hapless pop-up politician every day seeking maximum personal PR didn’t help my mood!). We did what we were telt; we got educated; we got jobs; we got houses and mortgages (at 18% interest); we paid our taxes; we saved some for old age (many could not afford to do so); we bought cars as our houses were located in out of town sites (few families could afford to stay in the inner cities) etc etc and now it’s all our fault! I am nearly 60. I am still willing to change life long habits and spend some of my own cash to better insulate, buy an electric car etc. But we need some consistent, honest and sensible direction from our politicians. We need some fairness, some redistribution. We need a bloodless revolution.

    Liked by 7 people

  15. Joe Public – if Johnson is to believed, will have no option but to purchase an electric cell fuelled car from 2030, currently circa £30K sale price.Now, what if conversions to hydrogen fuel your existing petrol or diesel were available?
    Risk of fire? Of explosion? Petrol is highly flammable yet it is store in cars in thin-walled fuel tanks . Aluminium for some motorcycles.The “instant torque of AC motors in electric cars could be neutered by torque convertors. Ideal scope for later illegal retro work!

    Environment? Consider the scrappage costs financial and environmental of scrapping all of our presently owned cars.
    Consider the savings of a hydro-fuel conversion for say a coupe of £ hundred.

    The National Grid – a rip off, a scam.To repeat what I’ve said many times, the transmission losses of little electrons running down a cable do not justify the charges placed upon Scotland to supply the Grid .The subsidies provided to South of England suppliers to the Grid can only be explained by … well it is a lang sad tale of exploitation… oiled by plummy lying words.

    This article describes the huge extent of Scotland’s energy sources , and yet, Perfidious Albion never forget, must for her economic well-being hold Scotland tight – impoverished if need’s be, for England’s gain. And Scotland must never ever be allowed to be ahead.

    Liked by 10 people

  16. Reference my text above, I should have concluded with ..And Scotland must never be allowed to be ahead …witness the consignment of the St Fergus carbon capture plant – oven ready – to the subs bench whilst two English plants are “on the field”. As regards ‘field”, has a spade of turf been turned over at these two English sites?

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Great article but like many others, I have read over these last few months they believe that technology is the way to escape global warming it is not, the silver bullet the panacea. Yes, we have gone a long way to change to renewable over the last decade, so ask yourself this, “Why is CO2 in the atmosphere still rising?”

    Growth is the enemy; growth is embedded in our economics and politics the system can’t survive without it. So it is no surprise to learn that governments around the world have placed the full force of the state behind perpetuating the treadmill of accumulation – growth when we should be cutting back on growth ‘for growth’s sake.

    If we tally up the total weight of all the stuff humans extract and consume each year, including biomass, minerals, fossil fuels and construction materials we find that in the first half of the 1900s it jumped from 7 billion tons per year to 14 billion tons per year – then came the decades after 1945 something truly astonishing happened. As GDP growth becomes entrenched as a core political objective around the world and expansion starts to accelerate, material use explodes. 35 million tones in 1980 – 50 billion tones by 2000 an eye-watering 92 billion tons by 2017

    Facts are facts, the evidence about the relationship between economic growth and ecological breakdown continues to pill up yet growth remains entrenched. But so long as we go down the path of constant growth we can never build enough clean energy, to outweigh the amount required to meet even a 3% annual growth, from where we are today.

    If clean energy was the silver bullet that many put their trust in – Yes, wind and sunshine are clean the infrastructure we need to capture it is not.

    In 2017 the World Bank released a report looking at the increase in material extraction that would be required to build enough solar and wind utilities to produce an annual output of about 7 terawatts of electricity by 2050 (about enough to the power needed for about half of the global economy). Double these figures and the results would be 34 billion metric tons of copper, 40 million tons of lead, 50 million tons of zinc, 162 million tons of aluminium and no less than 4.5 billion tons of iron. The same is true for silver, which a critical ingredient in solar panels is. Silver extraction will go up 38% and perhaps as much as 105%. Demand for indium, also essential to solar technology, will more than triple and could end up skyrocketing by 920%

    We also need to think about vehicles – yes we need to change to e-cars but we also need to reduce their usage. And as we run out of known deposits of key materials – what next excavating the polar regions – the sea bed………..

    No, believing that GDP should, or even could, continue to grow year on year, is unsustainable, and that is where we must look for a solution.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “Growth is the enemy”

      Scotland hasn’t seen much if any economic growth in years, which is primarily a function of our continued under-developed and exploited nation due to UK internal colonialism. Colonialism is arguably our ‘enemy’, independence (i.e. decolonisation) the solution. As Mike Mackenzie demonstrates, we could do a lot better and differently with independence.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Capitalism is Colonialism, we are held captive by the 1% even if we were independent, would we develop a different system in Scotland – no of course not – we have made ourselves and our world an ever-growing eco-disaster and no one but no one intends to change that, and when it all starts to fall apart, the money men will be given the lucrative contracts to build higher sea defences and a new Thems barrier, and the taxpayer will pick up the tab. Perpetual growth is cancer, that must be rooted out.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Growth is required – in the current system – because it propels the enrichment of shareholders.

      What companies really need is stability, because they can then work in a range of staff and with a range of work.

      I think that one of the worst decisions the local council took was to allow the supermarkets to open small shops in the middle of town. I’ll exempt the Co-op from this, as they know their place in the scheme of things. This meant that small food shops were driven out of business because they couldn’t compete – in a radius around the small supermarkets – and also made it more difficult to walk to the shops, so you take the car. And if you’re taking the car, why not go to the big supermarket?

      And now the supermarkets are squealing about online shops doing to them what they’ve done to countless others.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This could easily be reversed by turning the empty shops in our high streets into town houses and town flats when people move back into town, they will once again use the small retailers – paper shop, butcher, baker. When you consider that some of those large stores in our town and cities were being sold for a nominal sum of £1.00 and are now land banks – derelict eyesores what were the Scottish government and the local councils thinking?

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Enjoyed your article Mike. You can forget your hydrogen boiler. I was speaking to a friend recently he was in the process of considering getting a house built and he would prefer oil central heating. Unfortunately he was informed by the builder that oil and gas boilers were to be banned totally and all new builds had to use a heat source wet system, that’s those fan things you see outside buildings. I suppose if you lived in a democracy you would be able to choose apparently no one is to have any choice in Niklas Scotland. This includes everybody’s home no matter how old.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Excellent article. There is so much that could have been done by the SNP under devolution whilst maintaining impetus on independence. The SNP have quite simply lost the will to be a driving force on independence. It might now be necessary to go backwards before we can move forward again with a “refreshed” leadership.

    There are signs, thank goodness, the SNP hierarchy are beginning to see all is not well. One example is the forthcoming online national conference, as the deadline to register as a delegate has been extended. It can only be a lack of members wishing to be there.

    Why is the conference not live – football, rugby, nightclub and Cop 26 sees thousands mingling? The truth might be the leadership dare not face a large gathering of hostile members who want their party back in the cause of independence.

    Liked by 5 people

  20. As long as this 10 cent psychology hogs the stage, what hope is there for a rational assessment of Scotland’s immediate and future needs, on any subject.
    We could do without these Green snake oil hucksters dictating the agenda and by stealth creating their version of «brave new world».

    Liked by 1 person

  21. As someone who was a member of the SNP’s Environment Policy Review committee of the early 90’s, and who has kept up to speed with environmental issues since that time, I can say that this article is offering very simplistic and misleading solutions to Scotland’s economic needs and to climate change. Hydrogen will be an important part of the solutions to combating global heating, but it is not a practical solution to the things that Mike McKenzie is suggesting, for reasons that others have laid out, and because `green` hydrogen is the only type that is actually going to avoid using more energy and more carbon. Scotland does have the capability to do this much better than many countries. Looking to one solution to combat global heating and the multiple environmental problems that are already exacerbating this is purveying a false narrative. To be frank, I don’t think Mike McKenzie intends to do this, but he should be more careful in how he frames these issues. I share his anxieties about insulation of homes. Using the same materials as were used on Grenfell Tower to insulate council houses – as is happening in my area – is environmentally dubious, never mind seriously irresponsible in terms of fire safety. There was a resolution to the Alba Party conference about wool that managed to miss one of the very best current uses of wool that is not suitable for clothing. There are companies in England, Wales and Ireland that manufacture sheep’s wool insulation for homes. Scotland doesn’t have a single company that does this, in spite of the much greater numbers of sheep in our country.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. There is no climate crisis. The many problems with the models, the clear politicisation of the ‘science’, odd ‘adjustment’ of data and the many papers showing the many climate influences not included in models which really should be, cast serious doubt on the ‘science’ that is used to justify this anti-human and pseudoscientific hoax.


    1. Well said steely9
      I get so pissed off with this one sided argument, I go to for a different perspective, or I listen to Dr Patrick Moore the co founder of Greenpeace both these people can be found on YouTube , needless to say they will eventually get banned as they do not conform to the pseudo science.


  23. Quite agree, it isn’t our fault. The big oil companies – some of which were at the farcical COP26, knew about climate change but spent millions burying it at the time.
    We absolutely need independence. Look at Estonia and Malta soon to implement free public transport. We can’t do that until we gain monetary sovereignty.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. My prediction: remember lockdown, and the peace and quiet of few cars rushing around our towns’ streets? And the cleaner air benefit? Remember way back, the BMW Isetta minicar, the Bond 3 wheeler ( Bond, yes, not Aston Martin for james Bond), with a 247cc 2-stroke engine? I think that’s where we should be heading, lightweight, slow, economical and cheap vehicles for town use. We need not just cycle paths we need paths to be shared by cyclists, mopeds and wee slow “Isettas”.

    I really enjoy cycling but, only off public roads due to the inherent danger of impatient drivers of overly powerful, too easy to drive hatchback cars, and “white” vans in a hurry. And cycling in this weather? A wee Isetta type car to get me to shops when it rains, thank you.Separate the slow -mos from the impatient.

    A slow revving 4 stroke engine of say 125cc can be very economical, so too a reed valved 2-stroke.Oh, and these old economical engines didn’t have the mystery of computers’ warning lights that cost £? for a diagnosis, nor timing belts to break and ruin your engine.

    £30K for an E-car? A wee “Isetta” type vehicle would cost more like 6 to 9K. The government’s objective is to tax your disposable income. Resist.

    Aye, I’ll have another dram..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If there was an electric C90 that had a top speed of 45/50-ish and a range of 50 to 80 miles, I’d probably go for it.

      Having said that, I saw an electric “big bike” in Paris, and did it not just go like the clappers? Phwoar….

      I think that there’s a company in the Netherlands doing electric 2CV conversions – although older stuff isn’t really the problem; it’s the continued production of new I/C cars and the consumerist sales pitch.

      We’re encouraged to buy new stuff at every turn; not particularly because it’s hugely better than its predecessor, but just because it’s new. New model-year cars and bikes, new model phones and laptops, even kitchen appliances – because they now have bluetooth and you can put the kettle on 3 minutes before you get home (except that you’re probably driving your fairly new car and thus shouldn’t be on your phone). The answer, I thimk, is to think about how you’re consuming. Fair enough; if your coffee machine breaks and is irreparable, then buy a replacement. Don’t replace it because it isn’t this year’s model, though.

      Liked by 2 people

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