There are expensive ways of doing this


And there are ludicrously expensive ways of doing this. This being attempting to mitigate climate change of course. Start from the point that the IPCC and the Stern Review are correct: it's happening, it's us and we should think about doing something about it. This allows every fanatic with a plan to leap aboard the bandwagon and insist that they, and only they, know how to save the world: amazingly, that salvation always comes from whatever it is they were already proposing without the now accepted problem.

Take, for example, solar photo voltaic power generation. For boring technical reasons I think it will in the future be part of the solution but similarly I don't think it is yet. Yet all and sundry are screaming that we must have feed in tariffs for solar PV for that is exactly what will save Flipper from boiling at the end of times. We should, indeed must, do as German has been doing. So how has Germany been doing?

Given the net cost of 41.82 Cents/kWh for PV modules installed in 2008, and assuming that PV displaces conventional electricity generated from a mixture of gas and hard coal, abatement costs are as high as 716 € (US $1,050) per tonne.

Ah: we've already specified that we agreeing with the Stern Review above and he said that the cost of a tonne of CO2 is $80. Paying more to abate emissions than those emissions will cost us is known as making us poorer: in this case, feed in tariffs make Germany poorer by $970 for every tonne abated. That is what is known technically, in policy circles, as "screaming nonsense".

So no, we must close our ears to those siren songs telling us that we must copy Germany on this matter. We do not want to have feed in tariffs for solar PV in the UK. But if we're not going to have them then what should we do? I've already mentioned that I think the technology will, when it has matured, be part of the solution. But there's one or two iterations, generations, of technology to go before it really is. And I've also mentioned in other posts here what we should be doing about all of this at the moment.

Nada, nothing, zip, bupkis. We just wait while those two iterations of the technology pass us by and we start using it when it makes financial sense to do so: when the subsidy needed is less than the benefit of the CO2 abatement. In the meantime we just sit back and let the German taxpayer make themselves poorer to our future benefit. We can always send them a thank you card later: or if you want to be more serious, we can trade those things we've been able to make by not pouring money into a subsidy hole for those solar cells that they have made by doing so.