A Brazil worth of oil under the weald

Dear fellow solar advocates

A wonderful example of a big problem we face yesterday. As you may have seen, a main UK news story was that a small oil company claims to have found up to 100 billion barrels of oil below the Weald region of southern England.  They estimate that up to 15 billion barrels is recoverable, about as much as Brazil's proved reserves. They base this on a single drill site with no flow measurements. Beyond ludicrous.

This monstrous piece of hype went without challenge at the top of the TV news bulletins I saw through the day, even as the company's share price soared through the roof. In the evening, I had a call from a radio station asking for an interview about how the UK should spend all the money.

This is the kind of thing that those of us who long for a managed retreat from default fossil-fuel addiction are up against, as you all well know. In my serialised book I offer one person's view of how such crazy manipulations of the public arise. I chronicle and explain the dangers of the "shale boom" that is in the process of going bust in America, and the risks of trying to import that recipe for a financial black hole to the UK and other countries, even if UK shale proves to be as briefly productive as US shale. Along the way, I try to give a top-line history of the solar revolution for a lay reader.

Apropos the book: the latest review. One of the problems with a project like this, in the absence of a well-resourced institution to shelter behind, is that you have to be prepared to do some, ahem, self-promotion. The risk in that, of course, is that you come over like a self-absorbed egomaniac (and that couldn't possibly be right, could it), rather than an earnest citizen trying to counter a flood of misinformation from vested interests intent on keeping us on course for ruinous climate change, and - directly or indirectly - undermining the prospects of a good result at the Paris climate summit in December, meanwhile slowing the solar revolution. So please grant me a little mental elastic in what follows.

Josh Fox, Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated Producer and Director of the "Gasland" films:
“This is one of the first books on climate change that I truly could not put down. A brilliant page turner, alternately daringly funny, coldly sobering, starkly terrifying.  A deeply rewarding look into the most significant problem we face today - poetic, personal, beautiful and intensely urgent. If you want to understand why fossil fuels may not just tank the environment but might also bring down the world economy, read this book, and - for all of our sakes - read it fast.”

If this appeals, please download free http://www.jeremyleggett.net/download-page/, if you haven't already, and do what you can to help spread the word. I and The Weald would be most awfully grateful.


Dr. Jeremy Leggett
Founding Director, Solarcentury
Founder and Chairman, SolarAid
Chairman, CarbonTracker
Chairman, Firefly Clean Energy


Jeremy Leggett, WCRE Member of Chairpersons Board
April  10, 2015

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