JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

The Silent Giant Coal Monster

Greg Combet (our Minister for keeping-the-weather-the-same) can keep a straight face when he tells coal miners that their jobs are protected with him. You might think that’s insane, (especially if you are Green) but he has a point. Even if carbon mattered, our coal exports do not. (Not that Combet seems to explain this point very well, he seems to think people won’t notice the contradiction about supposedly “making the big polluters pay”, even though he’s taxing mom-and-dad and partly-exempting Big-Coal).

Australia is the worlds largest exporter of coal, you’d think our production mattered. But Combet knows that it makes no difference at all to the environment if we dig masses of coal up and send it to the Chinese to burn. Australia might have lots of coal, but it earned the ‘biggest exporter” title only because lots of the other contenders forfeited. Basically, we only win because there are not many people living here.  Other places dig up a lot more coal, but coal is so handy, vital, and irreplaceable that they keep every last sodding bit, burn it all themselves and have none left over to sell.

Australia sold about $55 billion dollars worth of coal in 08/09, more than iron, gold, beef and wheat. It’s our largest commodity export. Despite Australia making stacks of money selling coal, and using it to power 85% of all our electricity needs, we don’t talk about coal much. Coal has no friends, but it very much keeps Australia going, energy, jobs and money . Keep that thought in mind, as Cohenite shows the entire Australian annual coal production can pack into one Chinese average mining month. Then explain what would happen to the Australian economy if we made our coal more expensive.

Australia Coal Reserves

Australia might be the world largest Exporter of coal, but that’s only because all the bigger producers keep their coal to themselves.

Guest Post by Cohenite

The major aim of the carbon tax is to cut CO2 emissions by making coal and oil energy too dear. Very few other nations in the world have or propose having carbon taxes despite all the lip service about fighting man-made global warming. So, the argument is that Australia should set the moral precedent by being the first major country [apologies to Kiwi readers] to have a carbon tax. This moral argument is bolstered by claims that vast economic opportunities for business and jobs will follow the imposition of the new tax and movement towards green energy.

However, there is a simpler argument against Australia bringing in, essentially unilaterally, a carbon tax.

Coal Exports are Australia’s largest single export industry. In 2009 Australia produced for sale ~335 million tonnes [MT] of coal, of which ~261MT were exported leaving 74MT for internal power generation.  But large as that is, what China produces blows that number away.

In 2009, entirely for domestic consumption, Chinese production was just over 3 billion tonnes [BT] of hard and brown coal.

China is consuming about 40 times what Australia is and nearly 12 times the entire amount that Australia exports.

However the proposed carbon tax will only  apply to what Australia consumes not to what it exports.

Coal supplies 76.3% of Australia’s energy consumption and together with gas, supplies 94% of Australia’s energy. That coal energy produces about 293 megatonnes of CO2 emissions. A carbon tax of $45 per tonne, as advocated by the greens, will generate just over $13 billion. That $13 billion will devastate the Australian economy but that reduction in CO2 if all the coal is replaced by renewable will be negated by what China consumes in 9 days.

There are many other side issues of the carbon tax such as the total failure of the preferred renewable energies of wind and solar to work effectively anywhere in the world despite decades of intense R&D and massive subsidies [see Spain, California, Greece, Denmark, Germany etc], however one final point about how the carbon tax will ‘work’ needs to be high-lighted.

The carbon tax will not just apply to emissions from the production of the energy as shown above, but also to the emissions from the consumption of the energy produced [see definitions for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions]. It is hard to see how this is not double dipping. So, as well as the ~$13 billion tax for production emission, another $13 billion or so will be clawed back for Scope 2 emissions for the use. And this is before emissions from petrol and agriculture are factored in. With triple dipping, Gillard could pay for the NBN in one tax year.

That’s assuming there is any functioning economy to take tax from.

[Note from Jo: A $13 billion dollar moral precedent? Perhaps we could say, spend 5% of that, and actually achieve something. Why not help Tuvalu? With a GDP of $15 million in toto, we could not just help Tuvalu we could buy it, relocate all 10,000 citizens, and turn it into a National Park. We could turn the spot into a specialist climate institute, staffed by, say,  Tim Flannery. Now that's a moral precedent the world would notice, and a 12.5 billion dollar national savings plan too.].

Erratum: Corrected above   ….power 85% of all our energy electricity needs…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (4 votes cast)
The Silent Giant Coal Monster, 7.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/4dprn4k

100 comments to The Silent Giant Coal Monster

  • #
    grayman

    Understand your apologies to the Kiwi readers,but do any of them have info about thier supposed”vast economic oppurtinitys for business and jobs”. From what i understand they enacted a carbon tax recently.
    Any projections yet on the economic front about it.

    00

  • #

    “The major aim of the carbon tax is to cut CO2 emissions by making coal and oil energy too dear.”

    Partly. Another aim of the carbon tax is to help implement the UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development Plan and destroy western industrial civilization.

    00

  • #
    MikeO

    This raises some questions the first is why does china need any of our coal? The second is by what logic are claims made that China is seriously concerned about CO2 and is taking action? I have looked and all I find is the statement with nothing to back it up! I think I will find a twisting of fact but I would like to know how it is twisted.

    Jo I like your plan for Tuvalu, of course inmates of the island would be allowed to travel for environmental reasons. Electronic communication would be out also since it kills gorillas!

    00

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    greyman: #1

    Any projections yet on the economic front about it.

    That depends on how you define “jobs”, and “the economy”.

    It has certainly created more jobs – but all of them in the economically unproductive public sector. The public servants are one of the few groups with money to spend during the current recession. They give the appearance of improving the economy by creating financial churn. But that is the secondary economy, which spreads the money around, but does little to create more real wealth. The retail sector in Wellington is surviving, as a result, but the rest of the country is dismal.

    It is a general rule that increasing taxation, in any form, does nothing but harm to an economy.

    When any politician “claims that vast economic opportunities for business and jobs will follow the imposition of the new tax” they are lying – pure and simple. Businesses need capital to invest in growing the business to increase productivity to increase sales and therefore create more economic wealth. If you interrupt the investment cycle by removing cash through taxation, especially in a period of recession, you risk slowing the whole economy even more.

    It is another application of the Laffer curve. (See http://www.heritage.org/research/taxes/bg1765.cfm)

    00

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    MikeO: #3

    … why does china need any of our coal?

    Because they want to keep their own for as long as they can … China has a 20+ year, or in some areas a 50+ year, planning horizon.

    … by what logic are claims made that China is seriously concerned about CO2

    China are taking action to reduce CO2 emissions on the eastern coast, where most foreigners are allowed to go. One, it is good for business for the Chinese to appear to be concerned, and two, they hope to develop new green technologies that they can then export to the rest of the world – they see themselves as the new R&D centre of the world economy now that the USA seems no longer interested. They couldn’t give a rats posterior in the rest of the country.

    … I like your plan for Tuvalu, of course inmates of the island would be allowed to travel … electronic communication would be out since it kills gorillas

    Tuvalu does not have any gorillas. Although you may mistake the natives for gorillas when they get angry at being called “inmates”. They do not share Australia’s social history. :-)

    00

  • #
    Ross

    Grayman @ 1

    Adding to Rereke’s comments about NZ , you have to remember that NZ has most of its electricity needs met by renewables and as it has for most of our history. About 75%+ from hydro , geothermal and now abit of wind. So the job creation argument is not so applicable here ( except as Rereke says with the pen pushers). The big selling point in NZ was that the ETS was not a tax and the Govt. would not gain much from it — most of the financial gain would go to foresters planting trees for so called offsets.Whether this is fact or not, I’m not sure but alot of the finer points of the scheme were “glossed over” at the time just like it appears to be being done in Australia now.
    But NZ still has contingencies in our Govt. accounts for Kyoto payments when they are due.

    00

  • #
    Binny

    These guys get so tangled up in their own spin,they forget which direction they’re facing.
    The more they try and justify this tax, the more they highlight just how pointless and ridiculous it is.

    00

  • #
    Lionell Griffith

    Rereke Whakaaro @5,

    What? Tuvalu does not have any gorillas? It is worse that we thought. Tuvalu gorillas are not only endangered, they are extinct. Obviously we must return all of civilization to the state of before the invention of fire and stone tools.

    Save the gorillas of Tuvalu!

    One free carbon credit to anyone who can count how many scientific, logical, economic, moral, and rhetorical errors I committed in that one short paragraph. A carbon credit in this case means you can exhale once without adding to your guilt of having cooperated with the killing of all the Tuvaluvian gorillas which likely never existed in the first place.

    00

  • #
    pat

    once the public fully appreciates the monies wasted on drought-proofing, based on Flannery and co and their CAGW predictions – a massive $9bn in Qld alone – the further amounts to be paid by the ratepayers for flood-proofing, plus what may have to be paid by all Queenslanders if SEQWater is found fully/partly responsible for the Brisbane floods, the CAGW scam should be dead and buried:

    7 March: Courier Mail: Stephen Wardill: Experts say dam contributed to flood
    A report written for the Insurance Australia Group, which owns NRMA and CGU, details how releases from Wivenhoe, combined with intense rainfall, flooded hundreds of homes and businesses.
    The expert opinion, written by engineering giant WorleyParsons, potentially exposes the State Government to legal action for negligence.
    However, the report fails to ascertain how much of the January 13 flood could be attributed to Wivenhoe because Government-owned dam operator SEQWater has refused to detail its water releases in the days prior. The secrecy surrounding the releases has left in limbo victims such as David Stark, who is attempting to write submissions to the flood inquiry.
    Mr Stark, whose insurance claim has been rejected by NRMA based on the report, suspects the rapid inundation of his Fairfield home was partly caused by huge volumes of water released by dam operators, in concert with the massive rainfall in other catchments…
    The report detailed how the Brisbane city gauge peaked at 4.5m at 2am on January 13, 30 hours after Wivenhoe operators reportedly released water at a rate of 9000 cubic metres per second to prevent the dam overtopping…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/experts-say-dam-contributed-to-flood/story-e6freoof-1226016767307

    3 March: Courier Mail: Greg Stolz: ‘Water is too cheap’
    He (Kim Wood, CEO Allconnex) said the State Government had bravely tackled the drought by investing $9 billion in the southeast water grid but “unfortunately, it rained”.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/water-too-cheap-says-utility-boss/story-fn6ck51p-1226014992008

    7 March: Courier Mail: Sarah Vogler: Disasters trigger rise in council rates
    The Local Government Association of Queensland’s cost index report has found council rates were likely to increase by about 7.5 per cent…
    The figures do not include water, which is tipped to increase by up to 23 per cent for some southeast Queenslanders from July, or sewerage…
    Electricity prices will also increase after the Queensland Competition Authority recommended a price rise of 5.83 per cent for 2011-12, which would add about $100 to the average annual bill of $1774…
    The local government cost index report estimated flood and cyclone-related capital works in Queensland over the next two years would add 15 per cent to the cost of public capital works being done across the state…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/disasters-trigger-rise-in-council-rates/story-e6freoof-1226016778528

    00

  • #
    Ken Stewart

    Yep China completely dwarfs us in every way, including spin. They claim to be setting a carbon cap of 4 billion tonnes of coal equivalent in 2015, but that’s an increase of 23 % in 5 years. Sounds like business as usual to me! See http://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/chinas-claytons-carbon-cap/
    Ken

    00

  • #
    Alan Fields

    I heard from New Zealanders that acres and acres of forest were cut down to take advantage of the carbon tax there. Apparently the credits for planting new trees were so much more attractive than the existing forests that wholesale clear cutting took place ao new trees could be planted. The cut tress mostly left to rot where they fell.

    00

  • #
    wes george

    It’s far more dire than even that, Cohenite.

    We are about to have our little coal mining boom swamped by an emergent technology paradigm called shale, or coal, gasification.

    The United States has a monopoly on “hydro-fracing” technology. The technology, short for hydraulic fracturing, releases natural gas trapped in shale deposits by injecting the deposits with high-pressure water mixed with sand and small amounts of chemical additives.

    http://fletcher.tufts.edu/news/2010/04/features/fine.shtml

    As usual, the Americans are pioneering this technology, which might well be the next big thing (after the IT revolution) that once again lifts the global economy to the next level with the US leading the way (not China). Happily there are some unique Aussie innovators in this market as well, but the Green/Labor coalition would just as happily snuff out their business plans with onerous taxation schemes.

    Basically, the need to actually rip the coal out of the ground and haul it off to China is about to collapse as it becomes much more economical—and environmentally friendly— to simply reduce it to Natural Gas, bottle it and ship it off. Thus Australia is about to lose its only real advantage as an energy supplier to the Tiger Economies of Asia…. Our proximity. It won’t happen over night, as China has plenty of coal dependent plants,which will take years to switch over, but the Green/Labor climate policy will unwittingly accelerate this migration to NG while blocking hydro-fracing projects from proceeding in Australia.

    The US has grown its own internal natural gas supplies to the point that it is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world. The renaissance in production shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the US is trading the same BTU content as a barrel of oil, for less than the equivalent of $30 per barrel.

    In natural gas terms, 1 MCF of NG is worth less than $5.00 in the US. That same MCF is worth $14 or so on the world market. This is a price differential caused by a surplus of NG in the US, without the capacity to export it easily. We’ve built a number of LNG importing facilities, but the only exporting location for LNG is Alaska.

    The US is now growing its overall hydrocarbon production profile again. This is after many years of “experts” pontificating that the US was always going to be an importer of energy. The US was supposed to be trapped importing larger levels of energy from abroad forever. No one expected the US to quickly become the largest producer of natural gas in the world.

    Currently, companies like LNG are looking to spend billions of dollars converting LNG import plants into export plants. The US could, once again, become a major exporter of hydrocarbons. This is not a joke. The era of the US being dependent on Middle East oil, is also ending.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/oil-has-joined-past%E2%80%A6-ng-future

    If the Gillard and Brown Team impose a double whammy of taxes upon our energy producers it will be timed perfectly to act as an incentive for the Chinese decision makers to kick in plans to migrate to the less expensive NG energy platform offered by other suppliers, particularly in the US. At the same time it will discourage our Aussie mining giants to pioneer shale gas project in Australia rather than somewhere offshore first.

    Talk about tipping points.

    It’s time to throw the party of Culture Cringe back out into the wilderness and let some one with some managerial and economic common sense run the gooberment for a couple of years.

    00

  • #
    MikeO

    Rereke #5

    I read somewhere that our coal is used for just steel production but never have I found any confirmation. You think it is just that they want more even though they are expanding coal mining rapidly. BTW just read that the Chinese track any foreign journalist in China.

    Your ideas on their “Green” policy makes a lot of sense. Do you have any reference links for that?

    You miss my point on gorillas you see mobile phones have in them tanalum. This material is mined in a jungle somewhere and the miners need to eat so they kill the gorillas. On this basis the “Save the Gorilla” movement reckons we users of mobile phones should feel guilty and donate! This is wrong in so many ways but for a start tanalum is used to make capacitors and is an essential part of all electronics so stopping using it is not an option. Only a small amount comes from the jungle area purported in fact Australia is a large producer. I had an email argument with one these guys who was trying to collect money in the govt department I worked for.

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    Stop Common Purpose: @2

    Partly. Another aim of the carbon tax is to help implement the UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development Plan and destroy western industrial civilization

    Not “partly”…I’d argue mainly:-

    “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

    and

    “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.”

    thanks for that UN IPCC Official Ottmar Edenhofer

    00

  • #
    Ross

    Talking about coal , read the numbers in the first two lines of this article carefully

    http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2011/03/3000-billion-tons-of-coal-off-norways-coast.html

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    Oh and further to my last, did anyone else notice Edenhofer’s use of the word “illusion” as in “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy”?

    So you’re admitting to “sleight of hand” are you Mr Edenhofer?

    00

  • #

    There is coal and there is coal. Chinese coal is too low a quality for steel production (MikeO is correct) so they buy our high quality coal.

    Note how none of the vast Victorian brown coal (low quality)is exported to China.

    By the time the world runs out of coal, we’ll all probably be powering our homes out of little black boxes the size of small television sets, so sell as much as you can now while you can I reckon. the stuff will be as worthless as clay in a few decades.

    00

  • #
    Bulldust

    Interesting about the scope 1 and scope 2 stuff… I hadn’t delved into the GHG accounting material before. Scope 2 is clearly double dipping scope 1, they even say so in the definitions (page 20):

    Scope 1 emissions are the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere because of activities at a facility controlled by the corporation. An example of this would be gases emitted when burning coal to generate electricity at a power station.

    Scope 2 emissions in relation to a facility, are the release of greenhouse gases emitted because of the electricity, heating, cooling or steam that is consumed at the facility but which is generated elsewhere. An example of this would be greenhouse gases emitted to generate electricity which is transmitted to a car factory and used to power the car factory‘s lighting. The greenhouse gas emissions are part of the factory‘s scope 2 emissions. It is important to recognise that scope 2 emissions from one facility are part of the scope 1 emissions from another facility.

    (emphasis added).

    So Scope 1 are the emissions that you or I understand to be emissions from doing business. Scope 2 is 100% double dipping unless the scope 1 power source is based overseas, and as far as I know no one in Australia is sourcing overseas power. It is therefore 100% double dipping, assuming that the scope 2 emissions have to be paid for…

    00

  • #
    cohenite

    wes@11, I take your point; however, there are some developements about coal conversion to gas in Australia but of course it is being done under the auspices of AGW:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/underground-coal-gasification-produces-cheap-diesel/story-e6frg8zx-1226016134384

    Also, of course, Australia’s natural advantages in respect of resources are going to be eroded by overseas countries notably China and Japan and India; in respect of Baa’s comment @16 about different quality coals, my mail is that there are emerging technologies which will remove that distinction between the various coal types which are due, after all, to the presence, in varying degrees, of impurities and water. That will lesson Australia’s competitive advantage in terms of now having the ‘superior’ coal type.

    For me the real interest is India which is now leading the world in Thorium reactors and technology; India has large reserves of Thorium but, of course, Australia has the world’s largest deposits and what is Australia doing: listening to the atavistic and puritanical misanthropy of the greens.

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    Here goes the last vestige (not that they had any in my books anyway) of green credibility.

    00

  • #
    janama

    Greg Combet was telling Ray Hadley on radio this morning that India just introduced a carbon tax so we are up there with the major countries by introducing a carbon tax.

    Meanwhile Ray was on google and replied that India’s tax was less than $1.00 a tonne. :)

    00

  • #
    lmwd

    I know this is a little off-topic, but is this the Australian partially backing away from its own stupidity on this issue, or are they trying to have it both ways?

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/we-love-a-sunburnt-elder/story-e6frg71x-1226016740800

    00

  • #
    Ross

    The Loaded Dog @ 19

    Shoebridge must be a mate of this idiot in the UK

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/3/3/the-third-world-ambition-of-the-uk.html

    00

  • #
    Ross

    An interesting series of articles in Der Spiegel on new sources natural gas and the effects it will have on energy markets

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,748573,00.html

    Nevertheless, the expectation is that the energy mix will soon shift significantly toward natural gas. In its latest global energy forecast, ExxonMobil predicts that natural gas will replace coal as the most important source of electricity by 2030.

    A Cascade of Effects

    And because only half as much CO2 is emitted during gas combustion as in coal combustion, the new boom will also have consequences for the world’s climate, and for prices in the emissions trading market. The business of trading pollution rights will likely come under pressure, which in turn will affect renewable forms of energy. The cheaper CO2 rights become, the harder it is for electricity produced with wind power or solar energy to compete in the market.

    00

  • #
    Bulldust

    Janama:

    Actually he was wrong… it is just over $1.10 per tonne (50 rupee) at today’s exchange rate. Then again, in a country where the population would be happy to make a few dollars a day $1.10 per tonne is a lot of money.

    I note this line:

    “Carbon Intensity

    India has set a voluntary target to cut its carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon dioxide released per unit of gross domestic product, by as much as 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.”

    This touches on carbon intensity, which is akin to energy intensity. It is the amount in phsyical units of a commodity utilised per dollar of GDP output. I was knocking together an article on this. It should be noted that Australia’s energy intensity has been declining for decades, but I don’t want to give too much away at this stage.

    00

  • #
    Bulldust

    The Loaded Dog @ 20:

    I just watched that video interview of the leader of the NSW Greens… how do these people even get one seat? The guy couldn’t string together a logical sentence, let alone a credible policy agenda. Completely clueless…

    00

  • #
    crakar24

    Was watching ABC last night and the resident shrill was telling Robb (liberals) that Gillard did not lie she simply changed her mind!

    He went on to say that this (lie) has not had any effect on the government, Robb reminded the shrill that the latest poll shows Labor are at 32%, thats about 6% below the election result and 5%? below the the level that forced them to put a plastic bag over KRudds head.

    So where to from here? push through a TAX that a majority did not vote for and do not want, or change your mind again and lose all credibility like KRudd?

    00

  • #
    Colin Henderson

    Australia – let the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya be your inspiration!

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    Ross @23 and Bulldust @26

    how do these people even get one seat?

    Groan, how indeed, it’s beyond me how they even get one vote.

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    it’s beyond me how they even get one vote.

    err scratch that statement.

    Never try to understand an imbecile…

    00

  • #
    JPA Knowles

    Good little post Cohenite. Have you considered sending it to the MSM bcos many folk are ill informed.
    I agree with your Thorium comments tho’ there are corrosion problems with Molten Salt Reactors.
    My father designed fuel rods for the British High Temp Gas Cooled Reactor and comments that liquid CO2 at >1000ºC is far less problematic than molten salts.
    All nuclear designs have their problems and if we factor in the cost of decommissioning and long term waste storage, nuclear is going to be an expensive but perhaps necessary part of our future energy solution.
    Sadly, very few Australians are familiar with how modern reactors function and upon hearing the nuclear word they think “Chernobyl, Three Mile Island”.
    In reality modern coal plants like Mt Piper NSW, produce literal mountains of toxic fly-ash and release more radio-activity to the environment than nuclear equivalents.

    10

  • #
    Harry The Hacker

    I’ve just been reading a little about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the grand vision was to abolish modern society and get everybody back into the country on the farms living the agrarian dream. Intellectuals, city dwellers, shop keepers – anybody with any smarts was either killed or (the lucky ones) sent to the re-education camps. Cities were demolished… the awfullness went on and on.

    The more I see and hear of the Greens, the more I think they are the new Khmer Rouge.

    This might seem a bit hysterical, but with their constant worry that too many people are causing all the troubles, that we need less of what makes us civilised, their desire to rebuild our cities to be smaller and “more livable” with a lower energy use. This all sounds like the same ideas of smashing the clever ones, just dressed up in slightly better language.

    When they start talking about the cadres then you know we are all doomed.

    10

  • #
    Grant

    Alan @ 11

    No forests were clearfelled to take advantage of carbon credits. The scheme doesn’t work like that. However, one Government State Owned Enterprise (Landcorp Farming) participated in the conversion of pine forest to dairy farm in the Central North Island plateau. Basically immature forest was felled and windrowed to make way for dairy cows. This all had to take place before the end of 2008 so as not to incur penalties under Kyoto. Conversion from forest to dairy since then has reportedly incurred a penalty of $13,000/ha.

    But notice the irony of a Govt enterprise being involved in this. Notice that the change of land use was towards something that emits greenhouse gases – methane – and consumes a lot more non-renewable energy over the 28 years of a pine crop rotation.

    I suspect the reason we did not hear the pained cries of the environmentalists protesting this insanity is that they had chained themselves the trees and were much easier to bulldoze over as a result.

    If ever actions contradict a stated belief then this is one of those cases.

    00

  • #
    John Smith

    Either the Greens and Labour are incredibly stupid or they are plotting to de-industrialise Australia all in the name of stopping a most likely non-existent problem which we wouldn’t have much ability to stop by ourselves even if it was a problem.

    Judging from the behaviour of the govt perhaps there is a conspiracy going on here.
    This carbon tax smells like a Nigerian scam to me.

    00

  • #
    cohenite

    JPA Knowles@31; the info has been given to the msm in varying forms and treated with the usual laxidaisical condescension.

    Thorium is greatly under-promoted and really, at the end of the day, the fault lies with the corporate entities with financial interests not getting out and taking a politicised approach to presenting information; that is advocating; nuclear does not do it and coal is hopeless; but then with the coal export industry not going to be touched by any CT, I guess the incentive is not there. I know many people at varying levels in the coal industry, from miners up to CEO’s and there is a rather smug, they can’t stop us type of attitude. This is always dangerous given the greens propensity for destruction and anyway, from a good corporate citizen perspective, coal really needs to lift its game and by choice throw some bucks at the community.

    00

  • #
    Neville

    The EIA has published it’s latest projections and co2 emissions are

    prominent and really very revealing.

    OECD countries will virtually flatline until 2035 with an increase of 0.1% per annum, while non OECD countries will increase by an an average of 2% or TWENTY times that of the OECD.

    By 2035 the total co2 emissions of OECD countries will be about half that of non OECD countries.

    Just confirms how stupid Juliar and labor are to penalise Australia with a carbon tax that at best will reduce our emissions by 5% ( BS I know) or reduce our emissions from 1.3% to 1.23%, that is a massive saving of .07% or seven hundredths of 1%.

    Here it is. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/emissions.html#30

    BTW good post Cohenite, opened my eyes up a bit more.

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    Presenting –

    Live across Australia…

    The Gillard Show.

    All credit to the geniuses behind The Gillard Show. For a start, the premise of this prime ministerial presentation is absolute comedy gold. Imagine: A tiny nation, at least in terms of population, sets out to change the entire planet’s weather. How? By hitting citizens with a tax on everything they do.

    All the comedic geniuses are included in the plot including the host Julia Gillard, Bob Brown (although it could be argued he’s actually the host), the hilariously frightened and timid Tony Windsor and the class clown Robb Oakeshott.

    Side splitting stuff – if they weren’t serious…

    00

  • #
    wes george

    Cohenite.

    True, there is no reason why Australia can’t continue benefit greatly from our resource industries, as long as we can remain on the bleeding edge of productivity growth and innovation. Carbon and resource taxes are both regressive and incentives to move new projects and emergent innovations offshore.

    But my bigger point is that the world is nowhere near “peak hydro-carbons” as an energy source, in fact, the situation is quite the opposite of the conventional wisdom.

    For all the hype we hear about the “new” clean, green energy alternatives, wind, solar and geo, the fact is that these technologies are evolving very slowly.

    Our intrepid political and media elite have missed the latest greatest paradigm shift for all of humanity while moralizing about the necessity for us all to suffer and pay imaginary prices for imaginary sins.

    The real green paradigm shifting innovation has come in hyrdo-fracing and shale gasification, which over the next decade will drop the price of energy dramatically as well as shift world’s geo-political balance of powers in ways that were totally unforeseen only a few years ago.

    Nuclear (sans subsidies) can’t begin to compete with natural gas even at today’s price levels.

    The emerging consensus is energy prices will trend far, far lower than today, the energy cartels will collapse and global economic development can continue apace with no worries about CAGW for the simple reason of the CO2 logarithmic effect. That’s a massive paradigm shift away from the concept of “limits to growth” inherent in the CAGW fear and the Peak Oil myth, which combined painted an utterly bleak picture for human progress especially in the developing world.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/

    We now know the global future can be a bright place because every assumption the Greens have about energy is wrong. Energy is going to become very cheap, environmentally friendly and available global rather than concentrated in hands of a few nations. Productivity and global economic growth can continue apace at 3 to 7% a year for as far as we can imagine into the future, perhaps doubling in size in the next 15 years.

    Shale gasification means that the grinding poverty hole we see in Africa and Asia can be economically grown out of and the world isn’t going to implode under the weight of a greatly expanded global middle class or run out of food or energy. Turns out, life on Earth is not a zero-sum game as long as we continue to be inventive. Everyone on the planet can live with the freedoms, medical care and mod cons like electricity, running water, sewage, transport, jobs, schools, road, internet and shops we in the West take for granted.

    Take that vision of the future and compare it to the cringing Mad Max world Bob Brown promises us.

    That’s the difference in thinking between Washington and the insane clown posse running Canberra today. The Congress has defuned the IPCC, ditched the US cap and trade scheme. The Chicago carbon trading market is closed. The EU carbon market has collapsed. Obama doesn’t even mention Climate Change in his State of the Union speech. Congress is about to block the EPA from regulating CO2 emissions…. Note the witness list at the hearing includes prominent skeptics..

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=8304

    Yet, Our delusional Green/Labor coalition and our media are still living in a pre-Copenhagen world unaware of the latest innovations in energy production. Bob and Julie ought to stop yammering and have a look around.

    00

  • #
    rukidding

    Has anyone figured out how much the GST take will increase because of the carbon tax.
    As I understand it the carbon tax is imposed at source and the GST at sale.So if the CO2 tax cause an item to increase by 50 cents does that mean an extra 5 cents of GST has to be paid.?
    Also if we have an excise tax on petrol and we add a CO2 tax to fuel is that double taxation.?

    00

  • #
    Ross

    Just saw the release of a poll result on Sky News re the carbon tax

    Against – 48%
    For – 34%
    Don’t know – 18% ( bit of work to be done on
    these guys)

    00

  • #
    Lank

    Earth calling Gillard….. WE DO NOT WANT A CARBON DIOXIDE TAX!!!

    Please focus on important issues like better education for our kids, usable roads, reliable rail, a health system which works, dams for irrigation and water supply, cheaper electricity/nuclear energy, elder care and jobs.

    00

  • #
    scott

    My appologies to Cohenite and the readers of this bog as this is off topic.

    My daughter has just come home from her first day of Uni and been told that “99.9 % of scientists agree global warming is man made” Her B.S. meter went off immediately.

    Now i remember reading the break down of where the 99.9% came from but for the life of me cant find the references can someone please point me at the relevent post. Thanks and sorry again for being off topic.

    00

  • #
    Jack Taylor

    Despite the best intentions of the “intelligensia” in a Labor government and its departments, once again they are about to be caught between a rock and a hard place in trying to develop business in the direction they think it should go. What is it with members and department heads thinking they have the say over business opportunities? A quote I heard recently suggested that if all the vehicles in the USA changed over to natural gass (NG) tomorrow, there’d be 200 years of reserves in the USA alone. There’s another 200 years of oil in the shale and oil sands as well that can’t be tapped at present because of gov’t regulations, but expect that to change. Technologies for tapping into methane clathrates are developing rapidly. Google the world estimated reserves.

    The Labor government is driving Australia into a dead end street through this arrogant CAGW dogma. Governments are notoriously bad at running businesses. This knowledge doesn’t seem to stop the Labor party from trying. Renewable energy technologies have their place and they have some great and innovative applications. As a mainstream energy source in the absence of solid, substantiated evidence of CO2 causing AGW, it’s the equivalent of the Labor party buying a lottery ticket on Australia’s future.

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    Ross:@40

    Don’t know – 18% ( bit of work to be done on
    these guys)

    What tha?

    How the HELL can a person not know they’re better off paying less tax?

    Especially an absolutely pointless tax that penalizes our economy and points us back in the direction of the stone age.

    Obviously these people are beyond understanding – as per my post @30.

    00

  • #
    pat

    wake up everyone. it is not a Labor scam. it is non-partisan. why on earth should we have a “carbon plan” at all:

    7 March: News.com.au: Malcolm Farr: Our carbon plan won’t hurt families, Tony Abbott claims
    The Coalition is proposing a scheme to give industries money to reduce their carbon pollution and Mr Abbott said the funds needed would be accounted for…
    “We are buying abatements from (money already in) the Budget, and we are making savings in the Budget to make those abatement purchases,” he told reporters.
    “So there will be no increase in taxes. There will be no increase in prices. There will be no additional burden on consumers or taxpayers.”…
    http://www.news.com.au/national/our-carbon-plan-wont-hurt-families-tony-abbott-claims/story-e6frfkw9-1226017057193

    the sky url for the following was so long, i’ve left it out:

    6 March: Govt: Britain ‘Must Wean Itself Off Oil’
    The unrest in the Arab world makes it “all the more urgent” to wean Britain off oil and onto greener sources of power, according to a Government minister…
    As a result of soaring petrol prices, the energy minister said Britain will launch a new national “Carbon Plan”…
    “We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources.
    “The Carbon Plan is about ensuring that the whole of government is engaged in a joined-up effort to lead us into a low-carbon world.”
    The plan will be launched this week by Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Mr Huhne.
    Non-governmental organisations will be asked to play a monitoring role to ensure progress across departments…

    00

  • #
    Ross

    The Loaded Dog @ 44

    Don’t forget the results of Gregg’s small survey on here last week showing how little people know about the whole issue.

    00

  • #
    manalive

    Regarding Victorian brown coal.
    I believe brown coal is regarded as inferior to black coal because of its higher moisture content, but Victoria’s brown coal is regarded as very high quality compared with other deposits.
    Victoria’s deposits, at the current rate of use, are estimated to last 500 years.

    As the Victorian Department of Primary Industries puts it: ” With an abundance of brown coal occurring in thick seams close to the earth’s surface, Victoria is home to one of the largest and lowest cost energy sources in the world”.

    It is planned to export dried brown coal for use in Vietnamese power stations.
    So we could end up with a booming export industry for a product which can’t be used at home — Australia the clever country.

    00

  • #
    cohenite

    Scott@42; the 97% consensus figure comes from the Doran and Zimmerman paper; the other main consensus paper was by the late Schneider; they are treated here by Jo and you may care to read my comment at 61:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/01/what-does-it-take-for-a-worldwide-consensus-just-75-opinions/#comments

    00

  • #
  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    cohenite:@49

    Some comments here may be good:

    I just read it and most of the comments – as should be expected when you challenge a religion – blindly refuse to accept the huge question raised by the article.

    The question that any person with even half a brain could see. (if the temperature records are dodgy, the whole scam is exposed as a fraud and it’s BACK TO SQUARE ONE pilgrims)

    But hey, that’s religion for you…

    00

  • #
    scott

    Thanks cohenite

    Much appreciated

    00

  • #
    incoherent rambler

    dog #50

    If the temperature records are dodgy, the whole scam is exposed as a fraud and it’s BACK TO SQUARE ONE pilgrims

    I agree. That’s it. Stop the discussion. It’s all over.
    I have argued this before. When the basic data is built by data fiddlers how can you progress from there?
    Derivative arguments based on fiddled data? Please!

    00

  • #
    Bulldust

    So it’s the new Aussie Millionaire game show… question:

    Q: Just over one fifth of the earth’s atmosphere is what?
    A: Carbon Dioxide
    B: Nitrogen
    C: Oxygen
    D: Sodium Chloride

    The guy says A … just shoot me now. That’s the uphilll battke we face in education.

    00

  • #
    Alan

    Cohenite and others have made many good points about the importance of coal and I will add a few more below that will show that those, particularly with a green leaning don’t have a clue and we won’t be doing without coal for a fair while if we want to maintain any form of reasonable standard of living and help developing countries.

    There are a number of websites which present statistics regarding coal and its importance in the world energy make up. The best are probably the International Energy Agency (IEA – http://www.iea.org) and the World Coal Association (formerly the World Coal Institute – http://www.worldcoal.org) and for Australia – ABARE now ABARES. There is also a publication from the Uni Qld by Knight & Hood titled Coal and the Commonwealth, all available free.

    There have also been a couple of errors or misunderstandings in comments regarding coal in general and also related to gasification and shale gas. Firstly China does produce coking coal, just not enough to meet current demand and at a price they can buy elsewhere. In fact in 2009 China imported only 35Mt of coking coal and if I recall only started importing in about 2006. Their mines are not very modern and unfortunately kill a lot every year.

    Someone passed the comment about not exporting brown coal as it was poor quality. This is not quite correct as the La Trobe lignites or brown coal as are not poor quality (usually refers to coal ash value) but as lignites are high in moisture content around 50%. These low rank coals as they are correctly termed have energy values about 10 Mj/kg compared to export coals at around 25Mj/kg, transporting low energy high moisture coal is not good economics.

    Coal gasification also gets confused. Gasification is simply the process of turning the solid fuel into syngas – mainly H and CO – this is what town gas was before the economic discoveries of natural gas. Gasification can occur at the surface as in the old town gas or underground –UCG- as is being trialled in Queensland and a number of other parts of the world. The syngas produced in both processes can be burnt or turned into liquids (SASOL in Sth Africa, WWII Germany) or industrial chemicals. This should not be confused with coal seam gas (CSG/CBG/CBM) which it often is. CSG is methane formed in some coals, but not all and extracted by reducing the pressure normally by pumping water. Both CSG and UCG are attracting some negative publicity at the moment. Shale gas is related to what people think of as natural gas but is found in fined grained low porosity shale rocks as opposed to sandstones. As the porosities (and permeability) are generally low then engineering methods are required for extraction.

    OK here are a few more important statistics regarding the importance of coal. In 2008, the latest complete figures, the world produced 5,800 Mt of hard or black coal and 953Mt of brown coal. As Cohenite said, makes Australia’s 351Mt look a bit piddling. In 2008 coal produced 41% of the world’s electricity and in 2009 coal’s share of the total world energy consumption was 29.4%, the highest since 1970. World electricity demand will continue to grow more than any other form of energy with a predicted rate of 2.2% per annum to 2035 and coal will still produce around 31% of electricity. China is predicted to add the generating capacity over the next 15 years equivalent to the current installed capacity of the US and somewhere between 70-80% will be coal. Despite all this significant growth in electricity the IEA predicts that 1.2 billion people will still lack access to reliable electricity in 2030.

    00

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Alan Fields: #11

    A bit late now, but for the record:

    New Zealand goes through periods where things become fashionable, so everybody just has to do it. About twenty five or thirty years ago, it was fashionable to plant Pinus Radiata on semi-productive farm land because the world price for building timber was reasonably high. Most farmers with semi-productive land planted acres of trees.

    Then the market changed, and the world price for building timber dropped, but most farmers who had planted trees hung on, waiting for the price to come up again. Then New Zealand found it could get a great price for milk and milk solids overseas, especially in China, so the dairy farmers started making a killing. The result was that the farmers with mature trees (about 30 years old) chopped them all down and sent them for chipping, and eventual manufacture into chipboard. They then went back into full-time dairy farming.

    You are correct that you can get carbon credits for planting new trees, especially long-lived native trees such as kauri and totara, and some farmers are doing that on land that is not suitable for dairying. But so much money is being made from milk, that the carbon credits are basically being ignored. If world milk prices drop, the situation may change, but right now the milk pay-out is the main driver.

    And that is the way it should be – New Zealand makes it money from exporting primary produce, not from cashing in on funny money.

    00

  • #
    lmwd

    Cohenite @ 49

    OK went and did my bit posting a couple of replies to pig ignorance. Got depressed and had to come back to this site for some sustenance!

    00

  • #

    I just had to post these two comments on the ABC which I know are not going to get up.

    One was on the eco-whore Leight Ewbank’s article:

    This piece is very disappointing. It breaks the ABC’s Editorial Policies 2008 in two ways:

    Exhibit A:
    “Countering the onslaught of the Abbott-led Coalition and the greenhouse mafia is a great challenge to Labor’s agenda.”

    Breaks section 11.8 Discrimination and stereotypes

    “To avoid discrimination, content should not use language or images which:

    (a) disparage or discriminate against any person or group on grounds such as race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, age, disability or sexual preference; marital, parental, social or occupational status; religious, cultural or political belief or activity

    (b) are not representative and reinforce stereotypes, or convey stereotypic
    assumptions about gender roles

    (c) convey prejudice

    (d) make demeaning or gratuitous references; for example, to people’s physical characteristics, cultural practices or religious beliefs.”

    The use of the term carbon mafia is degrading to legitimate sceptics and like-minded entrepreneurs who are not convinced by the dismal scientific evidence that our C02 emissions will have anything other than a beneficial effect on our standard of living.

    Exhibit B:
    “It’s time for the Australian Government to put investment in climate-friendly infrastructure at the heart of its carbon price push. It’s the key to securing a carbon price and putting Australia on the path to a safe climate future.”

    Breaks section 4.4.1 Conflict of interest.

    “There should be no conflict between the private interests of ABC staff and their official duties. The outside activities of staff, including financial, personal and political relationships, must not compromise the editorial integrity of ABC programs. Staff are expected to arrange their affairs in a manner that will prevent conflict of interest.”

    Clearly, Leigh Ewbank is a staff member of the ABC via proxy as he has access to regular publication of editorial content which is beyond the general public’s level of contribution. He has not declared his financial interests in the public policy he has argued for in this piece.

    Can we have our ABC back now?

    The other was in the great article by Anthony Cox:

    Climate Scientist: “We’re all doomed!”

    Climate Sceptic: “Really, show me your data.”

    Climate Scientist: “You’re not qualified to look at my data!”

    Climate Sceptic: “But, I want to write a paper on climate science.”

    Climate Scientist: “No. You just want to find errors in my work!”

    Climate Sceptic: “I need the data as the basis of my research.”

    Climate Scientist: “It’s not your data. You can’t have it!”

    Climate Sceptic: “But, it was paid for by public money.”

    Climate Scientist: “Denier! The debate is over!”

    On this article all I want to say is, “Where da nukes at?” Talk about unlimited energy… I’ve been watching alot of docos on the formation of the earth and our solar system recently and one thing struck me. There must ridiculous amounts of fissile material floating around our solar system given what we’ve pulled out of metorites.

    00

  • #
    lmwd

    Just to clarify above @ 56, the pig ignorance wasn’t Cox’s article, but the comments.

    00

  • #
    Another Ian

    Maybe even bigger monster? Check out

    “3000 billion tons of coal off Norway’s coast”

    Read more:

    http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2011/03/3000-billion-tons-of-coal-off-norways-coast.html#ixzz1FuU2hJq1

    00

  • #
    Mervyn Sullivan

    I am inclined to think we need a moratorium on this carbon (dioxide) tax to allow the science to be reconsidered. But it would make no difference. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report is in progress. Nothing has been done to change the IPCC. And politicians on all sides of the political spectrum are swinging from the same tree anyway… obsessed with a need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is like we have entered a time warp of political madness, and we’re heading for the ‘black hole’.

    For God sake, is there nobody of influence out there who can bring back a sense of reality to all these politicians, and get them to reconsider the climate science, and look at the real-world observational data that clearly indicates the IPCC’s mantra is wrong, there isn’t any catastrophic global warming, and the model-based predictions are just hype?

    They might just discover that, in reality, there is no need to do anything about carbon dioxide at all.

    00

  • #
    Alan

    Another Ian @59

    Although this may be in some way technically correct I think there is a fair bit of what’s politely called arm waving going on here(although I prefer the non PC version but may not get through).
    As there are no economic and environmentally aceptable resources of UCG defined as yet this is up there with Hot Dry Rocks and base-load solar (Kasikstan UCG is still yet unknown on both counts).
    I wonder if this would meet JORC requirements? There are a lot easier places to get UCG going than beneath several hundred metres of ocean hundreds of km of the coast, so I don’t think I will be investing in this just yet, if ever.

    00

  • #
    incoherent rambler

    Hey Mervyn, apart from a decade of cold weather I can’t see anything on the horizon that will change the political idiocy, unless…

    If, hypothetically speaking of course, a “climate scientist” (aka media publicist) was found guilty in a court of law for fiddling with the data to obtain govt funds or of telling untruths for personal gain, then we have a game changer. Nothing short of criminal charges and conviction will upset the CAGW gravy train. “climate science” according to the surveys has very little public credibilty, yet it continues to have credibilty with mainstream media and our politicians.

    In Australia, we have in the past tolerated decades of corruption in govt, the courts and public service. Always from “respected” (according to the MSM) public figures. When these guys crashed, they crashed bigtime.
    The image of a “climate scientist” heading off to gaol on the 6PM news, should be enough to swing our politicians around.

    I keep hoping…

    00

  • #
  • #

    Interesting news for followers of Oz politics.

    Latest Newspoll suggests Prime minister Gillards carbon tax lies has cost her and her Labor party dearly.

    Primary support down from 36% to 30% which is LOWER than the infamous 30% achieved by Paul Keating in his worst year when voters came out with “baseball bats”

    And people haven’t yet found out how utterly pervasive and pointless her carbon tax is.

    JULIAR IS FINISHED. The backroom boys are probably discussing her right now, whilst she is in the USA rubbing up against Tall Dark and Handsome.

    00

  • #
    bananabender

    A very cheap and extremely safe method of nuclear waste disposal already exists. It is called sub-seabed burial and was devised by Henry Way Kendall a Nobel laureate in physics. Nuclear waste is simply buried in canisters in the sea floor. The clay safely binds any leaked material for millions of years.

    00

  • #

    As someone from close to the Tuvaluan government and Prime Minister Willi Telavi I would just like to comment….

    Tuvaluans want nothing more than to continue to live in paradise but also responsively and sustainably. Their government has already begun an initiative to be 100% sustainable in Energy, Water and Food by 2020, it’s called Tuvalu 2020. And they are already 100% sustainable in water already nine years earlier than their objective.

    This initiative should illustrate (and be our beta test) for how we in the west can learn to become sustainable one step at a time. We can’t move as fast a a small community but we can practice some of their findings in our every day life. Tuvalu is a proud member of the British Commonwealth whose HQ is managed out of London. HRH Prince William is the honorary Chairman.

    The Tuvaluans also want a better future for their kids. If you want more photos and information on Tuvalu click here: – http://twitpic.com/photos/DublinPJ.

    If you want more information on me personally click here: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

    According to OTEC, Tuvalu sits on the world’s largest reserves of Thermal Energy. This untapped energy may increase their small GDP of $15 million per annum substantially in the next ten years. Maybe grow to the power of ten or even more?

    Considering the US Navy is creating a green fleet, a central Pacific petrol/ gas station may be just what they need.

    10% of all Tuvalu Entertainment’s net profits are invested in this way (Tuvalu 2020). Want to also invest in Tuvalu? I’d be happy to direct you to the right people.

    Paul Johnson
    Chief Executive Officer
    Tuvalu Entertainment Ltd.
    London United Kingdom

    00

  • #
    Ben Hern

    Hi Wes George, et al,

    Yours are interesting posts, but my understanding of Hydrofracing aka shale gas/coal bed methane is not that that any conversions take place underground, but rather the process of fracturing the source rock, be it shale or coal, liberates gas trapped in the pore spaces of the rock which would otherwise be unable to migrate at commercially producable rates.
    http://www.hydraulicfracturing.com/Pages/information.aspx
    http://www.statoil.com/en/About/Worldwide/USA/Pages/ShaleGasMarcellus.aspx

    The affect of abundant shale gas reserves in the US is evident in a lowering of the market value of gas in recent years, but even this form of abundant energy is maligned by evironmentalists on the grounds of high water consumption, the volume being generally drawn from local sources and thus the unconventional gas operation competes with existing water users; agriculture and reticulation, not to mention impacting environmental flows.
    you could imagine the green outcry we would hear in Australia if, say, Woodside had started getting right into shale or coal bed methane at the height of the drought and been drawing heavily from from tributaries of the Murray-Darling river system or from the Great Artesian basin.
    There are also concerns raised regarding the disposal of the water recovered once the shale gas wells are producing, since fracing chemicals are in some cases harmful.

    Coal bed methane is more or less the same process, but exploiting coal seams as the source of gas, as distinct from undertaking any form of subterranean alchemy which converts coal to methane.
    It might be technically possible to gasify coal beds by controlled underground combustion in the presence of water, the produced gas in this case (assuming the chemistry is controlled in the manner as for a gas producer furnace) being Carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which can then be produced by wells and burned at surface.
    Such a process would be a conceptually simple leap from the use of controlled in-situ combustion of heavy oil to heat and liquify the remaining tar and enabling production (though Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage is the current best practice).

    I am aware of research conducted into converting coal to methane in-situ by biological means using bacteria. The bacteria used to convert coal to methane unfortunately poison themselves in the process.
    If I am able to find links and references to this interesting research I shall do so (this was a subject of interest for a friend and colleague of mine whose phD was earned studying methods of carbon isotopic analyses).

    00

  • #
    MikeO

    bananabender #65 see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synroc this is a more than adequate method for storing radioactive waste. Having made your rock you bore a hole to put it below the biosphere. Wasn’t used because other methods got there first. BTW coal is radoactive also.

    00

  • #
    harrywr2

    Let’s make some distinctions.

    About half of Australia’s coal exports are metallurgical coal, not steam coal. That’s not ever going away.
    The vast bulk of China’s coal reserves are lignite, which is useless in making steel. Japan and South Korea have zip for coal reserves.

    The largest steam coal exporter in the world is Malaysia, and they are talking about limiting steam coal exports due to domestic demand.
    Vietnam, which previously exported some steam coal has been reducing exports to meet domestic demand and will almost certainly cease steam coal exports by 2015.

    That will leave Australia and Malaysia as the only steam coal exporters in Asia.
    India will probably run 200 million tonnes short of steam coal by 2015.
    India also has some problems related to public acceptance of nuclear power.

    It is probably prudent for Australian’s to ask themselves if their steam coal will have more value as an export product then as a domestic use product. A discussion which various oil producing states have had and the conclusion was that it was more profitable to build nuclear plants and export oil then consume the oil themselves.

    00

  • #
    janama

    Just out of town there is a building with a double row of solar panels each row containing around 20 panels.

    The building is lockup storage sheds that possibly use NO electricity – I bet the owner is making a small fortune off his electricity sales.

    00

  • #
    Bob Malloy

    Moving off topic:

    Oregon Dems attack climate skeptic’s children
    March 7, 2011

    Democrat-run Oregon State University is apparently retaliating against climate skeptic and congressional candidate Dr. Art Robinson by taking action without cause against his three graduate student children.

    Don’t make waves, we have ways to get you.

    Robinson states, They initiated an attack on my three children – Joshua, Bethany and Matthew – for the purpose of throwing them all out of the OSU graduate school, despite their outstanding academic and research accomplishments. OSU is a liberal socialist Democrat stronghold in Oregon that received a reported $27 million in earmark funding from my opponent, Peter DeFazio, and his Democrat colleagues during the last legislative session.

    H/T Steve Milloy

    00

  • #
    incoherent rambler

    From a post to “The AUstralian” regarding climate change, a quote from Cool Hand Luke.

    “What we got here, is a failue to communicate.”

    Could this be the catch cry of the sceptics?

    00

  • #
    crakar24

    Hey Mike in 67,

    Australia already has a method of storing its low and medium radioactive waste, they just stick it in an old aircraft hangar and lock the door. No signs no razor wire no nothing so i am sure we could handle the high level stuff.

    00

  • #
    Bulldust

    Abbott slams the “carbon price” for all the right reasons at The Australian:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/pm-is-just-adding-crippling-costs/story-e6frg6zo-1226017292537

    I love how he gets the energy intensity issue:

    Thanks to the closure of the coal industry and to deindustrialisation more than to a widely scammed emissions trading scheme, Europe has hardly increased its emissions during the past decade. It has, though, increased its consumption of emissions by about 50 per cent.

    But the priceless lines have to be these ones:

    “Eventually, technologies that we can hardly envisage today will make fossil fuels less important. In the meantime making coal, oil and gas more expensive is the modern equivalent of hastening the computer age by a tax on typewriters.”

    Anyone who watched Jooolya in the US probably noticed Obama saying she was taking a “courageous” stance on climate change. I wonder if Obama ever watched Yes Minister?

    00

  • #
    Bulldust

    PS> Check the Newspoll on The Australian’s home pahe (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/) … Labor is near the dead zone of 30% primary vote with most of the gain going to the Coalition.

    00

  • #
    pat

    7 March: The West Australian: Daniel Mercer: Rejection takes wind out of farm
    One of Australia’s biggest wind farms is under threat of becoming a $750 million white elephant after plans to spend $22 million connecting it to the power grid were rejected as flimsy.
    The Economic Regulation Authority denied Western Power’s bid for $21.7 million of taxpayers’ money to build transmission works to the massive Collgar wind farm, near Merredin…
    It leaves the landmark project, which will cover an area 10 times the size of Kings Park and generate enough power for 125,000 homes, potentially stranded…
    A spokesman for Collgar, which is backed by Australia’s four major banks as well as international creditors, admitted the ERA’s draft ruling had come as a surprise…
    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/8962577/rejection-takes-wind-out-of-farm/

    00

  • #
    pat

    so BOM can’t even make predictions 3 days out!

    8 March Australian: Hedley Thomas: Forecasts to blame, ‘not Wivenhoe Dam operator’
    THE operator of Brisbane’s major dam has cleared itself of responsibility for significantly contributing to the devastating January floods, instead blaming inaccurate weather forecasts for underestimating rainfall volumes…
    The report finds the operating manual for the Wivenhoe Dam should be thoroughly reviewed and a number of changes are canvassed subject to extensive engineering and hydrological testing…
    The report, released last night, states that in the eight three-day forecasts between Thursday, January 6, and Sunday, January 9, “the forecasts underestimated rainfall on all but two occasions”.
    “In hindsight it can be seen that these were the best forecasts provided during the event. In practice, the forecasts could not be used as a basis for decision-making as there was no way of determining that these individual forecasts were more accurate than any others provided.
    “Additionally, the large fluctuations between successive forecasts that overlap by two and a half days do not provide a sensible basis for proper and consistent decision-making. These underestimated rainfall forecasts did not support an increase in flood releases above that undertaken.”…
    “These results show that three-day and five-day forecasts only provide an indication of future rainfall and these forecasts cannot be used as a basis of flood operations decision-making where public safety in both rural and urban areas is directly impacted. Future improvements in this area will be examined with interest in order to maximise the flood mitigation benefits of the Dams.”…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/forecasts-to-blame-not-wivenhoe-dam-operator/story-fn59niix-1226017387567

    00

  • #
    pat

    the Brits can blame the European Union, but who can our Govt blame for the absurdity of forcing these bulbs on to us?

    6 March: UK Daily Mail: ‘We will not pick up toxic new bulbs’: Councils say energy-saving lights are too dangerous for binmen
    Councils across the UK are refusing to pick up low-energy lightbulbs from homes as they contain toxic mercury, which gives off poisonous vapours.
    But confused consumers are putting the new bulbs – classed as hazardous waste – in their dustbins when they burn out, potentially putting the safety of thousands of binmen at risk…
    However, they are being phased out under a European Union ruling and are being replaced with energy-saving bulbs, many of which contain mercury…
    A study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency found that when one of them breaks, it emits levels of toxic vapour up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area.
    If a bulb is smashed, the UK’s Health Protection Agency advice is for householders to evacuate the room and leave it to ventilate for 15 minutes.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363448/We-pick-toxic-new-bulbs-Councils-say-energy-saving-lights-dangerous-binmen.html

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    pat@77

    A study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency found that when one of them breaks, it emits levels of toxic vapour up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area.

    I guess this approach is far more discreet, albeit a lot slower, than a “little red button” when you’re worried about overpopulation…

    00

  • #
    Harry The Hacker

    MikeO @67: I did a study into synroc over 25 years ago – it was a wonderful technology, an Aussie invention. Never took off because of the prevailing use of borosilicate glass.

    pat@77: You can thank Malcolm Turnbull from the libs for forcing those stupid lamps onto us.

    00

  • #
  • #
    MattB

    Opening line “The major aim of the carbon tax is to cut CO2 emissions by making coal and oil energy too dear.”

    I’d have said that the major aim is to introduce a mechanism that ensures that pricing reflects GHG emissions, so that the market can encourage switches to lower-carbon products/production, while ensuring that permits are available for those industries/businesses that make the most $$$ from their carbon use. Allocation of a scarce resource, where “scarcity” has had to be introduced to the market artificially.

    00

  • #
    Bob Malloy

    I apologise for being off topic again but this just hit my email in box.

    Queens University researchers have discovered the heaviest element yet known to science: Governmentium.

    The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

    These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks.

    Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

    A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

    Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

    In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

    When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.

    00

  • #
    cohenite

    Bob, that is very good.

    MattB; apart from the pointlessness of such a CT compared to what is happening overseas in China [you did get that point didn't you?] the faux intention that you describe is a nonsense because the switch to “lower carbon [CO2!!!] products/production”, ie energy, is not a switch in the sense you and every other AGW believer means – that is a move to another base load equivalent – but a switch in the sense from on to off because those alternative, “lower carbon” [CO2!!!] energy sources do not work.

    00

  • #
    MattB

    One could wonder what the point would be of taxing us for use of a base-load that we can’t change and then just giving us the money back to pay for most of the inevitable price increases…

    Of course we can switch our use patterns and save money (pricing tools encouragins us to buy a more efficient fridge etc) but it is peanuts in the scheme of things.

    Look there are a billion Chinese, I don’t buy arguments that we should do nothing because we are a small country population wise… our numbers for everything will pale in comparison and yet we do a lot of other things – like say have safer building and mining practices… As I see it this initial tax is a preparatory system that has some justification regardless of what happens in China.

    I don’t really want to talk myself in to a position of defending Gillard/ALP here… I actually can’t fathom what has brought around this policy change as all it has done is forced Abbott’s hand in terms of being a skeptic. The only reason to go now is if they thought it was a winner in the electorate… and I don’t think that is the case.

    On the other hand, however, the taxpayer will be funding Abbott’s plans too so there are $$$ all round… at least the ALP are giving most back… Abbott say’s other savings will pay for it, but we could have just had savings and lower taxes it is not like he has some magic want for free direct action.

    00

  • #
    janama

    Exactly Cohenite: the alternatives don’t work.

    00

  • #
    John Smith

    Bulldust @53
    Just to clear up confusion on my part, did anyone really answer that CO2 forms 20% of the Earth’s atmosphere when it really is Oxygen?

    Can anyone please my decide if Gillard is stupid or genuinely wants to destroy Australia?
    http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/2011/03/excellent-gillard-to-push-ahead-with-carbon-price/

    00

  • #
    John Smith

    I mean.
    Can anyone please help me decide if Gillard is stupid or genuinely wants to destroy Australia?

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    John Smith:@86.

    Can anyone please help me decide if Gillard is stupid or genuinely wants to destroy Australia?

    After watching “7.30″ on ABC tonight I’m beginning to think she needs regulating under the Mental Health Act.

    She’s clearly delusional…

    00

  • #
    bananabender

    The various coal types have totally different chemical composition and physical properties. They can’t be used interchangeably.

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    Here’s the link to the ABC’s 730 report for those who are interested.

    Chris Uhlmann actually did a good job grilling the delusional Gillard.

    I’m stunned…

    00

  • #
    Marcus

    Agree with Loaded Dog on the ABC’s Uhlmann interview of Gillard. Particularly interesting was the part where Gillard said we need to make a decision, “and I’ve made it”.

    00

  • #
    janama

    yup – loaded dog

    00

  • #
    MattB

    She sounds pretty good on the transcript to be frank.

    00

  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    MattB: @91

    She sounds pretty good on the transcript to be frank.

    Try the video…

    00

  • #
    incoherent rambler

    She sounds pretty good on the transcript to be frank.

    She has never “sounded” good, regardless of the merit of what she says.

    00

  • #
    Alan

    harrywr2 @69

    Sorry Harry but your info is not quite correct.

    In 2008-09 Australia produced 328Mt of saleable black coal and 73Mt of brown coal.
    In 2008-09 Australia exported 138 Mt of thermal or steaming coal and 125Mt of metallurgical or coking coal making Australia the biggest total exporter of coal and the largest supplier of coking coal.
    The largest supplier of export thermal coal is Indonesia at about 200Mt-Malaysia doesn’t export according to the IEA, produces about 1.5Mt and imports about 18Mt.

    Someone also mentioned that China did not produce coking coal and in fact in 2008 they produced around 380Mt plus 2.2Bt of thermal coal.

    00

  • #
    vimy100

    Another point to note. Canada is a small producer of coal (as shown on your map) but actually has massive reserves. They are left largely untouched because of the massive reserves of oil in the nation.

    00

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    Here is part of the proposal from Cancun, the Unite nation’s last attempt at taking over the world on the excuse of global warming.

    “(c) The Convention’s facilitative mechanism will include: (a) work programmes for
    adaptation and mitigation; (b) a long-term REDD process; (c) a short-term technology
    action plan; (d) an expert group on adaptation established by the subsidiary body on
    adaptation, and expert groups on mitigation, technologies and on monitoring, reporting
    and verification; and (e) an international registry for the monitoring, reporting and
    verification of compliance of emission reduction commitments, and the transfer of
    technical and financial resources from developed to developing countries.
    The secretariat will provide technical and administrative support, including a new centre for
    information exchange.”

    Yep, you read it right. International police will inade Australia and punish us if we do not meet targets.

    Lord Monckton fingered it neatly when he wrote -
    “All UNFCCC documents at the Cancun conference, specifically including Possible elements of the outcome, are drafted with what is called “transparent impenetrability”. The intention is that the documents should not be understood, but that later we shall be told they were in the public domain all the time, so what are we complaining about?”

    This is like the 1970s fictional thought of Ayn Rand who wrote in “Atlas Shrugged” -
    “Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against—then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    00

  • #
    Mark

    Amen to that Geoff.

    And when it all transpires we’d have the bedwetters waIling thusly. “But we meant well, we never thought this would happen”.

    00