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Burn coal not wood if you care about the climate

Greens protect coal deposits, destroy forests. Cartoon.

Go Coal. Wood-fired electricity produces *more* CO2 for the next hundred years…

h/t NoTricksZone

Any day now the giant tree-eating-machine called Drax will be shifting back to coal as Greens and politicians realize they’ve made a planet killing mistake. Lordy! At the moment, Drax is supposed to be saving the world and making electricity for the UK by burning trees cut down and shipped from the US.

This temple to carbon neutrality happens to be the largest plant in the UK . It generates about 7% of all the megawatts used there. But a new study by Sterman et al, suggests the Drax plan is backfiring badly.

When is carbon neutrality not neutral? When the carbon debt is not paid off in our lifetimes…

Burning forests instead of coal deposits raises CO2, and in so many ways:

  1. Wood is a less efficient fuel. Megawatt for megawatt, wood produces more CO2 than coal. In terms of efficiencies, the combustion efficiency of wood is 25% compared to coal at 35%.
  2. Processing losses to supply wood are around 27%, while losses to supply coal are 11%. (NEA 2011, IEA 2016, Roder 2015)
  3. This is the slow road to carbon neutrality. It takes 40 – 100 years to grow the trees.
  4. In a century, lots of things can go wrong. The natural forest may never grow back thanks to disease, development or fires. Cleared land may be converted to pasture. There are many ways to leave a permanent carbon debt.
  5. If the slow-growing hardwood forest is replaced with fast-growing pine, the site can only soak up 60% of the carbon “lost”. Oak-Hickory forest stores 211 tC/ha compared to 131 tC/ha for pine plantations. A managed plantation can’t store as much carbon as an unmanaged one. After 500 million years of evolution, nature has fine-tuned carbon extraction in ecosystems. In an unmanaged forest, biology fills every carbon-sucking niche and doesn’t leave gaps for heavy machinery.
  6. If power stations don’t use as much coal, the coal price may fall, and other people may use the same coal elsewhere anyway.
  7. The kicker: As long as biofuel use is expanding so are CO2 emissions. All biomass burning from an existing forest creates an immediate carbon debt.  And if you are continually chopping down more forests, the carbon debts accrue…

 

The next pair of graphs shows that Shortleaf Lobilly (a pine) regrows quickly, while Oaks take 80 years to recoup the CO2 lost.

Oak, Pine, regrowth, carbon emissions, graph. 2018.

Click to enlarge and read the caption.

The real kicker

It’s all very well thinking about how long it takes one year’s wood-pellet electricity to become neutral, but power stations need more fuel every year and if we keep razing more land, the carbon debt keeps growing. In the two scenarios below the biomass industry keeps growing linearly every year. But in S8 people settle down on the whole biomass idea and stop razing extra forest in 2050. Even so, the total industry carbon debt keeps accruing for another 56 years until presumably the regrowth reaches a point where it is pulling in more carbon that the yearly raze produces. It takes 144 years after the industry stops expanding before the net carbon debt is back to zero.

What other industry today won’t produce a net benefit (its whole reason for being) for one and a half centuries?

Biomass burning, compared to coal burning, carbon emissions, 2018, Graph.

“Scenario 8 (S8), CO2 continues to rise for 56 years after bioenergy production growth stops and only falls below initial levels 144 years after growth stops”  Click to enlarge and read the caption.

If razing forests for electricity makes any sense at all (in the world of climate voodoo) it only begins to “help”, maybe, in 150 years or more. Would anyone let me buy carbon offset futures for 2168 and get a refund on the RET/carbon tax/electricity bills now? Who are we kidding?

If you believe that CO2 is a threat, then you’d have to also believe that biomass burning makes the next century even hotter than burning coal. Most greens will choose the biofuel. What’s more important – to be pro-climate or anti-coal? We all know the answer to that…

Even under a best case scenario burning wood is “not good” for the climate

The numbers are so clear here, every single pin needs to line up in the right way for forest to be useful as a fuel:

using wood in electricity generation worsens climate change for decades or more even though many of our assumptions favor wood, including: wood displaces coal (the most carbon intensive fossil fuel); all harvested land is allowed to regrow as forest with no subsequent conversion to pasture, cropland, development or other uses; no subsequent harvest, fire or disease; no increase in coal demand resulting from lower prices induced by the decline in coal use for electric power; no increase in N2O from fertilization of managed plantations; and no increase in CO2 emissions or methanogenesis from disturbed land. Relaxing any of these assumptions worsens the climate impact of wood bioenergy.

It is quite difficult to imagine a way that burning forests for electricity could possibly make sense while the world has hundreds of years of coal underground and thousands of years of uranium and thorium. But if the aim is not to change the climate but to hurt independent companies that stand on their own two feet, then burning wood in power plants is just the thing.

The Australian Climate Sceptics gave the UK govt the Inaugural Gorebel Prize (for inconvenient outcomes) thanks to Drax

The winner of the Inaugural Gorbel Prize is the UK government whose green policies aim to make it uneconomic to burn coal. So the tax-payer funded Green Investment Bank has loaned £100 million to help convert the huge Drax coal-burning power station in Yorkshire to burning “sustainable biomass”. This is part of a huge finance package of one billion pounds to get the biomass green tick, earn renewable energy subsidies, and avoid the need to buy carbon credits.
Where do they plan to get the “sustainable biomass”? Each year 7.5 million tonnes of wood chips will be imported from North American forests to replace 4.5 Mt of coal.

How much land does it take to sustainably generate electricity?

This can only work if we start with a pine plantation or convert farmland (ho ho) into a pine plantation, wait twenty years, and use the wood solely for generation. But how much land will that take?

Other POSTS on BIOMASS

REFERENCES

Sterman et al (2018) Does replacing coal with wood lower CO2 emissions? Dynamic life cycle analysis of wood bioenergy, Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 015007

US EIA 2016 International Energy Outlook (2016) (Washington, DC: US Energy Information Administration) p 276 (www.eia.gov/ outlooks/ieo/pdf/0484(2016).pdf)

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (2011) CO2-tool electricity gas and heat from biomass—version 1.0.1 (Assen, The Netherlands) (www.rvo.nl/file/1252)

Roder M, Whittaker C and Thornley P (2015) How certain are ¨ greenhouse gas reductions from bioenergy? Life cycle assessment and uncertainty analysis of wood pellet-to-electricity supply chains from forest residues Biomass Bioenergy 79 50–63

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Burn coal not wood if you care about the climate, 9.3 out of 10 based on 65 ratings

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80 comments to Burn coal not wood if you care about the climate

  • #
    Lionell Griffith

    Oops! They didn’t think about or double check their wild dreams. Reality was supposed to match their wishes. It didn’t and only does so by accident. Since there are far more ways to be wrong than right, guessing without verifying the guess’s validity just doesn’t work all that well.

    But failure was the point. Only when a governmental decree fails does the government get to claim that they need to do the same thing only with more vigor and cost. That way, the government sector can continue to grow at the expense of the productive members of society. Such a scenario, in their words, is unsustainable and will eventually collapse from the weight of their contradictions of what is.

    I believe that total collapse is their most deeply held secret wish. They want everything to collapse. It is not so much that they want to live at your expense, they simply don’t want you to live. This, even at the cost of their extinction.

    The bottom line is their unthoughtful actions based upon unvalidated politically correct views of what is will cause the problems they profess to be trying to correct and that is exactly the way it was planned to be.

    350

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Lionell,

      I do not think they don’t want us to live. I think they want us to live under their thumb with no ability to do or not do, no ability to come or to go except what they, in their infinite infinitesimal wisdom will allow.

      Without serfs the feudal lords have nothing to live for.

      320

      • #
        Lionell Griffith

        That’s just it, they have NOTHING to live for and that is why they seek the negation of anything that is worth having and living for.

        180

      • #
        Patrick healy

        Well Roy, one of the stated aims of the globalists is population reductions “to save the planet”
        Whether this is achieved by compulsory abortion as advocated by Soros and his henchmen or by burning food to make electricity – who cares? It’s all the same to them.

        30

    • #

      And it’s no different to biofuel. Growing corn to make ethanol and then depriving the third world of a food crop that forms part of their staple diet.

      No Green scheme has ever worked!

      280

      • #
        Lionell Griffith

        It was never intended to work. How do I know? It was pathetically easy to know it was a very bad idea if for no other reason that it could not supply the necessary energy for the transportation industry to function. ALL it could do is raise cost of fuel and food, increase CO2 emissions, and muck up engines not designed to run on the “alternative” fuel. Additionally, it would reduce the efficiency of the engines that used it. In fact, it costs approximately 2/3 of the energy it takes to produce ethanol from corn as it returns when used as fuel.

        …a US Department of Agriculture study concludes that ethanol contains 34% more energy than is used to grow and harvest the corn and distill it into ethanol.

        From: http://journeytoforever.org/ethanol_energy.html

        Full disclosure: part of my annual income comes from a family farm who’s primary crops are corn, wheat, and soybeans. If the demand goes up, I get more money to spend.

        141

        • #
          StefanL

          One day the practice of converting food crops to biofuel will be viewed as a crime against humanity.

          10

    • #
      MudCrab

      Hard to say.

      I would hazard that the average Green is somewhat easily confused.

      Within one of my social circles we had a woman who was a Green in the literal political sense. Ended up on the blunt end of a senate ticket and I believe still runs (unsuccessfully thank Grud) in the State elections. Nice enough. Friendly. Mildly pushy in a non malice sort of way. Slightly thick.

      Conversations would tend towards renewable energy and you would pragmatically point out that ‘Wind farms don’t grow on trees’.

      This would actually confuse her somewhat. Exactly why it was often difficult to say. Part of it could be the simplistic mind set that if you are a polite and friendly person you must be Green as well and hence why were we going ‘off script’. Part of it may have been that she simply didn’t understand STEM concepts that well. Part of it is probably because as a ‘progressive’ she is of course very narrow minded. Progressives after all tend to embrace ‘consensus’, probably because knowing that they are ‘correct’ gives them meaning in life. Part of it probably came from her vegan diet.

      Point being I don’t feel there was ever any malice involved or that there was any long term master plan for a NWO. She was, and let’s be blunt here, not very smart.

      So I don’t think Greens really want to destroy society deliberately.

      Watermelons on the other hand? Selfish little social failures and control freaks. You can believe they would be willing to deliberately smash something down if they felt it would help put them into the positions of power they feel they richly deserve.

      10

    • #
      Mal

      We are reaching a real tipping point. We seem to be moving into the age of the Idiocene led by our internal terrorists, the Greens.

      60

    • #
      Leonard Lane

      Emotion and Marxist socialism over logic and reason has always failed and always will.

      20

  • #
    Phantor 48

    And how do the wood chips miraculously arrive in the UK from NA?

    There has to be some mechanism of transport, such as cargo ships. And they don’t run on pixie dust.

    270

    • #
      Yonniestone

      A Trojan Horse perhaps?…………made of wood of course of course……

      110

    • #
      Dean

      In sailing boats of course.

      And when the wind is not blowing they have teams of green activists who jump into longboats and row to tow the ships.

      60

  • #
    dp

    How can a tree create more carbon (CO2) than what went into creating it? Unlike coal that releases sequestered carbon that has been out of the biosphere for a very long time, trees release carbon taken from the current time frame. It should be a net zero conversion. What’s up with that?

    613

    • #
      tom0maason

      dp,

      The point is “Wood is a less efficient fuel. Megawatt for megawatt, wood produces more CO2 than coal.” and “Each year 7.5 million tonnes of wood chips will be imported from North American forests to replace 4.5 Mt of coal.”

      So you have to burn 1.6666 times more wood (compared to coal) to get the same useful energy to drive the generator out of it.

      310

      • #
        toorightmate

        Please, common sense is forbidden.

        100

      • #

        In addition to all that the tree requires transporting and processing

        50

      • #
        dp

        You are missing the important point that all wood carbon is recycled carbon. Carbon from coal being extracted from isolation is thus “new” carbon that is in addition to what is already here (yes it was sequestered from nature but in a long-distant and very different world). It is the same as burning oil fresh from the ground. Moreover, all the carbon sourced from wood will have decayed back into the environment naturally anyway. It does not matter if it is less efficient energy-wise per ton than coal because the number of carbon molecules found in a tree does not increase by burning. This is so very different from extracted carbon there is just no honest way to compare wood vs coal in this way. And there’s no need to. It hasn’t been shown that carbon from any source is evil. So far it’s greened the world and shrunk the deserts. Burn it cleanly and enjoy the benefits.

        31

        • #

          Your points are good. It does not matter what the different total carbon emissions of the two fuels might be. It is the efficiency difference that is important. Efficiencies in transportation which include distances from source to point of use, energy content by volume and weight, dedicated land use, etc., etc. Then there are the currency issues of imported versus local fuel.
          It takes just a glance and minimal use of logic to see that wood is clearly the loser.

          00

    • #
      Hanrahan

      The tree started sequestering CO2 100 years ago and will take another 100 years before the total CO2 is reabsorbed in new growth, assuming that ALL the cleared land is allowed to regrow with hardwood, which the article doubts.

      We are constantly told we don’t have that much time.

      Taking 1% of the timber annually and using that hardwood structurally would have a small +ve effect.

      80

    • #
      sophocles

      It should be a net zero conversion. What’s up with that?

      Water. Wood is wet (internal moisture content) and consequently it burns relatively coolly to overcome that moisture content. It is not particuarly dense, either, with all that internal moisture holding the wood fibres apart. Thus it burns relatively more coolly because of that lack of density.

      Coal is old wood which has been compressed tremendously under millions of tons of pressure for hundreds of millions of years. It’s more efficient than wood, because there is no water left in it; it’s all been squeezed out. Coal, being denser and drier than wood is therefore more efficient.

      Nature does a lot better job than we do, just a bit slower.

      30

    • #
      Phoenix44

      We are not comparing a tree with its carbon. We are comparing the CO2 emitted and then sequestered to generate an amount of electricity using different fuels.

      What we want is the electricity. We want to know the best way of getting it.

      Your comment is a total red herring.

      21

  • #

    Um, so they’ve worked out that harvesting, processing, loading, nitrogenating, lugging, unloading and incinerating American forests to make pommie electricity is a bad idea all round? Even if it’s for an EU directive similar to the loophole which had Danes massacring sand eels to make “bio” oil for power?

    This is good. Next we show how to find our little bottoms, where potty is and how to use it. Then washing our hands. Next how to lace and tie our shoes. Socks on first, of course.

    Baby steps for our Green Betters. Baby steps.

    280

  • #
    RobK

    Thanks Jo,
    Good article but some references in the intro to “Megawatt for megawatt” would make more sense if it was “MegaWatt-hour for MWh”, so refering to energy rather than power.

    90

    • #
      tom0maason

      RoyK,

      Yes indeed as what is needed to know is amount of energy from the fuel to drive the generator.

      70

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    This would seem to make worrying about carbon emissions a waste of time. Yet they will go on doing it.

    Meantime we have an island wide danger, maybe disaster before it’s over, going full bore on Hawaii’s Big Island that probably has already put more CO2 into the air than the last 100 years worth of industrial and vehicle output if not more.

    And Jo, I know this is off topic…or is it? It’s Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Burn wood, burn whatever you please and see if all of Oz can catch up with Kilauea.

    210

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      The pettiness of carbon PC blows every fuse in my head.

      Let them all pitch camp near an active volcano and see what they think then.

      180

  • #
    tom0maason

    Surely the same argument can be applied to ethanol diluted gas (petrol) as this is a less effective fuel, reducing the mile per gallon. Therefore for any distance traveled more fuel must be burned pushing-up the CO2 emissions.

    140

  • #
    manalive

    Please what’s a “carbon debt”?

    40

    • #
      Betapug

      Actually an disguised tax that you will have to pay??

      20

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Carbon debt is really simple. One carbon borrows from another and is then in “carbon debt” until the debt is repaid.

      Silly, isn’t it. But then what isn’t silly about worrying about carbon, one of the most abundant things on Earth?

      50

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Its what the green socialist create and then we get to pay off for them….

      30

    • #
      sophocles

      A Carbon Debt is what you get from leaving Carbon Footprints. If you can’t work out the debt you owe from all your footprints, you’re doing fine: neither can anybody else.

      10

  • #
    2dogs

    It should be noted that burning waste paper for energy (rather than recycling it) is efficient in terms of MJ/CO2, because the incremental CO2 is quite low. For example, you are transporting the paper anyway, so there is no incremental CO2 from that.

    40

    • #
      2dogs

      Seriously, why does no-one cotton on to the absurdity of having a system like Drax and then having, separately beside it, a large paper recycling industry? So much wasteful double handling.

      91

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Because that would reduce the hysterical “crisis factor” that they use to “stun” people….

        I’d be pretty sure that if you explained the CAGW lie in logical terms, people would just laugh at the Lefties. But the Lefties know that to maintain the smoke screen, they use emotion , coz it seems to switch peoples left brain hemisphere off.

        50

  • #
    Ross

    They could just grow sugar cane – one of the fastest ways to “capture” CO2 from the atmosphere.

    I guess the main question would be why ? No-one wants to pay profitable prices for the sugar cane already being grown as witnessed by the decline in the industry in north Queensland.

    And who can forget the time the Mackay region sent dieldrin contaminated beef to the US in the late 80′s ?

    Dieldrin was the pesticide of choice for the cane beetle and is persistent in soil. Up to 80% of treatment doses has been recovered after decades in test plots. When a lot of cane farms went broke after going in to big debt following “expert” advice to “get big or get out” followed by the world wide sugar price crash the only use for their dieldrin contaminated soil and grasses was agistment for cattle on their way to the local meat works and then to the US.

    As if the US wouldn’t notice.

    In a typical government over reaction, the extremely effective anti termite dieldrin was banned from use under concrete slabs in the housing industry, followed years later by a flurry of media horror stories about highly indebted home owners watching as their unprotected pine framed houses were demolished out of site by termites.

    Typical example of people suffering from following “expert” advice.

    90

  • #
    toorightmate

    Never mind wood, coal, gas solar wind or whatever,
    THE CO2 HORSESH*T HAS TO STOP.

    70

    • #
      TdeF

      Historically that’s a major reason society moved to coal, then oil and gas. It is why the brownstones of New York are so high. There was a real fear New York city was going to be buried in metres of the stuff.

      60

      • #
        TdeF

        Consider this story of the time of horses in New York (and pigs)

        20

        • #
          TdeF

          Consider this story of the time of horses in New York

          20

        • #
          sophocles

          It was the internal combustion engine powered vehicles, cars and trucks, burning petrol and diesel which saved the cities from being buried in equine excrement, drowned in equine urine and suffocated by equine carcasses. The warmth from the composting (decaying) piles of wastes made them comfortable, centrally heated nesting material, and the food from the carcasses meant rats plagued the cities. Hordes of rats. The Pied Piper of Hamlin was a well-known old tale, a matter of wishful thinking, perhaps, but well-known.

          The cities’ filth formed an unbelievable health hazard. It was also highly … um … aromatic. It stank. The nineteenth century sewers built to remove such waste were a start which had such observable results, the rush was on for every city to do it. In the 1850s, New York’s daily newspapers used to openly ponder when the piles of excrement would reach three stories high. But the sewers weren’t enough. Like burning wood chips instead of coal.

          It’s only since the Second World War, over the last seventy years, that cities have actually become almost human inhabitable. Everyone, especially the Greens, forgets that.

          40

  • #
    Kinky Keith

    This magic scheme to save on production of CO2 in the course of providing electricity can join all the other programs which similarly produce more total CO2 than the original coal fired system.

    Wind turbines, solar rooftop and solar farms, and now pelletised wood all create more CO2 per kWh than the thing that they are replacing.

    Additionally all of these alternates have serious, but hidden, pollution issues that should have disqualified them in the first analysis. Poisoning from heavy metal processing of material for “renewables” in China, doesn’t seem to count in the green assessment because it is out of sight.

    And as a final salute to stupidity I can imagine that once they have rid our atmosphere of dangerous CO2, they will go for the big one, The Oceans, where 98% of all the Earth’s uncombined CO2 resides.

    I keep asking, how has this diversion from progress been allowed to get so far.

    When will it stop?

    K

    130

    • #
      PeterS

      Stupid is as stupid does. It’s that simple. If most people woke up and bothered to research the evidence themselves they would very quickly realise they have been conned by the MSM, academia, politicians and fake experts. Unfortunately, most people are too busy working, playing games, fighting on the side of evil, clueless and/or can’t be bothered to think and leave to others to do it for them. It’s a sad indictment on human nature, and you will find it was repeated all throughout history with disastrous consequences on each occasion. It won’t be any different this time around. Still there is time to turn things around but the first step must be made by the public at large. People won’t be forced to the truth, they have to want to learn it themselves.

      90

      • #
        Kinky Keith

        I try to figure where the problem lies.
        We humans aren’t inherently stupid but there’s a flaw somewhere. Maybe we are too trusting of authority figures?
        Over the last several decades politicians have shown blatant disregard for the wellbeing of voters and simply plundered the nations that they govern.

        Older more experienced observers see the unnecessary complexity and the deliberate confusion that is created by modern politics to maintain the status quo.

        America and Britain have both rebelled against this situation but there’s still a long way to go.

        The United Nations and EEU are corrupted organizations and do little of value for anyone outside of the actual organisation.

        Locally as we have found recently, corporate accountability is at an all-time low.

        We need to clean up this mess and the starting point is to actually see and acknowledge the problem.

        KK

        60

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          I think its an integrated problem – Big Biz, Big Govt and Big Green are all collaborating to create a Green Communist/Fascist utopia.

          I suspect the govt is providing the industry crippling legislation, and the benefit to business is that when a lot of industry collapses, people will basically be slaves to what ever McJobs the remaining businesses will provide afterward, effectively as slave labour.

          Power consumption is down, govt is in control , business have huge profits and no costs, and people are told to be grateful…

          Big Data and Big Tax will keep everyone in line coz you cant tell where the corporate data centre owners end and Big Govt begins….very cozy distopian future really…and dont dare try and buck the system…you will be all iris scanned ( in case of terrorism, you know,, ) as they will be monitoring all comms via the NBN, drones in the air, big data constantly mining your digital activity, and step out of line and your digital money will be cut off….

          61

        • #
          PeterS

          Politicians can only get to and stay where they are by being voted to government. Therefore, the problem lies squarely with he people. Since the people are not suffering significantly more since the previous election they don’t mind or care what the government is doing. As long as most are happy and comfortable enough things will plod along. The pain has to be much harsher for the public to pull their heads out of the sand and act accordingly. The problem though is by the time that happens it’s often too late and they no longer have the democratic right to change things. It’s all very slow process, which can be viewed as the “secret ingredient”. If the changes occurred suddenly you can bet that the people would react quick smart. One could use the boiling frog syndrome but like all analogies it does have it’s fair share of myth and fallacy. The message though is clear enough. So as long as people are in their comfort zone long enough the powers that be can do whatever they like and get away with it, until things get so bad the people are no longer in their comfort zone and might try to revolt once they realise they have nothing left to lose.

          51

        • #
          sophocles

          Follow the money. It never lies.

          21

    • #
      Dean

      Well they learnt from the Y2K fiasco.

      That scam foolishly included an end date. Kind of hard to keep the scam going when its 2K+1 and the disaster has not yet hit.

      CAGW is always projected as current+30 so that they can milk it for ever.

      81

  • #
    michael hart

    In any case, we should be keeping the hickory to use on barbecues :) The forecast says we’ve got two whole days of sunshine coming up in the UK.

    61

  • #
    robert rosicka

    Haven’t comments here been rubbishing this grand plan for years ? And haven’t the trolls been extolling the virtues of wood chips against coal for years ? And if we really want to get to the crux of it ironically the higher the Co2 concentration the quicker trees grow and there is still no proof that Co2 does anything but fertilise plants and make my beer frothy .

    71

  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    chopping down more forests

    Just to be clear about this — in the USA trees are not chopped.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuuPI2hyt6M

    21

  • #
    PeterS

    If the leftists really cared about climate change and truly believed it was due to man-made CO2 emissions, they would not be allowing China, India and many other countries to build a total of over a thousand coal fired power stations now and into the future. So all the leftists better move to those places and give us a break for already doing what they have been demanding us to do and reducing our emissions by destroying our coal fired power industry. They can continue their destructive policies at each of those other countries one by one and eventually they will achieve what they really want – the enslavement of mankind under a one world evil government. BTW, leftists please take with you Turnbull and his cohorts, and Shorten and his cohorts. Then this country would finally have a chance to revive itself from the self-destructive socialist agenda.

    41

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Unless Big Govt, Big Green and Big Biz weren’t collaborating, there is no way it would have got this far…

      Time to buy a diesel gennie….

      31

  • #
    Betapug

    Trees are sentient beings. They have feelings and should not be slaughtered within view of other trees!

    Better to use their dead biomass relatives already buried.

    11

  • #
    TdeF

    There is no one singing the praises of clean, cheap, wonderful coal.

    Coal saved the forests of Europe and the world. Finland was stripped for iron making until coke was discovered. There is supposedly not a tree in Finland over 200 years old.
    Coal saved the forests of Europe. In the year 1790, the Royal Navy had about 300 ships in its ranks.44 To build this navy, at least 1,200,000 good oaks had to be cut.
    Coal generated electricity saved the air of the inner city, replacing dirty wood and briquettes with clean electricity.
    Coal gave Australia 50 years of plentiful, cheap power with few transmission lines, virtually no pollution and plenty of jobs.
    That in turn gave rise to Aluminum, packaged electricity. This gave us aircraft and modern cars.

    Coal and steel made the world we know today. It was a wonderful world until the UN decided the West was too rich and had to hand over the cash. To them. Our weak kneed ignorant politicians bowed and handed over our quality of life and billions of dollars to their masters in the UN and the bureaucrats in Brussels. They betrayed our country.

    As for the DRAX scheme. It made many people rich. That is the basic story. Based on a fantasy? Of course, but they knew that.

    Imagine if the $1,500Bilion a year in carbon money was spent actually trying to do something other than build windmills and solar farms? They are just ways to make others rich. They don’t work, but they know that.

    141

    • #
      sophocles

      What was Palestine and is now Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Jordan were forested lands about 5000 years ago. The forest was harvested to smelt copper and tin ores to manufacture bronze. That was the Bronze Age.

      When the copper ran out, what forest was left was charcoaled to make iron.

      Where’s the forest now?

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        sophocles

        (Oops. I left the above, #18.1, unfinished.)

        What man learns from history is just mechanized ways of repeating past mistakes bigger, faster and more completely than before.

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    Geoffrey Williams

    It’s what we have known for a long time. It’s what we have been telling them for forever.
    Burning trees from US forests to keep UK windmills in business was never a sustainable energy source.
    How embarrassing for the UK greenies, and will they admit to their mistaken ideology-I doubt it.
    And finally when they do convert back to good old coal, guess where the best supplies are, yes you got it, Russian coal.
    Good luck with your global warming I say, you might need it.
    GeoffW

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    a happy little debunker

    The UK are planning to phase out all DSL & DSM vehicles by 2040.

    That’s around 20 million vehicles.

    However, because of spiralling home heating costs, nearly 100 000 new wood heaters* are being installed each year.

    The emission output of just those 100 000 wood heaters* exceeds the annual emissions of all 20 million vehicles.

    The UK Government – turning the dumb into dumber!

    * does not include biomass boilers, that attracts up to a £2000 pound subsidy.

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      Dave in the States

      This is what happens when governments proscribe policies, and pick winners and losers, and try to engineer outcomes, instead of letting free markets take their course.

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      PeterS

      2040 is a long time away not only in politics but also in technology. Anyone who knows what’s the best means to power cars by then is delusional. It’s very possible that by then a fossil fuelled engine will turn out to be the most efficient and environmentally friendly way, or new, efficient and cheap battery technology will make fossil fuelled cars redundant. Let the development and advancement of technology lead the way, and let the public choose. Of course that doesn’t fit in with the socialist agenda that most people appear to be happy with, at least at this time.

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        sophocles

        The modern petrol burning car engine is far cleaner and more economical than those of twenty years ago, and far and away so from those of thirty years ago. The modern engines are mostly aluminium, the older ones are cast iron.

        But not many people seem to realise it … yet. Their thinking is focused on fifty years ago.

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    pat

    17 May: FoundationForEconomicEducation: Zero Emission Vehicles Can Increase Air Pollution: Study
    “Zero-emission” vehicles are only as clean as the power source they plug into.
    by Marlo Lewis Jr.
    A new report (LINK) by economist Jonathan Lesser of the Manhattan Institute challenges the conventional wisdom that zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) are superior to new internal combustion vehicles (ICVs) on environmental grounds. Lesser also has an op-ed in Politico (LINK) today based on the study.

    Lesser’s analysis is detailed and quantitative, but the basic idea is simple: Zero-emission vehicles are only as clean as the electric power sources they plug into. Given the electricity fuel mix reasonably projected by the Energy Information Administration between now and 2050, both nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from the power plants supplying zero-emission vehicles will exceed the emissions from new internal combustion vehicles.

    The study also finds that the carbon dioxide emission reductions achieved by zero-emission vehicles, even if all are powered by renewable sources, would be too small to detectably affect global temperatures and thus have no measurable economic value…

    In contrast, the costs of federal and state subsidies for zero-emission vehicles and associated infrastructure are both real and substantial. “In California alone, the total cost of ZEV subsidies, including federal tax credits and state rebates for ZEV purchases, as well as subsidies for private and public charging infrastructure, is likely to exceed $100 billion,” Lesser writes in his study. Such policies also raise serious equity concerns, because the subsidies transfer wealth from lower- and middle-income households to wealthier households…READ ON
    https://fee.org/articles/zero-emission-vehicles-can-increase-air-pollution-study/

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    pat

    17 May: AP: Lawmakers Close to Expanding Biomass in Rhode Island
    The General Assembly is one step closer to granting biomass power the same incentives offered to wind and solar power.
    The Providence Journal reports the House Committee on Corporations passed a bill to include biomass, which burns wood waste to generate electricity, in the state’s 2011 net metering law. The law allows companies to offset their electric bills by selling renewable energy to the power grid.

    The Senate passed a version of the bill earlier this month. The bill would bring the law into line with the Renewable Energy Standard set by the state in 2004, which included biomass as a renewable energy source.
    The bill comes as Green Development is proposing a biomass plant in Johnston, Rhode Island. Spokesman Bill Fischer says the plant wouldn’t make economic sense unless the bill is enacted.

    Some environmentalists oppose the plant and say burning wood waste produces carbon emissions…
    Johnathan Berard, Rhode Island director of Clean Water Action, said the bill amounts to a quid-pro-quo. Mark DePasquale, founder of Green Development, has made more than $30,000 in campaign contributions to Democratic legislative leaders, including House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Gov. Gina Raimondo.
    House Spokesman Larry Berman called the quid-pro-quo allegation “ridiculous.”

    Information from: The Providence Journal…
    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rhode-island/articles/2018-05-17/lawmakers-close-to-expanding-biomass-in-rhode-island

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    Phoenix44

    Does the analysis include opportunity cost, I.e. the CO2 the tree would absorb if it was not cut down?

    Much of government excludes opportunity cost which is one reason why so many bad decisions are made.

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    JJB MKI

    Hi Jo,

    This post seems to overlook the costs (financial and environmental) of transporting the wood. I did a ‘back of a napkin’ calculation a while back based on estimates from 2014, estimating just over 6 million tonnes shipped over from the US just to feed Drax (new figures seem to be higher). Assuming a load of 45,000 tonnes per shipment (which seemed to be about the average for these kinds of ships), that would mean 133 transatlantic trips, burning around 200,000 gallons of heavy oil each way: 1.6 million tonnes of oil burned to feed one power station for a year. Coal ships will of course burn the same fuel (assuming you couldn’t source the coal closer to home), but as you need to ferry double the quantity of woodchip to achieve the same energy output, it seems likely that the transport of the stuff alone negates any benefit from burning it, purely in terms of CO2 emissions. Additional particulate pollution (ie real pollution) from heavy oil burning on dirty old ships, and possibly from burning trees is a whole other level of insanity (or green blob corruption)..

    Not great at these kinds of things though so if some engineer could double check and confirm my figures it would be much appreciated :-) .

    J Burns

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    Joe

    So what is the moral of the story here? Where does this not fit into the concept of a libertarian ‘free market’? Can’t we view the wood chippers as entrepreneurs who have made an honest quid out of the (gullible) market? Whatever happened to the idea of caveat emptor? If any group of free marketeers can bandy together and convince a big enough chunk of the population to buy their product or better still, convince that same chunk of people to vote them or their promoters into Gov and then have that Gov mandate the purchase of that product, why would that not be a good indictment of free market entrepreneurship? I can’t understand why we always make it a dichotomy of Gov vs Free market when the two are so intrinsically linked – or essentially the same thing. How can there be an expectation that a Gov is somehow independent of a free market when they are just a subset of the same humans which populate that market place? There seems to be an expectation that an elected Gov big or small, will, or should have, some god-like qualities and somehow protect us from collectively ruining ourselves or our society – surely that decision is up to the collective whether we do it using a Gov or not. We have not collectively broken any laws of physics have we? If enough of us want to mandate coke, why shouldn’t be able to vote for the coke bloke who will mandate it. If enough people don’t want to mandate coke they can even vote in a one bloke no-coke Gov. They can even vote to not have a Gov at all and those that like coke can have coke and those that don’t, don’t need too and have anarchy instead. Perhaps that might be a topic for the Libertarian conference.

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    pat

    saw this story and wondered how this must have pained Renew Economy to publish it.

    Coal kicks on: Why China’s emissions have not yet peaked
    RenewEconomy-10 hours ago
    CO2 emissions will rise in China by more than 5% in 2018 due to the pull through impacts of China construction growth; China coal consumption will rise this
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/coal-kicks-chinas-emissions-not-yet-peaked-51479/

    I needn’t have wondered. if you click on the above, you get “Sorry. Error 404: Page not found”

    fortunately, before it disappears, here is the cached version:

    18 May: RenewEconomy: Coal kicks on: Why China’s emissions have not yet peaked
    By David Leitch
    (David Leitch is principal of ITK. He was formerly a Utility Analyst for leading investment banks over the past 30 years. The views expressed are his own. Please note our new section, Energy Markets, which will include analysis from Leitch on the energy markets and broader energy issues. And also note our live generation widget, and the APVI solar contribution)

    Summary: CO2 emissions likely to rise >5% this year
    Access to China’s statistics has greatly improved in the past couple of years. The mark of a good analyst, economist or statistician is to know what statistics to focus on, and of course they are all released with a lag.

    Looking at the numbers suggests that:
    1.CO2 emissions will rise in China by more than 5% in 2018 due to the pull through impacts of China construction growth;
    2.China coal consumption will rise this year keeping coal prices high even if domestic production increases;
    3.Wind, PV and Nuclear have gained electricity market share, but because of a hydro down turn, the second one in the past few years, thermal electricity share is at least as high as 3 years ago.
    4.As long as this state of affairs continues, coal-fuelled electricity plants are unlikely to feel excessive profit pressure. Capacity utilization will likely stay around 50% this year.

    It’s beyond obvious that China arguably holds the fate of global of warming in its hands. China is more or less the place where about 30% of annual carbon emissions originate.

    The arguments around responsibility are more subtle, since China exports huge amount of product and its share of cumulative emissions are smaller.
    In the end, though these arguments about blame are pointless. If the world is to limit warming, emissions sourced in China will have to fall sharply.

    Because China has a command economy, one where the commands seem to be effective, it can be argued that if China wants to, it will be able to implement an effective policy. It just comes down to where it fits in = Xi Jinping’s priority list.
    Energy efficiency is not really much of a topic for China, household consumption is already energy efficient. China’s electricity consumption is very largely devoted to industry.

    China’s carbon emissions are sourced largely from electricity production but also from the more than 2 billion tonnes of cement produced each year and emissions from various other industrial processes. China’s car fleet is increasing rapidly and so oil related emissions are also increasing.
    Nevertheless, just like Australia, it is coal-fired electricity that is the villain in the piece and also the one where in theory it’s most easy to achieve change. In practice, as the stats show, the trend progress is arguably been overcome by the growth cycle.

    The most important driver, in my opinion, of everything that happens in China is real estate construction, most of the steel, cement and many other products goes into either residential or commercial real estate and the infrastructure, eg roads, rail required to support it.

    China has something between 15-20 m housing starts a year. That makes it say 10-15 times as big as the USA, you can see this easily in the cement statistics.
    More importantly to us electricity and decarbonization nerds electricity consumption is, and I don’t prove this here, closely related to the construction cycle.

    The chart below shows that floor space started is growing about 8% per year, not so much in the big, so-called Tier 1 cities, but out in the boondocks in regional China.
    You don’t have to be Charlie Munger to see that in 2014 when China’s real estate market slowed down, was also when it looked like electricity consumption growth had paused, and coal-fired electricity plant average capacity utilization fell below 50%.
    Since then it’s picked up again and the traditional China property love affair has got back into full swing.

    Is this a familiar tune? Your author believes all real estate booms end badly, but clearly in China we are going to have to wait for another series before this popular show comes to an end.
    The consequence has been a pick up in electricity consumption which is growing 8% per year more or less.
    Although wind has grown fast than coal, the fact that hydro production has fallen away means coal-fired electricity has still grown steadily.

    The overall share of coal in the mix is higher now than two years ago. This chart is a 3 month average, and the time frames don’t overlap, so I may be missing some seasonality.
    Wind share has gone to 6% and solar at 1%, nuclear has picked up 1% but this has all been at Hydro’s expense over this time period.

    If hydro picks up then maybe coal will fall away. In the meantime the world can only keep watching the data and help China to recognize and take even more of a lead than it has so far done.

    Bottom line here is we expect China’s carbon emissions to be up over 5% in 2018 compared to 2017.

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    pat

    18 May: Reuters: China’s NDRC to curb coal prices, boost output: Xinhua
    by Muyu Xu and Vincent Lee
    Benchmark thermal coal futures on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange have gained more than 7 percent over the past month, reaching 643 yuan ($100.83) a ton on Wednesday, the highest level since late February.

    To bring coal prices back within a “reasonable price range”, the NDRC will encourage miners to boost output — adding at least 300,000 tonnes a day from mines in Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia…

    The state planner expects coal output in the three regions to increase by about 250 million tonnes this year. Combined coal production in these area was 2.3 billion tonnes last year, accounting for two thirds of the country’s total coal output…

    Plans are also being made to improve rail capacity for coal transportation from miners in the western part of the country to coal-fired power plants in eastern regions.
    The NDRC also said it will introduce 100 million tonnes of new coal capacity this year to ensure stable supplies in the market.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-china-coal/chinas-ndrc-to-curb-coal-prices-boost-output-xinhua-idUSKCN1IJ1BO

    behind paywall, also at Daily Telegraph behind paywall:

    Decision looms for Clive Palmer’s Alpha North Coal Mine Project twice as big as Adani and 27 times size of Sydney Harbour
    Townsville Bulletin · 8 hours ago
    MILLIONAIRE Clive Palmer will soon learn the fate of his proposed coal mine in Queensland which could be twice the size of the Adani project…

    Waratah Coal: ALPHA NORTH COAL PROJECT
    The “Alpha North Project” consists of two open cut operations and four underground longwall mining operations, coal handling preparation plants and a rail spur transportation network to Galilee Coal Project rail network. The project intends to mine 56 Mtpa of run-of-mine (ROM) coal, which will be later processed to produce 40 Mtpa of product coal. The project will initially commence operations with a 10 Mtpa open cut mine, eventually ramping up to 56 Mtpa several years later. Key elements of the Alpha North Project are…READ ON
    http://waratahcoal.com/alpha-north-coal-project/

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    David Maddison

    O/T

    ///Peter Ridd has been sacked by James Cook University for speaking to The Australian and breaking a gag order to ­expose disciplinary action being taken against him after he criticised the quality of Great Barrier Reef ­science.

    He was also found to have broken an order that he “not directly or indirectly trivialise, satirise or parody the university” after he sent an email to a former student with the subject line “for your amusement”.///

    See link for rest.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/marine-science-rebel-peter-ridd-sacked-by-james-cook-university/news-story/805ecb22cee6b4d34c5634799c1d5936

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    Forest Stylist

    There is a role for wood in power generation albeit a minor one.
    In integrated forestry operations, harvesting seeks to optimize log value recovery -sawlogs, poles etc.
    Fuelwood rarely has high value and in Australia at least is not harvested as the primary product.
    Producing say sawlogs also produces fuel logs (from the same felled tree) and sawmills produce sawdust.
    Fuel logs and sawmill residue are legitimate fuel sources for electricity without subsidies.
    Many sawmills have generated their own power requirements for many years.
    The energy required to harvest, trasnport and prepare fuel is generally less than 10% of the fuel energy value

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  • #
    StefanL

    On a lighter note …

    Did you hear about the short, weedy bloke who walked into a logging camp in western Canada and said he wanted a job.
    When the hulking lumberjacks had finished laughing the foreman thought he would prolong the joke and asked the little guy to show what he could do.
    Well — the little guy grabbed an axe and chopped down a big tree faster than any of them had ever seen.
    So the foreman asked “Where did you learn to do that ?”
    “In the Sahara forest”.
    “You mean the Sahara desert.”
    “Is now”

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