JoNova

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


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Australian Environment Conference Oct 20 2012


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Germany’s Greens help the coal industry, while the US cut emissions by ignoring the greens

Oh the dilemma. German Greens have been so “successful” that coal use is rising fast. They helped get rid of the nukes in 2011, punished coal, and subsidized “renewables”. But woe…. energy has to come from somewhere, so the paradoxical crunch comes. Green policies mean that everyone is poorer, but the cheapest energy comes from coal …

The coal industry must be praying for more Green activism:

“IT’S been a black Christmas for green thinkers as Germany, the world leader in rooftop solar and pride of the renewable energy revolution has confirmed its rapid return to coal.

After scrapping nuclear power, Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions are back on the rise as the country clamours to reopen some of the dirtiest brown coalmines that have been closed since the reunification of east and west. The Australian

Though some say the problem is “carbon credits” are too cheap. (We need to be poorer?)

“…new figures show that coal power output in 2013 reached its highest level in more than 20 years. Researchers blame cheap CO2 emissions permits, and demand urgent reforms.

The stats: Germany is using almost as much coal as it did in 1990:

In 1990, Germany’s brown coal-fired [...]

Bill McKibben says wind is cheap as coal. Jo Nova says “so who needs a carbon tax then?”

Bill McKibben wants to stop a mine in Australia because it might affect the weather. He says wind power is as affordable as coal.

The Australian, Friday Oct 25:   “… we’ve reached the point where alternatives have become realistic.Wind power is now as affordable as coal-fired power in Australia, not to mention the limitless energy potential of the powerful sun that shines on your continent.”

To which I say, fantastic. If wind power is as cheap as coal, we don’t need a carbon tax, emissions trading schemes, renewable targets, or other subsidies … people will use wind simply because it is cheaper. Alternatively, Bill is talking out of his hat.

Kill the schemes, cut the subsidies. Bring it on. I say!

We can see how many people rely on Windpower in Australia

That’s the yellow part. Coal is the black or brown part.

Source: ESAA

Source: ESAA

All the assertions of “cheap wind power” are only true if we assume our CO2 emissions cause warming, amplified by water vapor and cloud changes, which causes dangerous and expensive outcomes. Furthermore we must assume that it is cheaper to mitigate rather than adapt (which it isn’t), and then assume that taxes, [...]

The old new Rudd: tinkering with useless schemes while ignoring the coal reality

Rudd has a chance to dump a dumb policy, but won’t

Australia’s overpriced, unneccessary carbon tax will become even more overpriced next Monday (from $23 to $24.15 per ton). A spokesman tells The Australian that the all-new Labor cabinet will reconsider it all next week and may bring in the trading scheme sooner rather than later. At the moment the Gillard-fixed-carbon-price will shift to a floating price (lately, a sinking price) in two years time in mid 2015. The current EU price is $6 AUD.

The Australian understands Mr Rudd will look at all aspects of the implementation of the $23 a tonne price on carbon as a priority. The reinstated Prime Minister sought to cement his commitment to tackling climate change, declaring he had “long been committed to a carbon price”.

Rudd mistakes token efforts in China for “action”:

He accused the Coalition of inconsistency on the issue and cited action in China as evidence “carbon pricing is now becoming more and more of a global reality”.

The real global reality and action in China is that it is building more coal powered stations than anywhere, and is one of the largest coal burning nations in the world. China [...]

Upgrade coal power and cut 15% of emissions. Where is the Green applause?

If the Greens cared about CO2 they’d be very interested in ways to reduce emissions. But their selective interest speaks volumes about their real priorities. Anton Lang shows how newer coal fired powers stations run hotter and at higher pressures, and use 15% less coal to produce the same amount of electricity. We could upgrade our power stations and cut a whopping 15% of their emissions — which is huge compared to the piddling small, often unmeasureable savings thanks to renewables. Even massive floods that stop industry don’t reduce our emissions as much as this would. Do the Greens hate the coal industry more than “carbon pollution”? — Jo

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Ultra Super Critical Coal Fired Power gives a 15% CO2 Emissions Reduction

Guest Post: Anton Lang (aka TonyfromOz)

It all comes down to steam.

Assume (for a moment) that we have to reduce the emissions of CO2 by something like 20% between now and 2020.

Previously I showed we could achieve a reduction of 13% in CO2 emissions from the electrical power generating sector just by converting from the current 70’s technology coal fired power to the newest technology USC (UltraSuperCritical) coal fired technology. That 13% I quoted [...]

Australian floods show how cutting electricity use doesn’t reduce CO2

Coal power provides most of our electricity and despite widespread floods these plants have to keep working day in and day out to provide our baseload power.  | This one above is the old decommissioned “New Farm” Coal Power Station (1942)  |  Queensland State Library

Anton Lang cuts the numbers, and finds that while the Australian floods cut power consumption by 9% on the Eastern seaboard they only reduced CO2 emissions by 0.9%.

Even if cutting CO2 emissions was useful, it’s much much harder than most people realize. Electricity use is so pervasive that even though whole towns were off-the-grid due to floods, and real consumption fell, it didn’t make any difference to emissions. That’s because the baseload consumption is still so high, and is mostly still a coal powered load. Reducing the peak use of electricity by a whopping 9% hardly makes any difference to the total daily curve of electricity demand. The electricity for the peak load comes from natural gas, a bit from hydro, and some from intermittent unpredictable renewables. Coal can’t be switched up and down quickly, and it isn’t efficient to do so, even if it were possible to ramp up or change the [...]

Who actually took notice of the Kyoto Protocol? Coal fired plants going up everywhere.

Guest post by Anton Lang (TonyfromOz)

(Thanks to ianl8888  for bringing this map from Tallbloke’s site to my attention)

This is a map of projected coal fired power plants that have been approved for construction. The map tells us a lot about the Kyoto Protocol, and more specifically, just how much clout does the UN really have.

Some parts of the world are increasing their coal fired electricity faster than others (Click to enlarge).

Source: Figures come from this World Resources Institute Report. (Nov 2012) Graphic? author unknown.

Kyoto was adopted in 1997, and so far, 195 Member Countries have signed up to it with that first signature. All but a couple of countries then added that all important second signature ratifying it, meaning that they were bound by what Kyoto asked for, a reduction of CO2 emissions to a level 5% lower than what they were in 1990. In 2007, Rudd added that second signature on behalf of Australia, leaving the U.S. as the only country not to ratify the Protocol. Some countries have said that they will not ratify any rehash of Kyoto, which expired at the end of last year. Only 24 countries [...]

We can lower Australian CO2 emissions by… (wait for it) building new coal plants!

A joint writing project: Jo Nova & Tony Cox,

based on an idea and research by Anton Lang (who writes as TonyfromOz at PAPundits)

It’s the paradox that will torture the Greens. What if the best way to achieve their environmental aims as well as providing jobs and power was to build more coal fired power stations? Imagine if we could reduce CO2 emissions by more than 5%, supply 24 hour baseload electricity, create jobs, and save thousands of square kilometres of Australian bush from industrial domination. Imagine if “New Coal” turned out to be the lowest cost alternative as well? Anton Lang has researched it, and Tony Cox has confirmed that the big numbers make sense with an Australian electricity company (who shall not be named). Selling the Carbon Tax in Neverland is already a public debate that’s pretzel tied in impossible contradictions, so what’s one  more unlikely twist? Possibly, just enough to get us out of a knot, or at least enough to expose the real aims of the carbon reduction plan. Old existing large scale coal fired power plants in Australia are all twenty to forty years [...]

Greenpeace: witchhunters with $280m dollars to spend

UPDATE: It appears ANZ is not feeling apologetic or likely to cave in to green threats. ANZ chief executive Mike Smith, has delivered a savage attack on Julia Gillard, declaring her party was part of the “weak government club” of the world.

Greenpeace have produced a hit job on the ANZ Bank: a (fairly) slick production designed to seriously hurt the bank’s brand name, and to make it harder for coal miners to raise funds (which ultimately makes it harder for the poorest in society to pay their electricity bills).

This is why I insist:  Yes, this IS about the science. Even if we defeat the tax and trading scheme, as long as the public think “carbon is pollution” any honest business or business working with them will be subject to this bullying. Coal provides about three quarters of all Australian electricity. Yes, we need to get rid of the pollutants in coal production, but carbon dioxide is not one of them.

We are carbon life forms. There is no evidence that the climate models are right, and that CO2 emissions hurt the planet. Greenpeace could attack the coal industry because of poor safety standards, or because of [...]

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, [...]