The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was the European Union’s (EU’s) way of combating global warming. By making carbon emitters pay for their carbon emissions. But Europe is mired in recession. And the Eurozone is suffering a sovereign debt crisis. Which hasn’t helped to pull Europe out of recession. And it appears that the economic reality in Europe is dooming the ETS (see If Carbon Markets Can’t Work in Europe, Can They Work Anywhere? by Bryan Walsh posted 4/17/2013 on Time).
But the ETS—and carbon trading more generally—is not doing well, and its problems are taking some of the green shine off of Europe. Since its launch the ETS has struggled, with the price of carbon falling as the 2008 recession and overly generous carbon allowances undercut the market. In the ETS business are given free allowances to emit carbon—too many free allowances mean they don’t need to reduce their carbon emissions much, which erodes the demand for additional carbon allowances on the market and causes the price to drop. Prices fell from 25 euros a ton in 2008 to just 5 euros a ton in February. There was a way to fix this—take 900 million tons of carbon allowances off the market now and reintroduce them in five years time, when policymakers hoped the economy would be stronger and demand would be greater. As anyone who’s taken Econ 101 would know, artificially reducing the supply of carbon allowances in such a drastic way—something called “backloading”— should force the price back up.
But on April 16, the European Parliament surprised observers by voting down the backloading plan. In turn, the European carbon market collapsed, with the price of a carbon allowance falling by more than 40% over the day. “We have reached the stage where the EU ETS has ceased to be an effective environmental policy,” Anthony Hobley, the head of climate change practice at the London law firm Norton Rose, told the New York Times. The ETS is a mess.
Backloading failed because even in very green Europe, economic concerns seemed to trump environmental ones. European Parliamentary members worried that any action that would cause the price of carbon to rise would add to European industry’s already high energy costs.
This should make China happy. For there was no way no how they were going to pay for the carbon emissions from their airplanes entering European airspace. In fact they warned they would cancel their Airbus orders and give them to Boeing if the Europeans tried to force them to help bail out the Eurozone in their sovereign debt crisis. For this was what the ETS would ultimately do. Transfer great amounts of wealth from the private sector to the public sector. Which would have gone a long way in helping the Eurozone to continue to spend money they don’t have.
The ETS was nothing but a new tax on business. Cloaked in the guise of making the world a better—and greener—place. But the EU is suffering economically. A large part of the sovereign debt crisis is due to having less economic activity to tax. So the EU needs to improve the economy. So they can generate more tax revenue from the current tax rates. But increasing taxes on the carbon emitters will not help businesses. It will only increase the cost of business. Increasing their prices. Making them less competitive in the market place. Reducing their sales. And killing jobs. Which will generate even less tax revenue from the current tax rates.
The problem in the EU is not global warming. Or insufficient tax revenue. They have a spending problem. This is what caused their deficits. That gave them their soaring debt. Just like every other nation that ever suffered a debt crisis. Including the U.S. Trying to fix a spending problem with more taxes just doesn’t work. Only a cut in spending can fix a spending problem. It’s not like the old chicken and egg question. Excessive and unsustainable spending always comes before a debt crisis. Always.
In the Seventies they were scaring kids about a coming ice age. And about air pollution so bad that we would one day have to wear gas masks when going outside. The planet is a lot cleaner now. And there is no talk about Americans one day having to wear a gas mask when going outside. And that coming ice age? Well, they were just wrong about that. For what they thought was global cooling was actually global warming. An easy mistake to make. Because they’re both about temperature. One just moves in one direction. While the other moves in the other. And unless you do something like record temperatures periodically how are you going to know which direction those temperatures are moving?
Remarkably, and we will argue importantly, the airborne fraction has declined since 2000 (figure 3) during a period without any large volcanic eruptions… The airborne fraction is affected by factors other than the efficiency of carbon sinks, most notably by changes in the rate of fossil fuel emissions (Gloor et al 2010). However, it is the dependence of the airborne fraction on fossil fuel emission rate that makes the post-2000 downturn of the airborne fraction particularly striking. The change of emission rate in 2000 from 1.5% yr-1 to 3.1% yr-1 (figure 1), other things being equal, would have caused a sharp increase of the airborne fraction (the simple reason being that a rapid source increase provides less time for carbon to be moved downward out of the ocean’s upper layers).
A decrease in land use emissions during the past decade (Harris et al 2012) could contribute to the decreasing airborne fraction in figure 3, although Malhi (2010) presents evidence that tropical forest deforestation and regrowth are approximately in balance, within uncertainties. Land use change can be only a partial explanation for the decrease of the airborne fraction; something more than land use change seems to be occurring.
We suggest that the huge post-2000 increase of uptake by the carbon sinks implied by figure 3 is related to the simultaneous sharp increase in coal use (figure 1). Increased coal use occurred primarily in China and India… Associated gaseous and particulate emissions increased rapidly after 2000 in China and India (Lu et al 2011, Tian et al 2010). Some decrease of the sulfur component of emissions occurred in China after 2006 as wide application of flue-gas desulfurization began to be initiated (Lu et al 2010), but this was largely offset by continuing emission increases from India (Lu et al 2011).
We suggest that the surge of fossil fuel use, mainly coal, since 2000 is a basic cause of the large increase of carbon uptake by the combined terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks… Sulfate aerosols from coal burning also might increase carbon uptake by increasing the proportion of diffuse insolation, as noted above for Pinatubo aerosols, even though the total solar radiation reaching the surface is reduced…
Reduction of the net human-made climate forcing by aerosols has been described as a ‘Faustian bargain’ (Hansen and Lacis 1990, Hansen 2009), because the aerosols constitute deleterious particulate air pollution. Reduction of the net climate forcing by half will continue only if we allow air pollution to build up to greater and greater amounts.
Let’s review. The airborne fraction carbon dioxide has fallen since 2000. And, as a result, global temperatures did not rise as projected. Even though there were no large volcanic eruptions. Which cause global cooling. Tropical forest deforestation and re-growth are balancing each other out. So that’s not a factor in this decline of airborne carbon dioxide. Which leaves the sole remaining answer for the decline in airborne carbon dioxide levels as China’s and India’s explosion in new coal-fired power plants. Yes, the wonderful air pollution from burning coal apparently cools the planet. Like a volcanic eruption does.
Are you seeing the bigger picture here? For a hundred years or so the Industrial Revolution belched so much ash, soot, smoke, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the air that it left black clouds over cities. And a layer of soot and ash on everything. This is why we electrified trains in our cities. To keep coal-fired locomotives and their great black plumes of smoke out of the cities. Was there a global warming problem then? No. That didn’t come into vogue until Al Gore started talking about it in the Nineties. When the planet was doomed if we didn’t act immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Despite only a few years earlier the climate scientists were warning us of the coming ice age. Probably because of all that global cooling from our coal-fired power plants, steam engines and locomotives.
As oil, gas and electricity replaced coal-fired boilers everywhere (we even used coal in our home furnaces) all that pollution from coal went away. And then came the Nineties. And catastrophic global warming. Just as China and India began to incorporate some capitalism into their economies. Which they fed with electricity provided by more and more coal-fired power plants. And as they belched all that wonderful pollution into the air the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide as well as global temperatures fell. So I ask again, do you see the bigger picture here?
Yes, global warming is man-made. At least this is what one can conclude from this paper. And it is the climate scientists who made it. By telling us to reduce all of the cooling emissions from our coal-fired power plants. But, thankfully, the Indians and the Chinese still care enough about Mother Earth to pump those cooling emissions into the air. And gave us a reprieve from the global warming apocalypse. But if the climate scientists get their way they’ll bring on that apocalypse. By pressuring China and India to stop putting those cooling emissions into the air. And for the sake of the planet we can only hope that they don’t succumb to that pressure.
Something the American left really wants is a carbon trading system. For this in conjunction with a national health care system would give the government great control over the private sector. Because health care is one-sixth of the U.S. economy. And everything takes energy. So everything would be subject to the government’s carbon oversight.
A carbon trading system would basically turn carbon emissions (i.e., polluting greenhouse gases) into a commodity. If you want to pollute you must pay to pollute. By buying carbon permits to pollute. Or paying carbon taxes. Those who pollute heavily must buy more permits/pay more taxes. Those who pollute less buy fewer permits/pay fewer taxes. The idea is to take money from the polluters to give to others to reduce their carbon emissions. Thus giving everyone an incentive not to pollute. And a net zero carbon emission. But in reality it’s just another way for government to pull more wealth out of the private economy so they can spend it how they want to spend it. Rewarding their campaign contributors. And providing businesses access to unneeded subsidies (see Auditor general delivers damning report on B.C.’s carbon trading system, Crown corporation that managed funds by Gordon Hoekstra posted 3/27/2013 on The Vancouver Sun).
B.C. auditor general John Doyle delivered a damning report Wednesday on the province’s controversial carbon trading system and the Crown corporation Pacific Carbon Trust.
The report concludes the government did not reach its goal of carbon neutrality in 2010, the year under examination, because the carbon offsets it purchased that year were not credible…
…NDP environment critic Rob Fleming said it’s time to look at changes to the PCT, including ending transfers of public money for emission-reduction projects.
He was referring to the fact that the carbon trading system involves transferring public money from institutions like hospitals and universities to the private sector so the government can declare the public sector is carbon-neutral…
Under the carbon system, public institutions such as hospitals and universities have so far paid more than $50 million for their carbon emissions. That money has been used to fund greenhouse gas reductions projects at private sector pulp mills, sawmills, gas drilling rigs, hotels and greenhouses.
The idea is the reduction projects in the private sector offset emissions in the public sector to zero, allowing the B.C. Liberal government to claim it is carbon neutral.
That’s a first. Transfer money from sick people to give to businesses in the private sector. So hospitals can pollute. Kind of a strange thing for a government to do that puts profits before people.
Of course the big question is who measures the change in carbon emissions? And how? For you can’t put a carbon meter on your business. It takes math. And some assumptions. You can tie it to one’s electrical consumption. But if the user is attached to a section of grid powered by both a coal-fired power plant and a nuclear power plant that’s more math. And more assumptions. Did your power come from the polluting coal-fired power plant? Or the emissions-free nuclear power plant? And what about burning fossil fuels? Did the fuel someone burn come from a refinery that processes a high-sulfur oil (sour crude)? Or a low-sulfur oil (sweet crude)? More math. More assumptions.
When it comes to carbon emissions you can’t really measure emissions. You have to measure inputs. Such as electric power. Consuming a lot of electric power could put a lot of carbon emissions into the air. But not where the consumer uses that electric power. But back at the power station that produced that electric power. So who pays those carbon permits/taxes. The user? Such as a hospital? Or the power plant? Or both?
Anything so complicated makes it easier for people to game the system. Which is what is happening in Canada. And why despite spending C$50 million of public money the B.C. Liberal government is not carbon-neutral.
A Lit Match heats the Fuel Absorbed into a Wick, Vaporizes it, Mixes it with Oxygen and Ignites It
Fire changed the world. From when Homo erectus first captured it. Around 600,000 BC. In China. They saw it. Maybe following a lightning strike. Seeing it around volcanic activity. Perhaps a burning natural gas vent. Whatever. They saw fire. Approached it. And learned not to fear it. How to add fuel to it. To transfer it to another fuel source. To carry it. They couldn’t create fire. But they could manage it. And use it. It was warm. And bright. So they brought it indoors. To light up their caves. Scare the predators out. To use it to heat. And to cook. Taking a giant leap forward for mankind.
When man moved into man-made dwellings they brought fire with them. At first a one-room structure with a fire in the center of it. And a hole in the roof above it. Where everyone gathered around to eat. Stay warm. Sleep. Even to make babies. As there wasn’t a lot of modesty back then. Not that anyone complained much. What was a little romance next to you when you were living in a room full of smoke, soot and ash? Fireplaces and chimneys changed all that. Back to back fireplaces could share a chimney. Providing more heat and light. Less smoke and ash. And a little privacy. Where the family could be in one room eating, staying warm, reading, playing games and sleeping. While the grownups could make babies in the other room.
As we advanced so did our literacy. After a hard day’s work we went inside. After the sun set. To read. Write letters. Do some paperwork for the business. Write an opera. Whatever. Even during the summer time. When it was warm. And we didn’t have a large fire burning in the fireplace. But we could still see to read and write. Thanks to candles. And oil lamps. One using a liquid fuel. One using a solid fuel. But they both operate basically the same. The wick draws liquid (or liquefied) fuel via capillary action. Where a porous substance placed into contact with a liquid will absorb that liquid. Like a paper towel or a sponge. When you place a lit match into contact with the wick it heats the fuel absorbed into the wick and vaporizes it. Mixing it with the oxygen in the air. And ignites it. Creating a flame. The candle works the same way only starting with a solid fuel. The match melts the top of this fuel and liquefies it. Then it works the same way as an oil lamp. With the heat of the flame melting the solid fuel to continue the process.
Placing a Mantle over a Flame created Light through Incandescence (when a Heated Object emits Visible Light)
Two popular oils were olive oil and whale oil. Beeswax and tallow were common solid fuels. Candles set the standard for noting lighting intensity. One candle flame produced one candlepower. Or ‘candela’ as we refer to it now. (Which equals about 13 lumens – the amount of light emitted by a source). If you placed multiple candles into a candelabrum you could increase the lighting intensity. Three candles gave you 3 candela of light to read or write by. A chandelier with numerous candles suspended from the ceiling could illuminate a room. This artificial light shortened the nights. And increased the working day. In the 19th century John D. Rockefeller gave the world a new fuel for their oil lamps. Kerosene. Refined from petroleum oil. And saved the whales. By providing a more plentiful fuel. At cheaper prices.
By shortening the nights we also made our streets safer. Some cities passed laws for people living on streets to hang a lamp or two outside. To light up the street. Which did indeed help make the streets brighter. And safer. To improve on this street lighting idea required a new fuel. Something in a gas form. Something that you could pump into a piping system and route to the new street lamps. A gas kept under a slight pressure so that it would flow up the lamp post. Where you opened the gas spigot at night. And lit the gas. And the lamp glowed until you turned off the gas spigot in the morning. Another advantage of gas lighting was it didn’t need wicks. Just a nozzle for the gas to come out of where you could light it. So there was no need to refuel or to replace the wicks. Thus allowing them to stay lit for long periods with minimum maintenance. We later put a mantle over the flame. And used the flame to heat the mantle which then glowed bright white. A mantle is like a little bag that fits over the flame made out of a heat resistant fabric. Infused into the fabric are things that glow white when heated. Rare-earth metallic salts. Which change into solid oxides when heated to incandescence (when a heated object emits visible light).
One of the first gases we used was coal-gas. Discovered in coal mines. And then produced outside of a coal mine from mined coal. It worked great. But when it burned it emitted carbon. Like all these open flames did. Which is a bit of a drawback for indoor use. Filling your house up with smoke. And soot. Not to mention that other thing. Filling up your house with open flames. Which can be very dangerous indoors. So we enclosed some of these flames. Placing them in a glass chimney. Or glass boxes. As in street lighting. Enclosing the flame completely (but with enough venting to sustain the flame) to prevent the rain form putting it out. This glass, though, blackened from all that carbon and soot. Adding additional maintenance. But at least they were safer. And less of a fire hazard. Well, at least less of one type of fire hazard. From the flame. But there was another hazard. We were piping gas everywhere. Outside. Into buildings. Even into our homes. Where it wasn’t uncommon for this gas to go boom. Particularly dangerous were theatres. Where they turned on the gas. And then went to each gas nozzle with an open fire on a stick to light them. And if they didn’t move quickly enough the theatre filled with a lot of gas. An enclosed space filled with a lot of gas with someone walking around with an open fire on a stick. Never a good thing.
Fluorescent Lighting is the Lighting of Choice in Commercial, Professional and Institutional Buildings
Thomas Edison fixed all of these problems. By finding another way to produce incandescence. By running an electrical current through a filament inside a sealed bulb. The current heated the filament to incandescence. Creating a lot of heat. And some visible light. First filaments were carbon based. Then tungsten became the filament of choice. Because they lasted longer. At first the bulbs contained a vacuum. But they found later that a noble gas prevented the blackening of the bulb. The incandescent light bulb ended the era of gas lighting. For it was safer. Required less maintenance. And was much easier to operate. All you had to do was flick a switch. As amazing as the incandescent light bulb was it had one big drawback. Especially when we use a lot of them indoors. That heat. As the filament produced far more heat than light. Which made hot buildings hotter. And made air conditioners work harder getting that heat out of the building. Enter the fluorescent lamp.
If phosphor absorbs invisible short-wave ultraviolet radiation it will fluoresce. And emit long-wave visible light. But not through incandescence. But by luminescence. Instead of using heat to produce light this process uses cooler electromagnetic radiation. Which forms the basis of the fluorescent lamp. A gas-discharge lamp. The most common being the 4-foot tube you see in office buildings. This tube has an electrode at each end. Contains a noble gas (outer shell of valence electrons are full and not chemically reactive or electrically conductive) at a low pressure. And a little bit of mercury. When we turn on the lamp we create an electric field between the electrodes. As it grows in intensity it eventually pulls electrons out of their valence shell ionizing the gas into an electrically conductive plasma. This creates an arc between the electrodes. This charged plasma field excites the mercury. Which produces the invisible short-wave ultraviolet radiation that the phosphor absorbs. Causing fluorescence.
One candle produces about 13 lumens of light. Barely enough to read and write by. Whereas a 100W incandescent light bulb produces about 1,600 lumens. The equivalent of 123 candles. In other words, one incandescent lamp produces the same amount of light as a 123-candle chandelier. Without the smoke, soot or fire hazard. And the compact fluorescent lamp improves on this. For a 26W compact fluorescent lamp can produce the lumen output of a 100W incandescent light bulb. A one-to-one tradeoff on lighting output. At a quarter of the power consumption. And producing less heat due to creating light from fluorescence instead of incandescence. Making fluorescent lighting the lighting of choice in commercial, professional and institutional buildings. And any other air conditioned space with large lighting loads.
With the Steam Engine we could Build Factories Anywhere and Connect them by Railroads
Iron has been around for a long time. The Romans used it. And so did the British centuries later. They kicked off the Industrial Revolution with iron. And ended it with steel. Which was nothing to sneeze at. For the transition from iron to steel changed the world. And the United States. For it was steel that made the United States the dominant economy in the world.
The Romans mined coal in England and Wales. Used it as a fuel for ovens to dry grain. And for smelting iron ore. After the Western Roman Empire collapsed, so did the need for coal. But it came back. And the demand was greater than ever. Finding coal, though, required deeper holes. Below the water table. And holes below the water table tended to fill up with water. To get to the coal, then, you had to pump out the water. They tried different methods. But the one that really did the trick was James Watt’s steam engine attached to a pump.
The steam engine was a game changer. For the first time man could make energy anywhere he wanted. He didn’t have to find running water to turn a waterwheel. Depend on the winds. Or animal power. With the steam engine he could build a factory anywhere. And connect these factories together with iron tracks. On which a steam-powered locomotive could travel. Ironically, the steam engine burned the very thing James Watt designed it to help mine. Coal.
Andrew Carnegie made Steel so Inexpensive and Plentiful that he Built America
Iron was strong. But steel was stronger. And was the metal of choice. Unfortunately it was more difficult to make. So there wasn’t a lot of it around. Making it expensive. Unlike iron. Which was easier to make. You heated up (smelted) iron ore to burn off the stuff that wasn’t iron from the ore. Giving you pig iron. Named for the resulting shape at the end of the smelting process. When the molten iron was poured into a mold. There was a line down the center where the molten metal flowed. And then branched off to fill up ingots. When it cooled it looked like piglets suckling their mother. Hence pig iron.
Pig iron had a high carbon content which made it brittle and unusable. Further processing reduced the carbon content and produced wrought iron. Which was usable. And the dominate metal we used until steel. But to get to steel we needed a better way of removing the residual carbon from the iron ore smelting process. Something Henry Bessemer discovered. Which we know as the Bessemer process. Bessemer mass-produced steel in England by removing the impurities from pig iron by oxidizing them. And he did this by blowing air through the molten iron.
Andrew Carnegie became a telegraph operator at Pennsylvania Railroad Company. He excelled, moved up through the company and learned the railroad business. He used his connections to invest in railroad related industries. Iron. Bridges. And Rails. He became rich. He formed a bridge company. And an ironworks. Traveling in Europe he saw the Bessemer process. Impressed, he took that technology and created the Lucy furnace. Named after his wife. And changed the world. His passion to constantly reduce costs led him to vertical integration. Owning and controlling the supply of raw materials that fed his industries. He made steel so inexpensive and plentiful that he built America. Railroads, bridges and skyscrapers exploded across America. Cities and industries connected by steel tracks. On which steam locomotives traveled. Fueled by coal. And transporting coal. As well as other raw materials. Including the finished goods they made. Making America the new industrial and economic superpower in the world.
Knowing the Market Price of Steel Carnegie reduced his Costs of Production to sell his Steel below that Price
Andrew Carnegie became a rich man because of capitalism. He lived during great times. When entrepreneurs could create and produce with minimal government interference. Which is why the United States became the dominant industrial and economic superpower.
The market set the price of steel. Not a government bureaucrat. This is key in capitalism. Carnegie didn’t count labor inputs to determine the price of his steel. No. Instead, knowing the market price of steel he did everything in his powers to reduce his costs of production so he could sell his steel below that price. Giving steel users less expensive steel. Which was good for steel users. As well as everyone else. But he did this while still making great profits. Everyone was a winner. Except those who sold steel at higher prices who could no longer compete.
Carnegie spent part of his life accumulating great wealth. And he spent the latter part of his life giving that wealth away. He was one of the great philanthropists of all time. Thanks to capitalism. The entrepreneurial spirit. And the American dream. Which is individual liberty. That freedom to create and produce. Like Carnegie did. Just as entrepreneurs everywhere have been during since we allowed them to profit from risk taking.
It’s pretty sad when a nation’s green energy policies requires an energy bill to ‘keep the lights on’. But that’s precisely what’s happening in Britain. Because they agreed to give up good, reliable electric power generation for something that may not be able to keep the lights on (see Energy Bill: The Plan To Keep UK’s Lights On by Gerard Tubb posted 11/18/2012 on Sky News).
The energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey, has to balance the need to create new generating capacity with commitments to a low carbon future and more electricity from renewable sources.
Many power stations are coming to the end of their life and the Government estimates it will cost £110bn to replace and improve electricity infrastructure over the next decade…
Electricity use is increasing, with suggestions that demand could double by 2050…
The UK is signed up to providing 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and to reducing to zero the amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere from electricity generation.
Electricity use is on pace to double by 2050 and the UK is decommissioning power plants and spending a fortune on electric generation from renewable sources. Going from reliable power generation to intermittent power generation. Which is nothing more than a step backward to a time before Margaret Thatcher. And a return to the British Disease (strikes, industrial unrest and frequent power outages). Or worse. For the environmentalists would have Britain go back to the time of Stonehenge if they had their way. A time when there was no electricity. Or man-made carbon in the atmosphere. Or indoor plumbing, air conditioning, refrigerators, telephones, etc. Now that would make the environmentalists happy. Abject misery for the human race.
Life was pretty precarious back in the 3rd century BC. We’re lucky the human race survived to make it here today. A time where life is not so precarious. Thanks to technology. Especially electricity. Which helps keep our food safe, our water safe, our homes warm in the winter and allows hospitals to save lives. Just look to the recent devastation of Hurricane Sandy. And how the loss of electric power took away safe food, safe water, warm homes and life-saving hospitals from the victims of that storm.
Electric power saves lives. And makes those lives safer. We should not be compromising our electric power to ‘save the world’ from global warming. At least not until man-made carbon moves the glaciers as far as Mother Nature did during the Ice Ages.
In the war to save the world from global warming one of the first campaigns was the battle against coal. The backbone of baseload power. One of the most reliable means to generate electric power. Fed by a large domestic supply of coal. You could always count on power being there in your homes with our coal-fired power plants feeding the electric grid. But coal had to go. Because they were melting the Arctic ice cap. And raising ocean levels. Not quite like they did during the Ice Ages when glaciers covered most of the Northern Hemisphere. Until global warming pushed them back a couple of thousand miles or so. At a time when only Mother Nature released the carbon boogeyman into the atmosphere. But we ignore this historical climate record. And only pay attention to temperature changes that suit the global warming agenda. Because the real goal of the war to save the world from global warming is to expand government control into the private sector economy.
Australia wants to show the world that they take global warming serious. They enacted a carbon tax. To help fund their investment into renewable energy sources. Which has increased the cost of electric power. And if the carbon tax and higher utility prices weren’t enough they also are talking about raising their GST. Of course the GST has nothing to do with climate change. But it just goes to show that Australia is trying hard to raise tax revenue. Which is perhaps the driving force behind their carbon tax. Revenue. On top of this there is a growing opposition to the only source of power generation that can duplicate what coal-fired power plants can do but without the pollution (see Meltdown fears crush case for nuclear power – Brisbane Times posted 11/11/2012 on Canberra Hub).
THE Fukushima nuclear accident has quashed consideration of nuclear power in Australia, with the government’s energy white paper arguing there is no compelling economic case for it and insufficient community acceptance…
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has said it should remain ”a live debate”. Foreign Minister Bob Carr said before he re-entered politics: ”I support nuclear power because I take global warming so very seriously … [it] should certainly play a role in Australia’s future mix of energy sources.”
Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has said it should be considered ”in the mix” and Senator Barnaby Joyce has said: ”If we are fair dinkum [i.e., truthful] about reducing carbon emissions … then uranium is where it’s going to be…”
Labor argues nuclear power is not economically necessary in Australia, since the carbon tax and the renewable energy target are already shifting power generation to renewables.
There are some fundamental truths about power generation. Coal, natural gas, and petroleum provide reliable and abundant electric power while being safe but they pollute. Nuclear power provides reliable electric power without any pollution but can be dangerous. Though for the half century or so we’ve been using nuclear power the number of accidents that have claimed human lives is statistically insignificant.
There have been about 68 people killed in nuclear power accidents If you count the future cancer deaths from the Chernobyl accident you can raise that to about 4,000. Fukushima in Japan claimed no lives other than one apparent heart attack someone had carrying heavy things in the aftermath of the accident. It was nowhere near as bad as Chernobyl. But if it, too, claimed 4,000 lives in future cancer deaths that brings the total death toll from nuclear power to approximately 8,000 deaths for the half century or so we’ve been using it. Sounds like a lot. But you know what nuclear power is safer than? Driving your car. In 2010 the number of motor vehicle deaths was just over 32,000. Again, that’s for one year. Making nuclear power far safer than getting into your car.
The opposition to nuclear power is based on fear. And politics. Not the facts. Yes, nuclear power accidents are scary. But there are very few nuclear power accidents. For a statistically insignificant risk of a nuclear catastrophe we’re giving up the only baseload power source than can do what coal can do. Give us abundant and reliable electric power. But without the pollution. However, they oppose nuclear power. Not because of facts but because of irrational fear and scaremongering. And if we know they’re doing this for nuclear power can we not conclude that they’re doing the same thing in the war to save the world from global warming? Especially considering how many thousands of miles glaciers moved long before man released any carbon into the atmosphere? Yes. We can believe they base their war to save the world from global warming on nothing but irrational fear and scaremongering.
We have new ‘scientific’ evidence that global warming will be worse than we thought possible. Because of carbon we can’t see. But know it is there. Just waiting to unleash more global warming on us. Oh, the humanity (see Antarctica’s Hidden Carbon Stores Pose Warming Risk in Study by Alex Morales posted 8/30/2012 on Bloomberg).
Antarctic researchers found as much as 400 billion metric tons of carbon hidden under the ice sheets, with the potential to seep out as methane and accelerate global warming…
“There’s a potentially large pool of methane hydrate in part of the Earth where we haven’t previously considered it,” Wadham said in a telephone interview. “Depending on where that hydrate is, and how much there is, if the ice thins in those regions, some of that hydrate could come out with a possible feedback on climate…”
“That hydrate is stable as long as you don’t change the temperature or pressure,” she said. “In Antarctica, though you might not have a big temperature change at the bed of the ice sheet, if the ice thins, the pressure drops and some of that hydrate could be converted into gas bubbles and then lost…”
Wadham’s team used computer models to predict how much methane might be trapped under the ice. They also tested sub- glacial soils from Antarctica and the Arctic in laboratory conditions to confirm organisms in the earth below the ice can produce methane. It isn’t yet possible to say over what period it may escape because of the “many uncertainties,” she said.
So there may be an enormous amount of carbon hidden where we can’t see it. Based on computer models with “many uncertainties.” So people who want to find carbon trapped under the ice to raise alarms about further global warming have programmed their computer models to show that there is carbon trapped under the ice. Guess those “many uncertainties” come in handy. To let you produce the data you want to find.
Okay, if there’s bad stuff under the ice we need to keep it under the ice. Right? I mean, that’s the danger of the melting ice sheets, yes? It provides a pathway for this carbon to enter the atmosphere. So what should we do right now?
“All these things throw up more questions than answers initially,” Wadham said. “That provides you with a reason to go to look to perhaps drill into sediments underneath the ice sheet to see if hydrates are there.”
Huh? Wouldn’t drilling a hole through the ice provide a pathway for the carbon to enter the atmosphere? Sort of like an oil well striking oil. Only the gusher will be methane from the carbon we’ll release. If this is the case then we can blame global warming on all these ‘scientists’ messing around where they shouldn’t be. And not on manmade warming from our modern world. For it does seem that all our global warming has been happening while these ‘scientists’ have been looking for it. And these temperatures have been rising while we’ve never reduced our air pollution levels more. Something just doesn’t add up. And it all seems to go back to these ‘scientists’. As if they’re creating global warming just to blame on the modern industrial economy. And the businesses that create it.
A bit farfetched. But it would definitely keep the government research money coming in. Especially if the government can use their findings to enact further environmental regulations on businesses. Such as impose a carbon tax. Sell carbon permits. Or initiate some carbon emissions trading scheme. Which would bring enormous amounts of money into government coffers. But that’s crazy talk. The government would never do that. It’s just a coincidence that this push for new carbon revenue coincides with all these government budget shortfalls throughout the world.
The UN is still trying to impose a carbon trading scheme on the world. To fight global warming. Perhaps by 2015. To make people pay them (or their governments that fund the UN) for burning carbon. To create an egalitarian world. With them sitting at the top. More equal than others (see U.S. affirms support for U.N. climate goal after criticism by Alister Doyle posted 8/8/2012 on Reuters).
Almost 200 nations, including the United States, have agreed to limit rising temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times to avoid dangerous changes such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
The EU Commission, small island states and environmental activists urged the world to stick to the target on Tuesday, fearing that Washington was withdrawing support. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degree C…
Many scientists say the 2 degrees target is getting out of reach because of rising emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.
Emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, rose 3.1 percent in 2011 to a record high. The decade ending in 2010 was the warmest since records began in the mid-19th century, U.N. data show.
Anyone else see the fatal flaw in this plan? It assumes man alone controls global temperatures. Which we don’t. We had the Little Ice Age following the Medieval Warm Period. It wasn’t glaciers reaching halfway down North America but cool, wet growing seasons reduced harvests. And caused some famine. And this was before we burned gasoline in our cars. And coal in our steam engines during the Industrial Revolution. Man didn’t cause these global changes. Man just suffered through them.
And speaking of the Ice Ages, what about the Ice Ages? Just what made the glaciers advance then recede? These even preceded man’s use of fire. So it clearly was something else cooling and warming the planet. Unless we were a far gassier people back then. (If so lucky for them there were no open flames.)
The planet warms and cools. It did so before man burned fossil fuels with a vengeance. And after man burned fossil fuels with a vengeance. If the temperature moves a degree in one direction or the other there is absolutely no way to know if that was just a natural change (like through 99.9% of the planet’s existence – including those ice ages) or if it was caused by man (whose been around approximately 0.1% of the planet’s existence).
This isn’t science. This is politics. A way for the anti-Capitalists to turn back the hands of time. And make life truly unpleasant for the masses. As they produce an egalitarian world. Where everyone suffers equally. Except those sitting at the top ensuring the world is fair and just. As they determine what fair and just to be. The UN. The world’s overlords. Once they control the world’s economies, that is.
The Maldives is an archipelago about 1 meter above sea level in the Indian Ocean off India. It’s a tropical paradise that survives on tourism. Now they want to tax their tourists to become carbon neutral. Despite the fact that tourists fly in to these islands on big polluting airplanes (see Maldives eyes $100 million tourist tax for CO2 plan by Nina Chestney, Reuters, posted 7/7/2012 on MSNBC).
A voluntary tax on tourists who visit the luxury resorts and white sands of the Maldives could raise up to $100 million a year towards the country’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2020, President Mohamed Waheed said…
“We have proposed the idea of a voluntary fund for air travelers coming to the Maldives. Even if each tourist contributed $10, that’s $10 million (a year) for us and a substantial contribution to the carbon neutral program,” he told Reuters this week…
The Maldives is reliant on imported fuel, like diesel, to generate electricity, which is estimated to have cost its economy around $240 million last year.
I’m not sure how that math works. The voluntary tax could raise up to $100 million. Or $10 million. Which means they have from 1 million to 10 million tourists each year. Based on an approximate seating capacity of 500, that’s 2,000 to 20,000 roundtrips for a Boeing 747-400. Or from 6 to 55 per day. At the low end that’s a 747-400 landing or taking off every 2 hours each day. That’s a lot of carbon. Which they can’t get rid of. Unless they give up their tourist industry. And “75-80 percent” of their economy.
It has now embarked on a $1.1-billion plan to generate 60 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Around 50 percent would come from solar photovoltaic power and the remaining 10 percent from wind energy and biofuels, Waheed said.
The country is rapidly trying to introduce solar in the capital Male and three islands which make up the greater Male area, covering about a third of the population.
It has plans to install about 2-3 megawatts (MW) of solar in the Male area but it would probably need 40 MW to meet electricity demand.
Interesting. They’re going to replace 50% of their electrical capacity with 2-3 MW of photovoltaic power. Which is only about 7.5% of the 40 MW they want to replace. Of course the capacity factor of what they’re replacing, diesel-generated electricity, is about 90%. While they’ll be lucky to get a 30% capacity factor from their solar cells. Reducing that 3 MW to 0.9 MW. Or about 2.3% of that 40 MW they’re replacing with it. Which means their diesel generators will keep running. Or there will be nothing but romantic moon-filled and candle-lit evenings. And cool ocean breezes. Even in their hospitals.
Perhaps they could find something better to spend that $1.1-billion on.