Climate clippings 137

1. Unburnable Carbon: Why we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground

That’s the title of a new report from the Climate Council.

    To have a 75% chance of meeting the 2°C warming limit, at least 77% of the world’s fossil fuels cannot be burned.

    Coal is the fossil fuel with the greatest proportion that cannot be used; 88% of global reserves are unburnable.

    If all of Australia’s coal resources were burned, it would consume two-thirds of the global carbon budget (based on a 75% chance to meet the 2°C warming limit).

    It is likely that over 90% of Australian coal reserves are unburnable under even the most generous carbon budget.

Of course if you’ve been hereabouts for any length of time you’ll understand that 75% does not constitute an acceptable risk and then there is The folly of two degrees. To be fair the report itself, as distinct from the summary above, does discuss the dangers of warming of less than 2°C.

2. Report warns of health impacts

    “A group of eminent scientists are warning Australia needs to adapt to deal with the health impact of global warming. The Academy of Science’s latest report predicts tropical diseases will spread more quickly, and food and water shortages will lead to migrating workforces and increasing risks of conflict unless governments work to combat the consequences of climate change.”

Last year 60 of the country’s best and brightest, from doctors to welfare experts, met and considered health impacts under the headings: Extreme weather events, Disease, Food and water, Jobs, and Security. They say Australia is not ready to cope with health impacts in these areas, much less so developing countries. Climate change, they say, has been caught up in politics rather than practical concerns.

3. Tesla launches its battery storage range

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has unveiled its battery storage range, including a “Powerwall” for home battery storage systems that will sell “to the installer” for $US3,000 for a 7kWh system. It will be offered in Australia from early 2016.

    “The centrepiece of the Tesla product range is the Tesla Powerwall – a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that Musk says it designed to store energy at a residential level for load shifting, backup power and self-consumption of solar power generation.

    It will consist of a lithium-ion battery pack, liquid thermal control system and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter. It can be mounted on the wall and is integrated with the local grid.”

It’s designed to be sexy and clean rather than stinky and ugly:


There’s more at Climate Progress.

4. Audi has a carbon-neutral diesel fuel

    “German car manufacturer Audi has reportedly invented a carbon-neutral diesel fuel, made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable energy sources. And the crystal clear ‘e-diesel’ is already being used to power the Audi A8 owned by the country’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka.

    The creation of the fuel is a huge step forward for sustainable transport, but the fact that it’s being backed by an automotive giant is even more exciting. Audi has now set up a pilot plant in Dresden, Germany, operated by clean tech company Sunfire, which will pump out 160 litres of the synthetic diesel every day in the coming months.”

5. HSBC lines up on solar becoming competitive

RenewEconomy has yet another story about the increasing competitiveness of solar. HSBC, in a research report entitled The Rise of Renewables, says renewable energy is now becoming mainstream. They also say that irrespective of economics, schemes to replace coal with gas won’t cut it in terms of the required emissions reduction for a 2°C temperature rise. The thick black line in the graph below indicates where emissions will trend in the so-called “gas transition”:


This Treehugger article has some charts showing why solar is going to take over the world. This one shows the cost relativity with fossil fuels:


From September last year, solar PV is cheaper for Indian users than the electricity price needed to pay for imports of coal from Australia.

Yet fossil fuel companies barrel on regardless while the Church of England divests its tar sands and thermal coal investments.

And the Pope, top officials from the Vatican, the head of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon and leading scientists came together at a summit in Vatican City to label the fight against man-made climate change as a “moral issue.”

6. Direct Action could morph into carbon pricing

Lenore Taylor is one of the better journalists on climate change issues. In this article she says that the so-called “safeguards” mechanism for big emitters within the Direct Action program could morph post 2020 into an emissions trading scheme. Greg Hunt:

    “It is is a two-part system. An emissions reduction fund which has a long term future … (and) the safeguards mechanism which allows us to work with individual firms on a budget which can be adjusted and progressively tightened throughout the 2020s through to 2030 and 2040 and 2050,” he said.

Working with the big polluters may in effect turn into a baseline and credit emissions trading scheme. That would be stunning!

One thought on “Climate clippings 137”

  1. Yes. Did hear about the Tesla innovation.

    At first glance, it looks beaut – however, given Australia’s long and ignoble tradition of allowing spoilers and visionless nong-nongs to kill off any and every innovation because they might hurt their short-term profits or because the nong-nongs are too thick to see advantages in something novel, I cant give the Tesla innovation the chance of a snowball in hell here in Australia. Wonder what legislative impediments the nong-nongs will dream up to stop it?

    7KW per house? Wow!

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