Climate clippings 115: beyond coal

1. Liddell to go

The die was cast at the AGL annual general meeting. Liddell will be closed and not sold.

    Mr Vesey spent the bulk of his address explaining how AGL would replace the capacity lost at Liddell, including new wind and solar farms, up to 750 megawatts of new gas-fired plants and a 100-megawatt upgrade to the more modern and larger Bayswater coal plant nearby. A 250 MW battery at Liddell and demand response will also come into play, he said.

Continue reading Climate clippings 115: beyond coal

Gas to burn, but at what cost?

Four and a half years ago, at the national conference of the AWU in 2013, general secretary Paul Howes issued a warning:

    Howes warned that unless some gas was reserved for domestic use, and limits on coal seam gas extraction were lifted, the massive investment boom in LNG would soon affect the supply and price of domestic gas. And consumers, business and manufacturers would all suffer.

    “This is one of the most important resolutions we’ll debate at this conference,” he said.

Continue reading Gas to burn, but at what cost?

Are we serious about our Paris commitments?

The Australia Institute has looked at the penetration of renewables required in the electricity market to meet our Paris commitments, and come to the conclusion that we need from 66 to 75% renewables by 2030, rather than the weak 26-28% currently being assumed in relation to the Finkel review.

The basic issue is simple. If we don’t maximise the reductions in the electricity sector, we’ll have trouble meeting our overall Paris commitment, full stop. It will require a large and expensive effort in other areas such as agriculture. Completely decarbonising electricity was always the low hanging fruit. We appear to be ignoring this strategy completely, and the new report does not help all that much. Continue reading Are we serious about our Paris commitments?

Storms for our grandchildren

For me the main point of George Monbiot’s article about Hurricane Harvey is that the course we are currently on to achieve 3.5 to 4°C of warming by the end of the century is equivalent in magnitude to the change between the last ice age and the balmy times of the Holocene. To talk about whether this or that extreme weather event was caused by anthropogenically induced climate change seems beside the point.

The short answer is that everything about the climate has changed, so we are experiencing a climate that is different from how it would have been, and it will change much more during the life spans of the next few generations. Generally speaking, as Climate Central’s Climate Extremes Index indicates, extreme weather events are on the increase: Continue reading Storms for our grandchildren

“Mutti” Merkel looks a certainty

I’m told Germans have little respect for politicians, rating them at the bottom of the pile. Generally, though, they are said to be courteous, even boring in how they conduct their politics, although it doesn’t altogether look that way from the outside.

However, this time policies are not so much to the fore, it’s really about the Merkel model of how to succeed in politics – unobtrusive, appearing ordinary and not of the elite, Continue reading “Mutti” Merkel looks a certainty

Saturday salon 23/9

1. Same sex marriage campaign goes ape

All day yesterday I heard that a same-sex marriage campaigner planted one on Tony Abbott, with Abbott and all and sundry saying it’s emblematic of how the Yes campaign is being prosecuted.

Turns out that 38-year-old Hobart DJ Astro ‘Funknukl’ Labe reckons:

    he is a lone anarchist that “felt the need to headbutt Tony Abbott because I didn’t think it was an opportunity I’d get again”.

Continue reading Saturday salon 23/9

AGL struggles daily to keep Liddell going, and looks to ‘flexible’ power

According to the AFR, AGL Energy faces “a huge daily challenge” just to keep its “geriatric” Liddell coal-fired power station running and will need to spend up to $150 million just to “keep our noses above water” until 2022. It will cost $900 million to keep it open for another 10 years, as Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg would have it.

“It’s exceptionally challenging,” AGL Macquarie general manager Kate Coates told the group of press representatives and other interested persons on the tour on Tuesday. Continue reading AGL struggles daily to keep Liddell going, and looks to ‘flexible’ power

Coal now in short supply!

Former PM Tony Abbott said it would be “unconscionable” to adopt a clean energy target and he would cross the floor rather than vote for it, adding that his government had been elected “to abolish the carbon tax and end Labor’s climate change obsessions to go further down the renewables path.” He said there was “no chance” the party room would support a “significant increase in the amount of renewables in our system” and called for Hazelwood 2.0.

On the same day, the AFR’s front-page headline was New threat to power supply, the problem being that coal-fired power stations in NSW are struggling to find enough coal. Continue reading Coal now in short supply!

Does the Government want to solve the energy crisis?

Last week ended with talk of breaking up AGL, along with experinced political journalist Philip Coorey saying:

    It is becoming more apparent the government is as happy to have a fight as find a solution.

A fight over energy all the way to the next election could suit it very well, if the main priority is to “kill Bill”. What it says it wants is “dispatchable baseload”. Cheap dispatchable baseload, and for a sizable rump it must be with coal.

Of “dispatchable baseload”, Giles Parkinson asks is that a thing? Continue reading Does the Government want to solve the energy crisis?

Saturday salon 16/9: late edition

1. What happens when fools get to vote

Philosopher AC Grayling told Phillip Adams that just 26% of eligible voters voted in favour of Brexit, and exactly the same percentage voted for Trump. It doesn’t sound like democracy. BTW Google says that 36.8% voted for Hitler’s party in Germany.

Grayling says that Plato worried about democracy when everyone had the vote, although ‘everyone’ in Greece meant ‘citizens’, by definition male, and constituting about 20% of the adult population. Continue reading Saturday salon 16/9: late edition

Climate clippings 214

1. Trump’s climate vandalism continues

Trump has picked a Republican politician, Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma to oversee NASA, a job that often goes to astronauts or scientists.

    Bridenstine, who is the former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, said in a 2013 speech on the House floor: “Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago. Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles.”

Continue reading Climate clippings 214

Turnbull to walk away from the Clean Energy Target

According to Malcolm Farr, when the Finkel review appeared, this is what Malcolm Turnbull said about the Clean Energy Target:

    “Well it would certainly work, there is no question it would work and we are looking at it, giving it very favourable consideration.”

Rafael Epstein interviewing Josh Frydenberg on RN Drive replayed Turnbull’s audio, saying also the CET had “strong virtues”. Continue reading Turnbull to walk away from the Clean Energy Target

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff