skip to Main Content

Australian government invokes ‘can-do capitalism’ to save us from climate change – disaster awaits

Today, we have a guest blogger in the guise of Professor Scott Baum from Griffith University who has been one of my regular research colleagues over a long period of time. Today, he follows on from my previous post – The financial markets should be kept away from the climate crisis solution (November 10, 2021) – and discusses the failure of the Australian federal government to produce a workable net-zero emissions plan. So, it’s over to Scott.

The governments neo-liberal climate plan: can-do capitalism will save us all

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion in the Australian media about the federal government’s engagement with the whole COP26 fiasco in Glasgow.

I have seen the United Nation’s Conference of Parties (COP) 26 referred to by some as Source):

A grotesque mix of rent seekers, hangers-on and political wannabes.

Speaks volumes!

The Australian government’s involvement in the Glasgow shenanigans was making news early on when we had the Prime Minister refusing to go.

The SBS News article (October 1, 2021) – Scott Morrison confirms he’s unlikely to attend UN climate summit in Glasgow – claimed that he had already spent a lot of time in quarantine following overseas trips and he was not keen to have to spend another 14 days locked up in the Lodge.

For context, the Lodge is a 40-room Australian Georgian revival style mansion, located on “18,000 square metres (4.4 acres) of landscaped ground
(Source: Wikipedia).

It is the Prime minister’s residence in Canberra and is a far, far cry from the standard hotel room that others coming into Australia would have to endure during their quarantine period.

After some weeks, following national and international pressure, the PM announced that he changed his mind and would toddle off to Glasgow after all.

And then like magic, the government released – The Plan to Deliver Net Zero The Australian Way – which outlined how it was going to catapult Australia to net zero emissions by 2050.

The glossy 20-page brochure spoke volumes about the government’s lack of engagement in the whole affair.

Lots of pictures.

Lots of motherhood statements.

No action.

Apparently, this is the Australian way.

In between the glossiness and pictures we learn that the Australian way is:

… a uniquely Australian plan, because compared to other countries, we have different challenges and opportunities.

And the Australian way would focus

… on Australia’s national interest and securing our strengths by determining our own destiny.

So, pretty much the government’s plan would be to ignore what everyone else in the world is doing and ignore any international agreements that have been made, which the UK Guardian article (October 30, 2021) – Australia has trashed the Paris agreement and exposed itself as the worst kind of climate hypocrite – noted is par for the course.

The release of the “Plan to Reach Net-Zero: the Australian Way” document was accompanied by lots of debate and poorly timed comments from our elected officials in Canberra.

There are lots to pick from, but this interchange between the media and our Federal Resources Minister is one of my favourites.

We read in this UK Guardian article (October 21, 2021) – Nationals MP says solar won’t work in the dark as party makes wishlist for supporting net zero target – that when:

… asked whether he still believed that wind, solar and battery technology didn’t work and whether investments in renewable energy delivered little more than a “warm and fuzzy feeling” … [the Minister replied] … Find me a solar panel that works in the dark.

And, gems like this:

I say to those opposite are you seriously suggesting that when there’s no sun, solar works? This is just a fundamental fact.

Clearly, not everyone in Canberra is onboard with The Plan.

When our government officials finally made it up to Glasgow, they got into the swing of things.

The SBS news report (November 3, 2021) – Australia criticised over prominence of fossil fuel company display at COP26 stall – noted that the Australia’s shiny booth in the Exhibition Hall was fronted by one of our fossil fuel companies, showing off their best bit of Carbon Capture and Storage technology (did someone say pass the green-wash?).

The true flavour of the government’s plan became clear in many of the PMs comments.

Coming out of Glasgow we heard statements such as how our net-zero goals (Source):

… will be met by those who are frankly largely not in this room. It will be our scientists, our technologists, our engineers, our entrepreneurs, our industrialists and our financiers that will actually chart the path to net-zero …

And it is up to us as Leaders of governments to back them in …

Our researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and most importantly our people are ready. The Australian way is to bet on them — and we think that’s a good bet.

We also heard how (Source):

In Australia our journey to net zero is being led by world class pioneering Australian companies like Fortescue, led by Dr Andrew Forrest, Visy, BHP, Rio Tinto, AGL and so many more of all sizes.

That is, our mining and heavy industry companies.

Once safely back on Australian soil, the announcements kept coming thick and fast.

The government was on a roll with its latest catchy phrase ‘can-do capitalism’.

This is a government of catchy phrases rather than action.

To a bunch of so-called business leaders the PM announced that in relation to emissions reductions the government would be (Source):

… backing Australian businesses … Private sector “can-do capitalism”, not government policy, will be crucial to cutting carbon emissions … [and how] … Glasgow has marked the passing of the baton from targets and timetables … to private enterprise .

So, the government’s emission reduction plan is all about letting large corporations act in the country’s ‘best interests’ when it comes to meeting our net-zero emissions targets.

Sounds like letting the foxes guard the hen house.

Given this context, it is no wonder that Australia fell to 58th place in the global – Climate Change Performance Index – and came in dead last with regard to its policy response to climate change.

The summary of Australia’s position in the Climate Change Performance Index report is not quite as glossy as our emission reduction brochure suggests.

We read

The country receives ratings of very low for its performance in every CCPI category: GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, Energy Use, and Climate Policy.

The summary identifies that Australia’s plan reveals:

No new policies and plans

Reading through the Government’s Plan , we see a whole range of things the government had already previously announced, many of which had little directly to do with reaching net-zero.

The Climate Change Performance Index report also noted that:

The government does not have any policies on phasing out coal or gas, but CCUS (carbon capture and storage) and hydrogen are being promoted as low emissions technologies …

experts believe that Australia has failed to take advantage of its potential, and other countries have outpaced it. This failure to promote renewables is exacerbated by inadequate infrastructure investment, despite subsidies for fossil fuel production and promotion of a ‘gas-led’ economic recovery following COVID-19.

Ok, so not good, but also not much of a surprise.

It is not that the Australian government doesn’t have a plan, it’s just that the plan is rubbish.

The neoliberals would love it.

The plan removes much of the responsibility for reducing emissions from the government’s hands and places in the hands of corporate Australia.

Can-do capitalism!

What could possibly go wrong, after all, big business is much more efficient than government and large companies are all run by socially responsible souls who have the best interests of the country, society and environment at heart.

Right? (Note: a large serving of sarcasm).

Is a neoliberal emissions reduction plan what we need?

In a word: No.

The government needs to tear up (or at least press delete) its Net-zero emissions plan and return to the drawing board.

Luckily, there are lots of things they could do that would be a vast improvement on their current collection of ‘ideas’.

First, the government’s plan should immediately include a decision to phase out the production of fossil fuels and develop a just transition strategy for impacted workers, regions and communities.

We can read about the possibilities in this regard, from this Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) report from as far back as June 2008 – A Just Transition to a Renewable Energy Economy in the Hunter Region, Australia.

We learn that:

There can be major benefits … if there is a shift from coal-fired power generation to a renewable energy economy.

So researchers in this area (such as the team at CofFEE) have known about this for years.

The Government should recognise the importance of science and research in improving and developing innovative renewable energy solutions.

Rather than cutting university funding and sitting back while universities are forced to cut jobs and programs, they should provide adequate funding levels that at the very least offer some real increases in dollars.

Research centres such as CofFEE are always scratching around for funding yet are at the forefront of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) work and its application to issues such as climate change.

Adequate funding would allow universities to continue their important role in innovation and in developing (Source):

New knowledge and skills, the ability to develop and exploit new technologies, as well as understanding how technology and society interact …

Clearly in terms of reduction and understanding carbon emissions these

are all critical success factors that universities can contribute to in this ongoing process of change.

Second, the Government should recognise that for some households, the ability to engage in energy efficient solutions is severely curtailed by circumstances beyond their control.

Arguing that households will be better off and not impacted by new taxes is all fine and good, but understanding that there is an important social equity dimension that is overlooked is another (Source).

Third, the Government should ensure that sufficient and accurate information and education is available to offset the ‘fake news and scaremongering that surrounds much of the debate.

We don’t need our elected officials and others making comments such as (Source):

Find me a solar panel that works in the dark … [or] … energy and EV targets will kill the economy, bring an end to meat raffles, the sausage sizzle and perhaps even the weekend itself.

The reference to the destruction of the weekend was in relation to EVs, which the Government claimed would undermine our ability to tow boats and other items (jet skis, etc) to weekend play grounds.

We deserve much more grown-up debate and commentary than this!

These are a few things, but they are a good starting point.

Conclusion

It is ludicrous to think that the very organisations that are significant producers of carbon emissions will all-of-a-sudden become our savours.

The government needs to step away from its business led neo-liberal emissions reduction plan and embrace a program of policies that will work in the nation’s favour.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2021 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Spread the word ...
    This Post Has 15 Comments
    1. There was a surprising moment of truth and clarity hidden in that banal statement from the Prime Minister – “Can-do capitalism, not don’t-do government”. Do you see it?

      The Liberal Party, and neoliberals generally, can do capitalism, but don’t do government. We have a government that fundamentally does not believe in government!

      They are just a waste of space and words.

      Sadly for us (and the poms), the neoliberal lenses in the opposition’s glasses have utterly prevented them from seeing this truth too. I think I will go and shout at the television again.

    2. Whenever you haven’t got a clue, pay McKinsey, or some other business consultancy, a couple of million dollars to prepare a glossy brochure and a plan, and remember to always tell the public exactly what you believe in this very moment. Never knowingly lie to the electorate in the interest of political supremacy. The public fully understands that the Prime Minister has a mind like a goldfish and is incapable of truly believing the words he uttered all those moments ago.
      In his last marketing masterclass, I think our Prime Minister learned that if you need to lie, always keep a bigger liar close to you. That would explain why Morrison went to Cop26 accompanied by Angus Taylor, the Minister for ensuring that global temperature rise of 1.5c maximum, is unachievable.
      She’ll be right though. As long as those 30,000 jobs in the coal mines remain intact. Forget about the 80,000 mostly casual employees, earning under $60k a year, employed in a tourism industry, totally dependant on the existence of The Great Barrier Reef.
      It’s truly embarrassing, observing these incompetent con men representing the nation on the world stage.

    3. Ok….well it’s clear that no one really wants to do anything about the climate at all. Business thinks it’s a con or a marketing opportunity. So what if climate change is real? Do we just give up and let future generations deal with it and party until extinction? It seems that’s the idea here because no one seems really interested or committed to solving any problems.

    4. The gas companies are the top level of Australian government, the big banks are one rung lower and the other mining companies the next rung. Our elected parliaments, governments and major parties are just their puppets.

      This is based on the extent of servitude of our politicians both federal and state, and the sycophancy of our courts.

    5. The climate thing as far as carbon emissions is a difficult problem for any government. I cant see any government in the US being able to significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels as a policy choice quickly.

      Here, the price of gasoline has gone up about a dollar and fifty cents a gallon recently- maybe about a one-third increase. But nobody is saying that price increase is a good thing because then we will use less of it because of the higher prices and that will cause less pollution. But that is kind of the understanding we would need to have to accept that we cant use so much of it. Lower our standards of living now and hope others also do the same (or refrain from raising their standard) in an attempt to avoid the climate changes.

      Well that just ain’t going to happen here is my opinion.

      I expect that we will not do much until any problems are extremely obvious and very much affecting people in more temperate areas. And then we might try some kind of geo-engineering to address that.

      Hopefully it might work.

    6. Thermodynamics rules out solar, wind & water energy sources replacing orders of magnitude more energy dense hydrocarbons or uranium. Focusing on the fact that “renewables” fuel is free, misses that its harvesting infrastructure is orders of magnitude too energy and environmentally expensive. In the same way coal replaced sails & wood. And oil & gas replaced coal. History’s lesson is that civilizations by definition secure more energy dense supplies or perish. The energy inputs to build hundreds perhaps tens of thousands of km2 low energy density harvesting infrastructure must come form fossil fuels. Why? Because none of the following inputs and process are even remotely easy to electrify: mining refining transport, cement, steel iridium lithium, copper, cobalt, indium, tellurium, platinum, rare earth metals, building sand, etc. all rely on hydrocarbons.

    7. For some reason, I was reminded of a story that appeared at The Shovel (“Man announces he will quit drinking by 2050”).

      Moreover, although the The Shovel story is about some old bloke called Greg Taylor, I know another guy who made a similar announcement. The fella I know, though, is called Morris Scottson. :)

    8. It is apparent from the above comments that nobody in the comments list believes it is possible to stop climate change now. Sadly, I have to concur. The real question, for merely intellectual interest reasons now, is why? Why has it proven impossible for humans in a modern globalized civilization to take any effective action against climate change? But first, let us look at the conclusions of Climate Reality Check, according to some headings in their report:

      1. “Warming is 1.2 C and accelerating.
      2. The IPCC and the climate model it relies upon do not capture all the risks.
      3. 1.5 C is not a safe target.
      4. 1.5 C of warming is likely around 2030.
      5. 2.0 C is very dangerous and, on the current emission path, likely before 2050.
      6. There is no carbon budget for 2.0 C with a low risk of overshoot.
      (Higher temperatures will result from greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.)
      7. A cascade of tipping points is unfurling.
      (Some tipping points have been passed, others are close at hand.)
      8. 2.0 C may trigger a “hothouse earth” scenario of self-reinforcing warming.
      (We are perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of our control.)
      9. 3.0 C warming would be catastrophic.
      10. The world is on a 2.0 C to 3.6 C warming path by 2100.
      11. Sea levels will likely rise by tens of meters.
      12. Reducing emissions levels alone will have no significant impact on warming trend over next two decades.” – Climate Reality Check.

      These are enough headings to go on with. The rest of the headings are mainly about what we need to do to prevent human extinction and eco-collapse. What we need to do is so critical and exacting and what COP26 commits us to doing (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!) are so far apart that the real chances of us doing anything are effectively ZERO. To repeat, why has it proven impossible for humans in a modern globalized civilization to take any effective action against climate change? The basic reasons are:

      A. Capitalism – Capitalism as a system is committed to endless growth. The debt model of money commits the system to attempted endless growth to repay debt. That is the model and command system of capitalism. Debt model capital operations ARE the command system. (MMT seeks to reclaim money creation as fiat creation by the state: a more sovereign money stance.)

      B. Geo-strategic competition – The biggest economy can maintain the biggest military. No large nation will voluntarily constrain or de-grow its economy to prevent climate change.

      C. Jevon’s Paradox or a variation thereof – Any new source of energy leads to greater total energy consumption because of A and B above. There is little to no voluntary retirement of dirty energy sources.

      D. The nature of humans. – This is not judgemental, simply observational. Humans evolved to sense and viscerally react to proximal dangers, meaning near-term and near-at-hand dangers. Climate change does not fit this danger-sensing model. It is distant, requires instruments (not basic senses) to detect and operates with long lag-times. By the time humans sense the dangers with their bodily senses, it is already far too late to act. Time scales and physical scales (of the events involved) are also beyond most natural imagination which is linked to the human sensory scale. Causal chains are also too long to be easily comprehended, except by trained experts.

      Of course, we have to hope against hope. Individuals and families should attempt to consume less overall and less fossil fuels in particular. MMT principles need to be followed in a “re-claim the state” fashion. If we could re-claim the state we could do something. While neoliberal capitalism remains in charge, real action is impossible.

    9. There is some hope Ikon. I mean here in the US we have a state of California which actually has done a lot about air pollution in general in the past. Maybe just because it was impacting themselves so much that they had to do something. And several other states have followed California’s leadership over time not even out of sheer necessity. So it can be done. Still think it is unlikely though, mostly for the reasons you pointed out.

      And of course there is the hope we will figure out something in the future. Which I would bet on that we will. I think if you look at the response to the recent global pandemic you can find reasons to be both optimistic and pessimistic about what kind of action we are all capable of.

    10. Natasha your comment: ‘Thermodynamics rules out solar, wind & water energy sources replacing orders of magnitude more energy dense hydrocarbons or uranium.’

      This statement is incorrect. Solar and wind may be relatively diffuse but current methods of capture such as PV panels and wind turbines are effective and can provide the needs of most nations and when combined with storage using pumped hydro and battery banks can ensure power is available when needed. The Australian state of South Australia has at times already provided all of its electrical power needs from renewable sources and many new projects plan to use excess power to generate green hydrogen.

      For example Professor Andrew Blakers of the Australian National University and his associates have proven that solar and wind power combined with pumped hydro power is cheaper than new build fossil fuel power stations and is far cheaper than nuclear power.

      I must admit I am becoming disillusioned with progress on meeting the global warming crisis. Professor James Hansen and his associates have warned for decades what must be done to stabilise at 350ppm atmospheric CO2 which is his upper limit and is a little lower than the 1.5C long term warming above pre-industrial limit. All trajectories now require substantial extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere which is very difficult and expensive. His most recent required trajectory requires 6% p.a. reduction in global GHG emissions and simultaneous extraction of 75ppm of atmospheric CO2 starting in 2020 yet now we are nearly into 2022 and GHG emissions are still increasing. To meet the trajectory to stabilise at 350ppm now, yearly emission reductions of 8% p.a. and extraction of 90ppm may now be required. The more delay the more difficult the trajectory is to achieve.

      This decade up to 2030 is critical to minimise the overshoot above 1.5C and the triggering of positive feedbacks such as the release of methane from the Arctic permafrost and the shrinkage of areas covered by ice and snow which reflect solar radiation.

      James Hansen has concluded that the best method to reduce GHG emissions is to impose a steadily rising carbon fee on all fossil fuel producers and refund 100% of proceeds to citizens including children. This method along with appropriate state intervention can work but current trends are dismal.

    11. Andreas Bimba wrote: “James Hansen has concluded that the best method to reduce GHG emissions is to impose a steadily rising carbon fee on all fossil fuel producers and refund 100% of proceeds to citizens including children.”

      Fossil fuel producers want to avoid massive loss of wealth represented by stranded fossil assets.

      How high, and at what rate of increase, would carbon taxes need to be imposed, to accomplish both a fast enough exit from fossils, while enabling private fossil companies to avoid loss of wealth through stranded fossil assets?

      Fact is, depending on how severe/urgent the climate emergency really is (which we don’t know for sure), “central banks might have to buy the fossil industry”, (BIS statement at Davos a few years back), considering implications of un-insurable losses from climate catastrophes, and global financial collapse from stranded assets c $100 trillion.

      Pity we don’t know the end date. If we knew it was, say, in ten years’ time, we would immediately ditch the market economy with its dumb ‘price signalling’ carbon pricing, and proceed with the BIS model straight away. In 10 years we could build a huge amount of solar/wind + pumped hydro/battery storage + smart grid, funded by debt-free money printing. Probably enough to keep the world’s lights on and even improving quality of life for more people = with an economy based on free electricity.

    12. The fossil fuel companies and their financiers created their own predicament of huge levels of stranded assets, and our looming global warming catastrophe, by ignoring the science and actively preventing meaningful action to avoid the damaging consequences of global warming by spreading false information, exploiting the corporate mass media and buying much of the political class. The fossil fuel companies continued to invest heavily in new fossil fuel infrastructure and the exploration for new fossil fuel deposits even though they knew existing carbon budgets precluded the use of most of the current discovered fossil fuel reserves. No compensation or generous buyouts are due to these traitors to humanity and to all life on earth.

      The carbon fee and dividend scheme proposed for the U.S. is an economy-wide fee on CO2 emissions starting at US$40 a ton (2017$) and increasing every year at 5% above inflation. If implemented in 2021, this would cut U.S. CO2 emissions in half by 2035.

      Very few jurisdictions have implemented carbon fee and dividend schemes but British Columbia did so in mid 2008. B.C.’s tax covers most types of fuel use and carbon emissions. It started out low (C$10 per tonne of carbon dioxide), then rose by C$5 each year, reaching C$30 per tonne in 2014. In 2019, the carbon tax increased to C$40 per tonne of CO2. The carbon tax has since then increased to C$45 per tonne in April 2021. This will increase to C$50 per tonne in 2022.

      Since the start of the carbon tax in 2008, fossil fuel use in B.C. by 2014 had dropped by 16 percent compared to a 3% average increase for Canada as a whole over the same period.

      The Canadian federal government implemented a carbon tax on fuel for all provinces without their own equivalent schemes, set at a minimum price of C$20 per tonne of CO2 in 2019, rising my C$10 every year to C$50 in 2022, where it will increase by C$15 every year until it reaches C$170 in 2030. As of April 2021, the carbon tax per tonne of CO2 is C$40 per tonne.

      Globally we are rapidly approaching the point that 10% yearly reductions in GHG emissions will be required and 100ppm of atmospheric CO2 will need to be extracted to have a chance at stabilising long term below 350ppm atmospheric CO2. This is a far more expensive and difficult a path than what would have been required 10 or even 5 years ago. A relevant comparison is after the Middle East oil embargo of the 1970’s a few countries such as Sweden, France and Belgium managed to cut their oil dependency by 7% p.a. mainly by transitioning to nuclear power, increasing taxes on transport fuels and legislating for improved car fuel efficiencies.

    13. I’m back from shouting at the television, so now I will shout at the iPad.

      I see a lot of doubt in the comments above. Doubt that climate change is happening, that it’s as bad as it is, or that current tech can solve it (proof that marketing works if we still needed that); doubt that consumers or states will be willing to sacrifice their “lifestyle” for a greater good; as well as doubt that humanity itself is even capable of acting collectively to overcome a future danger that can’t actually be seen right now.

      All these doubts are rooted in the venal model of individual self-interest built-in to our neoliberal model of capitalism. This model got us into this mess, and I think we all agree that it can’t or won’t get us out of it.

      But I have no doubt at all that, one way or another and whether we like it or not, change is coming.

      Firstly, I do not believe that the self-interested, utility maximising unit of labour production is at all representative of humanity. Rather, it is more of a reflection on those that built this system – a rationalisation of their own greed and self-interest; as well as a strategy to keep the masses divided and weak by having us compete with each other. But like all the other apes and most (all?) mammals, humans are social animals and we are made for collaboration.

      The big old men of capitalism venerate the big old animals competing for fertility as a justification for their own wealth and power but the reality is that we must collaborate to survive, and we always have. When a big old gorilla goes rogue, becomes abusive and takes all the food, the rest of the group will collaborate to cut them down or throw them out. When a threat to the group is sufficiently evident our true nature will triumph.

      So far the big old men have managed to obfuscate and convince enough of us that the threat is not real, but this merely increases the size of threat required for it to become evident – with a corresponding increase in the violence of the group reaction when it does.

      What if we take a more grim view and assume that the big old men and their marketing teams have succeeded in remaking humanity in their own image? What if individual action is the only answer, and we are all in it for ourselves – at least as long as this system survives?

      That question is being answered by young people who have nothing to lose but their student debt. We have all seen the theatrical disruptions of extinction rebellion, but already more radical groups and individuals are taking direct action against carbon companies by super-gluing themselves to coal loaders and railways. As more and more young people are excluded from the system and fear for their future, these actions will increase.

      The big old men will declare them terrorists use the full force of the establishment against them, but once an entire generation has no stake in the system and nothing to lose, that system will collapse. In a war between the future and the past the future always wins, and in that future the ageing, decrepit former executives of carbon companies will be the ones dragged before the courts and found guilty of crimes against humanity.

      Change is coming.

      The big old men of neoliberal capitalism could choose to make this easy for themselves and everyone else by taking real action to cut carbon emissions and reshaping the economy to give a real stake in the future to the young, the poor and the brown. But we all know that won’t happen, because these big old men are the humans that most resemble the venal model of individual self-interest they have built in their own image. They have no concept of economic justice.

      It’s probably too late for the easy path now anyway, so the big old men have sealed their own fate, but not that of the rest of us. The change will be late but not too late, it will be chaotic, and probably a bit destructive and ugly. But it will not be the end of humanity or even civilisation.

      At a guess, if we take the cost of World War 2 and scale it up relative to the size of our economy now, that would be a reasonable maximum cost. It will not be so much that we can’t get over it, but it must be enough to force the required changes.

      Change is coming but do not fear it. Create it.

    14. Bragley Scholt,
      Just yesterday Youtube suggested this video.
      “The Home Front 42 & 43”.
      In it they show a lot about rationing in the US.
      The UK also had rationing.
      I have suggested that this is what the West, S. Asia, and E. Asia need to do.
      A carbon tax will help but it will not be enough.
      We also need to remove a lot of CO2 from the air.

      I hope you are right that we can act just in time.
      We have waited far too long.

    15. Ikonoclast writes: Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 7:27 “It is apparent from the above comments that nobody in the comments list believes it is possible to stop climate change now.”

      Uranium can and will reduce CO2 emissions eventually indeed its the only method thermodynamics allows. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe published a handy Carbon Neutrality Toolkit with a Life Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Options finding:-
      1. Wind & solar need between 400 and 750 times more land than nuclear or natural gas plants.
      2. Nuclear energy has the lowest full life-cycle emissions of any electricity generating technology.
      3. Over the period 2020-2050, nuclear emissions will decline by a larger percentage than any other electricity generating technology.
      4. Nuclear energy has the second lowest life-cycle atrophying emissions after hydro.
      5. Coal results in a higher public and occupational exposure to ionizing radiation than does nuclear.
      6. Nuclear has much lower materials minerals and metals use than solar or wind.

      Andreas Bimba write: Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 9:43 “Natasha your comment: ‘Thermodynamics rules out solar, wind & water energy sources replacing orders of magnitude more energy dense hydrocarbons or uranium.’ This statement is incorrect. Solar and wind may be relatively diffuse but current methods of capture such as PV panels and wind turbines are effective …. [ect.]”

      If fact physics shows that “current methods” are not in slightest bit “effective” at capturing “diffuse” wind & solar energy when whole system analysis is undertaken. Search for ‘disaggregated’ EROI (Energy Returned Over Invested) calculations and Jacobson vs Clack et al. (I’d give as many links as you’d want, but the spambot rejects).

      “diffuse” wind & solar energy cannot possibly scale up in the future due to the energy inputs to build hundreds of thousands of km2 low energy density harvesting infrastructure must come from fossil fuels. Why? Because none of the following inputs and process are even remotely easy to electrify: mining refining transport, cement, steel iridium lithium, copper, cobalt, indium, tellurium, platinum, rare earth metals, building sand, etc. all rely on hydrocarbons. Plus limited supplies are used outside the energy supply sector. And scaling up these extraction activities will only destroy the environment ever faster. Always against locals interests only for rich export markets. Look up “extractivism”.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Back To Top