Forced Responses: May 2021 2 May 2021 by group A bimonthly open thread on climate solutions. Perhaps unsurprisingly this is always the most contentious comment thread on the site, but please try and be constructive and avoid going off on wild tangents.
554 Responses to "Forced Responses: May 2021"
Reality Check says
This is reality.
Thu 1 Jul 2021
‘Deeply irresponsible’: federal government loan for new Queensland coalmine
The Morrison government has announced a $175m loan to help build a large new metallurgical coalmine in central Queensland, in a move conservationists have labelled “deeply irresponsible”.
Climate campaigners have said the loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif) to develop the $900m Olive Downs mine in the Bowen Basin was “a bad idea”. They argued the Pembroke Resources project would increase global carbon emissions by contributing to “dirty” steelmaking and would not need public backing if it was financially viable.
The federal resources minister, Keith Pitt, said on Thursday the loan would support the first stage of a development that would “generate royalties and export income for Queensland and Australia for many years to come”.
It would be spent on rail, transmission lines, water pipelines, roads and a coal handling preparation plant, and support up to 700 jobs during construction and “more than 500 for the region” when fully operational, the minister said.
“Pembroke Resources’ Olive Downs project will create jobs and opportunities for central Queensland and the nearby town of Moranbah,” Pitt said. “Metallurgical coal is crucial for steelmaking and is an important commodity for Australia’s trading partners to help support their economic development.”
Coalition vetoes funding for wind and battery farm in northern Queensland
The announcement comes two months after Pitt used his veto power to block a $280m Naif loan for a wind farm and related infrastructure south-west of Cairns on the grounds it would not provide “dispatchable” power.
In contrast, Naif said the coalmine loan had “passed the non-veto phase” and been approved by the state government.
This is why we can’t have nice things:
“Keith McCoy, a senior director in Exxon’s Washington government affairs team, was recorded on video in May saying that the company backs a carbon tax “as an easy talking point” and an “advocacy tool” because “there is not an appetite for a carbon tax” and that Republican legislators who oppose taxes in principle will never let it happen.
“Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans, and the cynical side of me says, yeah, we kind of know that – but it gives us a talking point that we can say, well, what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we’re for a carbon tax,” he said.
Later, McCoy reiterates the point: “Carbon tax is not going to happen.”
Jun. 30, 2021 = 418.56 ppm
Jun. 30, 2020 = 415.72 ppm
michael Sweet says
EP at 530:
So the only thing keeping people from using regular power reactors to make weapons grade plutonium is !) they are afraid they will be accused of trying to make bombs and 2) It decreases reactor life. you give a real world example of numerous reactors that were run to maximize weapons grade plutonium in Japan. It seems we agree that weapons grade plutonium can be made in normal power reactors.
Your and DBBenson’s claim that ““For all readers, power reactor cannot be used to make weapons plutonium” was deliberately false.
michael Sweet says
Your reference at 526 shows that the NREL/DOE is now at the point that the peer reviewed literature reached in 2016. They confirm the claims of Connelly et al 2016. Since then the peer reviewed literature has been examining methods to finish off the last 20%, the hardest to electrify parts of the economy like mining, shipping and aviation. NREL/DOE has consistently been years behind in their assessments of renewable energy implementation.
Several different approaches have been suggested. Williams et al 2021, cited numerous times upthread, describes several different methods. One is to use electrofuels (primarily electromethane or methanol) to power the last 20%. Other methods require CCS, an unproven technology at scale. Williams et al find that using completely renewable energy for the energy system is possible but a little more expensive than they project using fossil gas and CCS would be.
Williams et al suggest that for all proposed future energy systems the most important thing for the next 10 years is to build out wind and solar as rapidly as possible. Research on methods to power the last 20% will continue. In 10 years we can determine the best method of powering the last 20%. Williams et al 2021 were the last research group to agree that nuclear power will be too expensive to add to the future power system.
I note that nuclear power does not fit into a mostly renewable energy system. If renewable energy provides 80% of the power, the remaining need is for peak power on windless nights and powering hard to electrify industries. Since nuclear power is only useful for baseload power, it cannot provide needed peaking power. Some type of storage is needed (electromethane and gas peaker plants or hydrogen and fuel cells are two proposed storage systems). Hard to electrify industries can also use electrofuels.