Archive for the ‘scams’ Category

The Renewable Energy Transition

July 11, 2019

The Australian Greens’ number one aim in their Climate Change and Energy Policy is:

“Net zero or net negative Australian greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2040.”

And the Lowy Institute believes that Australia can set an example for the rest of the world.  In their article ‘An Australian model for the renewable-energy transition’ published on 11 March 2019, they assert that across the world “A very rapid transition to renewables is in process” and that “Most countries can follow the Australian path and transition rapidly to renewables with consequent large avoidance of future greenhouse emissions.”

Time for a reality check.

In this assessment I use energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions data from the 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

First of all, greenhouse gas emissions.  In the BP Review,

…carbon emissions … reflect only those through consumption of oil, gas and coal for combustion related activities, and are based on ‘Default CO2 Emissions Factors for Combustion’ listed by the IPCC in its Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2006).  This does not allow for any carbon that is sequestered, for other sources of carbon emissions, or for emissions of other greenhouse gases. Our data is therefore not comparable to official national emissions data.

Excluded sources would include for example cement production and land clearing.  However, given that we are focussing on the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewables, that is not a problem.

Figure 1 shows the growth in carbon dioxide emissions (from fossil fuels) since 1965.

Fig. 1: Global CO2 emissions in millions of Tonnes

CO2 emissions global

The big hitters are China, the USA, and India, who together account for more than half of the world total.

Fig. 2: CO2 emissions by the Big Three and the rest

CO2 emissions top3 rest

Note that America’s emissions peaked in 2007 and have since declined.  China’s emissions rose rapidly from 2002 to 2013.  From a low base, India’s emissions growth rate is practically exponential.

Figure 3 shows how Australia “compares”.

Fig. 3: CO2 emissions by the Big Three and Australia

CO2 emissions top3 Oz

Australia’s emissions from fossil fuels peaked in 2008.

The BP Review’s CO2 emissions data are based on fossil fuel combustion, so I now look at energy consumption since 1965.  Energy units are million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE), from the BP Review, “Converted on the basis of thermal equivalence assuming 38% conversion efficiency in a modern thermal power station.”

Fig. 4: Global energy consumption by fuel type in millions of tonnes of oil equivalent

World energy cons 65 to 18

(Note:

Apart from 2009 (the GFC) gas has risen steadily, especially the last five years.

Since the oil shocks of the seventies and early eighties and apart from the GFC, oil has mostly enjoyed a steady rise.

Coal consumption increased rapidly from 2002 to 2013 (mostly due to Chinese expansion) followed by a small decrease to 2016.

Hydro power has seen a steady increase.

Nuclear power peaked in 2006 and declined slightly before increasing over the last six years.

Wind and Solar are in the bottom right hand corner.  Both are increasing rapidly but are dwarfed by other forms of energy.)

How close are we to the renewable energy transition?  Figures 5 to 9 show 1965 – 2018 energy consumption for conventional sources (fossil fuels plus hydro and nuclear) and the total.  The gap between conventional and total energy use is filled by renewables OF ALL TYPES- solar, wind, geothermal, bio-waste (e.g. sugar cane bagasse), and bio-mass used for electricity production, (but excluding firewood, charcoal, and dung).  I have highlighted the gaps with a little green arrow.

Fig. 5: Total and conventional energy consumption in millions of tonnes of oil equivalent

World energy cons 65 to 18 fossil hydro nuclear

In 2018, renewables of all types accounted for just 4.05% of the world’s energy, fossil fuels 83.7%.  So much for rapid transition to renewables.

The next three plots show energy consumption of the big emitters.

Fig. 6: Total and conventional energy consumption- China

CO2 emissions China

4.38% of Chinese energy came from renewables in 2018.  Nuclear and hydro power have increased enormously over the past 15 years and make up 10.35% of usage but fossil fuels (mostly coal) make up 85.3% of energy consumption.

Fig. 7: Total and conventional energy consumption- USA

CO2 emissions USA

Renewables accounted for 4.51% of US energy.  Fossil fuel and total energy consumption peaked in 2007 but has recently started increasing mostly due to gas and oil use.   (Coal has slipped from more than a quarter of the fossil fuel total in 2007 to less than a sixth in 2018.)  Fossil fuels make up 84.3% of energy use.

Fig. 8: Total and conventional energy consumption- India

CO2 emissions India

Only 3.4% of India’s energy comes from renewables.  India’s energy consumption is growing very rapidly, and 91.6% of consumption is from fossil fuels.

What of Australia, supposedly setting an example for the rest of the world to follow?

Fig. 9: Total and conventional energy consumption- Australia

CO2 emissions Australia

After years of building solar and wind farms, and at enormous expense, renewable energy of all types accounts for just 5% of Australia’s energy use- and the Greens aim to have zero net emissions in 21 years from now.

In the past 10 years, renewable consumption has increased by 5.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent- but fossil fuels have increased by 6.4 million tonnes.  While coal use has dropped by 12 million tonnes, this has been more than replaced by 18.4 million tonnes of oil and gas.  That’s not much of a rapid transition.

Figure 10 shows in order renewables consumption in all countries.  Remember, this includes all types including geothermal energy and bio-mass.

Fig. 10: Comparative penetration of renewables

Renewable cons %

Australia at 5 % renewable consumption is 19th and ahead of the big emitters, the USA, China, and India.

Perhaps the Extinction Rebellion activists who are unhappy with lack of action against climate change in Germany, the UK, and Australia, could glue themselves to the roadways in China, India, or Russia.

There is no rapid renewable energy transition.   Oil, coal, and gas are cheap and readily available and are powering growth in developing economies.  At some time in the future there will not be enough accessible fossil fuel to sustain the world’s economies alone; uranium too will one day be in short supply.  However, necessity and technological innovation, not legislation, will drive the adoption of alternative fuels.

Rumours of the imminent death of fossil fuels appear to be greatly exaggerated (with apologies to Mark Twain).

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Fake Survey: Is the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” a Hoax?

November 19, 2017

The “Second Notice” released last week, with 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries, might be a hoax or a clever student prank.

What is notable and peculiar about the list of Signatories and the follow up list of Endorsers is the omissions.  No Michael Mann.  No Gavin Schmidt.  No Naomi Oreskes.  No Tim Flannery.  No Lewandowski.

James Hansen is the only eminent name I recognise.

Following on from Jo Nova’s excellent post on the recent publicity surrounding the release by the Alliance of World Scientists of their second warning to humanity, I decided to have a closer look at the AWS warning article and its 15,362 signatories, their backgrounds, and their motivation- and also, how the survey was conducted and how the Signatories and Endorsements were collected.

What I found strange is that along with the hundreds of scientists of all descriptions are theologians, philosophers, citizen scientists, renewable energy advocates, artists, musicians, photographers, a high school student- and a homeopath.

I then turned to the Endorsers, those who agree with the warning article but weren’t amongst the original Signatories.

Along with the bona fide scientists, and assorted activists, photographers, and philosophers, we find 1 wholesaler (educated in “the school of life”); 1 elementary (primary) school teacher; and 2 naturopaths.

As with the Signatories to the article, several of these later supporters entered themselves multiple times e.g. Harvey Quamme, research scientist, entered himself 3 times; David Wood, molecular genetics, entered himself twice- there were more like him.  How many more?

So I began to wonder- how well are the respondents checked, and how difficult is it to add your name- or someone elses’s?

The answer to both is: not at all.

All you have to do, dear friends, is go to their home page:

http://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

Home page

Note the invitation to scientists “from any scientific discipline (e.g. ecology, medicine, economics, etc.)”

And the stipulation that “scientists only” are invited to Endorse the article.

Then click on “Endorse the Article”, and enter your details, not forgetting to confirm you are not a robot, then click save.  Your name will be added to the list of those who endorse the article.

Create Endorser

(Yes, I entered Saint Nicholas.)

Just really who are these Signatories and Endorsers? I’ve never heard of any of them (apart from James Hansen).  Are they real scientists (or homeopaths)?  Or are many of them completely fictitious, but with many real concerned individuals duped into adding their names?  And have real individuals been entered without their knowledge or consent?  How would anyone know?

It is possible to copy the lists of names into a Word document and do a word search to find how many times a particular profession is mentioned.  But look more closely at the names in various professions.  In the list of original Signatories, the names appear to be credible.  However in the list of Endorsers are some very interesting names.

The article has been endorsed by some pretty heavy hitters: amongst those who include “physics” in their entry are Albert Einstein and Ernest Rutherford.   Musicians include John Lennon and Elvis Presley.  Florence Nightingale is a nurse.  Luke Skywalker is an astronaut.  Indiana Jones is an archaeologist.

And note the name of the first respondent on the list of Endorsers.

Endorsement aaskan

Aaskan, Yushal Raseev.  Get it?

If this was a real survey, why would that entry have been left there for all to see for many days?

Check for yourself- there are sure to be many more to find.

Has this been a well-crafted, gigantic student prank?  Have we all been fooled by this farce?

The “Second Notice” of the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity is worthless.  At the very least the survey software- at least for the Endorsing the article, and probably for the original Signatories as well-  has no security system for preventing or checking fake entries, so no one really knows if the names are real or bogus, or how many legitimate scientists really do support the article.

We know how climate change promoters ever since Hansen in 1987 have used cunning stratagems (remember “Mike’s Nature trick”?) to fool people and convince them that global warming is real.  Perhaps the whole climate change scare is a clever student prank from the 1980s that developed into a meme with a life of its own and grew and grew- the biggest practical joke ever perpetrated.

Perhaps, but it is clear that the Viewpoint article in the journal Bioscience entitled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: a second notice” by Ripple et al. (2017) has no credibility and must be withdrawn.

It is a joke.

The Carbon Tax We Still Pay

September 7, 2015

Under Prime Minister Julia Gillard a Carbon Tax was introduced into Australia, set at $23 per tonne of CO2 equivalent, with numerous exclusions and a compensation package.  Apparently fulfilling his promise to get rid of the Carbon Tax, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s coalition government succeeded in repealing it on 17 July 2014.

Unfortunately we still have a myriad of green schemes, solar bonus schemes, and of course our Renewable Energy Target.  How much does this cost us?  The following is based on regional Queensland, but applies Australia wide.

Ergon Energy provides electricity to all of Queensland outside the south-east corner.  With my last bill was included Ergon’s latest pamphlet for residential consumers, Issue #5 of “The Bright Side”.  Half of this issue was devoted to changes to electricity pricing and how it will affect consumers.  Ergon, and the Queensland government, have been claiming that after a couple of years of steep rises, 2015-16 will actually see a small drop in prices.  I read the information with interest, and as well checked with the Queensland Competition Authority (which sets prices).

Ergon summarises the changes to the typical Tariff 11 bill over a full year with this supposedly helpful graphic:

Ergon price changes

You will note that the cost to the average consumer of the solar bonus scheme and the Renewable Energy Target will rise by $23.  So what, you say, the average bill will reduce by $7.  Actually, it’s not so simple.   Ergon gives five scenarios of how it will affect consumers.  The QCA provides more detailed information, with percentages of the total cost.

qca elect prices

This is based on an annual Tariff 11 consumption of 4,053 kWh, which is the average for residential customers. From this, it is possible to calculate exactly the changes and how much of this goes towards solar and RET schemes.  As well, using an estimate of 0.86 Tonnes of CO2 per Megawatt-hour (0.84 – 0.88) for black coal power stations, it is possible to estimate how much CO2 the average consumer is directly responsible for.  Of course, the 0.86 is for the generation of electricity, not consumption, and consumption is about 83% of electricity generated.  This has been incorporated in my estimates.

In 2014-15, the direct additional cost to the average consumer of the solar and RET schemes was $146.63, rising in 2015-16 to $169.63.

This represents a direct additional cost to the consumer of approximately $34.90 per Tonne of CO2 emitted, rising to $40.40.

A direct additional cost imposed through government policy is a tax.  Applied to residential consumers it is a nasty regressive tax, as it applies to all regardless of income or capacity to pay.  The Solar Bonus Scheme portion is particularly cruel, as low income consumers are subsidising those who could afford and took advantage of this scheme, which will keep paying 44c a kWh feed in tariff for original systems until 2028, now reduced to 6.348c for new systems.  This cost the average consumer $106.64 last year, and the $20 extra is an increase of 18.75%.

Not only that, the Joe Hockey argument does not apply.  Poor people who do use less than 3,800 kWh will see an increase in their bill, while those who use more than 3,800 kWh will see a decrease, and proportionately less the more they consume.

This is robbing the poor to pay the rich.  It is set to continue with the proposed increases in the RET, so the poor will be subsidising inefficient green projects well into the future.  A scheme too good to be true certainly is.  Years ago I knew the Solar Bonus Scheme was an unsustainable scam and immoral.  Now, more than ever, both the Solar Bonus Scheme and Renewable Energy Targets should be completely abolished, with compensation for Solar Bonus users limited to initial cost of installation less subsequent feed in revenue.  Poor people have better things to spend their money on.