It's become the talk of the energy industry that the US love affair with energy may be given a boost with the additional production of gas and oils from increasingly successful (if environmentally controversial) "fracking" to get at shale layers to release their reserves. 

Australia is dipping into this technology as well despite well publicised "lock the gate" campaigns by farmers and those worried about water supply contamination.

A number of analysts say the USA's fortunes will fundamentally shift the energy balance in the world and potentially extend the life of fossil fuels for some time beyond the current peak oil scenarios.  America for one may close in on "energy independence" while Saudi Arabia is tipped to be importing fossil fuels by 2030.  And analysts are only now beginning to consider what will be accessed under an "ice free" Arctic.

Given that Peak Oil and the rising price of oil has been the one inescapable factor to motivate change in energy and transport policies, is a surge in fossil fuel supplies and more stable prices actually going to be unwelcome news for cycling and cyclists, more sustainable transport and those (apparently few) concerned about the impact of climate change? 

SMH article

Economist article

NYT article

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I'm not entirely sure what you're arguing against,.

I'm stating facts on the energy required to run electric cars and trucks.

Looking at the numbers, personal transportation is about 600 PJ/year

People can turn off lights, run e-bikes or whatever to reduce their energy footprint, but ultimately, the remaining demand must come from a power station or local source.

What do those run on, unicorn farts?

btw - we export over 3000 PJ of nuclear and 10000 PJ of fossil fuel energy every year.  ie: about an order of magnitude more than our local transport consumption.

(source: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/7C10C76736F68A5FCA2575DF0...)

Unicorn farts sound like a COALition policy - all hot air and no substance!

The problem is that anything carbon based that's used to generate electricity results in CO2.  And while they have made big improvements in cleanness and efficiency, ultimately we will have to abandon using any form of fossil energy.  At best the clean coal initiative is an interim step from where we are to where we should be

China is possibly the biggest polluter in the world and it recongnises the need to drastically reduce its consumption of fossil fuels.  China is building huge wind farms, solar farms, hydro dams and regrettably nuclear power stations. 

.,. back to the stone age we go.

Not sure what the fuss is about Duncan, the CSIRO and other government groups have detailed how we can get to 100% renewables in studies issued over last 5 years.  In the Senate only recently the CSIRO stated:

"The Australian government’s chief scientific body says there is no apparent technical impediment to reaching 100 per cent renewables for the national electricity grid, and levels of up to 30 per cent renewable energy should be considered as just “trivial” in current energy systems."

This has nothing to do with keeping the lights on, so let's not use baseless claims to support a go-slow approach. 

We could lament and be nostalgic for the past or we can more optimistically and realistically realise that our dependence on a carbon energy diet must now pass - perhaps not all at once but every year of dragging our feet adds additional burdens on future generations and even the ability of the planet to rebound.  And that is before we even look at the opportunities of a shift could bring our economy and export opportunities.

We know how to do it, we are able to do it, we need to do it, so let's just do it!

Omar - anything can be done at a price.  I'm not arguing there are technical blocks.

Whether it is sensible, prudent or economically sound is a whole other kettle of fish.

I'm not going to argue the point - its a religious debate.

Duncan,

Unfortunately yours is the opt-out approach we have been hearing for decades from those who first claim better knowledge, then instil doubt based on the unknown and finally - when the inconvenient facts are so compelling - it becomes a "religious debate".

So are AGL and the CSIRO merely religious cults?  Or more likely to be acting on thought-through business interests and carefully researched evidence?  (For the record, even the religions of the world have lined up rather hard on the climate change issue: http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/religious-statements-on-clim...). 

No, this is not even a religious debate - it is whether we could be bothered to look at the evidence and the researched strategies and support what is best and what is right for us and for generations to come.  The choice is actually rather that simple.

AGL are working the numbers  - they preach renewables so people get the fuzzies (and they can work the subsidies), while generating 90+% of their energy with traditional sources.

If you believe their PR, you'll believe anything.

Duncan,

Yup, that's what businesses do: They calculate advantages financially including customer receptivity and act accordingly.  Sure, throw in some subsidies but they are apparently no longer so keen on the massive coal ones.  PR value?  Sure, why not?  Better than Macca's and Coke sponsoring kid's sports?

You can be cynical when companies do something and cynical when they don't.  Personally, I'm okay with them doing something meaningful even if it is only a start.  Perhaps you would prefer they did nothing but refurbish the creaking old station?

The main thing that you still have going against your arguments is a lack of any supportable evidence.  Or perhaps a miracle?

Personally, I would rather put faith in Australia rising to the challenge.

The main thing that you still have going against your arguments is a lack of any supportable evidence.  Or perhaps a miracle?

I'm afraid I don't understand.

I'm arguing for power generation systems which have been proven for decades (coal) ie: status quo, and you're arguing for generation capacity based on expensive, intermittent and unreliable sources (solar, wind) because of a belief that plant food (CO2) caused by man (0.28% of greenhouse gases) is going to cause some sort of armageddon.

Cheap energy has lifted more people out of poverty than anything else other than capitalism and democracy.

>because of a belief that plant food (CO2)

There may well be doubt about climate change - it is indeed a fool who is certain of the future - but using the trite platitude "plant food" to describe greenhouse gases is disingenious at best and astroturfing at worst.

Balance is a remarkable thing, some systems collapse due to the minutest loss of balance - whilst others are so strong they defy belief. At this stage in the debate it seems that denying climate change by citing the seemingly trivial percentages that are man made rather than the observable impact of those percentages is a losing argument.

the observable impact of those percentages

Quantify that with measurements.

It can't be done.

All we have are models which don't fit the real world very well.

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