Australians for coal

It’s good to see australiansforcoal.com.au (h/t: MH) because it means they’re worried. If it didn’t exist, it would mean they didn’t feel under threat, much in the same way that the dork side fear wiki. Its also nice that they carefully avoid mentioning climate, or global warming, because again it means they’re afraid: they have no arguments to support themselves in that area – obviously they could trot out the usual wacko nonsense, but presumably they feel just keeping quiet is a better idea.

While they don’t mention GW, they do mention CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), in their “suggested tweets”:

Here’s a coal power station capturing and storage 90% of its emissions. http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/institute/news/jamshed-merchant-canada%E2%80%99s-experience-shows-%E2%80%98carbon-capture%E2%80%99-works

But again, they’re not prepared to go into the details, which is that CCS will cost you, which is why no-one is doing it, on a commercial scale, purely for carbon storage. Even the example they point to says “Implemented with the joint support of Canada’s federal government and the province of Saskatchewan with a contribution of well over $1 billion” – but you can be sure that if anyone suggested spending enough $B to store all that nice coal, and adding those $B to the coal price, the “Australians for Coal” would be the first to be up in arms.

El Nino

I know nothing about El Nino, but I find the outpouring of posts about the likely one this year quite amusing. The dork side are preparing their troops for their beloved “hiatus” to end; they need to be in a position where, if it happens, they predicted it and it was all natural variability; but in a deniable way because if it doesn’t happen they don’t want to have predicted it. Though reading RC is probably a better idea.

Comments

  1. #1 quokka
    2014/05/09

    More people are saying nasty things about coal than ever before, but whether it’s having any net effect is another matter. The Qld state government has just approved the development of Australia’s potentially largest coal mine in central Qld. I find it hard to believe that the federal government will not also follow the leader:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-08/queensland-government-approves-16b-coal-mine-in-galilee-basin/5438704

    Organized opposition may slow some projects or even if they are very lucky stop one or two (but on environmental grounds other than climate change), but it simply can’t go much further without viable energy alternatives moving into place. I fear the world is in for more coal use yet.

  2. #2 Susan Anderson
    2014/05/09
  3. […] By William M. Connolley […]

  4. #4 AnOilMan
    Land of Tar and Sand
    2014/05/09

    I’m wondering when we’ll start hearing “It hasn’t warmed since 2014.” Or will it be 2015?

  5. #5 David B. Benson
    2014/05/09

    Love coal. Leave it in the ground.

  6. #6 G
    2014/05/10

    Since CO2 and the consequences of climate disruption follow all of us to _our_ houses, it’s time to start protesting the CO2 profiteers and their minions at _their_ houses.

    Think of a hundred or so people standing along the street with signs, out in front of the homes of one of the worst offenders. One this week, one next week, and pretty soon it becomes a contagious meme and spreads.

    Peacefully of course, and quietly. “Bearing witness” mode. And peacefully leaving when the police arrive to ask us to leave. But the video of the peaceful protest goes up on YouTube, and the tactic spreads.

    The goal is to bring down social opprobrium on these people, which is hardly as bad as what they’re bringing down on the world (for a rough approximation, 1 billion climate casualties for every 1 degree Celsius above historic mean average). Make it socially unacceptable to be a denialist or a denialist shill. Make it as socially unacceptable as running a mustard gas factory or being a member of Al Qaeda.

    What they really deserve is something like the Nuremburg trials. Peaceful protests are _mild_ by comparison.

    As for Australia, there is a very strong cultural thing about mining and miners, similar to America’s cultural thing about farms and farmers. So for Australia, this message: “Mine thorium, not coal!”

    [I disagree. We’re using the electricity; we’re burning the fossil fuels -W]

  7. #7 MikeH
    2014/05/10

    @quokka

    There is a lot of doubt as to whether these mines will ever be built.
    http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/doubts-adani-can-develop-galilee-basin-coal-mine-s

    Ross Garnaut spoke last Thursday at a Melbourne Uni forum on WG3 and claimed that even existing thermal coal investments in Australia will never return the invested capital.

  8. #8 quokka
    2014/05/10

    @MikeH,

    Your link is to a Greenpeace report. Not exactly without their own agenda are they?

    According to Sourcewatch as of May 31, 2012 there was 87 GWe of new coal capacity under construction in India and hundreds of more GWe at various stages of the planning/permitting/development pipeline.

    If you read the IEA’s special report on South East Asia, you will find that coal is the number one growth energy technology projected by 2035. Renewables actually decline as a percentage of primary energy supply.

    Here’s the EIA’s projected world coal consumption to 2040:

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/coal.cfm

    This is the context, and attempts by Greenpeace to talk down some project or other absolutely cannot change that context.

    All I see at the moment is a self congratulatory narrative about peak coal being spun to back the politics and (daft) energy policies of the green NGOs. There will be no peak coal until the alternative energy technologies are indisputably being put into place. The world remains hungry for more energy for the foreseeable future. You can say as many nasty things about coal as you like, but it wont fundamentally change the context.

    I fully concur with James Hansen:

    http://www.cleanbiz.asia/blogs/thoughts-ningbo-china-and-renewables-only-lobby#.U23dnlSSx3B

  9. #9 Richard Hill
    Black Rock, Australia
    2014/05/10

    W, sorry that this is off-topic, but I dont see another obvious to contact you.
    There is a post at WUWT, by R G Brown from Duke U,
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/07/the-global-climate-model-clique-feedback-loop/#more-108744
    I’d really value your comments on this piece.

  10. #10 And Then There's Physics
    2014/05/10

    @RichardHill
    I would also be interested in W’s views on that WUWT post, but I think Nick Stoke’s comment on the WUWT thread is probably pretty sensible and a fairly good assessment of the value of GCMs for climate modelling.

    [Its funny. Maybe I should write a whole post on it. It starts very well – so well, indeed, that I was astonished to read it at WUWT. the whole “you’re a bunch of bozos and have not the slightest chance of understanding this code you’re criticising” is good. But then he falls off the deep end, and starts criticising this code that he doesn’t understand either (to pick just one thing, but only because its concrete, there are far more fundamental errors, the bit about grid resolution is wrong in the case of models running with spherical harmonics). NS’s “GCMs are NWPs run beyond their predictive range” isn’t quite true in subtle ways, but he probably knows that. His comment of May 7, 2014 at 5:18 am is wrong re FD vs spectral (there’s about a 50-50 balance, if I recall correctly) but anyway its irrelevant because of course both are made to conserve energy. Essex is a fool (or more likely a liar); Spencer is, as we know, sad and lonely and wrong (can you believe it? He’s a professional in the field and he has no-one to ask basic question like that of, so he repeats drivel at WUWT? It really is sad) -W]

  11. #11 Steve Bloom
    2014/05/10

    Brown is aka “Galloping Camel” IIRC.

    My amateur two cents re the models:

    AIUI, they are indeed only weakly reliable for big stuff like projecting the climate state a century from now, but are much better for diagnostic purposes (determining what’s behind X observed change in the climate system). For the former, we have other evidence (obs and paleo), besides which model unreliability at the large scale seems to be more a matter of timing than the climate state itself. (IOW, for policy purposes should it matter all that much if we reach a certain climate state in 70 years vs. 130 years? The much larger issue is the commitment to the path to that state.)

    That said, I don’t think it’s helpful in any case to have too much weight placed on century-scale model projections given the known and unknown unknowns that seem to keep cropping up.

  12. #12 G
    2014/05/11

    William, I can’t make any sense of your comment to my comment.

    Of course we’re using the electricity and burning the fossil fuels. We in America, and we in the world. Though, personally, my electricity consumption is about half the per-capita average for the US and my gasoline consumption is about 1/4 the per-capita average for the US. This, largely via telecommuting, and were it not for the home office stuff, my electricity consumption would be about 1/3 the US average.

    If carbon capture technologies prove viable, all of this will become moot. But carbon capture remains as elusive as “cold fusion,” while renewables and conventional fission, and conservation and efficiency, are all known viable. Thorium fission worked in a proof-of-concept reactor almost fifty years ago, so it could be revived with new-generation reactors.

    I followed Quokka’s link and read Hansen’s article, and to my mind one of his key points was that the “greens” are witlessly helping the carbon lobby by opposing nuclear fission and holding out for a larger use of renewables than is technically feasible right now. I get frankly disgusted with “green” groups that bicker over ideology while CO2 ppm figures continue to rise, because of all people, they should know better.

    Somehow we have to arrive at a consensus or convergence on a specific set of policy measures that are scientifically valid and technically feasible, and then push those points relentlessly and with a single voice raised to the volume of hundreds of millions of voices that will not be possible to ignore. The economic factors will self-arrange around the new realities on the ground, and after that, mere self-interest on the part of various economic actors will reinforce the chosen direction.

    Otherwise, we are consigning ourselves to become another statistic in some far away civilization’s equivalent of Fermi’s paradox.

  13. #13 Steve Bloom
    2014/05/11

    Green groups bicker over ideology? That seems to be a non sequitur.

    Hansen, IMO, mistakes a problem of political will for a technological barrier. Note that earlier on he promoted a parallel concept regarding black carbon.

  14. #14 Ben Gilder
    Adelaide
    2014/05/11

    It seems to me that any technology that captures/converts an exhaust(or any other waste product) without gaining an economic use from it will be doomed to failure as soon as human nature is allowed for.

  15. #15 turboblocke
    2014/05/11

    Quokka: your energy outlook link starts with:In the IEO2013 Reference case, which does not include prospective greenhouse gas reduction policies, coal remains the second largest energy source worldwide.

    How about looking at one that does show ghg reduction policies…

  16. #16 quokka
    2014/05/15

    This is the sort of thing I was referring to in my first comment that organized opposition may have some success is delaying or halting individual projects

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/15/metgasco-gas-exploration-licence-cancelled

    Good luck to them but it’s not going to have any effect on global warming or fossil fuel use. The gas will just be extracted elsewhere. And this will continue until low emission alternative energy technologies are really being put in place.

    I gather that there was a lot of local opposition. This should not be unexpected in view of the constituency and the history. Just east of the gas exploration area lies the site of the “Battle of Terania Creek” which was the possibly the first environmental blockade of rain forest logging anywhere. It was a success and some new protected areas were declared.

    That whole area of northern NSW is very beautiful which of course has heightened local opposition. It’s also easily accessible and known to many people unlike many locations in Aus where fossil fuel extraction is on a tear.

  17. #17 MikeH
    2014/05/16

    Quokka. First rule of investing, do not get emotionally attached or allow your political views color your judgement. I would not invest in coal. People with more money than I are making the same call.

    That does not mean that there will not be new coal fired power stations open or perhaps even new mines. But the people who are paid to analyse these things see a long term decline. As is usual during the peak of the market, a lot of investments were made in anticipation of higher prices. Those mines will not return their investment.

    #australiansforcoal is a sign of weakness, not strength.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/beginning-end-coal-citi-sees-structural-decline-30396

  18. #18 quokka
    2014/05/16

    MikeH,

    Another rule of investing – be very, very skeptical of analysts – especially paid ones. Statistically they are no better than random, which if you think about it is almost an inevitable outcome of the efficient market hypothesis even in a weak form. A few analysts appear to have a special talent, but is hard to separate this out from good luck.

    There is plenty to say about this subject, including the fairly obvious observation that if coal stocks go down, their yield will go up and at some point they will be very attractive to “value investors”, but focusing on stock price is far less significant than focusing on the world’s future energy consumption and where it can realistically come from.

    And by the way, I would never buy coal stocks for, well, political reasons.

  19. #19 MikeH
    2014/05/21

    “Australian coal exploration company Stanmore Coal estimates that 40% of global seaborne-traded thermal coal production of roughly 800 million mt and 45% of internationally traded coking coal production of around 300 million mt is “unprofitable at current pricing levels,” it said Tuesday in a presentation filed with the Australian Securities Exchange.”
    http://www.platts.com/latest-news/coal/perth/australias-stanmore-calls-40-of-seaborne-traded-26787099

    What do you reckon quokka? They are lying in a attempt to blindside their competition. :-))

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