Posts Tagged ‘Coal’

Adapting to climate change requires the further development and use of fossil fuels

July 31, 2014

The single thing that differentiates the human species from every other known species on earth has been the control and use of fire.The step change then from primitive to modern humans has been due not least to the control and development of the combustion process and the utilisation of fossil fuels. This in turn has multiplied many times the intensity of energy available to be harnessed by man. I would suggest that the human capability of handling change is largely a function of the power intensity available.

power intensity

power intensity

Fossil fuels have been demonised (by association with carbon dioxide emissions) for the last 30 years. In spite of that most  of the growth in the developing world has been – and continues to be – powered by fossil fuels. Fortunately the lack of evidence of any significant linkage between man-made carbon dioxide and global warming  (which is still the politically correct ideology) is beginning to be realised. The unnecessary, misplaced and ineffective increase of electricity prices in countries which have curtailed their use of fossil fuels has prolonged the recession and has cost many millions of jobs.

We have now had almost 20 years with the highest level ever of fossil fuel utilisation but “global temperature” has remained stubbornly static. In the last decade global temperatures have declined slightly. The hypothesised link between man-made carbon dioxide (which constitutes only about 3% of carbon dioxide emissions) and global temperature is well and truly broken. All the various climate computer models – which build on this link being amplified – have failed miserably.

The indicators of a global cooling cycle having started are piling up.

  1. There is more ice in the antarctic than has ever been measured
  2. There is more ice in the arctic than about a decade ago
  3. Total ice cover is higher now than has ever been measured
  4. Ice cover on the Great Lakes reached levels not seen for over 50 years and has persisted into the spring (even summer) later than has been observed for at least 40 years.
  5. The expected super El Nino forecast for this year has been dampened by a cooling Pacific and only a mild El Nino event – if at all – is now to be expected
  6. Sea level rises are no different to the long term average for sea level recovery since the last glacial minimum and may even have slowed.
  7. The deep oceans are cooling and are no repository of “hidden heat”
  8. The net cooling effect of clouds has been underestimated in nearly all models and cloud cover over the world is increasing (slightly).
  9. Man made water vapour is of greater significance than man made carbon dioxide for climate effects. But man made water vapour is almost insignificant compared to the water vapour flux due to evaporation and respiration.
  10. Solar effects are virtually ignored by all climate models but the sun does not much care for models and is reaching a low level of activity comparable to the Dalton or Maunder Minima.

Crying wolf about global warming has been the politically correct thing to do for 3 decades. Before that it was politically correct to be alarmist about the coming ice age. No doubt all the old fears about an ice age can be dusted off and recycled.

Climate change has been the most powerful force which has shaped human evolution and expansion. Sea level changes and patterns of precipitation and desertification have driven both evolution and migrations. Sea level during an ice age is about 120 m lower than it is today. More land is exposed in equatorial and tropical regions during a glacial period while land is rendered uninhabitable by the ice sheets of the north. But even primitive humanity survived during the glacials.

It is the global cooling cycles and not global warming cycles which will place the greatest demands on farming and energy. The greatest sea level change that humanity has had to – and will have to – adapt to  is the 120 m difference between glacial and interglacial conditions. During an ice age precipitation will drop sharply and river water flows will decline. Hydro power will all but dry up. It is the inevitable coming of the next ice age that will pose the real challenge – not the 1 m sea level rise that may come with another warming cycle. And when the ice age comes again it will be fossil fuels which will keep the home fires burning. It is the further exploitation of nuclear energy and fossil fuels in all its forms – coal, oil, natural gas, shale gas, gas from methane hydrates – that will be needed. It is the availability of power at the intensities provided by nuclear power and fossil fuel combustion which is what will provide humans with the wherewithal to cope with climate change, whether warming or cooling, but especially when the next ice age begins.

Whatever the alarmists would have us do in the short term, reality will eventually bite. The use of fossil fuels will – thankfully – continue as will the exploration for new sources of gas. The next generation of nuclear power plant will be developed – even though nuclear alarmism has led to a dearth of nuclear engineers. No doubt some market niches will be filled by wind and solar power but that will not be very significant in the large picture.

 

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Queensland switches back to coal

February 5, 2014

Once upon a time Australia had among the lowest electricity costs in the world but that was in the days where the market was not distorted by carbon taxes, mandatory renewable energy targets and subsidies for solar power. Coal prices are declining while gas prives are rising. This from The Australian as Queensland goes the way of Germany:

QUEENSLAND’S largest power generator will today declare that Australia is one of the world’s most expensive countries for energy and warn that the electricity market is being distorted by the carbon tax, mandatory renewables target and solar-rooftop subsidies.

After Stanwell took the extraordinary step yesterday of announcing it would mothball its biggest gas-fired power station and resurrect a coal facility built in the 1980s – sparking predictions that gas-fired power plants would be withdrawn in other states – it will today call for a scaling back of the renewable energy target.

Before the introduction of the carbon tax, the RET scheme and solar feed-in tariffs, the abundance of coal had made Australia a source of low-cost electricity, the company will say. “These policies appear to have been implemented for ideological reasons with little analysis of the impact on electricity prices and economic growth,” Stanwell chief executive officer Richard Van Breda will say.

Stanwell will issue its warnings as part of its submission to the federal government’s energy white paper, being developed by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.

The submission will caution that a raft of energy policies is eroding Australia’s competitiveness in manufacturing, which is a sensitive issue for the government amid internal tensions over taxpayer handouts to businesses, including SPC Ardmona.

Yesterday, Stanwell revealed it would withdraw its Swanbank E power station, near Ipswich west of Brisbane, from service for up to three years from October so it could sell the gas rather than use it in electricity generation. …….. A unit at the Tarong coal power station – in cold storage since late 2012 – will be returned to service later this year.

….. Germany is shifting back to more coal-fired electricity generation, reopening some of its dirtiest brown-coalmines that have been closed since reunification, despite having spearheaded Europe’s push into renewable energy. China has plans to add another 860 million tonnes of coal production by 2015. ………  

Stanwell’s energy white paper submission will raise concerns that the surge in rooftop solar panels has increased the capacity of the market, making cheaper coal-fired power stations run less efficiently. It says solar feed-in tariffs (state government schemes) have resulted in high ongoing costs for network infrastructure. …

 

Coal is still king in Svalbard

January 29, 2014

Svalbard, ranging in latitude from 74°N to 81°N,  is about as close as you can come to the “top of the world”. The mining of coal would not normally be thought of in the Arctic and that close to the North Pole but the Svalbard economy is dominated by coal mining. The population of Svalbard had increased by two percent, to 2,158 at the end of 2012.

CIA Factbook: The settlements on Svalbard are essentially company towns. The Norwegian state-owned coal company employs nearly 60% of the Norwegian population on the island, runs many of the local services, and provides most of the local infrastructure. There is also some hunting of seal, reindeer, and fox. Goods such as alcohol, tobacco, and vehicles, normally highly taxed on mainland Norway, are considerably cheaper in Svalbard in an effort by the Norwegian government to entice more people to live on the Arctic archipelago. By law, the Norwegians collect only enough taxes to pay for the needs of the local government. None of tax proceeds go to Norway.

Svalbard

Svalbard

Science Nordic reports:

The economy of Svalbard, the Norwegian arctic archipelago that lies between the country’s mainland and the North Pole, is still dominated by coal even as its value dwindles and employment in the mines drops. …

Tourism, a college and polar and space research activities have yet to make this community independent of coal. This has been verified by a recent analysis of Svalbard’s socio-economic status by the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR).

“Coal mining has always been the mainstay here, and it still is,” says researcher Steinar Johansen, who wrote the report with his colleague Hild Marte Bjørnsen. ….. In addition to all who are directly employed by the local coal company, Store Norske, mining requires a number of sub-venders, and services need to be provided to family members who move to Svalbard’s little town, Longyearbyen, at the chilly latitude of 78° N. …

But can the Svalbard community surive without coal? Not without major changes, according to the researchers.

Tthe statue of the coal miner in the town of Longyearbyen is a reminder of who – or what – really dominates the economy. (Photo: Georg Mathisen)

Heavyweights in Europe backing away from “green” follies

January 27, 2014

The beginning of the end of “green” profligacy? Perhaps – but the EU is still dominated by earnest, self-righteous, politically correct, fanatical, “green” fantasists.

Nevertheless it is a change of political climate in the right direction – from angry, hot alarmism  to a healthy, cold scepticism.

Lobby groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are not pleased. And that itself is a good sign. After all – as the great sage John Gummer has pointed out – such groups have been infiltrated and taken over by the Trotskyites.

The inanity of those who would connect weather with global warming is stupefying. I don’t call it “climate change” since if change could include “global cooling” all the warmists would be left without any faith and be out of a job. 

  1. ‘We must not demonise coal’ – German environment minister
  2. UK: Climate scepticism blamed as Owen Paterson slashes spending on global warming
  3. UK: David Cameron pledges to rip up green regulations

Germany:

Germany’s environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, says coal-fired power is important to the country’s economic security and should not be subject to extreme negativity.

In a separate development, Ms Hendricks told Power Engineering International that a court decision, which found the forced shutdown of the Biblis nuclear power plant to be illegal, would not have any impact on Germany’s plans to wind down its nuclear power industry. Speaking to Frankfurter Rundschau, Ms Hendricks said that while the energy transition’s dependence on coal power was ‘undesirable’, it was necessary for the country’s stability, particularly as “we can no longer expect gas to flexibly complement eco-energy.”

“Gas is unprofitable while coal is booming. We must not demonize coal. We still need to transition to a guarantee security of supply.”

She added that ‘rectivating’ the energiewende meant tacking the undesirable development of coal’s eminence. However this, she said, is to be a long term goal governed by market mechanisms/ETS. ETS, which would have to be reactivated. 

In her view backloading of 900 million ETS-certificates is to be a first step even if it is not enough. “The two billion CO2 allowances, which are too much on the European market, must be permanently removed. The 900 million ETS certificates, for which the EU has recently decided on an interim basis, are not enough. We will aggressively fight in the EU for a functioning CO2 trading system.”

UK:

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will spend just £17.2m on domestic “climate change initiatives” this financial year, a 41 per cent decline on the previous 12 months, according to its response to a freedom of information request. …. 

The dramatic cut in domestic climate change spending comes in Mr Paterson’s first full-year as Environment Secretary – he took up the post in September 2012 . The spending now represents just 0.7 per cent of the department’s total budget for the year, down from 1.2 per cent last year.

Defra is in charge of preparing, or adapting, Britain for global warming, while the Department for Energy and Climate Change is responsible for mitigating the risks. ….  One source who worked with the Environment Secretary said: “Adapting to climate change in itself is not a priority for Owen Paterson. He doesn’t believe that floods have anything to do with climate change, so he calls the biggest aspect of adaptation ‘flood management’. When you talk to him, you don’t use words like ‘adaptation’ – instead you talk about the economic impacts and opportunities and present it as a market solution.”

UK:

David Cameron will on Monday boast of tearing up 80,000 pages of environmental protections and building guidelines as part of a new push to build more houses and cut costs for businesses.

In a speech to small firms, the prime minister will claim that he is leading the first government in decades to have slashed more needless regulation than it introduced.

Guardian’s “catastrophe” correspondent supports Rudd: Could be the final straw

September 5, 2013

If anything convinces me even more than the bookies that Rudd will lose the election this weekend, it is that George Monbiot of the Guardian has developed the catastrophe scenario for Australia if Abbot wins. He has the uncanny knack of picking dead – and useless – causes.

For those who have not been exposed to George Monbiot, he is the Guardian’s “catastrophe” correspondent. He can manage to find a looming disaster in every human development. His articles tend to lurch from one catastrophe scenario to the next. That his “catastrophes” never happen and keep disappearing into the future never discourages him. He can always find a new catastrophe. And now he has picked on Tony Abbott! He does write for The Guardian and support for Abbott would not be possible but the demonisation of Abbott – like carbon dioxide – is a Monbiot speciality.

Fighting global warming is his reason for living. He detests – and denies – the hiatus in global warming since it might prove that there is no impending catastrophe. He denies that changes to climate may be due to natural variability. He doesn’t like fracking or the Farmers Union. In fact he doesn’t like fossil fuels of any kind. Coal – he thinks – has been disastrous for Australia. Tourists and sheep in the Lake District should be banned. Exotic trees should be banned and only “native” trees should be planted. He has a fantasy that woolly mammoths could be brought back to life. Neonictinoids are like DDT. The shooting of one of the Boston bombers was an “execution”. Oil companies and tobacco companies are to be shunned. He really does believe in “peak oil” and “peak gas”. Earning money and creating wealth is fundamentally wrong. Faith in the markets is misplaced and only governments can save our living planet. Having resources is a curse. Exploiting such resources is to court eternal damnation. He is a firm adherent of the precautionary principle.

In short he knows best what is best for others.

And he does not like Tony Abbott – probably to Abbot’s great advantage. His headlines can be worth looking at but to read through his articles requires a strong stomach. It’s not just that he does not like humanity; he does not like people doing well. Coal and its exploitation – he believes – has degraded and brutalised Australia.

The Guardian: 

If Abbott is elected, Australia’s natural wonders will gradually be rubbed away

Tony Abbott’s climate policies are about removing the social and environmental protections enjoyed by all Australians to allow the filthy rich to become richer – and filthier.

…. Why? The answer’s in the name. Coalition policies begin with coal: getting it out of the ground, moving it through the ports, stripping away the regulations that prevent mining companies from wrecking the natural beauty of Australia – and from trashing the benign climate on which we all depend. The mining boom in the world’s biggest coal exporter has funded a new, harsher politics. 

… Like the tar sands in Canada, coal has changed the character of the nation, brutalising and degrading public life. It has funded a vicious campaign of mud-slinging against those who argue for the careful use of resources, for peace and quiet and beauty and the health of the living planet. Australia, like Nigeria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, suffers from a resource curse. …

Read the whole article (if you really must).

The demise of coal has been greatly exaggerated

October 11, 2012

Reality Check.

The death of coal utilisation or the exhaustion of coal reserves is not even a glimmer on the world’s energy horizon — thank goodness.

Add to this the fact that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere (and man made CO2 emissions are a minor contribution to this concentration) simply have no significant effect on climate. Trying to control climate by reducing man-made carbon dioxide emissions must rank as one of the world’s most useless and wasteful efforts in the last 30 years.

Terence Corcoran writes in the Financial Post:

….. The idea that coal is dying seems to be mostly wishful thinking on the part of green activists, as well as some politicians and regulators in the United States and parts of Canada. Ontario aims to end dirty coal-fired power generation, at great cost to consumers who are now paying high prices for the putative clean alternatives, wind and solar. The United States, via regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency, has established rules that are said to present the coal-power industry with a “dead end.”

(more…)

Reality Check: add renewables subtract nuclear = more coal (and more gas)

August 20, 2012

Reality of course is that coal, gas, hydro and nuclear are the cheapest sources of electricity generation and will be with us for some time to come. And there is no need – for the sake of idiotic scenarios of nuclear holocaust and nonsense theories about AGW – to move away from them.

Bloomberg:

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government says RWE AG (RWE)s new power plant that can supply 3.4 million homes aids her plan to exit nuclear energy and switch to cleaner forms of generation. It’s fired with coal.

(more…)

Coal consumption increases almost 50% in 10 years and has no impact on global temperature

August 26, 2011

There is a clear disconnect between global coal consumption (and therefore carbon dioxide emissions) and global temperatures.

Of course we must take into account that these are only real data over the last 10 years and are not generated by computer models and have not been validated by the IPCC!!

Quote of the week at WUWT 22nd May 2011

“People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,” adding, “Our approach is not entirely empirical.” John Mitchell, principal research scientist at the UK Met Office

P Gosselin at NoTricksZone has the “heretical” story:

Global Coal Consumption Jumps Almost 50% – Yet Global Temps Drop! 

recently released BP report here shows that global coal consumption has risen over the last 10 years by almost 50%. So wouldn’t you think that all those millions of tons of emitted CO2 (food for plants) as a result would drive the global temperatures up? Have temperatures risen along with all that extra coal burning?

No they haven’t. In fact they’ve dropped slightly over the same period. So go figure!

Coal consumption and global temperature: http://notrickszone.com

In the above chart the blue line shows global coal consumption, data taken here, Review of World Energy. According to the report, India and China alone are responsible for 90% of the world’s coal consumption increase, while renewable energy in the 2 countries plays nary a role. According to BP figures, global CO2 emissions rose 5.8% in the year 2010. ……..

Read source report

Rio Tinto wins battle for Riversdale coal as major shareholder Tata Steel accepts offer

June 16, 2011

I had posted back in December last year about the battle for the acquisition of 13 billion tons of coking and steam coal reserves with Riversdale in Mozambique.

Riversdale Mining Ltd. has 13 billion metric tonnes of known coking and thermal coal reserves in its Benga and Zambeze projects in Mozambique. A global battle is now hotting up for the acquisition of Riversdale . International Coal Ventures Ltd., an Indian state-run joint venture, is studying an offer for Riversdale Mining Ltd. to counter a A$3.9 billion ($3.9 billion) bid from Rio Tinto Group.

The largest share holder was Tata Steel and they have now decided to exit. Hindustan Times reports

 

After months of speculation, steel major Tata Steel on Thursday said it had sold off its entire 26.27% stake in Australian mining firm Riversdale, facing a takeover from giant Rio Tinto, for Australian $1.06 billion (approximately Rs4,940 crore). It is a rich exit, as the Tatas have doubled their investment in a 4 year period.

Rio Tinto, which had made an open offer to the shareholders of Riversdale in March that had been repeatedly extended to a final deadline that now closes on Friday, sees its shareholding go up from 73.20% to almost 99.7%. 

The British-Australian group had said it planned to delist Riversdale from the Australian bourses and Tata Steel, which had for long maintained that it wanted to remain invested in the company, said on Thursday that it finally decided to sell the stake in the absence of a pact with Rio.

“Tata Steel has decided it would not want to hold its equity investment in Riversdale Mining Ltd which is proposed to be delisted, without any joint venture agreement with the majority shareholder in unlisted Riversdale Mining Ltd,” Tata said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

“The sale represents around 100% appreciation of value in less than 4 years since its first investment,” it said.

Even as more shale gas becomes available and “peak gas” becomes less and less likely, the value of coal assets is also increasing. Shale gas may well lead to a move back to fossil energy and the future availability of gas does not seem to hurt the value of coal.


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