Federal Election ’22: Clean Energy Scorecard, The Good, The Meh, & The Ugly

Australian Federal Election 2022 - clean energy policy comparisons

The federal election is only four weeks away, so I decided to make an in depth study of the environmental policies of all major political parties and rank them from best to worst:

  • Greens
  • Labor
  • Coalition

That didn’t take long.

I’ll give details on their policies below, but if you think preserving the planet is important and you’re only deciding between the major parties, then I recommend giving the Greens your 1st preference, Labor your 2nd, and putting the Coalition below them. 

There are also independent and minor party candidates, but the amount of effort required to outline all their environmental policies — if they even have any — exceeds my available time and motivation.  But you can use sites such as Vote Climate One, which has ranked everyone on environmental policies from good to meh to bad. 

Below I’ll provide the three major party’s positions on:

  • Greenhouse gas emission reductions.
  • Electric Vehicles (EVs).
  • Home battery storage.
  • Any other stand-out polices.

To learn the details, please read on.  But I warn you — stop now if you can’t handle the revelation that politics is full of lying liars.

Global Warming Is Largest Issue

Of all the environmental problems the world faces, the most serious is global warming.  It’s not that other issues, such as saving native forests, aren’t important.  They’re just unlikely to survive the type of bushfire infernos we’ll see when 50+ degree heatwaves become common. 

Putting the brakes on global warming by crashing greenhouse gas emissions is vital for protecting the environment as a whole, as well as ensuring the world can feed itself.  In 2019 we hit 49.9 degrees in South Australia, so it’s not as if things aren’t hot enough already.

This image, taken during our disastrous 2019/20 bushfire season, is from this BBC news article.

2030 Emission Targets

It may upset some people to learn this, but I’m just going to come straight out and say it — political parties aren’t always 100% honest. 

I realise many of you are reeling from shock right now, so if you need a minute to recover or throw up, that’s fine. 

Because politicians aren’t always completely honest, promises on emission cuts for the year 2050 are not reliable compared to the ones they make for 2030.  This is because they can promise the moon decades in the future, but then not bother to invest in a single moon capture device1.  But 2030 is only eight years away, so it’s easy to see if they’re actually working towards their target for that year.

The emission cuts the three major parties promise for 2030 are:

  • Greens:  75%
  • Labor:  43%
  • Coalition:  26-28%

These reductions are from 2005 emissions, which were 388 million tonnes of CO2 or its equivalent.  In the 12 months leading up to March 2021 they were 20.8% lower than in 2005.  This means the Coalition target for 2030 is absolute rubbish and can be met with a reduction of under 1 percentage point per year.  The Coalition’s promise is less than what’s likely to occur even if they make no effort at all.  The Coalition could even take steps to slow emission reductions and still meet their target.

When it comes to 2050, both the Greens and Labor promise zero net emissions.  But, despite being 28 years away, the Coalition will only commit to an 85% cut by then.  This is despite Scott Morrison saying on the 1st of February last year:

“Our goal is to reach net-zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050.”

I guess it must be one of his non-core goals. 

The Australian Greens

Australian Greens - 2022 Federal Election environment and clean energy policies

The Australian Greens are way ahead of the other two major parties on planned emission cuts and on other environmental issues.  Of course, if they weren’t, it would mean they really picked the wrong colour. 

The Greens & Emission Cuts

I mentioned the Greens want to cut greenhouse gas emissions 75% by 2030 and 100% by 2050, but that’s not quite true.  They want Australia to be carbon negative before 2050 and draw down some of the CO2 we’ve emitted into the atmosphere over the past 223 years2.

Greens Will Reintroduce A Carbon Price

Cutting emissions 75% over the next 8 years is not a goal without any thought behind it.  They have a plan and that’s to introduce a carbon price.  Here’s a screen shot of what they say on their site:

A carbon price means companies emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere have to pay for some of the damage they cause3We used to have one and it wasn’t a big deal, despite the fact Tony Abbott got his budgie smugglers in a twist over it. 

The important thing is, they have a method that will result in a 75% cut.  They’re not pulling figures out of Adam Bandt’s arse.  They will also apply a carbon levy to exports.  This is something both other major parties are steering well clear of. 

Greens To End Fossil Fuel Use

Steps the Greens will take to end emissions from fossil fuels include:

  • No new coal mines.
  • No new gas or oil wells.
  • Use of coal in Australia to be phased out by 2030.
  • Exports of thermal coal to end in 2030.

It’s definitely a good idea to make it clear no development of large new coal projects will be tolerated, so Adani (now called Bravus) will give up trying to open a new coal mine of disastrous proportions in Queensland.  With a domestic carbon price and a carbon levy on fossil fuel exports, what happens on a smaller scale with coal, oil and gas extraction is less important, as it’s likely to soon become uneconomic. 

Ending all thermal coal mining by 2030 will be easy thanks to the low and falling cost of renewable generation.  Environmental and health benefits will outweigh any costs, but given the age of Australia’s coal power stations and how cheap solar energy generation and battery storage is likely to become, it may easily pay for itself without considering those benefits.

What the Greens don’t call for is ending metallurgical coal exports by 2030.  This is hard black coal used in steel production.  Because steel smelters last a long time and Australia is, by far, the world world’s largest exporter of this kind of coal, ending exports by 2030 could disrupt the world economy.  But the Greens have a long term plan to deal with this and intend to spend half a billion dollars developing carbon neutral steel production capacity here in Australia. 

Greens & Electric Vehicles

The Greens have big plans for EVs and will promote them in five main ways:

  • Lower the cost of a new EV by up to $15,000 and provide “ultra cheap” finance for the remaining cost.
  • Spend $2 billion on a publicly owned EV charging network.
  • End the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.
  • Introduce “tough” new vehicle pollution standards for cleaner air.
  • Require all government car purchases to be electric from 2025 to help speed the transition and provide electric vehicles for the second hand market.  But given the extremely long life of electric motors and how slowly EV batteries deteriorate, there may be no need for these government EVs to enter the second-hand market for a long time.

If all this is implemented, it will result in a rapid transition to electric road transport. 

Electric vehicles are better for society than conventional cars because their environmental and health costs are much less and will continue to decline as our grid becomes cleaner.  They also have much lower fuel and maintenance costs.  As EVs continue to fall in price they will become cheaper overall than conventional cars.  There are claims this point has already been passed in Europe.

I’m not a big fan of subsidising electric vehicles because it’s more economically efficient to put an upfront charge on the purchase price of conventional vehicles based on their expected emissions and health costs.  But I probably won’t win many elections with that attitude. 

I do think modest subsidies can be a good idea to encourage EV uptake that maximize the benefit they provide.  For example, incentives could be provided to encourage EVs to have efficient onboard chargers and the ability to provide Vehicle to Home (V2H) and Vehicle to Grid (V2G) services.

The Greens also say they’ll encourage moving freight by rail rather than road to reduce emissions from heavy trucks.  (This will reduce the road death toll and road repair costs.)  They also say they will “clean up” truck fleets.  Some consider heavy road transport a particular challenge for EVs, but I expect the fuel and maintenance advantages of electric trucks will rapidly drive diesel trucks out of the market. 

Greens & Oz EV Manufacture

The Greens will also…

“Provide $1.2b to manufacturers of electric vehicles and electric vehicle components in Australia, building the Australian EV manufacturing industry.”

If people want to build electric vehicles in Australia, that’s fine with me.  But I don’t see the benefit of providing funding to companies to build them here.  While we shouldn’t get in the way of domestic EV manufacture, in real life giving funding to one industry reduces what’s available for others.  There are manufacturers of many products in this country — including plenty related to clean energy — who probably think they deserve funding too.   

Greens’ Other Transport Policies

Other transport initiatives of the Greens include:

  • High speed rail from Melbourne to Brisbane.  (Hey!  Adelaide misses out!  But I guess the Easties have to come first, since they’re too lazy to walk…)
  • $25 billion into rail and bus
  • $500 million a year into cycling and walking.

Greens & Batteries

The Greens will provide big subsidies for residential and small business battery storage. 

Households will receive up to 50% off the cost of a system or $5,000.  Whichever is lowest.  Low interest loans of up to $10,000 will be available to cover the remaining cost. 

For small businesses the subsidy will be up to $10,000 and the low interest loan can be up to $50,000.

While home and business batteries can assist the integration of renewable energy, subsidising them is an indirect way of reducing emissions.  Because there will be a lot of battery storage on wheels under the Greens policies, we may be better off if they put effort into making sure EVs can support the grid.  But I do think a modest battery subsidy encouraging Australians to install home batteries that can participate in VPPs (Virtual Power Plants) is likely to be useful.  

The Greens also say they will create a publicly owned electricity retailer.  Hopefully, this will provide VPP plans that return all the money they make above operating costs to households. 

Greens & Gas

The Greens are the only major party to offer incentives for homes and small businesses to stop using gas.  While ending all — or almost all — natural gas use is necessary to meet Labor’s 2050 net zero emissions target, the Greens are the only ones strongly committed to starting the process now.  

They will provide grants to help pay for replacing gas fired boilers, water heaters, and stoves with electric equivalents. 

For households, the grants can be up to $10,000; with the amount limited to 20% of the total cost or 50% if the household agrees to disconnect from gas within 6 months.  They will also provide low interest loans of up to $20,000 to cover the rest of the cost.

For businesses, the grant can be up to $25,000 and the loan can be up to $100,000. 

The Greens say they will also work with state and territory governments to ban gas connections for new housing developments. 

Politicians Don’t Understand Trade

The Greens promise to…

“Use government investment to drive new export industries in green hydrogen and minerals processing, ensuring Australia becomes a renewable superpower.” 

And they also say they will…

“Buy Local, Buy Green – make sure the government is buying products made by local workers produced with clean, green materials and power.” 

These things are opposites.

The only way Australia can become a “renewable superpower” is by exporting clean energy and/or products produced using clean energy.  The only point of exporting is to get imports in return.  But if everything is made local and we buy everything local, then there is no point to becoming a renewable superpower.  Not unless we want to export stuff for free. 

While it may make us feel good to give other countries presents, if Japan is willing to trade us goods in return for green hydrogen or carbon neutral steel, we should take them.  Japan is a rich country.  They can afford it.  If your goal is to be nice, you can take the stuff Japan is offering and give it to poor people. 

But politicians who understand this point — or are willing admit they understand it4 — are rarer than hen’s teeth5.

The Australian Labor Party

Australian Labor - 2022 Federal Election environment and clean energy policies

The Australian Labor Party is well ahead of the Coalition on environmental issues, but far behind the Greens. 

Labor & Emissions

Labor promises zero net emissions by 2050.  The net part means any emissions will be cancelled out by drawing an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it. 

They’ve promised a 43% cut in emissions by 2030.  This will be from 2005 levels and because we’ve already achieved around 20%, this means Labor will cut emissions by under 3 percentage points per year over the next eight years to meet their target.  In comparison, the Greens target is close to 7 percentage points per year.

The 43% cut is less than the 45% Labor promised in the 2019 election.  Labor can claim the Coalition faffing around for three years has made a 45% emission cut harder to achieve.  This is true, but doesn’t mean the urgency of situation has declined.  There has been mounting evidence we need to rapidly cut emissions.  Not just for future generations, but this one right here reading this right now.  We’re already suffering significant negative effects from global roasting and they’ll only get worse without rapid action.

Labor’s Emission Cut Mechanism

Like the Greens, Labor has a mechanism that will ensure they meet their (lower) target.  But instead of putting a price directly on carbon emissions, Labor will use the “Safeguard Mechanism“.  In a nutshell, companies will be allowed to emit greenhouse gases at around their current level without penalty, but the amount they can legally emit will be gradually lowered to ensure Labor’s emission’s target is reached.  If a company wants to emit more than it’s allowed to, it can purchase carbon credits6.

While this will work, unlike the Greens’ method it won’t raise any revenue for the government.  Since Labor has already committed to future tax cuts the Coalition promised, this means they won’t have much tax revenue to do anything new, unless Australia’s economy does extremely well over the next few years7. But if government subsidized dental care is your worst nightmare, you may consider this a good thing.

Labor & Electric Vehicles

Labor says they will provide incentives for EVs below the luxury car tax threshold for fuel efficient vehicles.  Currently, the threshold is $77,565.  They will do this by removing…

  • The Fringe Benefits tax for EVs:  There is currently a 47% tax on cars provided through work for private use.
  • Import tariff on EVs:  A 5% tax on the import price of cars that aren’t from China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, or the United States.

The removal of the Fringe Benefits tax won’t affect the typical private car purchase, but if Labor gets in I will definitely ask Finn to buy a SolarQuotes electric car for my personal use.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll ask for an e-bike. 

Eliminating the Fringe Benefits tax will significantly boost the number of EVs bought by companies.  It will also increase the number of cars entering the second-hand market faster than other EV incentives.  This is because there are plenty of dodgy people out there who will happily use their company’s money to buy a new electric car when the one they’re using is only a few years old.

Getting rid of the import tariff on EVs will slightly reduce the price of those that come from Europe and, technically, from places such as Africa, South America, India, Mexico, and Tonga.  But they’re kind of thin on the ground at the moment.  It’s a 5% tax on the import price of cars and because this comes before a number of other costs, it will only lower the price of a European EV by around 4%. 

These EV incentives will start on the 1st of July 2022 and be reviewed after 3 years. 

Labor says they will also look at improving charging infrastructure and otherwise promoting electric vehicles.

Added May 2, 2022: On the weekend, Labor unveiled plans for an EV charger rollout,  with the goal of seeing charging stations at an “average interval of 150km on major roads” across the country. The initiative would involve a $39.3 million government investment, matched by the NRMA, and partnerships with all levels of government, industry and communities.

Labor & Batteries

Labor is not promising any subsidies to help households install batteries. 

What they will do is spend $200 million to build 400 community batteries.  These will have around 500 kilowatt-hours of storage each and be located in towns, suburbs, and cities.  Labor says households will be able to store energy in them from their rooftop solar systems during the day and draw this energy at night. 

I’ll definitely write in detail about if Labor wins, because it sounds really stupid to me.  Installing batteries of around this size in the right locations can be very useful for supporting the grid and avoiding expensive transmission upgrades.  But they should just be used to directly lower electricity prices for everyone. 

Letting people participate in a scheme where they supposedly can put energy in and take it out again will not improve their operation.  It will raise costs because the virtual battery scheme will require money to set up and run.  There’s no need to complicate people’s lives by having them participate in Tamagotchi like busy work.  As Australians become richer and electricity becomes cheaper, we should be thinking less about it, not more. 

Tamagotchi (Literal translation: Egg crack dispenser) were like electronic crack for children in the early 90s, up until Nintendo developed real crack for children with Pokemon.

I expect in practice, the virtual battery will be entirely virtual.  That is, fake.  While the batteries will be there and will work to support the grid, in actual operation there will be no direct link to what people think they are putting in and taking out.  This would make the Community Batteries scheme a government supported con job. 

If they are installing 400 batteries that average 500 kilowatt-hours of storage each for $200 million, it comes to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour.  That’s pricey for grid batteries, so the price may already include the cost of running the virtual battery scheme.

While Labor claims “households” will be able to use the batteries, 400 batteries with 500 kilowatt-hours of storage each only comes to 20 watt-hours of storage per Australian household.  That’s enough to run an Xbox for about 12 minutes. (And only if it’s not running hot enough to cook your breakfast on top of it.)

Anyway, I’m going to force myself to stop complaining now, because I put $2,000 down on Labor winning yesterday and I’m probably not improving my chances of getting a payout.

Labor’s Other Initiatives

Labor says it will “invest” $20 billion in improving electricity transmission.  I put the word “invest” inside inverted commas, as it’s not currently clear what that means or where the money will come from.  Labor says they will also make $3 billion available for various projects that include “clean” metals and hydrogen production.  (I’m pretty certain “clean” means carbon neutral and not “well polished”.)

Labor Overview

Labor’s environmental promises are less impressive than they were for the previous election.  They seem to have decided they lost the last one because they promised to make things better, so they’re doing their best to avoid that this time and are relying on winning by simply not being the Coalition. 

I find this morally reprehensible given the environmental threats the world faces, but I’ll take “not doing as much as they should” over doing “bugger all”, which is the approach of another major party whose name I won’t mention… until I start a new paragraph.

The Liberal-National Coalition

Liberal/National Coalition - 2022 Federal Election environment and clean energy policies

I get the impression the Coalition definitely want you to go to the upper right and “Choose Another Issue”.  If they get their way you won’t see any tropical coral reefs in the future.

The Liberal-National Coalition isn’t planning on doing much when it comes to the environment.  Sure, they’re not specifically planning to destroy it, but they’re in no hurry to do anything about the destruction that’s currently occurring.  Despite this, they haven’t been recalcitrant when it comes to claiming credit for emission reductions that have occurred, despite directly opposing every major policy that contributed to these reductions over the past 13 years.

The Coalition & Emissions

Since 2005, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by around 20% for the following reasons:

  • Improved energy efficiency.
  • The falling cost of large scale renewable generation in the form of solar and wind farms.
  • Various government programs that supported efficiency and renewable generation.
  • The growth of rooftop solar power.  This is a big one — over the past 12 months it supplied 8.8% of Australia’s electricity consumption and 16.7% in South Australia. 

The Coalition has at times, and to varying degrees, opposed the first three.  They were against the introduction of fuel efficiency standards, eliminated Australia’s carbon trading scheme, reduced the Renewable Energy Target.

There were individuals in the Coalition government who wanted to axe the SRES or Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme that reduces the cost of rooftop solar8.  But thankfully that never happened.

They mention the 20% reduction in emissions that has occurred since 2005 and state…

“We are on track to meet and beat our 2030 Paris target, with latest projections showing a 30-35% reduction.”

You might think if that’s what we’re on track for, they’d be happy with an emission reduction target of at least 30% for 2030, but they’re going to stick to 26-28%, which is the minimum allowed by our Paris Accord commitment.  But there is no mention of their actual emissions target on the page promoting their environmental policies.  It’s very clear they’re aware Australians expect their government to take action on climate change and are making every effort to hide the fact they are doing as close to bugger all as they believe they can get away with.

Coalition & Electric Vehicles

The Coalition is not offering incentives for EVs.

Coalition & Batteries

If you want to install a battery in your home, the Coalition isn’t going to come around to your place and stop you.  But they’re not going to help you. 

Coalition & Other Environmental Issues

The Coalition says they’ll spend a considerable amount of money on protecting koalas, establishing marine parks, and protecting sea grass and the Great Barrier Reef.  I’m in favor of all those things but, unless we reduce global warming, koalas are likely to go extinct in the wild, sea grass and many forms of marine life will also be endangered, and the Great Barrier Reef as we know it will be destroyed.

Protecting natural habitats in the short term is good, but it’s insufficient.  It’s also necessary to fight global warming, otherwise it’s like spending money redecorating a house that’s on fire. 

“I’m melting!” This Earth Day Google Doodle shows glacier retreat in Greenland over a 20 year period.

Voting For The Environment

It’s up to individuals to vote for who they think will be best for the country — and I’ll ask all individuals reading this to put a lot of weight on the environment when it comes to penciling in your preferences this election. 

There will be time in the future to improve tax policy or perfect the rules for stuff like negative fringe benefit gearing, or whatever you’re intensely interested in that I don’t care about.  But only if we don’t cause irreparable harm to the planet.  If we allow too much warming, we may find ourselves preoccupied with fixing problems it causes and become distracted from making the world a better place. 

If there’s no independent or minor party member on your ballot with better environmental policies than the Greens or Labor, then to maximize the environmental benefit of your vote, I recommend putting Greens as your 1st preference and Labor 2nd.

The Greens have no realistic chance of forming a majority government, but the more first preferences they receive, the more other parties will be persuaded to improve their environmental policies next election.  It will also deprive other parties of the $2.91 in election funding each first preference vote receives, and that will really piss them off. 

Even if you don’t like the Green’s other policies, they are not going to have the chance to form a government and implement them all, so you can safely give them your 1st preference for their environmental stance.

The reason why I recommend putting Labor second is to maximize the chance of the Coalition being kicked out, as the Coal-licking party are not good for the environment.  They should also feel ashamed for pretending they are.  I realize feeling shame may be a strange new experience for some of them, but I think it could help them grow as human beings. 

They may even come to realize that, while we are carbon based lifeforms, the peculiar arrangements of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements that are also inside us make us more important than coal. 

Footnotes

  1. But do you really want the moon after Americans have pooped on it?
  2. We began mining coal back in 1799 and first exported coal — 150 tonnes to India — in 1801
  3. Some estimates put the cost of CO2 emissions at over $600 per tonne of carbon, but the practical upper limit for a carbon price is what it costs to remove a tonne of carbon from the atmosphere.  I expect this will be under $100 Australian per tonne.  (That comes to under $27 per tonne of CO2, since it’s 73% oxygen by mass.)
  4. Senator Matt Canavan has a degree in economics, as hard as that may be to believe.
  5. Which shouldn’t be that rare, since every hen starts off with one.
  6. Presumably honest carbon credits after the current Coalition carbon credit capers are resolved.
  7. Or inflation is very high.  That would help raise revenue from bracket creep.  (Bracket Creep is also my pet name for my accountant.)
  8. The ACCC recommended scrapping the ‘solar rebate’ in 2018 –  A scheme that’s already being gradually phased out.
About Ronald Brakels

Ronald was born more years ago than he can remember. He first became interested in environmental matters when he was four years old after the environment tried to kill him by smashing fist sized hailstones through the roof of his parents’ Toowoomba home. Swearing revenge, he began his lifelong quest to reduce the harm the environment could cause. By the time he was eight, he was already focused on using the power of the sun to stop fossil fuel emissions destabilizing the climate. But it took him about another ten years to focus on it in a way that wasn’t really stupid

Comments

  1. Doug Foskey says

    $2.91?? Might stand myself next time. I would be sure to make over $5 (if my wife voted for me too!)

    regards, & may the most green party win…..

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I’m afraid you have to get at least 4% of the first preference vote to get any funding at all — a decidedly anti-democratic rule.

  2. Ian pershouse says

    All I can say is that the environment minister should be ashamed of distorying the younger generations who has to pay the costs

  3. Shame on Labor and the Coalition for both supporting digging up and burning even more gas and coal, which will only worsen climate change.

  4. Dave Roberts says

    I haven’t voted Green since they refused to negotiate an emissions trading scheme with the Rudd govt. By holding out for perfection they have ensured we are 15 yrs behind. I gave up on Labor when Rudd chickened out on taking “the greatest moral question of our time” to a double dissolution thereby compounding the Greens mistake. I live in a blue ribbon Nationals seat so I am really despairing.

    • Armin Lunsmann says

      Then perhaps “It’s time” to change your voting habits then.

      I too am in a solidly held LNP seat (Grey), won’t stop me putting the LNP last on my ballot.

      • Dave Roberts says

        Sadly with the House of Reps it does come down to either Nationals or Labour. It’s the Senate where decent independents can make a difference and I don’t mean the Greens. A Senate where independents hold the balance is the only way we will progress.

    • The CPRS was a dog that would have left us in a worse position now

      Your approach due to the CPRS shows your lack of knowledge of the subject

  5. Kris Smith says

    Many seem to ignore the fact that China produces 60% of the world’s CO2 emmissions, is building some 200 more coal fired power stations, and only importing 5% of (Australian) coal for their use – the rest being mined in China itself.

    Or ignore that the government of China is aggresive against Western goals of peace and human rights.

    Also Australian exported coal makes up less than 5% of coal burnt worldwide.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/LyLZKrs8r2PwVw5w7

    That said while everything Australia does to switch to renewal fuels then pales into insignificance, ignoring Man Made Global Warming is not the smart thing either!

    Yes the LNP have been slower to come around to clean energy as we’d have hoped, but Australian homes are leading the world in embracing roof top solar panels like no other country, as are drivers waiting 12 months for deliveries of hybrid vehicles that reduce petrol use 50%.

    So while the ALP and the Greens might well be the political parties you might want to vote for to battle climate change, doing so is not going to change global CO2 emmissions enough to make a difference, increased engergy costs being the only guaranteed outcome of such a government.

    Much like the rabbit and turtle, slow and steady is going to better in this race we’re running. Unthinking panic is not going to help.

    Change takes time. And excessive yelling by well-intentioned Earth lovers has only allowed a loud minority of climate change deniers to get equal airtime, resulting in extreme views and a weakening of democratic countries strengths.

    One thing that will stop CO2 emmissions in its tracks is if an autoritarian leader in Russia or China takes to starting a “limited” nuclear war.

    So maybe it is time to seriously consider how we want our future to pan out.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      China emits 30% of world CO2 emissions, not 60%.

      • Ian Thompson says

        And Australia emits, what, 5% if we include exports (1.4% otherwise)?

        But let’s just say Australia achieves 0% net CO2 by 2050, by terminating coal exports to China, LNG to Japan, growing lots and lots of trees, etc.?

        Won’t this mean that China will likely increase it’s emissions by that date, if their population is to become more normalised regarding energy consumption – because they will likely need to mine more of their own coal, rather than to import ‘green-washed’ coal from Australia?

        Should we not be including an allowance to provide countries like India, Bangladesh, Africa, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, much of South America – with the means to increase their quality of life, while at the same time eliminating their own CO2 emissions; otherwise our efforts to eliminate our own emissions will be proved pointless?

        Are these countries all suitable for wind and PV (I know the take-up of Solar HWS’s was poor in Malaysia – because they have extended heavy cloud cover, when the water would run cold – well I guess dangerously luke-warm)?

        I see the newly re-elected French President Macron is going to build 5 new Nuclear plants – but even this is not going to do much outside of France.
        They are also HEAVILY involved in nuclear fusion developments.

        Are we simply going to wait for someone else to help with support of these numerous 3rd world countries, so we can sit back on our haunches and say ‘well, we did it’? Who is this mysterious benefactor – the USA? China? Europe?

        I don’t think you guys are looking at the bigger picture.

        • Australia may not emit a great deal, but we can still lead by example.
          We should have been leading the world in reducing greenhouse gasses, and be making a fortune helping other countries reduce theirs.
          China might be making a lot more greenhouse gasses then us, but they are also making most of the worlds solar panels and EV batteries, something Australia should have been competing for, considering we have most of the raw materials here.
          We might still be able to get the jump on developing the worlds green power infrastructure if we get our butts moving.

          • George Kaplan says

            China might be making most of the world’s solar panels, windmills, and EV batteries, but they’re also making toxic lakes and inflicting inhumane suffering on select parts of their population. Australia is already leading by example by having environmental legislation that precludes such environmental travesties – as do most (all?) first world nations.

            Coal and petroleum (gas) comprise over a quarter of Australia’s exports. Barring iron ore and gold, there’s nothing remotely comparable in value. Worse, whereas China currently consumes roughly 41% of Australian exports, that’s primarily iron ore. Should Beijing decide it won’t take Australian ore, or if China enters a depression, that market will die. Japan is Australia’s second largest trading partner, but 63% of their exports are coal and petroleum gas – the exact products some want banned. South Korea it’s about a third of all exports, and for India it’s over 80%!

            The fact is coal and petroleum are a big component of Australia’s trade with Asian nations, sometimes almost the only product. Unless folk are advocating a variant of the White Australia policy and returning to primarily trading with the motherland (God Save The Queen), or the rebellious colonials in those United States of America, the ‘solution’ espoused is economic armageddon, and we’ve already more than enough problems thanks to Russia and China Flu.

          • Ian Thompson says

            James

            Yeah, right!

            You obviously have never travelled – the World is a very big, BIG place.

          • Geoff Miell says

            George Kaplan,
            Coal and petroleum (gas) comprise over a quarter of Australia’s exports.

            Unlike Australia, the following key countries Australia currently trades with have committed to net-zero:
            * Japan: by 2050;
            * South Korea: by 2050;
            * Taiwan: by 2050;
            * China: by 2060; and
            * India: by 2070.

            The demand for Australia’s coal and fossil gas exports will inevitably decline.

            And it seems China won’t need to import any more coal soon. Chinese investment in domestic transport infrastructure will push out overseas thermal coal imports. Seaborne coking coal imports to China will fall with growing supply from Mongolia.

            ANU climate change economist Professor Frank Jotzo said recently:

            Our findings should be of high concern to the coal industry and to Australian governments. Coal will be on the way down. We need to foster alternative economic futures. Australia’s resource and energy industries have every opportunity to prosper in a low-emissions world.
            https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/bleak-outlook-for-australian-coal-exports-to-china

            And ‘green steel’ technologies that don’t require met coal increasingly threaten Australia’s coal export outlook.

            …the ‘solution’ espoused is economic armageddon, and we’ve already more than enough problems thanks to Russia and China Flu.

            I think you have a short memory, George. You seem to have forgotten the Australian ‘black summer’ wildfires in 2019-20; floods in 2021 & 2022; all supercharged by worsening climate change. And worse is to come. See Table 1 in: https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/resources/pac/media/files/pac/projects/2021/12/narrabri-underground-mine-stage-3-extension-project-ssd-10269/public-submissions/submissions-on-behalf-of-lock-the-gate-alliance/220225-penny-sackett_redacted.pdf

            I’d suggest an economic Armageddon pales into insignificance compared with a climate Armageddon.
            https://twitter.com/RRITools/status/1262304132398006273/photo/1

          • George Kaplan says

            Geoff,
            2050 is almost 3 decades away and the country remains heavily reliant on reliable energy. Up until Fukushima, nuclear power provided about 40% of their power. As of 2020 it provided a mere 3.9%. Instead 39% is from natural gas, and 31% from coal – similar figures to Australia. Renewables comprise 20%, however Hydro has comprised 10% (half of all renewables) since about 1965! That’s roughly a 10% growth in 10 years.

            For India the commitment is almost 5 decades away, and their power demand\generation has been exploding as they attempt to modernised. They’re roughly 10% Hydro, 10% (Other) Renewables, 5% Nuclear, and 80% Fossil. Yes I’m aware that’s 105% – I’m approximating off a line graph.

            If you look at 2020 coal exports specifically, India consumes 25%, Japan 24%, China 17.5% (pre-trade wars?), South Korea 10%, Taiwan 7%, Vietnam 5%, plus some other minor players. For petroleum gas Japan consumes 41%, China 35.5%, South Korea 10%, and Taiwan 5%.

            A quick look has South Korea at 68% fossil fuels, 29% nuclear, 3% renewables – roughly 1% solar, 1% biomass and\or waste. Taiwan is 83% fossil fuels, 12% nuclear, 5% renewables – principally hydro, biomass, and waste.

            Yes perhaps demand will decline – if countries keep to their commitments, but it won’t be fast or cheap for the countries involved.

            Is green steel actually a proven economically viable option? I’ve seen it mentioned before, but it seemed bleeding edge\experimental rather than mainstream. One result on the subject suggests switching EU production to the green route will require multiple nuclear plants and even at about a quarter of local residential prices (which are below EU prices), that’s billions added to the cost of production. Coal is cheap. By 2050 a changeover will have cost hundreds of billions for negligible benefit. Since China is the primary manufacturer of steel – 10x that of the US, with India #2, Japan as #3, US as #4, and South Korea at #5, opting to produce even more costly steel when current steel production is already considered excessively expensive is … a poor economic decision.

            2019-2020 wildfires? You’re right, I don’t remember them causing much in the way of problems. As for 2021 & 2022 floods, while la nina has proven mildly inconvenient, it wasn’t really a major issue, here at least – yes some towns did get wetter. In both cases however I’d ask whether the issue is alleged climate change, or the more serious problem of government greed and stupid development of known flood\fire zones. There’s an area here for instance that was partially underwater in the floods earlier this year, and is a known flood zone. Despite this it is scheduled to be turned into housing! If\when that goes ahead and the houses flood, it won’t be anything to do with climate change, but solely greed or poor decision making verging on criminal misconduct.

            We’ll have to agree to disagree about the relative threats of China Flu, climate change, and another great depression.

            Always interesting seeing different points of view though.

      • Kris Smith says

        Yes. Depending which website you come across. Needs more time than I have to find out which one has the truly correct numbers.

        This website
        https://www.worldometers.info/co2-emissions/co2-emissions-by-country/
        shows China as just under 30%, but Australia too as under 2%.

        These differences don’t really matter. What we need to do is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

        An autocratic government that hides truth and falsifies statistics and is against our way of life is not one I’d wholeheartedly back.

        True, the solar panels on my roof were manufactured there….

        Sniff.

        Still, thanks for listening to my point of view.

        Just remember the big picture!

    • People who use a county’s emissions rather than a Per Capita amount are just pointing the finger at others without seeing the real problem

      Embarrassing really

      • That’s what many don’t realise, when you point a finger at others, there’s 3 pointing back at them.

      • George Kaplan says

        Why’s per capita relevant? China is, very roughly, the same size area as Australia, 30x the emissions, but 40x the population. Thus under per capita rules Australia is worse than China, except it’s China not Australia that produces a third of all global emissions.

        So tell me, which country do you think is the one that needs to impose pollution or CO2 controls?

        Note too that CO2 is plantfood so a large country with high CO2 emissions will balance out in a way that a small country with moderate CO2 emissions cannot.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          China has 30 times Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and 54 times Australia’s population. In 2020 China’s emissions were 8.2 tonnes per person while Australia’s were 15.2 tonnes. Every CO2 molecule is identical to every other molecule. You can complain about who dealt it and who smelt it or you can do something about it, such as voting for someone whose environmental policies take greenhouse gas emission reductions seriously.

        • Geoff Miell says

          George Kaplan,
          Note too that CO2 is plantfood…

          Rising global mean surface air temperatures will kill plants and animals long before atmospheric CO₂ levels become toxic. See the phase diagram of habitability for residents of Earth at:
          https://parracan.org/pcan/gallery/future_2100/temperature_habitability_change_plants.jpg

          See Dr Ye Tao, from the Rowland Institute at Harvard, from time interval 0:02:38 providing an explanation of the graph:

          • George Kaplan says

            Geoff,
            That’s one possible perspective. Another is that the English or Scottish wine industry might start thriving. And of course if the surface did actually get overly hot, well then there’s the subterranean option, as some folk already do, and have done in the past.

            Ronald,
            Or you can argue not my monkey, not my circus. Regardless of how extreme and radical of policies Australia adopts, you’re talking about a drop in the bucket at best. Unless Australia can apply effective pressure on China there’s really nothing particularly productive that can be done.

            To put it even more bluntly, why should me and mine sacrifice for something that’s not our problem?

            I don’t see this as something that common ground will be found on. Oh governments will change, and consequently go back and forth on the issue, but a consistent position can’t exist as Left and Right have radically different views on the subject – as they do on most things, and the centre which ultimately picks who gets power votes depending on what their priorities are at any given point in time. Some elections that may be climate change, others it will be border security, the economy, national defence etc.

            At least we here can be civil about the subject – not all discussions are!!!

  6. My submission should have been what is below – first attempt was an error in copying and pasting to the form.

    And, the web site form submission obstruction software prevented me from submitting the corrected submission.

    It is unfortunate that this, being a sheep country, has so many sheep whose only concern is to blindly follow their masters and refuse to acknowledge the existence of parties and candidates outside the LNP/ALP cartel and the (not so) “green” party (why is the pretend “green” party, not offering financial assistance to every household in Australia, for the purpose that every household can have a maximum sized domestic rooftop photovoltaic system with adequate battery storage?). Those parties are simply, professional politicians, without regard for the environment, or for plebs being represented in the parliaments at any level.

    Why is no political party in Australia (insofar as I am aware – if they are, the media are concealing it), offering financial assistance to enable ordinary people to have BEV’s (at present, a BEV in Australia, is simply an ostentatious status symbol, saying “I am richer than you”), along the lines of, but, stronger than, the NZ Clean Car scheme (https://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicles/clean-car-programme/clean-car-discount/overview/) at no cost to the taxpayers, the scheme being self funded, but, stronger, to enable access to all people who drive? Why are the pretend “greens” party, not offering such a proposal?

    Why to the pretend “greens” discriminate on who should have access to clean energy through domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems and batteries?

    The independents can have an effect in the parliament – if the independents, with their bill for batteries to be added to the STC scheme, could get it through, modified to make batteries accessible to all householders, and not just the rich (as BEV’s are only accessible in Australia, to rich people who want to flaunt their wealth), if similar independents manage to get “the balance of power” in the lower house, Australia could start to have environmentally (more) friendly actions by the parliament.

    Has anyone looked at the policies and where they are standing candidates, of other parties, such as the Fusion Party of Australia, or, the Socialist Alliance? They are greener parties than the ones mentioned in the article, and are standing candidates for the senate, in most states, and, in the lower house, and, if given a fair go, could hold “the balance of power”, if they were given a fair go, by people writing and publishing articles “comparing parties’ policies”, so that people are shown a true comparison of the options available, we could end up with a parliament that is not controlled by the fossil fuel owned LNP/ALP cartel.

    Until the people who write and publish articles “comparing” the policies of the different options, stop acting to preserve the status quo of the LNP/ALP cartel controlled system, and, instead, inform about alternative options (how many people reading this, know of the Fusion Party of Australia, and, the Socialist Alliance, whether they are standing senate and other candidates in their states, and, what are their policies regarding the environment and clean energy?), the media, and, the above article, are only supporting the status quo, controlled by the LNP/ALP cartel (how many tens of millions of dollars, have the fossil fuel companies invested (best investment in Australia – paying money to politicians – return on investment is thousandfold) in the LNP/ALP cartel? – this information is conspicuous by its absence from the article) and the pretend “greens” – all of the parties present in the existing parliament, being no more than professional politicians, who are simply not interested in the plebs, or, in representing the plebs, and, we get stuck in the same, broken record – “yes sir, no sir, three bags full, sir”, and Australia continues to slide deeper into the cesspool, with the people in power, and the people controlling the information, in line with the symbol that is the federal parliament building (have you looked at, and, thought about, its shape?), giving the finger to Australia, its people and environment, and, to the world.

  7. Des Scahill says

    Comparisons of Australia with how and at what rate other countries are ‘transiting’ towards “renewables” can be pretty much irrelevant.. France for example built its first nuclear power generator in 1962, has added to them since, and currently exports electricity to other countries in Europe.

    Any transition to renewables process the French choose to follow, and to what extent they diversify their power generation processes, and over what time frame that occurs will affect other European countries and has significant wider international political implications for France as well.

    France’s starting point for any transition from it’s now ‘legacy’ systems is thus very obviously completely different from that of Australia, and they have a totally different set of transition problems and issues to deal with.

    That same general principle applies to other countries and continents. They all face the same general need to transition to renewables and to stop polluting their environment and drinkable water supplies. But the specific steps each might need to take all vary considerably due to differing starting points and political structures.

    I agree with Kris Smith that ‘unthinking panic is not going to help’, but I strongly disagree that a ‘slow and measured approach’ at turtle speed is the appropriate response in the current times.

  8. Dominic Wild says

    The sad fact is that every country knows that a low cost of base load energy as an input to production is a driver of economic success and so far nothing is beating coal. A few years back China was accused of building one coal-fired power station per week for that same reason.

    However, the eyes of the world are on us and we may get penalized for not including nuclear into our energy mix like most nations in the world do. That way our CO2 output/capita will definitely be better.

    I was shocked when I saw the subsidy figure for my 6.6kW PV system, so I find it hard to believe when it is said nuclear is too expensive and with a FIT of 3c/kWh in WA, I still have a payback time of more than eight years. But we are all doing our bit to reduce global warming.

    • Des Scahill says

      The ‘subsidy’ argument may seem valid at first look, but it is in fact something of an ‘illusion’.

      From the sole perspective of an owner of a roof top PV system . their cash flows from exporting to the grid are:

      1) You receive 3 cents per KWH you export.

      2) “somebody else somewhere” gets charged (say) 22 cents by the retail or other organization who has on-sold the Kwh you first sold them.

      That retail on-seller thus has a cash margin of 19 cents. That’s roughly a markup of around 600%. How he conducts his business and what other costs he might incur are his problem not mine, and he’s also recovering some of those as well via ‘fixed charges’. Most retailers would drool over an initial 600% mark-up on everything they sold to millions of customers along with allocating a portion of their fixed business costs as well.

      What that all boils down to is that YOU are effectively repaying your initial subsidy over time. Depending on which state you are in, you may also find as well that your ‘fixed charges’ are higher than those of a non-PV system owner., and the retail on-seller benefits from that too.

      Now we all know that ‘net cash flow’ is ultimately of far more significance to any business in real life than any set of accounting financial statements.

      Many small business bankruptcies and sundry large company liquidations attest to the folly of ignoring real world cash flows, and not acting quickly when those become negative.

      Unfortunately – despite initially adopting a view that an essential vital service that affects the entire population along with every business and government enterprise through-out Australia could be safely left to the application of ‘free-market’ principles, and why should anyone know or even care who its ultimate owners might eventually become – competing political ideologies and differing views on astoundingly obvious climate change impacts and their causes entered the fray as well.

      So, I wouldn’t feel at all guilty about the initial ‘subsidy’ you received when you purchased your system. You are actually gradually paying it back, although that’s not obvious at first glance. The time span for that varies depending on the gap between your FIT rate and your usage Kwh charge; and the quantity of your exports.

      That’s in addition to any reduction in carbon emissions that might arise.over the life of your system and the wider social benefits of that.

  9. Why no mention of each party’s policies on population growth? The addition of every new person to Australia’s population has far more of an impact on carbon emissions than anything else when you account for all the carbon emissions from everything that person consumes throughout their lifetime. One major factor in Australia’s rapid population growth is our immigration levels, which pre-pandemic were amongst the highest in the OECD.

    Immigration from less developed countries to Australia results in a net global increase of carbon emissions as well as a net increase for Australia. This is often ignored because it’s a political hot potato, but if we are to take climate change seriously at all then we need to talk about it.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      If we wanted to, we could cut net CO2 emissions by 100% over the next 10 years while barely affecting the economy overall. We can’t alter the population by that much, whether up or down, without upsetting a lot of people.

      • George Kaplan says

        Er how would that be achievable? The changes already being pushed are impacting the economy. Setting an impossible timeline would simply destroy the country.

        CO2 emissions are roughly 33% electricity, 20% stationary energy excl. electricity e.g. gas heating, 18% transport, 15% agriculture, 6% industry, 3% waste, 10% fugitive emissions.

        Coal remains the main source of generation in Australia – over half of all power generated in 2020-21, with gas providing just under 19% of power generated. Solar provided just over 10%.

        So to get a 33% reduction you’d need to replace the 75% of power in Australia that isn’t wood, biogas, wind, hydro, PV, or geothermal, and it wouldn’t be a straight MW to MW conversion since wind and PV lack the reliability of other sources. Such a conversion alone will cost tens of billions, which will result in soaring power prices.

        If you factor in the non-electric stationary energy, try doubling that figure.

        And then there’s transport. It will take decades to replace ICEVs with EVs, partly due to the cost, partly due to sheer lack of supply, and this assumes no increases in delays due to chip and other shortages. Most people aren’t prepared (or able) to pay 3x the price of an ICEV to get an EV option with worse performance. With over 20 million vehicles registered in Australia, and ‘cheap’ EVs coming at say $60,000 – obviously trucks are far more expensive but lets keep this simple, you’re looking at a cost of $1,200,000,000,000 to make the ICEV to EV switch.

        So to cut even 71% of emissions will require spending on par with the ENTIRE GDP of the nation. That’s beyond impossible. Government can’t afford this, industry can’t afford this, and taxpayers won’t vote for something they absolutely can’t afford.

        Since you state it would be possible to make a 100% reduction in 10 years with minimal economic cost you must be operating on radically different assumptions to myself. Please explain! :-|)

        • Ronald Brakels says

          It’s replacing outdated infrastructure. In 10 years time the NEM’s youngest coal power station will be 25 years old. The old fossil fuel generating capacity will be replaced with new capacity that operates at lower cost and has lower health costs. It’s similar for EVs. Effectively, older and more polluting vehicles are replaced with cleaner ones with lower operating costs. Every year that passes will increase the savings that result from lower fuel, maintenance, and health costs. Also note, it’s zero net emissions. There will still be fossil fuel infrastructure remaining, but when used its emissions will be removed from the atmosphere. This might add 20 cents to the cost of a litre of petrol — but petrol may be cheap by then, thanks to all the electric cars. Same goes for if and when old open cycle gas turbines have to be cranked up to meet electricity supply. Note the cost of batteries and solar will be considerably less in 3 years time and will fall in price further over a decade. I’m only considering greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and not fossil fuel exports, but I expect they’ll be heading down.

          In reality, what I’ve described is more likely to happen over the next 25 years, but we can do it faster and without disruption to our everyday lives.

          • Ian Thompson says

            Hm-mm Ronald

            If Lazard’s are to be believed, I’d doubt the cost of solar will reduce much in the future – costs appear to have pretty-much leveled out last year. Wind may yet drop, but by only by a very small amount – according to the Lazard Unsubsidized LCOE charts.
            Residential (PV + Storage) LCOS looks somewhat expensive, at 54.5 – 78.5 cents/kWh. That’s 2-3 times more expensive than what I pay now!

            See LCOE Version 15.0 below:

            https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-levelized-cost-of-storage-and-levelized-cost-of-hydrogen/

          • Ronald Brakels says

            Solar grade silicon is $36 US per kg. It was $11 US at the start of 2021. New production capacity is apparently profitable at $10 US per kg, so I’d say there’s considerable room for price falls. If the price remains high, that means the demand for solar is very strong and we’ll see a lot more production built.

          • Kris Smith says

            Yes, we must do sonething. Now! But how?

            1. If you own a detached home place Australian (not China) made solar panels on your roof. Maybe not overnight heating but you’ll definitely be reducing your emmissions when you turn on your cooling system on those hot summer afternoons.

            2. If you’re looking to replace your car get a (non-Chinese) hybrid. Your long distance hauls won’t change much but your start stop daily commute will be 50% more efficient.

            3. If your budget stretches go for a PHEV, your daily local commute will be all EV, 100% savings on your usual CO2 emmissions with No Range Anxiety.

            4. Get a BEV. Yes they’re expensive. And you’re going to play Hunt The Charging Station on your out of town trips.

            In essence, Do Something.

            But whichever party you vote for, changes are not going to happen at least for another decade globally – not until China and Russia throw away their autocracies at least.

            Cheers!

          • Geoff Miell says

            Ronald,
            …but petrol may be cheap by then, thanks to all the electric cars.

            I very much doubt that. See my earlier comments to you at: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/queensland-ev-subsidy-mb2397/#comment-1400716

            Shortfalls in hydraulic fracturing capacity, needed to bring new wells on stream, are hampering efforts to raise US shale oil output this year.
            https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2325035-frac-fleet-shortage-slows-us-shale-growth

            US ‘tight’ (shale) oil is a light oil, not suitable for producing diesel fuels, civilisation’s primary workhorse fuel, without being extensively blended with heavier crudes.

            Meanwhile, the second wave of the Russian oil shock Is apparently beginning. Declining crude output in Russia, identified by satellite imagery, heralds a longer-lasting increase in oil prices, according to Javier Blas.
            https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-04-21/war-in-ukraine-the-second-wave-of-russia-s-oil-shock-is-starting

          • Ronald Brakels says

            If oil prices are sky-high, that will definitely “fuel” EV sales.

        • Pretty sure it was all explained in the Greens policy

          Maybe have another read.

          Maybe research the most common auto purchased in the past 5 years and average price. Guess how that happened?

      • Should our priority be the reduction of greenhouse emissions or avoiding “upsetting a lot of people”?

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Our priority should be the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions unless someone is actively trying to reduce Australia’s population.

  10. Gary Storm says

    Totally agree with every word Ronald. No jobs on a dead planet. Sharing this article on Facebook. Should be in The Guardian as well.

  11. Armin Lunsmann says

    Nationals? You can’t be serious. The Nationals are the N in LNP. The Nationals are the coalition. They are NOT an option.

  12. Kris Smith says

    Here is something else we can do as well to go Green NOW (not sometime in the distant future).

    https://opensource.com/article/22/4/how-linux-saves-earth

    And how often do we upgrade our smartphones, every 5 years, or every year??!

  13. Geoff Miell says

    George Kaplan,
    If you look at 2020 coal exports specifically…

    I’d suggest you should be looking at the demand side.

    In 2019, China imported some 298 million metric tons of coal, thus making it the world’s largest coal importing nation. India came in second, with coal imports amounting to 247 million metric tons that year.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/1279667/leading-coal-importing-countries-worldwide/

    Reiterating my earlier comment: “And it seems China won’t need to import any more coal soon.

    Japan’s coal-fired power output will fall to 26pc in the country’s energy mix in the April 2030-March 2031 fiscal year, meeting a target first announced in 2015, according to the draft interim report released on 9 April during a discussion held by the coal power working group under Meti. The coal ratio will be 5pc lower than 31pc in 2019-20.

    https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2204267-phaseout-plan-can-help-japan-meet-2030-coal-goal-meti

    I’d suggest that’s a huge problem for all coal exporters, including for Australia (even though exports from Australia to China seem to have been curtailed), because the indicators suggest the seaborne coal export market will drastically shrink within this decade.

    2019-2020 wildfires? You’re right, I don’t remember them causing much in the way of problems. As for 2021 & 2022 floods, while la nina has proven mildly inconvenient, it wasn’t really a major issue, here at least – yes some towns did get wetter.

    If it’s not affecting you directly it’s not a concern, eh George? It seems to me you (among many) need to experience personal trauma before modifying your outlook and behaviour. That may be too late for you. 🙄

  14. Trevor Jones says

    Ronal Brakels move to Adelaide is Queenland gain and SA loss. If you want to recommend people vote based on the stories the green put out your in the right place. You should know the picture with power is an evolving one.

    Ten years ago solar battery storage was primarily lead acid and likely 48 volts. Same thing with early Ev’s. The voltage of EV’s is increasing all the time, from now around 300 volts up to almost 800 volts.
    Solar string inverters strings are limited to 600 volts by AS/NZS4777.1:2016
    The new AS/NZS 5033:2021 allows 1000 volts or even 1500 volts in certain circumstances, but the current regulations prevent this. Regulations are not keeping pace with developments.

    Rooftop solar is a great Australian success but it is not a feature of house design of roofs unless you do it yourself. Standard solar systems are now around 6.6 kV but this is only suitable for todays usage. Not enough to charge your ev. If you want a system to charge youe EV at home you have to charge with ac power despite the fact that your solar is producing and now more often storing dc power which would charge your EV quicker. (unless you have a Tesla power wall which will only output ac via its inbuilt inverter).

    All the quick chargers use dc but we can’t use dc at home. High efficency pumps are dc but generally come with an ac power connection and special controllers. We need ac for long transmission lines. dc power in the home could result in substantially improved efficency on some products.

    Matt Canavan knows what he is talking about and recommends people inform themselves and the vote accordingly. Tht is what I will be doing after carefully looking all the candidates standing in my electorate.

    If you want to make a usefull contribution Ronald, tell us how we can move to making better use of the dc power we produce with our solar systems, and how we can encourage people to put 20+ solar on their new house roof.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Trevor Jones,
      Matt Canavan knows what he is talking about and recommends people inform themselves and the vote accordingly.

      I think a vote for:
      * Matt Canavan;
      * the Liberal/Nationals Coalition;
      * Australian Labor Party;
      * United Australia Party;
      * Pauline Hansen’s One Nation Party;
      …is a vote for civilisation collapse.
      https://voteclimateone.org.au/vote-climate-one/political-parties/

      If we don’t solve the climate crisis, we can forget about the rest. – Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
      https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/horizon-magazine/i-would-people-panic-top-scientist-unveils-equation-showing-world-climate-emergency

      • George Kaplan says

        Except plenty of folk aren’t worried about a hypothetical end of the world event, they’re more worried about real threats e.g. electricity crisis,or economic crisis, and real end of the world threats e.g. war, and the near guaranteed global famine that’s coming. There’s also the social values side – freedom, equality, tolerance, privileges, woke indoctrination etc.

        I went through the current minor parties – other than the Greens, but the SQ mods didn’t seem to like the post so it never went up.

        While I won’t say your list is inverted in preference order, many folk will vote in roughly such fashion. Who knows, maybe PH will be the ‘kingmaker’ in a hung parliament. Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

        Note too that proposed solutions to climate change could lead to a backlash e.g. a study by the University of Helsinki proposed meat be abolished for the plebs, with folk instead resorting to protein shakes for breakfast – vat produced milk with insect powder for protein and algae for extra vitamins, lunch – a vat grown burger, and for dinner – an algae burrito. At least I think that was the menu – I can’t find the original source.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          In the real world there is zero need to eat insects and algae to get the world down to zero net emissions.

          Of course, don’t let me stop you if you find them delicious. (Personally, I love nori and the occasional arthropod.)

          • George Kaplan says

            Sushi seaweed is fine, but not usually what most people think of. Likewise, folk don’t tend to think of Moreton Bay bugs when discussing whether or not to add insects to their diet.

            Looks I know there’s folk who enjoy a ‘good’ fly burger (around Lake Victoria, Africa), or eat crickets, scorpions whatever, but most first world minds (or do I mean stomachs?) revolt at such notions.

  15. Trevor Jones says

    You are entitled to make action on climate change your number one priority and treat every other issue as not important. Even is this is the case you still need to inform yourself how best to achieve this. If you simply go on promises you will probably not make any progress, promises are cheap results matter.

    The action on covid 19 is a case in point. Some people think we did well, others think we over reacted and put the medical emergency ahead of freedom or the economy, and others think we didn’t do enough. We elect members of parliament to represent us and they make the decisions.

    My point is for each of us we have a choice of people standing in our electorate that we can vote for, not anyone else. If you elect an idiot that is your problem. Our candidates are often members of parties and they have some policies which should provide some extra guidance on how they will act, but there is no guarantee.

    In the case of labor party members are obliged for follow party directives or they are expelled. In my state electorate some years ago labor made some promises for the electorate that were party policy. When it came time to follow through, the party change their mind and said no. He voted for the works and was expelled from the party. He continued as an independent and stood again as an independent at the next state election but was beaten by the new labor candiate. His family had represented labor from before he was born.

    Liberal national party members have more freedom and can cross the floor, particularly in matters that concern their electorate or matters they have made promises on. With the greens it seems like they are each a personality with their own agenda. The other parties and independents provide some idea on the policy but not the personalities. The teal independents is a case in point of a party that is not a party who do not seem to promise who or what they support on matters other than climate change.

    Zali Steggal was elected to Warringah at the expense of Tony Abbot, primarily on support for climate change. When the issue was examined it transpired she did not have solar on her house and drives a big suv. My school motto was “facta non verba” latin for deeds not words. Talk is cheap and promises are just talk. I hope she has done more herself to show her support for action.

    I trained as a geologist and know that this last four milllion year period in the earths history is a glacial period and the last 10,000+ years is called an interglacial period. There have been around 40 periods of glaciation lasting about 100,000 years with interglacials of around 10,000 years. The sea level when the aborigines came to Australia was around 120 metres lower than now. For most of the Cenozoic the earth was warmer than now and there was no ice polar ice caps.

    I am in favor of action on climate change and becomiung less dependent on fossil fuels and for my later retirement I am building a new house set up for wheelchair access and around 25kW of panels on a roof designed to maximise solar. However, I would not try to dictate to others what they should do. Educate yourself and read and listen more, or do what your told by Greta T. and ilk.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Trevor Jones,
      We elect members of parliament to represent us and they make the decisions.

      And when members demonstrate they are not working in our best interests, then I’d suggest the electorate should not be voting for them again and returning them for a new parliamentary term. Australians have that opportunity in May 2022.

      Zali Steggal was elected to Warringah at the expense of Tony Abbot, primarily on support for climate change. When the issue was examined it transpired she did not have solar on her house and drives a big suv.

      You are regurgitating no longer true information about Steggall.
      https://twitter.com/zalisteggall/status/1456452455776985091?lang=en

      I trained as a geologist and know that…

      Then I’d suggest you should know about the Mid-Miocene Climate Optimum, from about 16.9 to 14 million years ago, where atmospheric CO₂ levels jumped abruptly from around 400 ppm to 500 ppm, with global temperatures warming by about 4 °C and sea levels rising about 40m (130 feet) as the Antarctic ice sheet declined substantially and suddenly.
      https://skepticalscience.com/print.php?n=2845

      In terms of CO₂ equivalents, the atmosphere in 2020 contained 504 ppm, of which 412 is CO₂ alone. The rest comes from other gases.
      https://gml.noaa.gov/aggi/

      The Earth System has now entered climate territory not encountered for millions of years.

      Educate yourself and read and listen more…

      It seems to me you are not following your own advice.

  16. David King says

    The federal coalition are doing a skilful job of juggling the competing interests involved in reducing pollution, all within the confines of a liberal democracy. The scale of the job of rebuilding all the nations energy consuming infrastructure so that it doesn’t pollute is enormous. It has started however, is well under way, and is being carried out by the unsung heroes of society, the engineers, technicians and tradies. As predicted by the government’s underlying climate change platform, advancing technology is making climate friendly systems more and more attractive. This is what will drive the change required. There’s endless opportunity out there for skilled and creative people, and hopefully nil future for the streams of mediums out there predicting the end of times.

    • Geoff Miell says

      David King,
      The federal coalition are doing a skilful job of juggling the competing interests involved in reducing pollution, all within the confines of a liberal democracy.

      Not even close to what must be done for Australia to remain habitable.

      As a consequence of the world continuing with its current policy settings regarding greenhouse gas emissions, global mean warming is likely to reach 3–4 °C above the pre-industrial epoch by 2100. Large areas of the world would become uninhabitable, causing mass migration and conflict. Many locations in Australia would become uninhabitable due to water shortages, and many Australian properties and businesses would become uninsurable. Peak heatwaves that occurred only once per 30 years in pre-industrial times in Australia could be expected annually. This would be a severe challenge to our contemporary civilisation, leading to probable collapse.

      Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence from the IPCC, and from an array of climate scientists around the world, and even from the International Energy Agency calling for no more investments in new fossil fuel supply projects, the Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, has continued to approve more fossil fuel projects, and Labor’s resources spokesperson, Madeleine King, says “Coal will be a part of Australia’s energy and export mix for years to come.”

      What we, humanity, do in the next 4 to 5 years will determine the future
      of humanity for the next few thousand years.
      ” – Sir David King, Founder and Chair of the Centre for Climate Repair, University of Cambridge.

      • George Kaplan says

        Can “what must be done for Australia to remain habitable” be done within the confines of a liberal democracy though?

        An article I recently read pointed out how Obama’s more radical climate change\environmental measures were abolished by Trump – a decision highly popular in certain quarters and ignored in others, while Biden’s reversals of Trump’s reversals and similar such efforts are popular in certain quarters and being ignored or challenged in court by others.

        How does that pertain to Australia? The greater the known cost to voters, the less they’re likely to support measures. Conversely, if measures are snuck through e.g. the Greens are miraculously elected to power then ban fossil fuel products thereby causing mass unemployment and an economic catastrophe, it’s pretty much guaranteed they’d be terfed out (sic) at the next election.

        You critique Ley for approving fossil fuel projects, and King for saying coal will be part of Australia’s energy and export mix for years to come, but appear to be ignoring that a quarter of Australia’s exports are fossil fuel, and another third is iron ore. Animals and animal products comprise another 5%+. it’s easy to say abolish parts of the economy to avoid climate change, but destroying the economy won’t save the planet. For that matter even returning Australia to the Stone Age will have a negligible impact on anything other than the standard of living in Australia, so what’s the compromise solution?

  17. Trevor Jones says

    Geoff Miel,
    You are not addressing the points that I am making and don’t understand geology and earth processes. Rapid changes in earth processes are not on a scale that easily translates to our short lives.

    On the point of who you elect to parliament in your electorate, I reiterate that if you don’t judge the aptitude and character of the candidate/s before you vote your are a donkey and may as well do a donkey vote. The labor party has changed policies before and the greens shot themselves in the foot last timelabor was elected. I don’t know or care about Zali Steggal, if she has had an epiphany I am pleased, it is much easier to do on an mp’s salary than on the pension.

    And of course I know about the mid miocene CLIMATE OPTIMUM, do you know why it is called a climate optimum. Not because everything died, animals couldn’t survive and all the trees died. As I said we live in an interglacial period in an age when the earth has been under significant glaciation. If we miss the next round of glaciation my progeny will not complain.

    If the polar ice caps all melt my house will go under water, BUT understand how long that will take. At least 10’s of thousands of years.
    As I stated the sea level has risen 120 metres since the aborigines arrived. The great barrier reef was land and the shoreline has moved tens of kilometres, This did not happen overnight. All of the forecast of sea level rise for the last 20 years have been way above actual and those that are spruiked by the climate evangelists are purposely exagerated to frighten people into action to support their cause. Holland has been dealing with sea level rise for hundreds of years. Before that the UK was connected to Europe, but it was bloody cold. Crops are yielding more now than 20 years ago.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Trevor Jones,
      You are not addressing the points that I am making…

      Which are?

      Rapid changes in earth processes are not on a scale that easily translates to our short lives.

      Overwhelming scientific evidence/data indicates otherwise. The global mean surface temperature relative to the 1880-1920 average is now around +1.2 °C; substantial changes within the space of 100 years. See Figure 1 in: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2022/Temperature2021.13January2022.pdf

      And the rate of further warming will now accelerate. The Earth System will inevitably breach the +1.5 °C warming threshold, and likely do so before 2035, with some climate scientists suggesting it’s possible within the 2020s. Barring intervention to reduce anthropogenic interference with the planet’s energy balance, the +2 °C warming limit will also likely be exceeded by 2050, and then on the path to possibly +4 °C by 2100. These changes are possible within the lifespan of young people alive today.

      I don’t know or care about Zali Steggal…

      So why mention her at all? Why regurgitate falsehoods about her?

      If we miss the next round of glaciation my progeny will not complain.

      Professor H.J. Schellnhuber, during his Aurelio Peccei Lecture on 17 Oct 2018 said: “So, some people have speculated the next ice age will be next week. I can tell you: It’s not true! Don’t believe that! It will happen… Actually, never again! That’s why we are in the Anthropocene.

      Your progeny will likely be complaining about the extreme heat, wildfires, lack of food and clean water.

      If the polar ice caps all melt my house will go under water, BUT understand how long that will take.

      Glaciologist Professor Jason Box says from time interval 0:04:13:

      Technically now, Greenland is beyond its viability threshold, because at the current level of warming in Greenland, which is about 1.4 Celsius above pre-industrial for summer temperatures, the Greenland Ice Sheet is losing ice equivalent to about 10,000 cubic metres of ice loss per second, when you average that around the clock. That number would deliver hypothetically to all inhabitants – human inhabitants on Earth – a bathtub of water every single day, around the year, every day.

      Observed ice loss is accelerating, decade-on-decade, suggesting the IPCC’s previously predicted +0.84m by 2100 (high estimate) is likely to be an underestimate. Jason Box says from time interval 0:13:50:

      A conservative lower-bound sea rise for land ice contributions, plus thermal expansion, translates to about a metre of sea level rise this century… from all global land ice, including Antarctica.

    • Des Scahill says

      Trevor Jones.

      For the record, Zali Steggall now drives an EV and has solar panels on her house.: see: https://www.zalisteggall.com.au/where_does_zali_stand_on

      Back in 2019, when she first stood for Parliament as an independent, Zali was criticized for still continuing to drive a fuel guzzling SUV and therefore being ‘hypocritical’

      What she said that time was: “I don’t enough money to buy one”.

      Personally, I can very much relate to her.response. . I certainly don’t have a spare $50 – 70K to splash out on an EV. Nor am I prepared to spend somewhere between $4K to $7K for a E-Bike at the present time either. The price of a decent quality E-Bike is not that far below the resale value of my very economical and fuel efficient motor vehicle.

      Simply by reducing that vehicles usage by around 80% from what it was by various means, I’ve significantly reduced fuel and maintenance costs, and I now only need to refill the tank about once a month on average.

      Just by changing my usage habits and putting with some minor inconvenience, I’ve achieved a very significant reduction in my emission.

      Zali’s support base is mostly in the Warringah shire, (population around 105K) which of course means she doesn’t have anywhere near the same nation-wide fund-raising capabilities that the two major parties have

      I agree with your sentiments that these days, people perhaps need to be better informed and should educate themselves to a greater extent about major and often complex and intertwining issues before they vote.

      If they choose not to do that, and rely instead on ‘sound-bites’ from TV and other media campaigns, well… they’ll collectively end up with what they voted for.

  18. Your town is larger and pollutes more than my town. You need to take all the action on climate change. This is essentially your argument, rubbish.

    Per capita is very much relevant.

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