Australia Shuns Powering Past Coal Alliance

Australia and coal

Background image: JuergenPM

20 countries have joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance launched earlier today at the COP23 talks in Germany. Australia isn’t one of them. 

Countries in the Alliance’s ranks so far include Canada, New Zealand, the UK, France and the Netherlands.

Alliance members pledge to take action to rapidly phase-out traditional coal power. The Powering Past Coal Alliance declaration states:

“To meet the Paris Agreement, analysis shows that coal phase-out is needed no later than by 2030 in the OECD and EU28, and no later than by 2050 in the rest of the world.”

The declaration notes the cost of generating electricity with wind and solar power has plummeted and countries moving to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies are already seeing environmental, economic and human health benefits.

Australia’s failure to join the Alliance doesn’t appear to be a case of the Federal Government missing a memo about it or will get around to it at some point. According to an SBS report, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said Australia would not be signing up.

“Tens of thousands of Australians … rely on our coal industry and it does help lift people out of energy poverty in other parts of the world and provides billions of dollars of export income to Australia,” Minister Frydenberg reportedly told ABC radio.

Canada’s Government holds a different view of the little black rock.

“Coal is literally choking our cities, with close to a million people dying every year from coal pollution,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The Alliance states it will support the phase-out of coal through actions including supporting climate financing and developing clean energy plans and targets.

“Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity,” said the UK’s Minister for Climate Change and Industry,  Claire Perry. “The Powering Past Coal Alliance will signal to the world that the time of coal has passed. The UK is committed to completely phasing out unabated coal-fire power generation no later than 2025 and we hope to inspire others to follow suit.”

The Alliance aims to have at least 50 partners by COP24 in 2018.

Australia A “Coal Hugger”

Greens climate spokesman Adam Bandt says Australia  hasn’t done anything at the global climate conference in Bonn other than to block real climate action.

“Instead of joining with other developed countries to announce a coal phase-out, Australia has aligned itself with [President Donald] Trump’s US in a coalition of coal huggers,” stated Mr. Bandt yesterday.

The recently released 2018 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) placed Australia 57th out of 60 countries.

“Australia ranks among the very low-performing countries in three of the CCPI’s categories–GHG emissions, energy use and climate policy–and among the low performers regarding renewable energy,” states the report (PDF).

The CCPI has been tracking countries’ efforts in combating climate change for the past 13 years.

Related:
Coal Kills. That’s For Certain

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. The energy policy ‘debate’, (along with the associated and far-flung environmental impacts of the respective alternatives) has increasingly become so politicised, and endlessly discussed without really going anywhere, that those in government who should be providing leadership now seem to all have ended up as charter members of some new Luddite Lunatic Fringe (LLF Party).

    This Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_combustion_products (CCP) will tell you pretty much all you need to know about the combustion by-products from coal power stations (I’m assuming its reasonably accurate).

    I’ll leave the reader to check all the noxious details themselves. I hope they’ll be as thrilled as I was to realise that the current Queensland State Government still wants to help solve the energy shortfall crisis in India by sending them massive quantities of coal to burn. Maybe they think that if they can help poison enough of the Indian population, (directly or indirectly) then ‘demand’ will then be ‘reduced’ to a ‘sustainable level’ and India will owe them some favours.

    What I’m implying of course is that so far as energy generation is concerned, what could be termed ‘moral’ issues are perhaps now beginning to more openly emerge. But that’s another issue altogether.

    Still, why worry? – The USA is about to trump everybody in this area – Yet another oil-pipeline spill has just dumped 210,000 gallons into the South Dakota landscape. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/us/keystone-pipeline-leaks-south-dakota.html

    ‘Oklahoma’s former lead seismologist says he felt pressured by a University of Oklahoma official to not link the state’s surge in earthquakes to oil and gas production.’ http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/15/former-oklahoma-seismologist-testifies-in-earthquake-lawsuit.html

    Anyhow, the result of the upcoming Queensland State election on 25th Nov might be ‘interesting’.

  2. At
    http://www.armadale-wa.net/clean-energy.html
    is


    “The US states of Washington and Oregon have already signed up to the Power Past Coal Alliance.”

    As was (I believe) said, at the start of each episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man”, from the 1970s,
    “We have the resources. We have the technology.”

    But, unfortunately, in Australia, we have the LNP (Lunatic Neanderthal Parasites) feral government, that has the policy “Let them eat coal”, and, is adamant that more coal needs to be mined, and, more coal power stations built, and, more electricity generation needs to be created using only the burning of coal, so that many more people can be deliberately poisoned and killed by the Australian parliaments.

    “Coal – the Australian weapon of mass destruction”

    Given that two USA states are named as having already signed up to the Power Past Coal Alliance, the question should be asked;
    what, if any, Australian states will follow suit, and, also sign up to the alliance, and, sincerely act to end the use of combustion in generating electricity, completely replacing combustion-powered electricity generation, with clean electricity generation, by 2030?

    and


    In the report published at
    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/india-delhi-pollution-mb0296/
    as viewed at 1816WST (UTC+0800) on 16 November 2017, was

    “With regard to coal specifically, it has been reported to be responsible for an estimated 80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths in India annually.”

    Also, of note, is that, at https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/coal-power-kills-mb0125/
    as viewed at 1840WST (UTC+0800) on 16 November 2017, included

    ” The current and future impacts of climate change and its contribution to any death toll aside, coal is already doing very well at knocking off humanity in other ways. According to EndCoal, burning the little black (or brown) rock is responsible for more than 800,000 premature deaths annually around the world – just through air pollution.

    In China – approximately 670,000 people die prematurely per year.
    In India – estimated 80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths annually.
    In the USA – approximately 13,000 people a year.
    In Europe – 23,300 deaths annually.

    Added to this toll are the millions of coal-related illnesses that create misery and impact on economies heavily.

    A 2014 report from the Climate Council stated the adverse impacts from pollutants produced from coal-fired electricity generation in Australia cost this nation an estimated A$2.6 billion annually. Those figures related to a period when coal was still pretty much an unchallenged king in this country.

    So, the question should be asked; how many people are being deliberately killed, each year, by the Australian state and federal governments, due to the mining and burning of coal?

    Now, given that at
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-industry-launches-campaign-against-lnp-in-queensland-poll-59401/

    is


    The Australian Solar Council – the peak body for the country’s solar industry – has announced a major advertising campaign against the Liberal National Party coalition in the Queensland election campaign, saying the future of the industry is at stake.

    a question need to be considered by the voters in Queensland, and, should be heavily publicised through advertising by the Australian Solar Council and all candidates and parties not affiliated to the LNP;
    “How many deaths would be deliberately caused by the LNP winning government and having both a new coal fired power station and the Adani coal mine, built?”

    And, a question needs to be considered and put to the Labor Party in Queensland;
    “If the Labor Party wins a majority government in the state, will it follow the lead of the USA states of Washington and Oregon, and, defy the feral government and also sign up to the Power Past Coal Alliance, and, sincerely act to end the use of combustion in generating electricity, completely replacing combustion-powered electricity generation, with clean electricity generation, by 2030?

    And, similarly, in each state of Australia (not including the Territories, because, while they may not like it, they are subordinate to the feral parliament), members of the voting public, should put the question to their respective members of their state parliaments; will the state government (and, in states facing general elections, the political parties, upon winning government), defy the feral government and also sign up to the Power Past Coal Alliance, and, sincerely act to end the use of combustion in generating electricity, completely replacing combustion-powered electricity generation, with clean electricity generation, by 2030?

    The results of these actions, should be interesting.

  3. One very significant point that should be considered, in all discussions and considerations, relating to use combustion-generated electricity (which includes burning coal to produce electricity), is that the transferral of energy from one form to another, is never 100% efficient – some energy “goes sideways” – it is wrong to say it is lost, as energy cannot be lost – it merely is not transferred 100% to the form that is desired.

    Now, in the generation of electricity through combustion, that means that one transferral occurs in the burning of the coal to heat the water in the boilers. Another transferral occurs in the conversion of the heat energy to the mechanical energy, in the heated water turning the turbines. Another transferral occurs in the conversion of the mechanical energy to electrical energy. Then, the electrical energy goes merrily traipsing along the transmission line, dropping bits off as it goes (the longer the transmission lines, the greater the loss of electrical energy transmitted).

    And, then, when it gets to an electric train, another transferral occurs, with the electrical energy being converted to mechanical energy, to turn the train wheels.

    Now, what this all means, is that the “nice, clean, electric trains”, unless they are solely powered by clean electricity, are a cause of far greater pollution and thence, poisoning, than either the old, visibly dirty, “steam engine locomotives”, or, the “diesel locomotives” (which are, in fact, as I learnt at primary school, in a school tour of a train yard, for educational purposes, diesel-electric locomotives, as the locomotives are actually powered by electricity, which is generated from the diesel engines involved).

    With the old, visibly dirty, “steam engine locomotives”, people who used them, could see most of the pollution produced, at the locomotive, where the power is deployed.

    But, with “electric trains”, the pollution is simply elsewhere, so it is not so apparent where the trains are used.

    But, where “electric trains” use electricity generated by combustion, they are really much worse, environmentally, than the old, visibly dirty, “steam engine locomotives”, because they are less efficient, per ton of coal burned to power them, with all of the transferrals of energy that are involved, and, the pollution involved, is simply, an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario. But they are no more healthy than if you had to travel in horse drawn carts, with ankle-deep horse manure all over the roads, that you have to wade through, to mount and dismount your transport, and, ingest the particulate matter and smells.

    So, the very important point that should be considered, in all discussions and considerations, relating to use combustion-generated electricity (which includes burning coal to produce electricity), is that “electric trains” are neither clean, nor environmentally friendly, unless the electricity that they use, is solely generated from clean energy, such as solar or wind power, or hydroelectric generation.

    And that means that, in a state such as NSW, where as much as 90% (or more) of the electricity is generated from burning coal, the “electric trains” are as clean as swimming in a cesspool.

    So, unless people like for them and their families to be swimming in cesspools, with ingesting the matter, people need to get electricity generation from combustion, especially, from burning coal, stopped.

    And, the mining of coal, so as to allow it to be burnt, needs to be stopped.

    It is really that simple.

  4. And, all of this, especially the question
    ” how many people are being deliberately killed, each year, by the Australian state and federal governments, due to the mining and burning of coal?”

    and, the question
    “what will YOU do to cause the federal parliament to sign up to the Power Past Coal Alliance, and, to sincerely act to end coal mining in Australia and to end the use of combustion in generating electricity, completely replacing combustion-powered electricity generation, with clean electricity generation, by 2030? ”

    should be publicly and emphatically raised with each of the candidates in the looming federal by-elections.

    The Australian Solar Council, and, anyone interested in the future of Australia and its people, should be strongly taking up these two questions, with each candidate in the federal by-elections, and, in any subsequent federal elections, apart from in each of the coming state general elections.

  5. Oh, and, what I said about using electric trains, not being environmentally friendly while electricity is generated by combustion, applies to all things electrical.

    If you think that using an electric car, or, an electric lawnmower, or an electric concrete mixer, or an electric stove, is being environmentally friendly. think again.

    Unless you can guarantee that the electricity that they used, is generated solely by clean energy, combustion-free, electricity generation, then you would be better off (being more environmentally friendly), using equipment that is directly powered by burning diesel or coal or kerosene.

    The sole difference (apart from the greater amount of pollution caused by using combustion powered electricity, due to the losses of efficiency caused by the transferrals of energy from one form to another, on the way from the combustion to the electricity usage), is that the filth and pollution generated, is removed from the point of use of the device, so as to be “out of sight, out of mind”.

    And, yes, I have seen and used (when I was a child), cooking stoves that burnt diesel, and some that burnt wood and coal, as the heat source. And, I have cooked using kerosene, and used kerosene lamps

    Electrical devices, and the use of them, is not clean or environmentally friendly, unless the electricity used to power them, is generated solely from clean energy.

    Having said all of that, whilst solar energy (where we convert solar radiation to electricity, through the use of such devices as photovoltaic panels,) appears clean, I would also not like to be at the source of that power; the sun. Whilst solar energy comes from a massive nuclear reactor (the sun), the difference is that, apart from it being even further away from the users, than the human-caused dirty fuel-powering, that nuclear reactor is generating its power, and, will generate its power, regardless of whether humans exist, and, regardless of whether humans use its power, whereas human-created nuclear electricity generation, and, human-created electricity generation from combustion, are simply wilful damage, wilful murder, and, wilful crimes against humanity, in the poisoning and other physical injury deliberately caused, which would not otherwise happen, if the human-created nuclear electricity generation, and, human-created electricity generation from combustion, were not built and being used.

    So, if you are using electrical devices, like electric cars and electric lawnmowers and electric cooking stoves and electric concrete mixers, that are not powered solely by electricity generated from clean energy, before you switch them on, spare a thought for all of the people, for whose deaths and poisonings, YOU are responsible, and, for all of the environmental damage, for which, YOU are responsible.

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