94 thoughts on “New sand

  1. According to UK energy guru David Mackay the Brits use 125 kwh of energy a day. Divided by 24 hours that’s a bit over 5 kilowatts continuous average or the power of a small ride-on mower running around the clock. I’ve mislaid the ABARE figures but Aussies rate about the same. That total power consumption has thermal, electrical and mechanical fractions which may vary if we convert from petrol to electric cars. That’s ‘if’. This average applies to everybody since in theory even a yurt dweller is partly responsible for aluminium smelters; it’s part of the broader society. Advocates of simpler living suggest we can make significant cuts to our 5kw lifestyles but population growth, air conditioning and upward social mobility all put relentless pressure on energy demand. I don’t see a happy outcome to attempts to cut energy use. Perhaps the NSW election result partly reflects this.

    Since Aussies each emit about 20 tonnes of CO2 a year if 7 billion people were as fossil energy gluttonous then total man-made emissions would be 140 billion tonnes a year. Fortunately world anthropogenic emissions are a mere 30 billion tonnes or so a year. We want to get that 30 down to about 6. Thank God the rest of the world is not as selfish and irresponsible as Australia.

  2. @Alice
    We should have been developing solar and other renewable sources of energy years ago. I suspect that much of this generation needs to be site-specific and requires a bit of ingenuity in using resources at hand more intelligently. We need some decent engineers and some decent economists who can understand more completely the nature of investments in energy production.

  3. Family planning…birth control…good grief, how can you have big pop development (and fat contracts and tenders) without an increasing population?
    Worse still, no big pop globally, no way of keeping wages down by playing off the pool against itself. And so on.
    Surely we can do better than this?

  4. Even if we make most of them slaves we would need some restrictions before we get to the point that we are unable to feed them all (or get them to do the work to feed themselves and us, and keep us in the style to which we aspire).

  5. @John S Cook
    I agree John – because when I find out that new trains are capable of crashing our grid, and when I hear that solar rebates were wound back due to the same risk (in fact too much energy was being generated if they had to resort to burning some off) then that refers to a grid problem and I cant even imagine that electricitu companies are going to be willing to invest in the grid for their own industry let alone what may be in effect a cheaper substite / competitor….which then brings us back to the issue that when it comes to infrastructure we need an integrated approach and privatisation may not be the best solution in terms of getting an integrated approach (if every industry is protecting its own patch somewhere).
    We do need good engineers and designers and we do need decent economists working independently of any particular private sector patch (and that includes the banks) on getting the grid able to handle both solar and more trains and we simply cant leave it to the existing power companies to achieve this. They wont. There are no reasons for them to do so….so even more woe is me for KK and Roozendahls mindless sell off of electricity assets.
    John S you are right – the investment in renewables whould have started years ago instead of leaving it the power companies to come up with very ugly solutions like nuclear.

  6. I might add that while other countries not in the OECD have higher average emissions than Australia they don’t pass themselves off as moral exemplars. Qatar and Bolivia don’t send large delegations to climate conferences then wag their finger at others. Australia should s.t.f.u..

  7. LOL Hermit – its a bit like that when we keep shovelling coal into the worlds furnances isnt it?.

  8. @Hermit

    Qatar and Bolivia don’t send large delegations to climate conferences then wag their finger at others. Australia should s.t.f.u

    QATAR, fair enough but as Australia emits about 14 times the output per capita as Bolivia (17.95 v 1.38 in 2007) I can’t imagine what you were thinking typing this. FTR Bolivia ranks 89th by jurisdiction as opposed to Australia which is about 15th. I daresay Australia in historic terms would have emitted even more relative to Bolivia over the last 100 years.

  9. As a matter of interest, there should be some ranking by consumption as well as by production. Australia is producing things that use a lot of energy or emit a lot of CO2 in their production. I doubt if looked at from the consumption side, that Australia’s consumption would be any greater, in terms of CO2 that was emitted in the production of those goods, than any other typical country with the same income per capita. On the consumption side, the big consumer is likely to be the USA. Unfortunately, it is impractical to try to fix the problem from the consumption side. It is unfortunate that the mix of products Australia produces happen to currently involve heavy CO2 emissions. That fact alone makes it all the more important that adjustments are made sooner rather than later, if only for our own benefit. If Australia continues to delay, when the rest of the world finally forces those adjustments it could be extremely costly and disruptive to our economy.

  10. Hermit @ 27,

    That would 43 thousand kilowatt hours per annum. The bulk of that will be gas consumption for heating. UK households pull as little as 4800 Kwhrs per annum electricity, but use 16,000 Kwhr equivalent gas. The other 20,000 Kwhrs will be transport and industrial share per house hold.


    Australia’s energy mix is quite different as we do not heat with gas, but cool with electricity (13,000 Kwhrs Australian average household consumption) , and commute further by car rather than train and bus.


    what is the weight of all of the money in the world currently converted to 9 gram one dollar coins?

  11. John S. Cook,
    I like your compounding interest example in terms of physical quantities. Surely, it provides food for thought to those who want both, interest on ‘their capital’ and a metal (or any commodity) based currency.

    BilB asks “what is the weight of all of the money in the world currently converted to 9 gram one dollar coins?”

    How long is a piece of string, BilB?

  12. Ernestine

    Oops, that was John Cooks calculation. I took a punt at there being 1000 trillion $ in circulation which came out to be 9 billion tonnes of coins. Nowhere near as impressive as John’s calculation.

  13. BilB,

    The dollardaze site you referenced contains M0 measures of money and a little life box on national debt. Surely, some questions arise as to what is money.

  14. @Ernestine Gross
    Yes Ernestine, I agree – what is the nature of money, what purposes do we want it to have, are there conflicts in trying to serve more than one purpose, and what policy implications does all that have? That could be a new and worthwhile way of looking at macroeconomics and economic stability problems.

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