56 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. @Hermit
    According to the ABS, Australia added 238,300 people to its population in the year to March 2013. If the country managed to reduce overall emissions by 1% during that time, with a pretty modest mix of emissions-reduction policies, then your claim that “we have a snowball’s chance [in Hell] of reducing emissions while our population growth remains as strong” is clearly wrong.

    OTOH, we probably do have a snowball’s chance in hell of reducing emissions while the Abbott government is in power.

  2. Re wholesale power prices I speculate any price drop will be less than the subsidy. For windpower the LGC is now around 3.5c per kwh. For example discount 1.5c and still get paid an extra 2c net . It’s the retail price that matters.

    Actually the 1% emissions drop is from 2000-2012 without looking them up I think the numbers were 558 Mt net CO2e and 552 Mt in either year. The 2012 nontrivial emissions drop from the electricity sector may have had several one off contributing factors. These include the closure of Kurri Kurri smelter, the flooding of open cut mines both black and brown coal. the price effect of increased network charges (the biggie) as well as the RET and carbon tax, the increase in wind power and the attractive offers (net capex and FiT) for uptake of residential PV. Some of those factors won’t be replicated easily. Some electricity users may now have cut all they can.

    FWIW I predict Direct Action will never really get of the ground despite Hunt’s unseeming haste to do a wrecking job on the existing policy. Barring recession I think our emissions may flatline or even increase as they have in Germany. Our 1-2% permanent population growth makes it even harder.

  3. Actually the 1% emissions drop is from 2000-2012 without looking them up I think the numbers were 558 Mt net CO2e and 552 Mt in either year.

    Although, according to NGGI data, national emissions rose around 5% between 2000 and circa 2006, and have therefore declined by approximately 6% in the last 7 years. It is certainly true that most of this decline can be accounted for by economic factors, including the impacts of the GFC, high fuel prices and the offshoring of manufacturing, rather than emission reduction policies.

    The former Department of Climate Change agreed with your prediction that emissions would flatline or increase – it didn’t expect emissions to get on a downward trajectory until after 2020 (excluding the use of overseas offsets).

    I agree that a growing population makes reducing emissions harder (it makes dealing with every environmental problem harder). I just didn’t agree with the implication that it made it impossible.

  4. If gas prices are about to go up, Hermit, then it’s very fortunate that South Australia has installed so much wind and solar capacity. And an increase in gas prices will of course result in more wind and solar capacity being built.

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