Not everyone likes the grand bargain

I’ve been very surprised by the extent to which some commentators on the right have been willing to entertain the idea of a carbon price in return for lifting the ban on nuclear power. I mentioned Aaron Patrick in the Fin yesterday. And today, here’s Adam Creighton at the Oz

Reviving the carbon tax debate is probably anathema for many, but if one were set up correctly, with all the money being returned to taxpayers by way of an annual payment, it would make nuclear power stations more viable and provide a political springboard to abandon the massively inefficient clutter of state and federal renewable energy targets.
Carbon dividends for all is a much better sell than a carbon tax on everything

On the other hand, one person from whom I confidently expected unqualified support has jibbed at it. As I said a while back, the proposal should appeal to anyone who seriously believes that nuclear power should be adopted as a response to climate change.

The obvious example, for me at any rate, is Ben Heard. So, I was quite surprised when, in a lengthy Twitter discussion (here’s his feed), he would not endorse a carbon price, or any other specific measure to reduce emissions. Not only that, but he professed greater sympathy for rightwing science deniers than for anti-nuclear environmentalists.

It’s easy enough to guess what is going on here. I imagine Heard started out with genuine concern about the climate, and convinced himself that nuclear power was an essential part of the solution. That entailed arguing that renewables couldn’t do the job, even with storage. At this point, Heard would have got plenty of hostility from environmentalists, and plenty of support from denialists. So, when he’s faced with something like a carbon price (or, for that matter, any effective climate policy) that his new friends will hate (check out the old white male Oz commenters on Creighton’s post), he backs away. I’ve previously seen the same pattern with Barry Brook and (from a different starting point) Ted Trainer.

68 thoughts on “Not everyone likes the grand bargain

  1. You are in a quandary then aren’t you KT2? Because the science workers disagree. The idea that there is a consensus is a clear lie. And so if you cannot tell which scientists are following the scientific method, you are left totally without a clue, and dependent on taking the faith-based approach.

    So we are right back to where we started from with the need to try science. It won’t kill you. You might think it will kill you to try science and logic, but it won’t.

  2. OK Birdie, could you provide any credible evidence to support your allegations against Michael Mann?

    By ‘credible’ I don’t mean references to WUWT, Joanna Nova or any other conspiracy sites.

    Show me the evidence.

  3. Good Lord your faith is strong rog. In science we don’t have credible evidence based on the orientation of the source. If you want evidence you want evidence. Evidence cannot be discredited on the basis that the source is no true believer. There is no such thing as “credible evidence” its evidence or it isn’t. The other meme for the faithful is the idea of evidence “from a reputable source” which is what you are really after. From realclimate or something like that.

    Fortunately Michael Mann never disappoints. Back in the early 2000’s when I was looking at his gear he would use tree ring growth as a proxy for heat, so that way he could double dip with the fake temperature rise during times of high CO2 growth. Since the late 20th century was a time of fairly steady CO2 growth, this double dipping produces a steep gradient in fake-temperature growth. Since CO2 makes the trees grow faster (hence the added bushfire danger).

    Michael Mann knows himself to be a fraud but your faith is very strong rog. He lost the last court case simply because he would not present his data. But anyway if you want to go further into the trickery of agent Mann you ought to take it over to opiniondominion. Your faith is so strong that you and “Steve” would have to be the same person. You could link any published study coming from MIchael Mann and I’d go through it for you. He will never let me down and he’s not coming after anyone in court any more.

    If you see a graph where the 90’s is warmer than the 30’s you are looking at manipulated data. Here is what raw temperature data looks like:

    If you find an exception to this rule, and I could not find one back around 2008, it could have two sources which need to be looked at. It could be the result of the heat island effect of extra concrete buildings near where the temperature is measured. Or it could be somewhere coastal that is being affected excessively by the ocean conveyor.

    After I stopped looking at this problem all the time I’d still sometimes take a look to see what the miscreants were up to. And sure enough, once the authentic warming had tapped out in the 90’s these guys had started adding regions of seawater in order to boost their figures. Now they are just going back in time to diminish the earlier figures and they are always being caught at it. They got a steep upward increase in the 90’s from the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Adding temperature data from new stations in the tropics also helps to rig their figures.

    These guys are so bad at this that people have started using the satellite data, which is confirmed by balloon data. But that doesn’t make for good figures at sea level. CO2 and water vapour from jets will definitely warm the stratosphere, cooling the troposphere while doing so. Warming the stratosphere is not the same as warming at sea level. At sea level you will have existing water vapour and clouds that pre-empt any effect of CO2, except in desert areas or in cold winter mornings when there is no water vapour. So you might be able to get a warming trend if your surveyed only desert areas.

    I think the skeptics being forced to rely on satellite data will be hiding a serious cooling trend. I don’t know if anyone has done the hard yards and produced an honest temperature record, seeing as I’ve been out of the loop for almost a decade.

    A very quick check by Jennifer Marohasy showed that our Bureau of Meteorology was hiding record cold spells. She busted them doing so for Goulburn last July for example. So I think the cooling is already happening and has been going on for some time, but no-one is minding the store. Well they might be. But I don’t know about it. The best a civilian could do would be to sample local data from a few spots and see if a pattern starts forming. The oligarchy also has total control of the CO2 data, which cannot now be independently verified. They put their main measuring station next to the biggest live volcano in the world in order to be able to manipulate the figures as they wished.

  4. 1. The amount of new energy storage that is required to eliminate coal generation is none. Some will be built, but it’s not necessary.
    2. To argue that nuclear power should be used because we “don’t know” if renewables can supply a high portion of electricity demand is stupid. If you want to argue that first you have to tell us your plan to use nuclear to supply a high portion of electricity use. If it’s an issue for renewables then it is also an issue for nuclear power.
    3. The goal is not 100% renewable electricity generation but zero (or negative) greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. If it is a cost effective option, existing gas and diesel turbines can be kept to meet demand if required and their CO2 emissions removed from the atmosphere and sequestered. This may cost 7 cents or less per kilowatt-hour. It would only be a small amount of total generation once renewable capacity was built up.

  5. Ronald you want to be thinking of PV-Solar panels as mining and burning coal. Its about as basic as that. If PV solar panels don’t last long, and they take Chinese brown coal to bring the temperatures up to 1400 degrees C to make them. And they also require rare earth elements ……. How is this not a mining and oil and coal burning product? Maybe if they could be high functioning for 100 years but otherwise we might have to start thinking of them as straight coal-burning operations. Certainly those poxy three-blade wind monstrosities only last about 18 years don’t they? They are hugely energy expensive to fashion and transport. They are a mining and coal-burning product as well. One that will seldom if ever grab the energy back.

    Why do you think I get so excited about CSP and so dubious about the other renewables? Its because I’m not just daydreaming. I’m taking the whole process into account.

  6. Mr Bird, the factory gate price of solar modules now around 20 US cents per watt. Do the maths and work out how much coal that is going to buy you.

  7. How long do they last? They can talk 20c per watt but how many joules were taken to make, transport and install them, and how long do they last? If they don’t last long its just burning more coal. Heliostats are different. They could be very durable.

  8. @Ronald
    “1. The amount of new energy storage that is required to eliminate coal generation is none. Some will be built, but it’s not necessary.”

    Only if you replace coal with gas or nuclear. Otherwise your claim is unsupportable.

    “2. To argue that nuclear power should be used because we “don’t know” if renewables can supply a high portion of electricity demand is stupid. If you want to argue that first you have to tell us your plan to use nuclear to supply a high portion of electricity use. If it’s an issue for renewables then it is also an issue for nuclear power.”

    Just wrong. We have an existence proof for nuclear – France – but not only is there no major electricity network powered by mostly solar and wind, there is no reasonably firm date when there might be. Before 2030 looks really unlikely anywhere. The really big issues for renewables are variability and land use. The really big issue for nuclear power is ignorance. Very, very different.

    “3. The goal is not 100% renewable electricity generation but zero (or negative) greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. If it is a cost effective option, existing gas and diesel turbines can be kept to meet demand if required and their CO2 emissions removed from the atmosphere and sequestered. This may cost 7 cents or less per kilowatt-hour. It would only be a small amount of total generation once renewable capacity was built up.”

    Median estimates for the full lifecycle emissions for electricity generation for coal with CCS are 200-220 g C02e /kWh and for gas 170 g COe2/kWh. (Source IPCC AR5 WG3). You can’t get to a genuinely low emission electricity supply that way. The figure for nuclear is 12g CO2e/kWh, just 1 g CO2e/kWh higher than onshore wind which is 11 g CO2e/kWh.

    If there is a climate emergency, there is only sane thing is to have ALL the options on the table. Excluding anything for the ideological convenience of some people is unforgivable. Even CCS.

  9. The political reason that lots of people who aren’t opposed to nuclear in principle don’t want to revisit the question of allowing nuclear power in Australia is that it is a distraction. Obviously nuclear is a complete non-starter in economic terms in Australia, but looks like a very effective ‘wedge’.

    That is, it allows those that want no action on climate change to blame it all on the hippies for not allowing nuclear, while blocking any other effective action. Just running endless enquiries into whether new nuclear is a good idea. And setting up a pointless endless debate between those in favor of different technical solutions.

    If there were going to be a nuclear renaissance, it would happen somewhere else. But it isn’t. Just too expensive to compete with gas or renewables. Of course the advocates claim 5c/kWh power stations are just around the corner, but actual existing new nuclear is in fact vastly more expensive (see IEA figures or Lazard, for example).

    When even Switkowski has realised this, the nuclear fanboys are in trouble…

  10. Blaming it on the hippies/greenies seems to have become a default position for just about everybody, everyone and everything.

    For instance, in the last couple of weeks I have heard that greenies/hippies are to blame for;

    Restrictions on climbing Mt Lidgbird, Lord Howe Island
    Attaching carbon emissions to coal exports
    The wearing of personal flotation devices when crossing (ocean) bars
    Bushfires everywhere

    The list is endless.

  11. Mr Bird, are you asking me a question? You’ve already written that I am a liar so what point is there in asking me a question if I can’t be trusted to give a correct answer? It makes no sense at all if you think about it.

  12. Quokka:

    1. Australia’s coal fleet can be shut down and replaced with solar and wind firmed by dispatchable generation. Using gas is definitely an option.

    2. Don’t know much about France, do you? Don’t worry. I once read a pamphlet about it. France’s generating capacity at the start of 2018 was 48% nuclear.

    3. Why would anyone use coal with CSS? It’s very expensive. New coal generating capacity without it is not competitive, so it certainly wouldn’t be used.

    Well, my toe nails are dirty, so I’m going to consider the pros and cons of cutting my feet off with a scythe. After all, I gotta keep all options on the table.

  13. Ronald you cannot make this stuff up by looking at your belly button or by word analysis. Had we already had ubiquitous liquid metal batteries when we started adding renewables, then there would not have been a problem. Now the grid is run in a permanent state of emergency. Costs have been run up just in the last few years and its pricing our manufacturing out of business. We probably should rig our currency downward just to avoid further manufacturing losses. Without storage renewables are a complete disaster. This is not a deductive conclusion. This is no future prediction. The disaster is upon us.

    Thats why the Professors last television appearance was received so well, because he said “renewables and storage” in the same breath several times, and that allowed him to be welcomed in an encouraging and bipartisan way. I don’t want to turn backwards. I want to press forwards and get the storage we need. Preceded by getting all government budgets in surplus.

    Here is a description of how this disaster has come about. And in truth it would be so much easier to forget about renewables and burn more coal. Thats not what I am advocating. I’m advocating that everyone, you and Wimberley included, take storage seriously.

    Its like that in life you know. Sometimes you need to take a few steps backwards to go forwards again. Getting to energy nirvana was never going to be a straight-line effort and its okay to admit that this phase of renewables has caused a disaster, and to make sure that the next wave of renewables doesn’t do the same.

  14. Thanks JQ. “What I aim to do is to make the nuclear fans put up or shut up, once and for all.”. They won’t as can be seen by quokka putting in ccs like it is a done deal.

    Excellent! Ronald says: “Well, my toe nails are dirty, so I’m going to consider the pros and cons of cutting my feet off with a scythe. After all, I gotta keep all options on the table”.
    https://hazelcombefarm.com.au/a-scythe-is-made/

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