No need for a price on carbon dioxide

If you believe this guy – that renewable energy will be more efficient than large-scale coal fired energy – then there is no need for any government to impose a price on carbon dioxide.  Funny, he doesn’t seem to see if this way.

And adviser to the OECD – that mush of European left-wing statism – PLEEEASE.

Australia will fail to meet its 2050 GDP targets if it does not put a price on carbon and invest in renewable energy sources according to former principal adviser on Sustainable Development at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Prof Michael Molitor.

Prof Molitor is in Sydney to deliver a public talk at the University of New South Wales, Decarbonising for Growth: Why everyone is wrong about the cost of addressing climate change.

“Everyone believes investing in carbon emissions at scale will mean giving up economic growth and jobs – this is completely incorrect,” Prof Molitor said.

“By walking away from carbon prices and renewable energy the Australian Federal Government is actually dismantling the only regulatory framework that is capable of driving our economy to strong growth in the future.”

Prof Molitor said inefficient large-scale and often carbon producing economic activities are likely to be the first casualties as the need for increased economic growth drives an emphasis on improving efficiency. Industries like internal combustion car manufacturing, large-scale beef production and, most notably, coal fired power production are all in the firing line.

“The inefficiency of centralised fossil fuel power production in combination with the improving efficiency of renewable energy technologies has led to the major European utilities losing 500 billion euros in their valuations in the past two years —and this will only continue,” Prof Molitor said.

“In many cases the total economic benefits of coal-fired electricity are lower than the total costs and that is without accounting for climate change.”

According to Prof Molitor, carbon emissions are humanity’s biggest waste product and the ultimate evidence of inefficiency.

He said we must reduce carbon emissions not because the waste causes major problems, like climate change, but because to vastly improve efficiency governments need to eliminate waste in the process.

And that is why a price on carbon is an important tool in improving the efficiency and future growth prospects for Australia.

“Our carbon tax is an extremely efficient means of raising government revenue, reducing carbon emissions and, most importantly, improving energy efficiency throughout the Australian economy’” Prof Molitor said.

“Becoming super energy efficient will be an absolute requirement for participating in, and reaping the rewards of, the coming revolution in energy resources.”

Just to be helpful:

Public lecture: Dearbonising for growth: Why everyone is wrong about the cost of addressing climate change.
Time: 6:15pm, Tuesday, April 29, 2014.
Location: Rex Vowels Theatre (F17), University of New South Wales, Kensington.

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60 Responses to No need for a price on carbon dioxide

  1. entropy

    He must have an assumption of a massive leap forward in solar and wind technology, and another assumption of a stagnation in fossil fuel energy production, to get within coee of that scenario.

    On the other hand, he may have a massive external cost priced in for fossil fuel energy, and none for alternative energy sources.

    The gripping hand is probably all of the above.

  2. Aussieute

    The issue I have is that deluded people such as these have no idea about how efficient coal power can be and the newer coal power even more so. We could cut our CO2 contribution by more than they could imagine by being more efficient, but then efficiency doesn’t come into it.

    If the Greens cared about CO2 they’d be very interested in ways to reduce emissions. But their selective interest speaks volumes about their real priorities. Anton Lang (Tony from Oz) shows how newer coal fired powers stations run hotter and at higher pressures, and use 15% less coal to produce the same amount of electricity.

    We could upgrade our power stations and cut a whopping 15% of their emissions — which is huge compared to the piddling small, often unmeasureable savings thanks to renewables. Even massive floods that stop industry don’t reduce our emissions as much as this would. Do the Greens hate the coal industry more than “carbon pollution”? — Jo Nova

  3. Andrew

    So question: what % of carbon credits were earned by “becoming super efficient”? And what % were given to Flannery’s kleptocrats for building non-functional windmills? I’d love to know.

    If we dramatically cut the electricity intensity of business as usual saving coal resources and slashing oil imports, that sounds like a good policy.

    As for the rest, let’s assume that carbon proicing is the future. Why wouldn’t we simply link to the global scheme when it launches in 2020? Why go first if you’re so sure? If wind is the future when coal runs out, and there’s a 15 yr turbine life, why not build them 1 year before la Trobe closes? Why now? They help not a jot with energy independence. (Or maybe thorium will be commercialised by 2060 and we can buy an off the shelf MSR for the price of today’s USC coal plant and we don’t need to back the wrong horse.)

    Where are the Green Jobs? What saleable technology do we have from all that Science (TM)?

  4. Alfonso

    ‘No need for a price on carbon dioxide.’

    Depends who you are. If you’re Goldman Sachs et al there is a desperate need to ‘price’ CO2 so that the huge derivative market thereby created can produce mega profits only previously fantasised about…… asap.

  5. manalive

    the only regulatory framework [carbon tax] that is capable of driving our economy to strong growth in the future …

    Blackwhite.

  6. john constantine

    once sarah hanson hyphens dragons grow to full size, and she has freed the slaves and regained her rightful throne, we can run the power plants on dragon flame.

    we can also all live off organic free trade vegan puddin’, once the great abbottbeast frees the magic pudding from the tory dungeons and lets it give to the socialist paradise according to its means

  7. stackja

    Again the problem is the MSM. They uncritically regurgitate the Green/Left dogma. TA is left with a problem. Does he do something that half quietens down the MSM/Green/Left or just let the MSM/Green/Left trumpet that TA is against the environment future of the world?

  8. Walter Plinge

    According to Prof Molitor, carbon emissions are humanity’s biggest waste product and the ultimate evidence of inefficiency.

    Carbon (sic) emissions are far from being a waste product or evidence of inefficiency. What does Molitor think in driving the increase of crop yields and keeping the world fed?

    I recently read a general readership economics book that said from an economic point of view it’s utterly pointless spending money now (or foregoing energy) to prevent possible future damage from adverse climate change. Future climate changes may not happen to any extent or may be positive. Further, future generations will be far wealthier than we are and better able to afford the costs of climate change (if any). Best leave it to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to sort out.

  9. johninoxley

    How did this perfessor of nosepicking get here? On a solar powered skateboard, no doubt. Its about time the mohommad lovers did something useful and put a fatwah on these morons. That would keep them busy for a while, at least until they grew up.

  10. mundi

    “In many cases the total economic benefits of coal-fired electricity are lower than the total costs”

    Can someone please explain how on earth this is possible. Is he claiming coal power plants are subsidized by government??

  11. Tel

    The inefficiency of centralised fossil fuel power production …

    WTF?

  12. Michael in Sydney

    According to Prof Molitor, carbon emissions are humanity’s biggest waste product and the ultimate evidence of inefficiency

    Isn’t he really saying “Humanity is the earth’s biggest waste product and the ultimate evidence of inefficiency”.

  13. Demosthenes

    “In many cases the total economic benefits of coal-fired electricity are lower than the total costs and that is without accounting for climate change.”

    I’ll need to see the figures for that one.

  14. Tel

    Becoming super energy efficient will be an absolute requirement for participating in, and reaping the rewards of, the coming revolution in energy resources.

    Translation: under our regime you won’t be getting power, so learn to deal without it.

  15. Roger

    “Prof Molitor”…sounds like the antagonist in an Arthur Conan Doyle novel.
    Wait a minute, maybe we are in an Arthur Conan Doyle novel, with Molitor as the “brains” of a Green-Statist world take-over plot!

  16. Baldrick

    Michael Molitor, Science Advisor on the film, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, was the CEO of CarbonShift Advisory Pty Ltd:

    an Australian company with a focus on helping clients develop, implement and communicate robust strategies to respond to the challenge of a climate system modified by human activity. CarbonShift, based in Sydney, works with many leading companies and organisations to deliver carbon management outcomes that both protect and enhance shareholder value and stakeholder relationships.

    Unfortunately, Michael failed as an entrepreneur and found it all too difficult in the private sector, with his company being deregistered by ASIC.

    Michael now focuses on obtaining financial assistance from various academic appointments preferring to live off the public teat than trying to scam money in the private sector.

  17. Prof Michael Molitor

    Always best not to confuse education with intelligence.

  18. Demosthenes

    In the meantime, an economist has blown the whistle on the IPCC summary-vetting process. Criticisms of the Kyoto failure that were in the original draft were deleted at the insistence of government officials.

    “I fully understand that the government representatives were seeking to meet their own responsibilities toward their respective governments by upholding their countries’ interests, but in some cases this turned out to be problematic for the scientific integrity of the IPCC summary for policy makers,” he said.
    ………………
    Every other section of the draft summary was reduced to similarly bland statements or deleted altogether.

  19. egg_

    the CEO of CarbonShift Advisory Pty Ltd

    FTFY.

  20. johanna

    He was the “science adviser” on The Day After Tomorrow? What a great gig.

    Whatever he got paid, it was for doing absolutely nothing.

  21. H B Bear

    He was the “science adviser” on The Day After Tomorrow? What a great gig.
    Whatever he got paid, it was for doing absolutely nothing.

    No carbons were hurt in the making of this movie.

  22. ProEng

    How did this person become a professor? He has no understanding of technology or is he lying ? On the other hand putting in place nuclear power generation will have benefits. According to an OECD report nuclear power, produced in Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, & Taiwan) is already the cheapest power in the world. In Europe nuclear power (eg Belgium, Finland, France, Sweden or Switzerland) is cheaper than power produced with coal. Location of markets, transport cost of fuel and planning/environmental restrictions all have an effect on production costs. If planning restrictions were removed a 3000MW nuclear power plant installed by the Chinese at Jervis Bay or French Island could be cheaper than a similar size coal fired power station as a replacement for existing capacity.
    (That might set the hares running but think it through)

  23. manalive

    And that is why a price on carbon is an important tool in improving the efficiency and future growth prospects for Australia …

    Paraphrasing Orwell some ideas are so idiotic only an academic or bureaucrat could think it up; like government spending is necessary to reduce government debt.
    Ideas that are so counterintuitive and self-evidently stupid because they come from academics some people are fooled into believing there must be something in it.

  24. Burke & Wills

    You have to believe in climate change. Compare the last few days.
    Could someone please drag another bag of coal up from the cellar.
    Its brass monkeys today Mr Molitor…. sitting there in your fair isle cardigan.
    Be useful will you. Turn those plurry windmills off.

  25. Tintarella di Luna

    Paraphrasing Orwell some ideas are so idiotic only an academic or bureaucrat could think it up; like government spending is necessary to reduce government debt.
    Ideas that are so counterintuitive and self-evidently stupid because they come from academics some people are fooled into believing there must be something in it.

    My father left school at 8 and could not read or write – could only sign his name. He used to say that people were smart when they went to university but had all the smarts lectured out of them and left with a diploma in stupid.

  26. Crossie

    Becoming super energy efficient will be an absolute requirement for participating in, and reaping the rewards of, the coming revolution in energy resources.”

    And that’s why a huge majority of Australian manufacturers moved to Asia to take advantage of their non-efficient energy.

  27. Crossie

    CarbonShift, based in Sydney, works with many leading companies and organisations to deliver carbon management outcomes that both protect and enhance shareholder value and stakeholder relationships.

    Or more likely relieve shareholders of valuables.

  28. notafan

    Carbonscope, Carbonshift. Carboncrap
    Snounts in trough,
    Where are the declarations of financial interest?
    No more mtaxpayer money for Carbon Dioxide or renewables rubbish

  29. notafan

    Carbonscope, Carbonshift. Carboncrap
    Snouts in trough,
    Where are the declarations of financial interest?
    No more mtaxpayer money for Carbon Dioxide or renewables rubbish

  30. motherhubbard'sdog

    Whoever “taught” this lunatic mathematics should hang their head in shame.

  31. Carpe Jugulum

    Our carbon tax is an extremely efficient means of raising government revenue, reducing carbon emissions and, most importantly, improving energy efficiency throughout the Australian economy’” Prof Molitor said.

    Without wishing to seem rude, the good Prof is a fvking loon who should be locked up and not allowed metal cutlery.

  32. johanna

    Remarkably polite, CJ.

    It is, as I have said before, like being in Alice’s world “through the looking-glass.”

  33. Gab

    Our carbon tax is an extremely efficient means of raising government revenue, reducing carbon emissions and, most importantly, improving energy efficiency throughout the Australian economy’” Prof Molitor said.

    Raving nutcase.

  34. Sir Fred Lenin

    Carbon Tax another name for Untidy Nayshuns Comfort Fund,,we must keep the commo beaurocrats in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

  35. Andrew

    “In many cases the total economic benefits of coal-fired electricity are lower than the total costs”

    Seems hard to believe that anyone would buy it at all then…

    So what was the stupidest thing he said? My vote goes to the “inefficiency” of centralised baseload generation. He prefers wind farms in remote locations – all with their own transmission lines randomly crashing the grid with excessive output and then dropping to zero. That’s more efficient than having just one, which we built 60 years ago.

    Does he think converting Drax from coal to Vermont wood is a demonstration of “efficiency”?

    Second is that euro generation lost 500m euros because wind is so cheap. Not because govt’s keep fucking with it, taxing it, abolishing those fraudulent “print your own” CERs from the third world, turning them off when the wind occasionally blows or wearing them out by using them as peak fillers.

    Has ANY system in history produced more distortions and less intended result than carbon proicing?

  36. Boambee John

    Phil Fry
    #1282275, posted on April 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm
    Carpetbagger

    Carbonbagger?

  37. Leo G

    “Our carbon tax is an extremely efficient means of raising government revenue, reducing carbon emissions and, most importantly, improving energy efficiency throughout the Australian economy” – Prof Molitor.

    Is the Professor trying to qualify for a job with the ABC Fact Check Unit?
    A financial process is tax efficient if it is taxed at a lower rate than an alternative that achieves the same end. In this case the end is the total revenue, directly and indirectly, from taxing energy generation from all sources. Surely the higher the rate of any carbon tax, the lower the efficiency.
    Carbon taxes are a miserably inefficient way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions- improving the efficiency of generation from coal has lower abatement costs.
    Energy efficiency in an energy conversion process is not the same concept as energy conservation. The energy efficiency of the best crystalline silicon PVs is about 25%. The energy efficiency of modern coal fired plants is 40%.

  38. rickw

    I work in the energy industry, Molitar is unhinged.

    It should also be noted that most Big Oil got out of alternative energy, in particular solar about 25 years ago. They couldn’t see a technological breakthrough that would improve efficiency, 25 years on and their call still stands, efficiency has only been improved by the odd 1%, rather than the required 10% or more.

  39. johanna

    Rick, hear, hear. The laws of physics mean that solar will never, never be competitive with energy-dense sources like coal, oil and gas. We have been hearing about the big “breakthrough” in solar since the 1950s – spruiked by enthusiastic greenies and entrepreneurs. Not gonna happen. That isn’t to say that solar doesn’t have a useful role in niche applications, but until and unless a cheap, safe and reliable way of storing excess production is found, it’s a dead-set loser. A Neverwozzer.

    That brings me to battery technology, another Neverwozzer. It will take a paradigm shift to significantly improve battery technology to the point where it is more than another useful niche application. The problem of scale is going nowhere after many decades and untold billions spent on research.

    These evolutionary dead-ends are passionately supported by the True Believers. I wouldn’t mind that, except that their eccentric religious beliefs are largely funded by consumers and taxpayers.

  40. Demosthenes

    25 years on and their call still stands, efficiency has only been improved by the odd 1%, rather than the required 10% or more.

    Before people get too carried away with their claims, here is a useful chart.

  41. Leo G

    Demosthenes, your chart claims to show attained efficiencies of research cells, not practical production cells. You should provide a link to the explanatory text.

  42. Demosthenes

    I thought research was what we were talking about. What efficiency measure should we be looking at?

  43. cohenite

    Solar power will always be constrained by the Shockley–Queisser limit, although Thermophotovoltaic devices are reputed to extend that limit.

  44. brc

    The only explanation for his use of the word efficiency is by replacing the denominator with co2 instead of dollars.

    Efficiency the way I use it is output per dollar spent. Don’t think this chap thinks the same way. As always, it’s always about abusing da language.

  45. Leo G

    I thought research was what we were talking about. What efficiency measure should we be looking at?

    How about an efficiency measure that refers to the technologies being compared, in this case coal-fired generation versus solar array photovoltaics. Your chart included photovoltaics used in solar concentrators which require solar illuminance levels up to a thousand times higher than for the PVs used in practical solar panels.

  46. Demosthenes

    Solar power will always be constrained by the Shockley–Queisser limit

    Single-junction only. And TPVs double it.

    Your chart included photovoltaics used in solar concentrators which require solar illuminance levels up to a thousand times higher than for the PVs used in practical solar panels.

    Concentrated solar is practical, not just for rooftops. But this is a distraction – what about all the ones that are not for use in concentrators? What’s wrong with their efficiency measure?

  47. Leo G

    Concentrated solar is practical, not just for rooftops

    Concentrated solar is practical, maybe, just not for rooftops.

  48. cohenite

    If you are going to be sensible and talk about relative energy from solar and the fossils then speak about intermittency and density; for example compare Installed Capacity [IC], with Capacity Factor [CF] and Reliability Factor [RF]; for instance the RF of both solar and wind is about 3%; which means the % of its IC occurring at any one time is 3%. That’s intermittency. Density can be considered by noting that a solar farm with an IC equivalent to Bayswater would cover 500 square kilometres.

  49. cohenite

    As for TPVs doubling the S-Q limit, read my link; nothing yet.

    As for concentrating solar consider Moree, Chinchilla and Broken Hill projects; all dead as Archimedes who invented CS 2000 fucking years ago.

    I find solar technology wearisome; nominally interesting but as a hobby; the fact it is subsidised with billions with pretensions of grid replacement and justified by AGW is fucked.

  50. stackja

    cohenite
    #1283540, posted on April 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Solar technology works at night as long as a light is shining on the solar panels. Simple!

  51. Notafan

    And don’t forget the cutting edge research on using rhubarb to store solar energy

  52. cohenite

    Solar technology works at night as long as a light is shining on the solar panels. Simple!

    Yep, and its profitable to do so.

    Ain’t life grand.

  53. Demosthenes

    compare Installed Capacity [IC], with Capacity Factor [CF] and Reliability Factor [RF]; for instance the RF of both solar and wind is about 3%;

    There are reliability concerns for all power generators and for systems as a whole, but I don’t know where your percentage comes from or what it’s measuring.

  54. cohenite

    I don’t know where your percentage comes from or what it’s measuring.

    http://aefweb.info/data/Wind%20farming%20in%20SE%20Australia.pdf

    There are reliability concerns for all power generators and for systems as a whole

    No.

  55. Demosthenes

    I guess the percentage refers to meeting a 90% reliability point? I’m not sure, because that is the apparent calculation for single sites, not the combined 10%. Also that’s wind, not solar, but I get your point. We need more than a small number of weather-correlated sites to get power worth having, is what your link tells us.

    This website has the raw data and a graph maker. Average 5-min instantaneous output/capacity in 2011 varied from 25% to 42%.

    Renewables aren’t ready for the big leagues, but there isn’t a fundamental problem with low-density power sources. We do need to improve batteries a whole bunch first, to get that necessary density. But I’m a techno-optimist. We live in exponential times, which means we don’t need breakthroughs if we’re taking incremental steps at an accelerating rate.

  56. cohenite

    The wind farm performance graph is typical for the 27th. IC is 2660 MW; output peaks at midnight at 26.3% CF or 700MW; minimum output is 5.5% at 6pm or 150MW, the time of peak demand which is 24500 MW.

    That power is useless. Coal technology called Ultra Supercritical now allows coal combustion at temperatures which give nearly 40% extra power and destruction all real pollutants except mercury. Another related technology is DICE.

    Then there is Thorium.

    Renewables don’t compete unless they’re hydro or nuclear.

  57. Demosthenes

    We have strayed a long way from the original point.

    That power is useless.

    We agree, but that’s hardly an accomplishment. I don’t anyone who thinks a single wind farm is any use.

  58. .

    Small scale renewable solutions like solar UV for water integrated with a hydronic power/efficiency/rankine cycle systems do work, but they’re hardly what gets pimped or gets money thrown at them.

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