Guest Post: Bob Carter – What has climate change got to do with energy supply anyway?

As the Abbott government ponders the political realities of making needed changes to the economically damaging Mandatory Renewable Energy Tariff (MRET) scheme, late last year the European Union took the giant step backwards of combining climate change and energy matters into a single Commission portfolio.

In line with this, but nonetheless remarkably, nearly all governments currently view climate change and energy supply as closely related policy issues. Yet climate change issues are concerned with environmental hazards, whereas energy policy is concerned with supplying cheap, reliable and secure electricity supplies to industry and the populace. Where is the relationship?

Until the 1980s there was no relationship between energy policy and climate change. That one is perceived now testifies only to the effectiveness of relentless lobbying by environmentalists, NGOs and commercial special interests towards the cause of connecting climate and energy policies. Truth, scientific balance and commonsense have been casualties along the way.

The conflation has been brought about by evangelizing the view that carbon dioxide emissions from power-generation using hydrocarbon-based fuels will cause dangerous global warming. That (false) view has become embedded in society to the point where even heads of state misuse “carbon” as a shorthand for “carbon dioxide”, and then label it as a pollutant to boot. The ignorance that this misuse of scientific language signals is frightening.

In truth, carbon dioxide is environmentally beneficial; it is the elixir of life for most of our planetary ecosystems and greens the planet. To badge it as a pollutant is therefore grotesque rather than just wrong.

Second, the amount of carbon dioxide produced by human industrial processes is small compared with existing natural fluxes through the atmosphere and ocean (human emissions being less than 5% of natural emissions).

Third, and most important of all, despite carbon dioxide being a greenhouse gas no evidence exists that the amount humans have added to the atmosphere is producing dangerous warming; or, indeed, any measurable warming at all.

Many negative consequences flow from conflating the energy and global warming issues, but foremost amongst them has been a lemming-like rush by governments to massively subsidize what are otherwise uneconomic sources of power – especially solar and wind power generation.

These alternative sources are painted by lobby groups and governments alike as environmentally virtuous, because they are claimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as being both “renewable” and “clean” sources of energy.

Well, yes, wind and solar energy are indeed renewable when the wind blows and the Sun shines, but they are absent otherwise and tough luck if that is when you want to boil the kettle.

Wind and especially solar energy are very expensive, and their intermittency makes them unsuitable to be major contributors to a national energy grid.
In addition to their expense and impracticality, the claims as to the “cleanliness” and environmental friendliness of both solar and wind power generation are routinely overstated to the point of propagandization.

A wilful increase in the cost and complexity of energy supply systems has occurred worldwide over the last two decades, and that for generally negative environmental and social return. Yet despite the expenditure of trillions of dollars of public money in subsidy of “clean” energy sources, and huge political pressure on the citizenry to adopt them, wind and solar power generation still barely exceed 1% of the world’s energy supply.

Thanks to 30 years of sustained propaganda and gross profligacy with taxpayer money, power prices have escalated sharply. Nowhere has this happened to a greater degree than in Australia, which once had the cheapest electricity in the industrialized world; remember that?

As the political pressures build, so even the European Union is being forced to confront reality. For example, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger stated in Berlin in 2012 that European energy policy must change from being climate driven to being driven by the needs of industry – which is why the recent decision to combine the two into a single portfolio seems so strange.

What, then, needs to be done to improve the situation?

It is that individual nations return to the formerly clear separation that they recognized between energy policy and climate policy, and analyse and plan for each with respect to their own separate requirements and resources.

This means abandoning the woolly conflation of the two that has been so skilfully foisted on society by powerful vested interests over the last three decades. It also entails abandoning the monopoly IPCC advice about global warming and the use of fossil fuels, advice that engendered most of the confusion in the first place and continues to do so.

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31 Responses to Guest Post: Bob Carter – What has climate change got to do with energy supply anyway?

  1. Judith Sloan

    We don’t have to worry here in Australia because David Gruen – Mr Stimulus man and responsible for doctoring the data – is in charge of the taskforce responsible for setting Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions target after 2020. That should work well.

  2. egg_

    But, but… won’t more (fossil fuel based) CO2 actually ‘green’ the planet – the sciencematists Landsat &c. piccies would prove same?

    / Here endeth reality, back to AGW World

  3. handjive

    SBS: Finland introduced the world’s first carbon(sic) tax in 1990. 25 years.
    Australia had a carbon(sic) tax for 2+ years.

    Where is the evidence of any weather/climate, being ‘stopped’, or ‘changed’?

    Always more droughts, cyclones, floods, snow. Don’t get me started on El Niño!

    Despite all those countries paying a carbon(sic) tax, or installing solar panels, or bird killing windfarms all over our planet, there is never any ‘good’ news, just more bills.

  4. egg_

    Finland introduced the world’s first carbon(sic) tax in 1990.

    Finland is a major global supplier of soft rock (coal) mining equipment, depite being übergrown with über Grüns – paying the Pardoner’s ‘sin tax’?

  5. incoherent rambler

    despite carbon dioxide being a greenhouse gas no evidence exists that the amount humans have added to the atmosphere is producing dangerous warming; or, indeed, any measurable warming at all.

    I wonder if I shall live to hear an Australian political leader say those words?

    You have provided a concise summary of the CAGW scam. The additional issue on the horizon is that investment in new large scale generation plant (coal/nuclear) will be (or is) required. The lead times for new plant is 5 to 10 years. The time to plan for this is now.

  6. michaelfstanley

    In truth, carbon dioxide is environmentally beneficial; it is the elixir of life for most of our planetary ecosystems and greens the planet. To badge it as a pollutant is therefore grotesque rather than just wrong.

    Bob do you understand that just because something is an important part of a living system, it can be harmful or have adverse consequences when exceeds the bounds the system is used to? For example people can die of water poisoning.

    There’s some introductory biology MOOC’s you can take to get you up to speed on this concept.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    You can drive a bus through the enormous hole in the climateers’ energy policy – which immediately shows it has nothing to do with climate at all.

    Nuclear energy.

    If the climateer’s wanted to address CAGW (which on my data isn’t ever going to happen) then they would give an equal hearing to nuclear and renewables. As soon as you look at tin tacks it is immediately apparent that nuclear fits the big requirement for steady base load power. Nothing else does.

    But the climateers are almost completely against nuclear power. In Germany despite the Energiewende initiative, which is one of the most transforming (and insane) in the world, they have committed to close every nuclear power station they have. The Socialists in France have also stated they want to replace their nuclear power stations with wind farms and solar panels! Its madness.

    And that shows it has nothing to do with engineering reality and everything to do with religion. Nuclear is evil in the Green Religion because a large number of the Green politicians lived through the Greenham Common years. They cannot detach from that to either look at the climate data (which falsifies the CAGW hypothesis) or to accept the logic of nuclear power as the only feasible energy source for their economic model.

    Thus they destroy their own arguments. The Green climateers are contemptible.

  8. egg_

    do you understand that just because something is an important part of a living system, it can be harmful or have adverse consequences when exceeds the bounds the system is used to?

    And who’s teh Authoritae! wrt alleged CAGW?

  9. rickw

    In truth, carbon dioxide is environmentally beneficial; it is the elixir of life for most of our planetary ecosystems and greens the planet.

    CSIRO has data on the yield increases possible if wheat has CO2 applied to it.

    Rebranding CO2 as a dangerous gas and a threat to our planet is something that Goebbels would marvel at, maybe the ultimate “Big Lie”.

  10. Bruce of Newcastle

    do you understand that just because something is an important part of a living system, it can be harmful or have adverse consequences when exceeds the bounds the system is used to?

    Michael – The sweet spot for pCO2 is about 1500 ppmV, since that is what the greenhouse gardeners use. There is zero effect of such a concentration upon us. Indeed for most of the Earth’s history the pCO2 has been at that level or higher. The coral reef organisms actually evolved in higher concentrations of CO2 than that, so ocean “acidification” is a furphy too.

    All comes down to the equilibrium climate sensitivity, ECS. My data and the data of those who look at the real empirical climatology all show that ECS is quite low. I maintain it is about 0.7 C/doubling (see link above – you are welcome to falsify the calculation as I give all the required information below the graph). If pCO2 rose from 400 (now) to 1500 ppmV that would increase global temperature by less than 1.4 C. Harmless. And to rise to 1500 ppmV would require nearly ten times more CO2 to be emitted by us since the invention of fire. If peak oil is close that is just not going to happen since there isn’t enough fossil fuel in the ground.

  11. incoherent rambler

    Bruce.
    Modern coal fired plants emit water and CO2, not much else. It is cheap energy.
    This left a problem for the econazis, the only way to demonize cheap energy production was to demonize CO2. So they did.
    As you point out, the next cheapest form of energy (nuclear) must also be demonized, without reason.
    Methinks contemptible is the wrong word. Insane or malevolent or both.

  12. rickw

    Bob do you understand that just because something is an important part of a living system, it can be harmful or have adverse consequences when exceeds the bounds the system is used to? For example people can die of water poisoning.

    We contribute 5% to total CO2 generation. We are so far from being in charge of this anyone who pretends that we have any influence is simply an idiot.

    As for “bounds of system”, if the system was as vulnerable to change as the alarmist brigade would have us believe, none of us would be having this debate, in fact there probably wouldn’t have ever been humans here and the joint would look like Mars.

  13. Steve tickler

    Imagine if every household, in the world, installed solar with lithium batteries.

    The mining operations and energy needed to mine, process, manufacture and transport the batteries would be ENORMOUS!

    Would cost a fortune and the batteries are good for how long? 6 years at best. And at the same time, you would still have to keep the conventional power plants running.

  14. Token

    Imagine if every household, in the world, installed solar with lithium batteries.

    The greenies could then install the laser beams on sharks which will be transported via scheduled sharknado’s controlled by tax on air.

    I can think of a movie that predicted how wonderful that future will be.

  15. bemused

    For example, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger stated in Berlin in 2012 that European energy policy must change from being climate driven to being driven by the needs of industry – which is why the recent decision to combine the two into a single portfolio seems so strange.

    If the portfolio is run by a realist (sceptic may be too optimistic), then they have greater control over climate worriers’ demands, rather than having to do battle with another portfolio. It could well be a beneficial mix.

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    Imagine if every household, in the world, installed solar with lithium batteries.

    There isn’t enough lithium in the world. Other battery systems could do it, but the EROI would be negative anyway. Its nuclear or caves and legbones (in a Green world).

  17. old bloke

    Bob Carter should get a medal.

    do you understand that just because something is an important part of a living system, it can be harmful or have adverse consequences when exceeds the bounds the system is used to?

    Look at crop production figures for India over the past few years. Every new year a new record is set. Increased CO2 results in increased crops. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence? The more people that are here, the more food is produced. You could almost believe that some great designer made it that way.

  18. incoherent rambler

    To badge it [CO₂] as a pollutant is therefore grotesque rather than just wrong.

    Liberty quote

  19. egg_

    To badge it [CO?] as a pollutant is therefore grotesque rather than just wrong.

    Put it to the IPCC CO2 Temperance Committee?

  20. Myrddin Seren

    Every single day you think the madness could not get worse.

    And every – single – day – without – exception, the Left trump the previous efforts:

    Head of US Episcopal Church says ‘climate denial’ is immoral

  21. michaelfstanley

    Look at crop production figures for India over the past few years. Every new year a new record is set. Increased CO2 results in increased crops. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence? The more people that are here, the more food is produced. You could almost believe that some great designer made it that way.

    By your reasoning Crop production should have been going up continuosly, everywhere, every year without interruption

  22. Bruce of Newcastle

    By your reasoning Crop production should have been going up continuosly, everywhere, every year without interruption

    Yes. Quite so.

    The Horrid Effect Global Warming Has Had On Our Crop Production

  23. Leo G

    By your reasoning Crop production should have been going up continuosly, everywhere, every year without interruption

    Not really. There are other factors affecting plant yield, and only crop species which rely solely on the Calvin Cycle for fixing CO2 (C3 plants) have their sugar production improved by increased atmospheric CO2.

  24. jupes

    The ignorance that this misuse of scientific language signals is frightening.

    Yep. Just think, the last government introduced a tax to stop global warming.

    The majority of our political class discussed this as if it was reasonable, sane policy. It is still the policy of at least two of our polictical parties. Even those who oppose the tax, want to ‘do something’ to stop global warming.

    In any other era, the only people extolling such garbage would be considered raving loonies. The lunatics truly have taken over the asylum.

  25. egg_

    Imagine if every household, in the world, installed solar with lithium batteries.

    Besides Bhopal in India, Sydney harbour is the 4th most polluted harbour in the world, thanks to the former Union Carbide plant.

  26. jupes

    Besides Bhopal in India, Sydney harbour is the 4th most polluted harbour in the world,

    I’m pulling out the Bullshit Card on this.

  27. johanna

    Me too, Jupes. Citations, please.

    Note also that definitions of “pollution” vary. According to some lunatic Greens, living near granite outcrops is exposing yourself to “radiation pollution.” They also imagine that CO2 is “pollution.”

  28. egg_

    Friendly fire, eh?
    As a former resident of the Sydney Olympic Village, the remediation site of Homebush Bay, Sydney’s toxic waste dumping ground for decades, that was part of the information we were provided.
    I’ll dig up a reference, if it hasn’t been sanitised post remediation/Olympics/re-invigoration as a light industrial park.
    Stockholm being the dirtiest harbour in the world reportedly – both due to heavy metals sediments.
    And I’ll be asking for references from you non-technical folks in future, thanks, ‘bullshit detectors’.

  29. johanna

    So, every harbour on the planet has been tested by these people?

    Where’s the evidence for that? And how do they know what those harbours were like 50 or 100 years ago?

    More to the point, what evidence is there of any harm to humans from this alleged “pollution”?

    Greenie BS to the max.

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