The looming environmental disaster of the push for zero

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM

The International Energy Authority is essentially a green booster and they do the best they can along those lines but they also collect a lot of information

IEA on the hidden enviro costs of going green

The IEA’s 287-page report released this month, “The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions,” is devastating to those ambitions. A better title would have been: “Clean Energy Transitions: Not Soon, Not Easy and Not Clean.”

The IEA assembled a large body of data about a central, and until now largely ignored, aspect of the energy transition: It requires mining industries and infrastructure that don’t exist. Wind, solar and battery technologies are built from an array of “energy transition minerals,” or ETMs, that must be mined and processed. The IEA finds that with a global energy transition like the one President Biden envisions, demand for key minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals would explode, rising by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900% and 700%, respectively, by 2040.

The world doesn’t have the capacity to meet such demand. As the IEA observes, albeit in cautious bureaucratese, there are no plans to fund and build the necessary mines and refineries. The supply of ETMs is entirely aspirational. And if it were pursued at the quantities dictated by the goals of the energy transition, the world would face daunting environmental, economic and social challenges, along with geopolitical risks.

Read on, in contrast with the 287 page IEA report the commentary is only four pages!

As a bonus the WSJ piece has a six-minute interview with Steven Koonin debunking warming alarmism.  

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to The looming environmental disaster of the push for zero

  1. Dave of Reedy Creek, Qld says:

    Dare I suggest this sounds like a massive international Ponzi scheme! Either that we are in for a con of monumental proportions.

  2. Damon says:

    Mass immigration was (is) a Ponzi scheme. The Government found, to its delight, it worked.Thus, the bureaucracy was set to identify other areas to which it could be applied.

  3. Faye says:

    Why do we allow the “clean energy” propaganda tag to continue? To hell with their lies and comforting “nice” opposite meaning words to hide their despicable agenda. By using their terminology, we appear to agree that it is “clean”! “Dirty energy” substitution is the way to go.

  4. Amused says:

    Who are these IEA turkeys?

    The IAEA are where the only solution is at.

  5. Boambee John says:

    Faye

    Why do we allow the “clean energy” propaganda tag to continue? To hell with their lies and comforting “nice” opposite meaning words to hide their despicable agenda. By using their terminology, we appear to agree that it is “clean”! “Dirty energy” substitution is the way to go.

    I have been using Unreliable Energy (UE). It is harder for them to deny, while they will argue forever that black is white when you accuse UR of being “dirty”. Then for fossil fuels I use Reliable Energy (RE), taking away their acronym for Renewable Energy.

  6. m0nty says:

    The world doesn’t have the capacity to meet such demand. As the IEA observes, albeit in cautious bureaucratese, there are no plans to fund and build the necessary mines and refineries. The supply of ETMs is entirely aspirational. And if it were pursued at the quantities dictated by the goals of the energy transition, the world would face daunting environmental, economic and social challenges, along with geopolitical risks.

    A lot of the reserves are held in dodgy South American countries, but also a lot are in China and Australia. Look at current production compared with reserves, we’ve got shyteloads of the stuff even without the Argies and sundries.

    Both supply and demand are currently aspirational. Once demand turns into reality, supply will catch up. Didn’t they teach you basic economics at school, Rafe?

  7. Rex Anger says:

    Both supply and demand are currently aspirational. Once demand turns into reality, supply will catch up. Didn’t they teach you basic economics at school, Rafe?

    Benito m0ntylini has no understanding of the sheer amount of lead time for a mine or refinery, from proposal to first loads of raw/refined product.

    He also assumes his envirofascist fellow travellers will indulge his regular fascist ones, and not fight tooth and nail to ensure said resources stay in the ground…

  8. Dan4eva says:

    So Monty how many more mines, smelters, transport networks are you going to build to cater for your little demand and supply problem? How are you going to produce all the energy needed to establish this? What is the benefit cost of the?

  9. Snoopy says:

    Look at current production compared with reserves, we’ve got shyteloads of the stuff even without the Argies and sundries.

    Psst. Wanna buy some shares in my new project, Monty? Rare earths. Get in early. The whisper is that reserves when proven will far outstrip current estimates. You’ll make a motza.

  10. RobK says:

    Both supply and demand are currently aspirational. Once demand turns into reality, supply will catch up.
    Goodness me. Many of these elements are poorly represented on earth. Many require extreme purity to be useful and are highly energy intensive to process. If only it could be as simple as the price increasing as the low hanging fruit is harvested.

  11. m0nty says:

    So Monty how many more mines, smelters, transport networks are you going to build to cater for your little demand and supply problem? How are you going to produce all the energy needed to establish this? What is the benefit cost of the?

    Such a stupid talking point. Your preferred alternative is… fossil fuel extraction, mostly from mines. Oh no, you cry, what about the poor environment!! LOL, no one believes you are arguing in good faith.

    As for lead times, I am sure if there is sufficient price incentive then there will be enough engineers applied to the problem. The free market at work!

  12. Snoopy says:

    I am sure if there is sufficient price incentive then there will be enough African child labour applied to the problem.

  13. Lee says:

    Both supply and demand are currently aspirational. Once demand turns into reality, supply will catch up. Didn’t they teach you basic economics at school, Rafe?

    Benito m0ntylini has no understanding of the sheer amount of lead time for a mine or refinery, from proposal to first loads of raw/refined product.

    And some of the rarer minerals that are currently used for RE (in batteries, for instance) are mined by children in Africa.

  14. exsteelworker says:

    But Mont, all these new mines and smelters, refineries will be on top of all the fossil fuel mines you mention. Try running a blast furnace on renewables, have you actually been up close to a working blast furnace or smelter, refinery Mont, good luck running all that extremely energy intensive industry on big fans and sun mirrors lol. Killing the earth to save it in Monts head.

  15. Dr Faustus says:

    demand for key minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals would explode, rising by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900% and 700%, respectively, by 2040.

    If you accept the Net Zero premise, this is going to be a big understatement of the resource crisis that will unfold over the 20 years after 2040.

    The US’s Net Zero target date is 2050 – China’s is 2060. The really heavy lifting, in terms of exotic mineral use, will take place in the last years as the old, Carbon-belching infrastructure is shut in, and the CO2 extraction technology is rolled out.

  16. Rex Anger says:

    And some of the rarer minerals that are currently used for RE (in batteries, for instance) are mined by children in Africa.

    Not to mention that all these things are potentially very lethal heavy metals.

    Saving the earth from one environmental disaster, only to provoke another in a fraction of the time, as thousands or even millions of life-expired and veryikely unrecyclable solar panels and wind turbines need disposal and replacement…

    Who likes political fads?

  17. RobK says:

    The free market at work!
    RE and “free market “are incongruous in the present setting.
    It’s a bubble bath.

  18. MACK says:

    At 20.35 NEM time, the widget shows national electricity demand at 28,899 megawatts with 1,073 produced by wind. And the high pressure system is likely to move away only slowly. Still waiting for a television journalist to ask a Greens MP about this. https://www.nem-watch.info/widgets/reneweconomy/

  19. Boambee John says:

    I see that the fat fascist fool munty thinks that engineering and production issues can be waved away with a magic wand, while the processing plants will be powered with unicorn farts.

  20. Tel says:

    Moving forwards!

    Forwards to the Year Zero!!

    https://libertarianinstitute.org/year-zero/

  21. m0nty says:

    But Mont, all these new mines and smelters, refineries will be on top of all the fossil fuel mines you mention. Try running a blast furnace on renewables, have you actually been up close to a working blast furnace or smelter, refinery Mont, good luck running all that extremely energy intensive industry on big fans and sun mirrors lol. Killing the earth to save it in Monts head.

    Do you think coal energy is somehow stronger and more intense than renewable energy? LOL.

    I can see why you get wild when someone tells you to learn to code.

  22. RobK says:

    Do you think coal energy is somehow stronger and more intense than renewable energy?
    At least you are asking the right question.
    The answer is very much, Yes.

  23. RobK says:

    Monty,

    (PDF) A Comparison of Energy Densities of Prevalent Energy …
    Search domain researchgate.nethttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/233231163_A_Comparison_of_Energy_Densities_of_Prevalent_Energy_Sources_in_Units_of_Joules_Per_Cubic_Meter
    When measured using the methods presented, solar energy has a density of 1.5 microjoules per cubic meter, over twenty quadrillion times less than oil.

  24. m0nty says:

    Hahaha, you actually think electrons from coal are more manly and assertive. The Cat never fails to bring the lulz.

  25. m0nty says:

    Tell me RobK, do the electrons from coal power retain magical properties of super strength after they travel through power cables? This should be good.

  26. RobK says:

    Monty,
    After they’ve traveled the wires is moot. The consistency of continued ability to do so is what is paramount. You require much more apparatus to get a semblance of consistency out of RE. It’s not what you would choose for industry nor individuals.

  27. m0nty says:

    Ah, now the goal posts move. Consistency, not intensity. Which is an entirely different thing.

    It’s true that battery baseload tech has not caught up to aspirational demand levels yet. There is a lot of economic incentive for it to do so in coming decades. You lot bleating about the environmental impact of mining for materials for green energy is just comical.

  28. Eyrie says:

    Do you think coal energy is somehow stronger and more intense than renewable energy?
    At least you are asking the right question.
    The answer is very much, Yes.

    Coal energy doesn’t stop at night or when the wind stops blowing. Also way more energy dense than unreliables. Nukes are much better still. Only use for pumped hydro is to cover peaks while the coal or nuke run at max continuous all the time.

  29. Eyrie says:

    Thank you for revealing your utter cluelessness to the world.
    Can you actually do maths, Monts? Or physics? Obviously not.
    Here’s link for you: https://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=242427

    A short quote from the beginnning: “How many times have your heard “The world has changed.”
    No it hasn’t. Not really. Nor have people.
    Just like physics hasn’t changed”

  30. Boambee John says:

    Do you think coal energy is somehow stronger and more intense than renewable energy? LOL.

    The fat fascist fool demonstrates again his mental incompetence.

    It might (or might not) be stronger and more intense, but, not being weather dependent, is both reliable and continuous.

  31. Eyrie says:

    Another quote from the linked article:
    “Children and psychotics live in a fantasy world where they believe you snap your fingers and get what you want. When you allow either of the latter two to ascend to positions of power and influence within government your entire nation is standing on a ledge believing you can fly. There are myriad examples of this, such as believing you can replace combustion fuels with batteries and solar cells or wind turbines; this is crazy-land nonsense as nobody has figured out how to violate the laws of physics, and you just saw a small version of it with the Colonial pipeline.”

    So are you a child, a psychotic or both, Monts?

  32. Terry says:

    ‘Do you think coal energy is somehow stronger and more intense than renewable energy?’

    Yes! By orders of magnitude. Coal is more energy-dense than wind/solar, and nuclear is denser than coal.

    In fact, the only thing denser than nuclear is the grey matter inside a leftards skull (impenetrable ignorance shrouded in insufferable arrogance).

    Any “net-zero” conversation that includes “renewables” is a scam on steroids.

    Fossil Fuels/Nuclear: nature has already stored the energy we need ahead of time (batteries anyone?)

    All that time, energy (literally), and [other peoples’] money wasted trying to “invent” (non-invent) a less efficient way to generate cheap and reliable electricity.

    Darwin used to deal with folks this dumb.

  33. Forester says:

    M0nty, where are you storing the tailings from your rare earth mines?

    The CCP just pours it into the nearest creek, that’s why it’s the cheapest producer.

  34. m0nty says:

    Here’s link for you: https://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=242427

    Oh dear, Eyrie. An unhinged rant from a swivel-eyed loon on a blog with 1997-era design. That is what you think is an argument from authority. What next, you link a Tumblr or a Myspace?

  35. m0nty says:

    M0nty, where are you storing the tailings from your rare earth mines?

    LOL, as you give a tinker’s about the tailings from fossil fuel mines! Bad faith arguments like this are worth nothing.

  36. Boambee John says:

    The fat fascist fool munty is unaware of Australian environmental legislation.

    Which is far stricter than African or Chinese such legislation.

    But do carry on, you idiot.

  37. Kneel says:

    “…I am sure if there is sufficient price incentive…”

    They’re not “rare earths” because they are rare as such, but because finding them in a concentration sufficient to allow economic extraction is “rare”.
    It’s like gold – there’s a shed-load of it in the oceans, and you can theoretically extract it from seawater. But the price of gold is not high enough to warrant it. Ditto uranium.

    This means: the price is not as elastic as you may expect from other metals/minerals, as the majority of the cost is not getting it out of the ground, it is extracting the small amount from quite literally tonnes of rock and refining it to sufficient purity to be useful for unreliables.

    We would be better off pouring the billions we currently spend on wind and solar on talking several of the LENR fusion schemes to completion to see if they can be commercially viable. EMCC said they needed about $200M, and several others tout similar numbers, maybe up to $1B each. If we spent $5B on this, we would know if they can work on industrial scales or not, and if any one of them can, we would have the beginnings of a new and profitable industry.
    Absolutely any workable LENR fusion plant would be an incredible acheivement, and would forever release us from the energy slavery of the mullahs and associated “baddies”.

  38. m0nty says:

    Kneel, you say in your post that rare earth and uranium have the same mining issues, yet you want to use uranium instead of rare earth… why, exactly? You didn’t say why. Keep in mind that rare earth is not radioactive and would not cause a Chernobyl or Fukushima scenario. What is the mining-related advantage of uranium over rare earth?

  39. Dr Faustus says:

    Keep in mind that rare earth is not radioactive and would not cause a Chernobyl or Fukushima scenario. What is the mining-related advantage of uranium over rare earth?

    Couple of technical points.
    Because of their close position on the periodic table, rare earth minerals usually occur with uranium and thorium accessory minerals. Processing the ore liberates bulk radioactive waste. In China, this is easily disposed of in lakes, rivers and baby formula. Elsewhere it’s a serious disposal problem.

    Uranium mining doesn’t create a “Chernobyl or Fukushima scenario”. Bad reactor design and operation does that.

    No, really, don’t thank me.

  40. Terry says:

    Dr Faustus says:
    May 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm
    ‘No, really, don’t thank me.’
    Don’t worry, it won’t. Let’s be clear, it didn’t understand what you said and didn’t really care for an answer anyway.

    NPCs are merely programmed to deliver talking points.

  41. Kneel says:

    “Kneel, you say in your post that rare earth and uranium have the same mining issues, …”

    No Monty, I didn’t say that.
    I said that uranium and gold could in theory be “mined” (ie, extracted from) sea water.
    My understanding is that uranium is generally more concentrated in ore form than the “rare earths” are. Both though, do require significant energy to process into a useble state. The difference is that uranium, once processed correctly, actually returns more energy than it takes to mine and process it – much more.
    So there is positive Energy Return On Investment (EROI) for uranium, and of sufficient amount to justify the initial expenditure. For wind and solar, there is so much much energy invested in creating the capture devices and getting them working, that they are barely, if it all, worth that initial investment. This is not insignificant either – coal and gas typically return 60 times the energy invested in them over their lifetime. Nuclear is similar (despite larger capital cost, less fuel is used, which kind of “balances”). Wind and solar are an order of magnitude (ie, 10 times) less in EROI.

  42. RobK says:

    Monty says.
    Ah, now the goal posts move. Consistency, not intensity. Which is an entirely different thing.
    Monty, you asked two questions and got two distinct straight forward answers. No goal posts were moved.
    Q1:

    Do you think coal energy is somehow stronger and more intense than renewable energy?
    Ans1:At least you are asking the right question.
    The answer is very much, Yes.

    Q2

    Tell me RobK, do the electrons from coal power retain magical properties of super strength after they travel through power cables? This should be good.

    Ans: After they’ve traveled the wires is moot. The consistency of continued ability to do so is what is paramount.

    Monty, an energy source that cannot maintain its power output consistently is by definition weak.
    The intensity of renewable energy is low, which is why you need a lot of hardware to capture it in any significant amount.
    No goal posts were moved but I can see that the words you use don’t always mean what you think they mean.

  43. m0nty says:

    Kneel, okay let’s talk EROI. Do you deny that fossil fuel EROI has been dropping over time due to sources being harder to find and extract? Do you deny that renewable EROI is increasing with better technology and economies of scale? Current EROI on renewables is around 15 to 30 actually, and rising every year. And as usual, you fail to take into account the added pollution externalities of fossil fuels.

    There is no justification for defending coal at this point. It is a zombie technology.

  44. m0nty says:

    Monty, an energy source that cannot maintain its power output consistently is by definition weak.
    The intensity of renewable energy is low, which is why you need a lot of hardware to capture it in any significant amount.

    My point is that intensity at the source is irrelevant, they are all the same at the end of a power cable. As long as batteries can provide baseload, renewables can be used for anything including industrial furnaces staffed by sweaty shirtless men wielding sledgehammers, as envisaged earlier in this thread by one of the Village People IIRC.

  45. Boambee John says:

    Do you deny that renewable EROI is increasing with better technology and economies of scale?

    Yes.

    But if you are correct, do you deny that it is high time that all subsidies to any form of power generation should be stopped?

  46. Boambee John says:

    And as usual, you fail to take into account the added pollution externalities of fossil fuels.

    As you do with Unreliable Energy sources. How are solar panels disposed of at end of life? How are wind generators disposed of at end of life? How much gross pollution in China and Third World countries are you prepared to accept (out of sight, out of mind) to enable manufacture of Unreliable Energy sources?

  47. Boambee John says:

    As long as batteries can provide baseload

    They can’t, and it is an indication of how little you know about batteries that you seem to believe that they can.

    PS, and how will batteries be recharged on a cloudy day, or a windless night?

    Stick to fantasy football and donuts. They are about your technical limit.

  48. RobK says:

    You’re going to need a lot of batteries Monty. The battery that can do what you envisage in an economic or practical way does not exist. It may well never exist.
    Note however it is you who is changing the goal posts now with “intensity at the source is irrelevant “. You want to rely on fairy dust batteries, an experiment with technology that isn’t around.
    Intensity at the source is very relevant because the energy source is weak and needs an incredible amount of, what spruikers call, firming. The amount of firming required to bring RE upto par with conventional baseload means you need a lot of redundancy and storage , then still you wouldn’t have the stored power available from a cheap(ish) stockpile of fuel such as coal. There’s a chasm of reality ahead to cross before your utopia.

  49. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Do you deny that fossil fuel EROI has been dropping over time due to sources being harder to find and extract?

    Haha. There’s up to 23 trillion tonnes of coal under the North Sea. All of it is crude oil just waiting to be converted (the Chinese have several plants doing this already).

    That deposit alone is up to 3,000 years of world consumption at the current rate. Plants will love the CO2, which is basically harmless since 2XCO2 is well below 1 C/doubling.

    M0nty, stop fantasizing. Renewables for industrial production are pointless since the Chinese aren’t going to stop using coal. Their scientists are realists, unlike ours. So we will not be able to compete because renewables are just so stupid economically that all plants using them will be out-competed by the climate realist countries.

  50. m0nty says:

    You’re going to need a lot of batteries Monty.

    Yep, and who was it from IBM who said the world needs about five computers. There will be a lot of economic incentive to make it happen. A true engineer would not whine about what is impossible.

  51. RobK says:

    who was it from IBM who said the world needs about five computers.
    Dunno, you’re telling the story.

  52. Rex Anger:

    Saving the earth from one environmental disaster, only to provoke another in a fraction of the time, as thousands or even millions of life-expired and veryikely unrecyclable solar panels and wind turbines need disposal and replacement…

    You can see it, I can see it, but the people pushing the scenario are just hoping like hell the system won’t crash until they’re safely dead.
    I’m looking forward to the day when reality smacks them in the head – probably by a pissed off mob who have just been told their power which has been off for two weeks won’t be on again for a month.

  53. m0nty says:

    You can see it, I can see it, but the people pushing the scenario are just hoping like hell the system won’t crash until they’re safely dead.
    I’m looking forward to the day when reality smacks them in the head – probably by a pissed off mob who have just been told their power which has been off for two weeks won’t be on again for a month.

    The problem with this take is that fifty years ago they were saying exactly the same thing about the fossil fuel industry.

  54. RobK says:

    A true engineer would not whine about what is impossible.
    Only in fairyland.

  55. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    The problem with this take is that fifty years ago they were saying exactly the same thing about the fossil fuel industry.

    Quite so M0nty. Peak Oil is when? How did Ehrlich’s bet go again?

  56. Boambee John says:

    The problem with this take is that fifty years ago they were saying exactly the same thing about the fossil fuel industry.

    Produce a statement from 50 years ago stating that.

  57. m0nty says:

    Quite so M0nty. Peak Oil is when? How did Ehrlich’s bet go again?

    You lot are already crying crocodile tears about Peak Lithium, give me a spell.

    The economics of the situation have already played out in full: fossil fuels are obsolete in the medium to long term. Only a few engineering obstacles remain. Anyone who hasn’t grasped this has not grokked the situation correctly.

  58. Boambee John says:

    fossil fuels are obsolete in the medium to long term

    How long do you estimate it will be before solar, wind and batteries alone can provide reliable, continuous, electricity adequate to support a modern society? Until that time, or until nuclear power is accepted, you had better hope that fossil fuels remain widely available, or buy a bike and forget about modern hospital services.

  59. Dot says:

    You lot

    LOL!

    The economics of the situation have already played out in full: fossil fuels are obsolete in the medium to long term

    Nuke, not joke solutions like wind and solar.

  60. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    You lot are already crying crocodile tears about Peak Lithium, give me a spell.

    What? M0nty I’ve said many times there’s oodles of the stuff around (I long time ago yes I said it was an issue, but that was before people started actually looking for spodumene deposits – which turned out to be quite common…once people looked). I gave up counting after seeing a million tonnes of Li (not Li2O) delineated in reports to ASX. And that’s just in WA. Anyway it’s a waste using lithium for batteries, it’s more likely to be valuable for fusion energy eventually.

    There’s a serious shortage of cobalt for Elon’s fave battery the LiCoO2 system, but there’re several other systems which are nearly as good.

    No the issue isn’t materials, it’s cost and lifetime. Electrochemical cells are complex and are prone to dendrites, and the more cells the more chance of a dendrite short. Which may mean the cell is just dead but it also represents a fire hazard. The dendrite problem means the lithium system has an inherent lifetime issue from simple statistics. So you are up for new battery packs at timeframes far shorter than the lifetime of a thermal powerplant (or a ICE car).

    The economics of the situation is that thermal coal can produce electricity for perhaps a third the price we are now paying retail…which is the best metric due to the wild swings in the AEMO pricing system. Average them out, add on-costs and you get the retail price, pretty much. We have one of the highest in the world. Countries like Poland and other eastern European countries pay maybe 10 c/kWh vs our thirty, because they use coal (and some nuclear).

    The penalties levied on coal, eg by Dan’s government are rubbish since they presume CAGW, which is not happening in the real world, which, since you’re a Victorian, you might’ve noticed recently.

  61. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Ok I’ll correct myself – there is a material availability issue…if some of the crazy ideas out there are seriously pushed. Like EVs for everyone. Really major grid storage (although I don’t know why they wouldn’t then use standard sodium-sulfur batteries for that – they don’t have dendrite issues because they run at 200 C or so). At those levels we’d be using that million tonnes of lithium per year, up from 50 odd thousand iirc. And recycling lithium is much harder than recycling lead from old-style car batteries.

  62. Dr Faustus says:

    The economics of the situation have already played out in full:

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The economic impact of energiewende is barely understood – and, as we see everywhere, ‘lowest cost’ still drives policy and human activity. Anyone thinking that the current ideas about ‘renewables’ and ‘Net Zero’ have somehow miraculously landed on a final, best, solution is advertising they have no grasp of the science, technology, and economic issues.

    The world’s use of fossil fuels will certainly change – for sure – example: see BoN’s comment about coal to oil conversion. As the cost of discovery/extraction increases the ‘highest use’ will change from combustion to petrochemicals.

    But, at the end of the day, economics will drive the outcome. And none of the inputs to that are anywhere close to being settled.

    No, really, don’t thank me.

  63. Snoopy says:

    Thank you, Dr Faustus.

  64. JC says:

    m0nty says:
    May 18, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Quite so M0nty. Peak Oil is when? How did Ehrlich’s bet go again?

    You lot are already crying crocodile tears about Peak Lithium, give me a spell.

    The economics of the situation have already played out in full: fossil fuels are obsolete in the medium to long term. Only a few engineering obstacles remain. Anyone who hasn’t grasped this has not grokked the situation correctly.

    You said pretty much the thing about the NBN and how technology for WIFI had reached peak WIFI. Then straight after that prediction, out came 5 G like a girl out of a giant cake.

  65. m0nty says:

    Anyone thinking that the current ideas about ‘renewables’ and ‘Net Zero’ have somehow miraculously landed on a final, best, solution is advertising they have no grasp of the science, technology, and economic issues.

    Economically, the only foreseeable solution is renewables, putting aside unicorn fart tech like fusion. Once you add in pollution externalities, fossil fuels are dead as the dinosaurs they are made of. The Chinese added economy of scale to green tech to remove the price issue once and for all.

    Yes, there are still engineering challenges to overcome. Humans are good at those. There’s certainly a lot better odds on green tech making the last turns on its Rubiks Cube than nukes solving their massive cost and safety problems, or coal finally cracking CCS after all these decades.

  66. m0nty says:

    5G is not a replacement for the NBN, JC. Shush, old man.

  67. Dot says:

    5G will kill the NBN. Stop being a technophobe pillock.

  68. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Starlink could well kill the NBN. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit signed up and has been reporting performance:

    I’ve run the speed test several times and it’s been between about 200 and 300+ mbps down, and between 12 and 32 mbps up. Ping times generally around 30 ms, though the stats page shows the longest ping in the last 24 hours to be 327 ms.

    That was yesterday. My NBN gateway says it’s doing 30 down and 6 up right now, which is better than I actually pay for (25/5). I find that adequate for almost everything I do. So Reynolds is getting ten times better.

  69. JC says:

    Brucie

    Is that some version of 5G?

  70. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Economically, the only foreseeable solution is renewables

    Haha. Then why are we paying so much for electricity? And why is there such a linear relation between renewables kW per capita and retail electricity price? It hasn’t changed since I put that graph up.

    We have maybe twenty to thirty thousand years worth of uranium and thorium to get to next. Even they are cheaper than the real cost of renewables, because they’re not intermittent. The intermittency is the fatal error of renewables. You basically have to have a whole electricity sector sitting doing nothing just so it can kick in when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Therefore you would be economically better off if you dynamited the renewables and just ran the back up generation at 100%.

    The mistake you make M0nty is to not appreciate the effect of capital cost on the operating cost, through maintenance, depreciation and cost of capital. We include all those in NPV/IRR calcs in industrial project analysis. When you do that you see how bad renewables suck (and that’s not even considering the carnage wind turbines do.)

  71. Dr Faustus says:

    Yes, there are still engineering challenges to overcome. Humans are good at those. There’s certainly a lot better odds on green tech making the last turns on its Rubiks Cube than nukes solving their massive cost and safety problems, or coal finally cracking CCS after all these decades.

    I realise you aren’t a technocrat, but you must know you are betting on humans being crap at solving problems other than the Rubik’s Cube of renewables. That doesn’t sit too comfortably with: “The economics of the situation have already played out in full”.

    Happy to leave CCS in the Ditch of Forlorn Hopes. But keep your mind open.

    No, really, don’t thank me.

  72. m0nty says:

    The mistake you make M0nty is to not appreciate the effect of capital cost on the operating cost, through maintenance, depreciation and cost of capital.

    You think nukes win on that metric? Ah, no.

  73. m0nty says:

    I realise you aren’t a technocrat, but you must know you are betting on humans being crap at solving problems other than the Rubik’s Cube of renewables. That doesn’t sit too comfortably with: “The economics of the situation have already played out in full”.

    Humans have had fifty years or more to solve fossil fuel problems, there is nothing more we can do there. Same with nukes. We have just gotten started with large-scale battery tech.

    If you think there is going to be anything cheaper than solar PV at the same sort of scale in the energy field in the next few decades, I would like to read this science fiction novel you are working on.

  74. Boambee John says:

    Once you add in pollution externalities,

    The fat fascist fool is totally unaware of the pollution externalities of ruinables, probably because they occur in far away places inhabited by brown and black people.

    Neo-colonialism, straight up, and munty supports it.

  75. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Humans have had fifty years or more to solve fossil fuel problems, there is nothing more we can do there.

    What problems M0nty? I know of none that are real.

    You think nukes win on that metric? Ah, no.

    Ah yes.

    Number of under construction nuclear reactors worldwide as of May 2020, by country*

    China: 11
    India: 7

    Of course the Chinese and Indians haven’t kneecapped their engineers with stupid over-engineering for ideological reasons. The LNT is a scam.

  76. Kneel says:

    “And as usual, you fail to take into account the added pollution externalities of fossil fuels.”
    What about the benefits of cheap energy? Longer, healthier lives, lower required birth rates (half your kids don’t die before they grow up any more), reduced poverty and so on.

    Surely we don’t just look at the negatives, we do a cost/benefit analysis, right?

    What about all the other stuff we “get” from fossil fuels – plastics and fertilisers for example. Also lubricants, road surfaces (“tar”), solvents and so on. Coal “ash” is used as an abrasive in tooth paste and as “filler” in concrete (much like sand).
    What about the benefits of more CO2 – de-desertification as plants require less water (check NASA on the world “greening”).

    And we (in Australia) have plenty of coal – even at our current rate of exporting it, it’s enough for hundreds of years. We also have plenty of uranium and thorium. Nor are our “emissions” excessive compared to the our “sinks” – we are, IIRC, a net sink for CO2 (I believe the USA is too, oddly enough). If that is true, why are we “bad”, even if I were to accept that CO2 is “bad” (I don’t).

  77. Kneel says:

    “Humans have had fifty years or more to solve fossil fuel problems, there is nothing more we can do there.”

    Had roughly the same amount of time to show unequivocal evidence of “damage” from CO2, yet none appears to be extant, despite many, many “predictions” of it.
    In 1988 we had 10 years to turn it around or it would be too late.
    in 1998 we had 10 years…
    in 2008 we had 10 years…
    in 2020 we had 12 years until the “end of the world”.

    Puh-lease!

    These people don’t move the goal posts, they move the entire field, complete with stands, 30 km away. Then they steal the ball and put nets in front of the posts so you can’t score if you wanted to.
    Stop worrying about what might happen in 100 years – if you asked people in 1920 what the issues 100 years hence would be, how many of their concerns would be anything but laughably wrong today?
    Stop spending money on trying to use todays tech to fix tomorrows problems. Instead, invest it in research and development, you have a much better change of changing the world by making things “normally” competitive, rather than wasting the money on subsidies, which get hoovered up by the usual grifters and cause nothing but distorted markets, white elephants and the working man footing the bill for something that was never going to work.

  78. Boambee John says:

    Testing

  79. m0nty says:

    Had roughly the same amount of time to show unequivocal evidence of “damage” from CO2, yet none appears to be extant, despite many, many “predictions” of it.

    Okay Kneel, if that is what you believe, you are not worth arguing with as you clearly have NFI.

    Everyone else has moved on from that position. The current right-wing line is that it is happening, but fixing it is too costly. If you are stuck back on Denial Island, you are not part of regular society any more.

  80. Boambee John says:

    Everyone else has moved on from that position. The current right-wing line is that it is happening, but fixing it is too costly. If you are stuck back on Denial Island, you are not part of regular society any more.

    What are you smoking? That is far from the sceptical line

  81. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    The current right-wing line is that it is happening, but fixing it is too costly.

    That’s not what the polls I see say M0nty.

    Very rarely do pollsters ask how serious climate change is, because the answer they get doesn’t fit the narrative. And usually they wrap climate in with pollution and the environment which is what Gallup does. Righties are keen to protect the environment and control pollution, they just are realists on the climate scam.

  82. Rex Anger says:

    NPC talking points again, eh?

    So predictable, m0nty. So boringly predictable…

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