From Brisbane, Australia, May 16th 2023
Australia has enshrined in law its targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
In a group discussion today, these points were mentioned in our U3A discussion group, not in any order.
State centralised power stations from 1980 to 2010 met electricity demand with reliable low cost supplies.
Growth in peak demand was met by installation of gas turbine generators.
Natural gas supplies are limited.
Solar panels and wind energy cost more than base load fossil fuel energy.
Domestic solar panels relieved peak supply.
Solar panel farms have been built but are unable to meet 24 hour base load supply.
Batteries and pumped storage are expensive.
Shutting down of base load fossil fuel energy has increased the cost of electricity to consumers.
Restriction of coal production has reduced coal taxes, the mainstay of the Australian economy.
Increased payment for electricity takes a larger proportion of workers’ earnings than from middle and upper classes.
Cost of other products is also increased by rising electricity and petrol prices.
Effect of the energy transition is being borne predominantly by workers as a fall in their standard of living.
The energy transition is having a socially retrograde effect, penalising the have-nots.
The benefits of the transition are expected to be improving climates worldwide, which might result in better living conditions for some peoples.
Is the Australian government behaving responsibly?
My novel Animal Farm 2 is a sequel to Orwell’s totalitarian satire with the farm animals learning about climate change and electricity supply. Reviews: martinknox.com
Animal Farm is a novel written by George Orwell on the cusp of peace in 1945. It satirises a new world of peace threatened by totalitarianism. He uses farm animals to portray, simply and honestly, the inhumanity and logical deficiencies of the incipient Soviet system.
Martin Knox has written a sequel, Animal Farm 2 (2021). The story is a new episode of the satire, with farm animals struggling under totalitarianism which continues after the end of the Cold War up to modern times. It updates us on a world that is adjusting to central control of responses to climate change and a new world without access to fossil fuels. The animals debate changes imposed on them, revealing science that has been faked. They want to revolt again, but will they be able to escape from rule by pigs this time?
Available on Amazon. For reviews see martinknox.com
Wind and solar energy on Earth must be replaced from the Sun when expended, bringing in more heat for release of equivalent electricity into the environment, than by depleting fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy cannot ultimately be renewed from lower temperature heat from the environment, by the First (conservation) and Second (transfer) Laws of Thermodynamics. Heat to produce wind for turbines and for solar absorption is more than fossil fuel heat, because renewable energy resources are replaced, increasing warming.
See my blog martinknox.com
When fossil fuels are combusted, all the heat produced, used and wasted, ends up in the oceans, lakes, atmosphere and space. You may have noticed that weather temperatures near cities are warmer, because cities are ‘heat sinks’ of human activity, where waste heat is disposed of into the atmosphere.
The heat wasted into the air by cities, agriculture, livestock, transport and by evaporation from water storages is large. If you live near a thermal power station, where river, lake or ocean water is used for cooling, you may have noticed the water is warmed up and can even cause fog at night. Alternatively, heat could be wasted from a cooling tower.
You may have been at an airport and felt warm ‘jet wash’, exhaust gases from a plane manoeuvring.
There is evidence that human heat pollution is significant. By comparison with solar radiation received by Earth, the amount of thermal pollution is lower when the Sun is high, but at night thermal pollution contributes significantly to the daily heat balance, enough to cause global warming. I calculate that human-generated heat stays on Earth with an average residence time of 140 years.
Substitution of solar, wind and hydro for fossil fuel combustion would not reduce thermal pollution and could increase it, if electrical output efficiency is lower and more heat is wasted and replaced from the Sun.
The other theory, that global warming could be caused by heat entrapment by a tiny amount of carbon dioxide gas, is disputed in the literature, unnecessarily complex and without evidence. To reduce global warming, energy consumption must be reduced.
More information is in my book Animal Farm 2, on Amazon.