Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Why The Fate Of The World's Climate Is Largely In Australia's Hands (?)
I fairly regularly read the Australian far-Left publication, "New Matilda". Not being a Leftist, I like to see the opposite point of view. The opposite point of view gives them the horrors, judging by the way they try to suppress it.
The rave excerpted below is one of their latest. Their argument is as usual very long-winded but is nonetheless a brilliant example of Leftist over-simplification. They seem to think that a torrent of words will disguise the shallowness of the thinking. Their argument could be condensed into just one sentence as follows:
"Australian mines supply a significant fraction of the world's coal so Australia should stop doing that to prevent global warming".
That there has been no statistically significant global warming for the last 18 years somehow goes unmentioned. I would be rather surprised if the writer knew what "statistically significant" meant. But you don't need knowledge to be a Warmist. You just have to have faith in your prophets
Be that as it may, what the article overlooks is that Australia is only the world's fourth-largest coal producer, after China, the United States, and India. And there are also in Africa and elsewhere mines from which production could easily be ramped up. And Britain almost floats on coal, though it is rarely mined there these days. And lignite ("brown coal") substitutes readily for thermal coal -- and Germany has masses of that, which it is already making extensive use of. The list of alternatives goes on .... Coal is superabundant. Even such unlikely places as Japan and New Zealand mine some coal. So if Australia impoverished itself by stopping coal exports, other countries would rapidly take up the slack -- meaning that coal usage would continue much as before.
One really does wonder what Thom Mitchell and his American friend use for brains. I suspect they just like sounding dramatic. Leftists are big on ill-founded drama. It seems to give them a desperately-needed feeling of importance
We're told Australia's contribution to global warning is minimal. A report out today proves that's a dangerous lie. Thom Mitchell explains. As American academic Bob Massey put it, “Australia now holds the fate of the world’s climate in its hands”.
In its pursuit of a solution to the ‘budget emergency’ Australia is using up the ‘carbon budget’ at a rate incompatible with the global goal of limiting temperature rises to below two degrees, a Climate Council report out today has demonstrated.
While Australia is under increasing pressure to announce an ambitious target to limit emissions at home, the report makes clear that it is our reliance on fossil fuel exports that is doing the real damage.
By actively seeking to prolong the dying revenue stream, which has buoyed the economy through the past decade, the Australian government is doing massive damage to the remaining ‘carbon budget’.
At a recent talk in Sydney, Massey was blunt. “If your government and mining companies decide to develop all of the coal and gas currently planned, already on the books, our children will be forced to endure a world very different from what we know,” he said.
To avoid such a world, scientists have developed the ‘carbon budget’ which, put simply, is the amount of carbon dioxide humans can emit into the atmosphere before temperature rises reach two degrees above pre-industrial levels.
On that basis, if all of Australia’s coal were burnt, it would use up two thirds of the ‘carbon budget’. Effectively, 90 per cent of the continent’s coal must stay in the ground.
Not all of that coal is technologically and economically viable now, but even if we burnt only the nation’s ‘reserves’, a 19 per cent bite would be taken out of the carbon budget.
If we burnt the total ‘resources’ - coal known to exist but not necessarily recoverable at this point - it would constitute a whopping 67.7 per cent of the carbon budget.
Yet despite the increasingly gloomy outlook for the commodity – the price of which has collapsed by around 60 per cent in the last five years - mining companies continue to explore for it and develop new mines. Australian governments are not only approving them, they’re promoting them.