Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category
What gives with the Victorian Government and the environment? Don’t Liberals have to pay energy bills?
On Monday last, there was a story in the Age of how, in order to try to “streamline” processes, they were considering removing the 6-star rating on newly built homes. Ostensibly to try to remove “red tape”, this proposal drew heavily on a Master Builders Association report from July 2010, which argued that “forcing” people to build houses with higher star ratings may cost more in building resources than it delivers in energy savings. Now the members of the MBA may be struggling with change, I don’t know, but surely it pays to find out the facts about the advantages or otherwise of building to a high standard.
At long last, we have a price on carbon and now the work can begin to create an Australia that makes use of its amazing renewable energy resources for electricity production in particular.
This has been a long time coming but with a “blood oath” hanging over this legislation, this is also the time to make sure we move from talking to doing quickly.The best way to create acceptance of the new technologies to be deployed is to get them up and running so that the “chicken little” comments can be shown to be just that. Most people will see that the sky hasn’t fallen in – sure, you will get certain interest groups complaining and big carbon polluters will have to change the way they do things. Sometimes change can be difficult, especially if you have been used to doing the same thing day-in, day-out for well over a century. There are opportunities to be had and the sooner we get on-board and develop our expertise in these new technologies, the more benefit we can make of the global move to a clean, renewable, low carbon lifestyle – one in which our children and grand-children can live without the diabolical consequences of having to deal with runaway Climate Change hanging over their heads.
I want to try to get the idea out there that we can do better than merely providing renewable energy for our own needs. Australia has renewable energy resources that are the envy of nearly every other country on earth and, at present, we are using only a small fraction of what is possible.
Desertec has done calculations that shows that an area of land 300km x 300km (90,000 km2 – a fairly sizeable block of land) was capable in 2005 of providing the electricity needs of THE WORLD! This area is shown in orange on the map below for illustration purposes. BTW, this is using technology that is available TODAY, not some pie-in-the-sky unproven technology – concentrated solar thermal with molten salt storage of the kind promoted by beyondZeroEmissions.
Currently, most of our power generation in Australia comes from coal.
One of the problems with coal (and why off-peak power is cheaper than peak power) is that they require a long period of time to heat up to operating temperature and so they cannot be started and stopped quickly.
From the Climate Spectator (Giles Parkinson) comes: “The biggest challenge is how to manage the growth in peak demand, which is growing at a phenomenally faster rate than baseload power. It will come as something of a shock to most consumers that their soaring power bills are not the fault of green energy subsidies, but mostly because of the neighbour’s newly installed air conditioning unit. Or their own.”
Well, as I said previously, I’m in the nation’s capital. Chilling out for the rest of Saturday – had Vietnamese from a local restaurant for dinner and off to bed to sleep (soundly) again. Tomorrow is the Walk Against Warming – an event not to be missed.
It has dawned overcast, cold and threatening rain but we are determined that it won’t rain on our parade. My host Steve, the convenor of the Canberra branch of the ATA, is very much a kindred spirit – he just loves bikes and even has a new style of recumbent bike called a Cruzbike. Unlike ‘normal’ recumbents, this one is a two-wheeled, more erect bike with front-wheel drive. It looks just amazing.
Uncertain Science, Uncertain World by geophysicist Dr. Henry Pollack, explains how everyone is born a scientist, with fierce curiosity, instinctive exploration and experimentation being the way children observe and understand the world around them. Then at school, “Science is presented as answers rather than questions,” and science becomes boring. If instead we were taught about discovering facts and deriving calculations we would realise how cool it is. Scientists don’t help themselves either with a general reluctance to engage in public communication and frequent mistakes by journalists lead to common misconceptions.
This was the “great moral challenge of our generation”. Only last year, Kevin Rudd was saying that “to delay any longer would be reckless and irresponsible”.
Who’s delaying now? “What absolute political cowardice” indeed!
You really MUST get yourselves over to GetUp and sign their objection to the shelving of ANY action on Climate Change until 2013!
Energy efficiency sounds like a really dry topic but, if you think about it, by ignoring the way you use energy, you could be throwing money away!
Domestic electricity use accounts for 42% of all domestic energy consumption but 83% of domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is as a result of our extremely dirty electricity generation using coal especially brown coal in Victoria.
If we can reduce our energy consumption, we stand to save more than just money, we will also reduce our GHG emissions.