Doomed Planet

Congratulations, Australia. You’re Already at Net Zero

Achievement of Net Zero in Australia is a no-brainer.  Australia is, has been, and continues to be, a net greenhouse gas sink (GHG) with natural sequestration which exceeds domestic emissions. To achieve net zero all that is needed is to do nothing and permit any increases to occur until,at some distant future time, they might rise enough to reach net zero.

1/ The cost of wind and solar power is being grossly misrepresented by citing only the cost of generation when about half of cost of power is in the distribution. The remote scattered nature of wind and solar farms will require a major increase in grid infrastructure.

2/ Worse still, the highly variable and unpredictable nature of wind and solar will require at least a 400 per cent excess of installed generating capacity, plus full back up in dispatchable capacity running in standby mode.

3/ Managing all this and accommodating a huge increase in demand from electric vehicles is going to impose operational complexities orders of magnitude greater than the relatively stable dispatchable power generation and predictable demand of the traditional system.

4/ In addition to the operational challenges, this greatly expanded grid will also entail a significant increase in vulnerability to risks from equipment failures, storms, solar flares, accidents, sabotage, and digital hacking

5/ The necessity for vast areas of unused land for energy farms is going present even more major difficulties. In the North where solar is much stronger and less seasonal solar farms will risk damage from cyclones and occasional multi-day collapses in output due to heavy cloud cover from monsoon troughs in the wet season. Further inland they might escape these. but will then be exposed to occasional violent thunderstorms, hailstorms, and dust storms. Having to clean the dust off thousands of hectares of solar panels will be a decidedly non-trivial task.

6/ Concerns about methane emissions encompass another cloud of misinformation. The IR absorption spectrum of methane is overlapped by that of water vapour, which is also about 10,000 to 20,000 times more abundant in the atmosphere than is methane. No matter how little or how much methane is in the atmosphere, all of the IR in its absorption spectrum is already being absorbed and there can be no additional heating no matter how much methane is present.

7/ Also, the generation of methane by the decomposition of plant material is similar in quantity on vegetated land whether or not it comes from livestock or microbes. The Amazon rainforest is a major global source of methane emissions.  In Australia every ant mound is a methane generator assuring that any plant material not eaten by livestock will still be consumed by other organisms and result in methane.

8/ Small modular reactors (SMR) will be an eminently effective solution and their development is well underway. The only real obstacle is unfounded ignorance and ill-informed environmental concerns.  However, these will simply evaporate as the increasing costs and blackouts of unreliable RE begin to be the new norm.

9/ The advantages of SMRs will be manifold. In addition to cost and reliability, the ability to easily be located close to wherever power is needed vastly reduces the entire assemblage of massive regional grids along with all their costs, complexities, and vulnerabilities.  Better still, full back up could be accommodated by a few mobile units on ships, rail cars or trucks which could quickly be dispatched to provide any emergency need.

10/ Such units are already under development by the US Defence Department (Rolls Royce is a prime contractor). As all of the necessary technology already exists and has an excellent operational record, there is little uncertainty regarding its successful development and initial adoption in the near future.

11/ Acceptance of a necessity for nuclear power has already begun to reach majority status in opinion polls. The main resistance is not the public.  It is primarily those with vested interests in RE and among the academically indoctrinated cadres of mainstream media, academia, social activists, and ill-informed politicians pandering to what they think is still a popular position. The widespread availability and adoption of SMR technology will be assured by necessity, economics and the fading of an ideological opposition which has been popular primarily in the more effete politically correct sectors of the developed world.   

Net Zero is almost surely destined to become a meme synonym for mindless adherence to impossible aims naively proposed by drones seeking an appearance of virtue and a feeling of ethical superiority. The physical practicality, environmental benefit, economic outcome, and intellectual rigor of the entire drive for renewable energy can indeed be aptly summed up as being a Net Zero. 

Somehow, the resonances between Putin’s War, The War on Carbon. and a March of the Lemmings also seems hard to ignore.  All are driven by mindless passion at immense cost and no reasonable expectation of any achievable benefit. The path is opening for some new leadership to replace the current herd followers who have somehow stumbled into the vanguard. They need to be shuffled back into the herd where they won’t block every fresh idea.

It appears unlikely that any of the current political parties may be able to get past their accumulated ideological and political baggage to genuinely consider any truly fresh approaches. What is probably needed is an entirely new RE party, but one based on Reason and Evidence, not on fantasies of powering the world with sunbeams and summer breezes.

11 thoughts on “Congratulations, Australia. You’re Already at Net Zero

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Heard Nigel Farage last night in an entertaining hour of enthusiastic put downs of Net Zero and the terrible winter most likely ahead in Britain. It was good to be in the large crowd roaring approval of this master performer, one on the good side of politics, spruiking how individuals acting alone really can produce big changes if they bring enough people into their fold. I engaged in the break with some young kids sitting next to us, all under 20 and at university and not enthusiastic with their polite clapping. Did they agree with ‘Climate science’? I asked. Yes, they all nodded. Why? I asked nicely. They were fairly hard put to say why, except that they’d been told it was done by good scientists. Have you ever read anything that says what most people in this room have found out? That there is a lot of very real uncertainty about the models being used, just as there were with Covid, and that the more empirical evidence doesn’t really stack up well for the catastrophic doom sayers? Then we ran out of time, but one asked for a reference, which I gave, and another showed that when encouraged he had more scepticism than he was at first prepared to admit.
    We need more active, open and informed debate to counter what our young people have been getting.
    My husband though the kids were likely there from some Young Liberals group. Maybe got freebies.

    • Brian Boru says:

      Exactly EB
      I, as you did, have been thinking that the question to ask is why? What scientific evidence do you know of which proves that climate warming is manmade?
      As a non herd follower, I am not convinced by statements such as “most scientists agree”, I want to evaluate the question myself.
      It occurs to me that a way to tackle this is to ask public figure climate doomsayers that question (as you did) and to tell them that you will not be happy with an “everyone says so” answer.
      Yes, it is also pertinent to explain the costs and problems of implementing these policies but that is just chasing their rabbits and not dealing with the fundamental question.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Nigel Farage also told the audience that the show had nearly been derailed at the eleventh hour, even in this current venue, after having been shown the door from the first one. Apparently the NSW Police had requested a very significant amount of money to be offered and some sort of ‘contract’ to be signed before they would condone the show at this back-harbourside venue. Farage was outraged at this ‘worst of Australia’ and called the Police demand for money a ‘form of ransom’ part of a Police ‘protection racket’.
    Can’t say I disagree. As Farage suggested, the police haven’t demanded such insurance be paid for climate change gabfests or black lives matter get-togethers. So much for the rule of law for freedom of speech.
    Dominique Peroquet, where are you on this?

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    There is a bigger fly in the ointment, one that is totally ignored by the Chris Bowens and Matt Keans, the availability of resources to build a renewable energy grid. It is estimated that to reach the target world wide would require 4.5 billion tonnes of copper for the first phase. The world currently uses 24 million tonnes and proven reserves contain only 880 million tonnes or 20% of that needed. There is only 95 million tonnes of Nickel available when the requirement is for 940 million tonnes. Similar shortfalls exist across the whole range of metals required for the hairbrained scheme of netzero.. Professor Simon Michaux goes into much detail in his hour long presentation . There would have to be a 200 fold increase in mining operaation s which would cause even more environmental damage. Net Zero is madness driven by the very ignorant.

    • ianl says:

      Yes. The copper requirement is estimated by Michaux at 9000% more than we know of in found ore deposits (let alone economically mineable deposits). Even if the enormous geological exploration effort for this could be financed, there is no guarantee at all that the needed amount of copper ores actually exist.

      A short while ago I listed the link here to the full Michaux 2021 paper. Even if his analytic estimates are only half right, the requirements for full Net Zero replacement are impossible. Again, I recommend people to download and work through it (as myself and some colleagues are).

      Here is the link (80Mb):

      The MSM is ignoring this, of course. Despicable liars by omission.

  • Biggles says:

    Congratulations, Mr. Stark, on one of the best articles I have read in QOL about the electrical energy debacle. A couple of points:
    I question whether there will be ‘a huge increase in demand from electric vehicles’. Thanks to the efforts of pro-socialist governments, Australians are becoming poorer. A shrinking wealthy class of virtue signallers will buy the damned things, of course, but has anybody worked out what to do with the ‘dead’ batteries, a certain source of pollution?
    Thank you too for introducing the matter of the GHGs and the IR spectrum, a matter which is comprehensively ignored by the Global Warmistas.
    Another point against the fear of methane is that is readily oxidised in the atmosphere.

  • Daffy says:

    The youngsters (ha! I”m now of sufficient years to use this as a discriminator) mentioned by Elizabeth reminded me of a lecture in environmental physics many decades ago (cold was the big fear then) when some bright spark countered the lecturer (PhD in applied science) based on a newspaper article. The lecturer with moderate irritation told her that if she wasn’t quoting an academic paper, and hadn’t read opposing views, don’t bother bringing it up. ‘Reporters are not scientists’ he advised us, ‘because science is about the contest of ideas’.

    I’m itching to trot out that wisdom from Dr. Jack.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    errata – I really should do justice to our Premier’s name: it is of course spelled as Dominic Perrottet.
    Other than that, I would remain quite happy to disregard him. It’s off topic on this thread, but handing over our NSW National Parks to Aboriginal ownership is a step too far for me to ever vote Liberal again in this State. I gave up doing that Federally when Scott Morrison came back from Glasgow waving his bit of ‘peace in our time’ paper with Net Zero written on it.

  • STD says:

    Question, is there any correlation between decarbonising the economy, hypocrisy and the corporate sector- mainstream politics, bankers, developers and immigration
    Policy whatsoever?

  • Citizen Kane says:

    One of the great frauds of the green RE zealots is the conceit that it is ‘clean energy’. This consumer fraud has even manifest with such entities of the clean energy council. The two great lies that underpin ‘Clean energy’ is that CO2 is an exogenous pollutant in the Earth’s atmosphere and that lithium, cobalt etc, etc are somehow not environmentally noxious substances when used in the Renewable Energy industry.

  • pmprociv says:

    Thanks yet again, Dr. Starck, for a clear outline of the issues. Your point 7 is an endless source of great irritation to me, given the idiotic onslaught on the grazing industry (NZ seems a world leader in this right now), with impossible demands to cut methane emissions from animals, even via taxation (when all else fails, impose a tax). The idiots don’t realise that cattle and sheep eat grass, a natural form of sequestered carbon; the CO2 breathed out, and methane belched and farted, by those animals (and those of us who eat them), is simply moving through a great cycle driven by sunshine. If the grass remains uneaten, then soil bacteria and fungi (some in those termite nests) inevitably end up breaking it down, to methane and CO2. As usual, it’s the big picture that the activists fail to see, either through stupidity, or intentionality. Grazing is actually more eco-friendly that broadacre agriculture.
    A parallel manifestation of idiocy is reflected in water consumption figures, when we read of how many tons of H20 are required to produce one kg of meat: overlooked is the form in which that water is usually delivered, rainfall!

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