The Bullroarer - Friday 30th November 2007

Climate worse than we thought

CLIMATE change is already more advanced than the world realises, and tackling it will present "diabolical" policy challenges, says the head of Labor's climate change review, Professor Ross Garnaut.

In his first speech since starting his policy review for state governments and Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd, Professor Garnaut indicated that he would recommend a stronger framework to secure rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than that proposed by the Howard government.

Power shocker — $160 rise

MOST Victorian families will be stung by a $160 increase in their annual power bills under a new price regime to be announced by the State Government today.

The drought and booming demand for power have pushed the cost of generating electricity to unprecedented levels, with the added pain set to flow through to consumers from January 1.

Petrol prices in record surge

BRISBANE is poised to break its record for the highest price of unleaded petrol – 138.9¢ a litre, set in August last year - and worse is to come.

Minister out of whack on importance of gas

The Prime Minister's vision of making New Zealand a carbon-neutral society set the stage for the recently released energy strategy and proposals for a carbon emissions trading scheme. Both should be the subject of intense scrutiny.

For example, Energy Minister David Parker's restriction on building new gas- and coal-fired power stations for the next 10 years is a daft decision. What was he thinking? Was he pressured by the Green Party to make this populist concession?

Rudd govt 'good news' for geothermals

Petratherm Ltd says the election of a federal Labor government is good news for the geothermal energy sector, given its commitment to introduce a $50 million geothermal energy drilling initiative for up to five projects.

Garrett stripped of climate change role

PETER Garrett will be stripped of a key part of the environment portfolio in the new Government, with South Australian senator Penny Wong to become Australia's first climate change and water minister.

Beach sets output target

Australia’s Beach Petroleum said today it expects to produce at least 10 million barrels of oil equivalent in the current financial year.

Rawson continues CBM drive

Australia’s Rawson Resources and its joint venture partners have expanded their coalbed methane assets by purchasing by tender a new permit in Queensland's Surat basin.

Goethermal; squeaky clean or nukular-lite?

See the map in the link to note how close is the Petratherm project at Paralana to the Beverley uranium leaching project

I'm betting both 'carbon neutral' NZ and the Surat Basin coalbed methane use some kind of bogus carbon credit to get the guernsey.

Geothermal is an unproven technology which has defied the efforts of science since 1972. The USA and UK gave up and closed down their research facilities years ago.

The cost of drilling is the single biggest cost involved and after spending some millions reaching the hot rocks you have to hope the subsurface water loop flow rate is sufficiently fast (75kg/sec) and the temperature sufficently high (200C min.) to heat the power station loop fluid to make the steam to turn the turbine to make the electricity.

If the subsurface water loop flow rate or temperature drops due to underground reservoir problems you are in big poo-poos.

It might be made to work but then so might cold fusion.

I was pleased to read that Professor Garnaut supports high carbon prices and no free permits to existing polluters in contrast to what Mr. Howard was proposing.

I am puzzled though that he also thinks that global warming can be brought under control without de-railing global growth. His report will be worth gold if it reveals how this can be achieved.

Also I find this puzzling:

Developing countries...should not be required to cut emissions until they reach the per capita levels of developed countries.

I take this to mean he wants per capita emissions worlwide to be equal for every country. Noble aim, but do the sums.

Current world per capita annual average (approx): 4 tonnes

Assume target of 75% reduction by 2050 to 1 tonne per person per year.

Current Australian average (approx) 30 tonnes.
Australian % reduction requirement to achieve 1 tonne

97%!!!! Good luck.

(And that assumes no population increase.)

Aeldric said, in Australia, The Place to Be: Part 3b:

But as long as you are close to a train line, and trains are still running, then suburban life is possible.

Indeed, the supposition is that living close to shops and train lines may well allow a reasonable life, well into collapse.

I wonder if this is wishful thinking. Whilst, of course, such a situation may be pleasant and workable before collapse and even during a mild recession, I really can't see it being tenable as businesses start to go under and more people have to move to working on food production. Such a situation would require tight organisation, that is, a stable society and structures of government, in order to be tenable, I would have thought.

I'm amazed, sometimes, at the wishful thinking that goes on in peak oil circles, never mind the general populace.

Assuming that citizens remain unaware and governments continue to refuse to plan for a lower resource world (not to mention climate change and reduced biodiversity) and a transition to a different form of agriculture (or some other method of feeding its people) then it is very likely that rapid collapse will happen, at some stage, and chaos will reign for some period of time. In that likelihood, I don't think suburbs would be good places to be, at all. And it doesn't matter if you are living near a disused railway line or some ransacked shops.