Aviation is essentially a fossil fuel industry, one which guzzles an eye-watering 5m barrels of oil every day. Burning that fuel currently contributes around 2.5% to total carbon emissions, a proportion which could rise to 22% by 2050 as other sectors emit less.
2nd problem is, as Air Asia puts it, “Now everyone can fly”. And in “generation easyJet”, those who already fly, fly more than ever. This increasing demand from new and existing travellers means the number of passenger aircraft in our skies is set to double by 2035
3rd problem is that unlike other sectors where there might be a greener alternative (solar not coal, LEDs not lightbulbs etc), there is currently no way to fly 8m people every day without burning lots of dirty kerosene…Aviation is a golden goose for politicians. In the UK, where sources of future post-Brexit economic growth are hard to identify, the industry looks set to continue its enviable historic growth-rate of 4-5% annually. The main problem for airlines now is finding enough space to accommodate planes at crowded airports such as Heathrow. Airlines’ seductive message to politicians is “If you build it, they will come.”
Tony Blair asked as prime minister in 2005 “how many politicians facing a potential election would vote to end cheap air travel?” His answer: zero. The political strategy seems to be passing the buck to the airline industry, and hoping for the best…And the primary reason that they will come is because flying is kept artificially cheap, while trains and cars become more expensive. The main reason for this is the so-called “Chicago Convention”, agreed in 1944 by a then much smaller air industry, which prohibits countries from imposing jet fuel tax and VAT on international flights.
Almost a quarter of a million square miles of forest have been destroyed as fires rage out of control across central and southern Chile
SÃO PAULO, 3 February, 2017 – Chile is fighting the worst wildfires in its history. Government officials blame both climate change and human action for the blazes. A decade-long drought has left the South American country tinder-dry and, together with higher than average temperatures, made it easy for the fires to spread…In the last few decades, closely planted eucalyptus and pine plantations have covered much of what was previously farmland or native forest. The native forests, with their undergrowth and biodiversity, enjoy much higher humidity, but the commercial forests tend to be dry.
An ACIL Allen report to the Australian Governmentlists the technical lifetime of each power station, and shows that two-thirds of Australia’s fossil fuel generation capacity will reach the end of its technical lifetime over the next two decades. The practical choices for replacing these plants are fossil fuels (coal and gas) or existing large-scale renewables (wind and PV). Renewables are already economically competitive, and will be clearly cheaper by 2030…Well-integrated adoption of these technology changes will help reduce electricity prices further.
So wind, PV and PHES together yield reliability and affordability to match the current electricity system. In addition, they facilitate deep cuts to emissions at low cost that can go far beyond Australia’s existing climate target.
Note – extensive comments, at TheConversation, debates particular proposal, with detailed modelling, along with many alternatives
Deforestation typically takes place in remote locations and in secret. If Australians could see the extent of it, would they stand for it?
Mass deforestation isn’t limited to the developing world. It doesn’t only happen in the Amazon. In fact, Australia has one of the most severe deforestation fronts on the planet.
- Queensland clears nearly 300,000Ha of native bush every year.
- Recent law changes in NSW have put a further 8,000,000Ha at risk.
- Land clearing is a leading driver of biodiversity loss in Australia.
- Cleared trees wasted, left to rot or burned – considerable source of carbon emissions.
- Deforestation weakens our landscape’s resilience to climate change.
Help fund solution: Sky Scout – Drones Against Deforestation.
Figure 10: Baseload futures financial year time weighted average
Note – all projections like this have previously over estimated future demand, so how soon can we retire how much coal power?
According to The RAND Corporation, China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and shutting down 104 coal-fired projects across 13 provinces – which are expected to deliver a total of 120 gigawatts of power – will have a significant impact on their total volume of carbon emissions…It might actually be possible for the world’s biggest industrial nation to meet its target of limiting coal-fired power generation to 1,100 gigawatts by 2020.
Have always been intrigued by these things but only ever found confusion of strong opinions, for and against. Finally happened across rational explanation of the technology along with irrational cancellation by politicians. Sounds like they could have been a magic silver bullet but our favourite planet likely to be in socio-political collapse before this technology could ever be revived – Extract from James Hansen ” Storms for my grandchildren”, Atoms for Peace:
Richard Nixon in his June 4, 1970 presidential energy message to Congress said “Our best hope today for meeting the nation’s growing demand for economical, clean energy lies with the fast breeder reactor.” USA had top nuclear experts in the world and the top .. was Argonne National Laboratory. A low level of support allowed steady progress to continue until, in 1994, the Argonne scientists had tested all necessary components and were ready to build a demonstration fast reactor power plant. At that point, the Clinton-Gore administration cancelled the program. In his 1994 State of the Union address, Bill Clinton announced “we will terminate unnecessary programs in advanced reactor development”. Argonne scientists were told not only to stop the research but also to dismantle the project, with all involved instructed by DOE to not publicise it.
Like em or hate em, no sense holding your breath expecting them to rise from landfill site any time soon.
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