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The Minerals Council of Australia is making itself irrelevant

In June, the Business Council of Australia issued a joint media release titled “We All Have a Stake in Moving Forward with the Finkel Review.”

The energy industry, its customers and other stakeholders agree: the Finkel Review presents a major opportunity to implement a coherent national blueprint to modernise our electricity system and meet our emissions reduction goals.

Our organisations believe that the worst outcome for energy consumers and suppliers alike would be the absence of any credible and enduring energy and climate policy in Australia. Without reform we will endure higher prices, reduced security, lost investment opportunity, and stubbornly high emissions.

The consequences of failure are too significant to allow this opportunity to pass. The Australian political system must act to deliver clear and enduring energy and climate policy.

The release was endorsed by:
Australian Aluminium Council
Australian Council of Social Services
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Energy Council
Australian Industry Group
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Business Council of Australia
Cement Industry Federation
Chemistry Australia
Clean Energy Council
Energy Efficiency Council
Energy Networks Australia
Energy Users Association of Australia
Investor Group on Climate Change
National Farmers’ Federation
WWF Australia

Origin Energy chief executive Frank Calabria said that “to deliver a genuine reduction in prices for Australians, we must also find a way through on energy policy, including a Clean Energy Target. This is necessary to unlock investment in much-needed new supply to replace our ageing coal-fired power stations, and transition us to a cleaner, more modern energy system”.

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said the longer politicians took to “deliver certainty and investment, the worse the situation will be” and backed the creation of a target.

“This can only be fixed by solving the climate-energy policy impasse which has blocked new baseload generation investment for the past decade,” he said.

AGL Ceo Andy Vesey also emphasised the need for targets to help increase supply.

“The reality is the best way to bring down prices is to increase electricity supply, which is why we are investing in new generation and support a Clean Energy Target to unlock additional supply,” he said.

In fact, the only group opposing a clean energy target (or better still, an emissions intensity or emissions trading scheme) is the Minerals Council of Australia and their mouthpieces, and even some of their members have had enough with their coal advocacy.

BHP’s Australian minerals operations president Mike Henry said “We support a strong bias to action and we support the recommendations included in the Finkel Review.  We need clear, stable, refreshed energy policy that enhances the structure and operation of the market, while realising the emissions reductions that are so important.”

While the MCA had insisted for decades Australia’s economic policy should be about “industry competitiveness” it quickly morphed into a lobby group demanding billions in public subsidies for uncompetitive coal projects.

The MCA – and its state-based satellites the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and the NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) – came to support public subsidies for Adani’s unbankable Carmichael mine, an unneeded coal power station in Queensland, an unabated brown coal plant in Victoria and opposing AGL’s planned 2022 shutdown of the Liddell plant in New South Wales.

The proposed price tag for the coal subsidies may be huge but the National Party and the right-wing of the Liberal Party – egged on by credulous reporting in most of the Murdoch media mastheads – have danced to the MCA’s tune, even gleefully passing around in the national parliament a lump of coal the lobby group provided as a prop.

The tentacles of the MCA spread far and wide.

Sid Marris, a former analyst with the Minerals Council of Australia, and a 16-year veteran of News Ltd, has joined Turnbull’s staff as an advisor.

Then the chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia, Vanessa Guthrie, was appointed to the ABC board despite not making the shortlist prepared by an independent panel.

Last November, Ian Macfarlane, who was until recently a Coalition Minister, was named as the new chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

When the parliament was debating the repeal of the mining tax, the MCA sent every member and senator a hi-vis mining vest emblazoned with “australiansforcoal.com.au” and their name.  Senator Ian Macdonald chose to wear his in the chamber causing Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan to object to the “bloody commercial message”.

“I support the mining industry too, but…it sets a precedent. Next thing we’ll have, you know, ‘Bill Heffernan: Friend of Marijuana’, ‘Friend of Coca-Cola’, without my permission! I have told the Minerals and Mining Council to shove this, and everyone else should too.”

Under pressure from two of its largest contributing members, BHP and Rio Tinto, the MCA recently sacked its CEO Brendan Pearson.

It remains to be seen whether the MCA can change direction and drag itself into the 21st century.  If not, it, and the luddites who promote its coal fixation, will become irrelevant to the discussion.


39 comments

  1. Andreas Bimba

    Wow, a really good article yet again Kaye but are Labor looking a bit too squeaky clean?

    One should also add to this story of gross corruption of our democratic system the pig headed coal and gas loving – mining part of the CFMEU’s considerable influence over that now quite embarrassing Queensland Labor Premier – Annastacia Palaszczuk and her mostly mediocre government which remains obsessed with developing the doomed ‘stranded asset’ mega coal mines in the Galilee Basin at great public expense, developing more and more poorly regulated and environmentally disastrous fracked gas fields and every other fossil fuel project you can imagine whilst the Great Barrier Reef progressively dies from global warming and nutrient run off. They do however have a clean energy target so they are ‘greenish’ coal lovers.

    The Queensland Liberal National Party opposition are however even worse, much worse in fact and are little more than agents for the corporate far right oligarchy.

    Queensland voters you need some psychiatric help for voting for this lot or our own version of the Heritage Foundation/Koch brothers controlled Tea Party – One Nation.

    Is federal Labor any better than Queensland Labor? Probably a little, with a bit more green wash but still plenty of Blairites and not many Corbynistas as far as I can tell, but compared to the current Conservative Federal Coalition, Bill Shorten and his team look almost good enough, well apart from Ms Death.

    Perhaps the article could have mentioned former Labor resources minister Martin Ferguson, who is Labor’s equally lovable equivalent of that toad who was involved in the forced exit of Australia’s car manufacturing industry – Ian Mcfarlane.

    https://amp.afr.com/news/policy/industrial-relations/miners-want-new-round-of-ir-reforms-before-election-20170807-gxqt68

    Just vote Greens, how much more evidence does the electorate need?

  2. Miriam English

    Thanks, Kaye. It is a great relief to hear that the days of the coal advocates may be soon coming to an end. It’s about time. Thank dog!

  3. Miriam English

    Andreas, who are you referring to as Ms Death?
    Puzzled.

  4. Glenn Barry

    I think the Minerals Council of Australia is already well past their period of relevance, now they are only classifiable as a malignant tumour which must be excised for the survival of the organism.

    The Turnbull Govts. stacking of every organisation under their purview with stooges is the worst corruption I have ever witnessed – they don’t even have the decency to pervert selection processes in an effort to conceal their contempt – they just brazenly bypass them altogether

  5. Kaye Lee

    Labor are certainly not squeaky clean – just look at Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald (the other one).

    Martin Ferguson, the former Labor resources minister, became chairman of the advisory committee for the peak oil and gas industry association, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, six months after leaving politics.

    He has been a fierce advocate of CSG, arguing that NSW must forge ahead with development of CSG in order to achieve “energy security for NSW.”

    His colleagues, Greg Combet, the former Gillard government minister for Climate change and Craig Emerson, her minister for Trade, waited a year before penning an opinion article in support of the CSG industry in the Australian Financial Review.

    They are both working as economic consultants to AGL and Santos, the two biggest players in CSG in NSW.

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/csg-industry-hires-wellconnected-staffers-20150515-gh2rg3.html

    There are kazillions of ex-pollies or staffers working for the CSG industry

  6. Ross

    So now The Great Mandala, the wheel of life, has come full circle. Coalition state governments sold off and privatised public assets on the assumption, false as it turned out, that everything would be far cheaper and delivered far more efficiently by the private sector.
    Now a Federal Coalition Government is on the nose and on the way out. One of the many reasons being the privatised energy sector is such a dismal and potentially catastrophic failure for the public who once owned it.
    There is the bizarre spectacle of a Federal Coalition Government looking at building a coal fired power station, why, because their beloved private sector won’t. No bank will touch a coal fired power station with a barge pole.
    Even more bizarre is sight of the Coalition flailing around trying to hold back the rising tide of renewables and looking totally foolish in the process. It looks suspiciously like big coal is frantically pulling the Coalitions chain.
    We then move on from the bizarre to the truly insane. Australia is now the largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas to the world, but suddenly we don’t have enough gas for our own use and what we have is being priced outside public/business reach. If the overseas owners of our natural resources deem to tip a bit of extra gas our way then they expect, and will no doubt get, an extra windfall profit for their overt generosity, compliments of Malcolm’s superlative negotiation skills. The Minerals Council Of Australia must be so proud of themselves, nobody else is.
    Why is there not the rumblings of outright public revolution, French style?
    As that renowned Queensland senator is wont to say ”please explain”.

  7. Kaye Lee

    “Why is there not the rumblings of outright public revolution, French style?”

    Because a sizeable proportion of the public get their view of climate and energy policy from Ray Hadley, Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt.

  8. Andreas Bimba

    Miriam, she also has dark hair which should narrow the field. 😉

  9. Michael Taylor

    Andreas, is she a state premier?

  10. Kaye Lee

    It just kills me that, after two years of the carbon price, AEMO reported in 2014 “For the first time in the National Electricity Market’s (NEM) history, as a result of decreasing operational consumption, no new capacity is required in any NEM region to maintain supply-adequacy over the next 10 years.”

    One year later, after they repealed the carbon price, AEMO said in 2015 “For the first time since 2008–09, electricity consumption in the National Electricity Market (NEM) has stopped its downward trend. The 2015 National Electricity Forecasting Report (NEFR) also shows that electricity consumption is forecast to rise by an average 2.1% per annum over the next three years, largely as a result of LNG projects in Queensland and population growth across the NEM.”

    Removing the carbon price and then the huge energy demands to convert gas to LNG for export changed us from having surplus energy to facing a shortfall, whilst raising our emissions.

    These clowns have no idea.

  11. Zoltan Balint

    Turbulls assurace that gas companies will supply Australia is not true. All they said was that ‘if they have gas above their contracts they will offer it to Australia and if Australia agrees to pay the highest price it will be theirs’. The only good thing is that all the gas the companies extract is not locked into contracts YET.

  12. diannaart

    Andreas, her name a bit tricky to spell? Ms Death much easier to type. 😉

    Back to to Kaye Lee’s topic more generally. Anyone who currently is publicly prominent, bringing in lumps of coal for show and tell, will be painting themselves into extinction for continuing to promote mining and burning fossil fuels – and claiming this will create jobs! Except for the usual crowd of shock-jocks, apparently hypocrisy slides off their greasy hides.

  13. Frank Smith

    Andreas, As a Queenslander I face the dilemna you have outlined, But I am afraid your advice “Just vote Greens” doesn’t solve the problem because the Palaszczuk Government reintroduced compulsory preferential voting for State Government elections. So, given the information you have quite correctly outlined and the fact that, as always, it is extremely unlikely that a Green candidate will get enough votes to take a seat, please advise me which Party should receive my second preference.

  14. Andreas Bimba

    I don’t want to derail this discussion but she ain’t a Premier and she’s a rock solid neoliberal free trader and thinks Sarah Hanson – Young needs to grow up.

    Frank a vote for the Greens is never wasted because if they don’t win they preference the best alternative which is Labor.

  15. Frank Smith

    Andreas, It doesn’t matter who the Greens preference under Queensland’s rules – the voter must choose their next preference under COMPULSORY preferential voting, not the Party. I take it you are advising me to put Labor as my second preference?

  16. Andreas Bimba

    Thanks Frank for explaining the voting system changes in Queensland. It would be nice if everyone voted for the Greens but a true multi party system with proportional representation like the Hare Clarke system in Tasmania or the Mixed Member Proportional voting system in New Zealand and Germany would be my preferred voting system. A far better mass media with higher standards of journalism is essential. Public funding of election campaigning, removing the corrupting influence of money and other perks, much tougher laws to ensure proper ethical standards for politicians and bureaucrats and a permanent ICAC are all necessary.

  17. Harquebus

    The alternative to increasing supply as “the best way to bring down prices” is to reduce demand which, would also reduce pollution but, that would not facilitate growth so, it is not even considered.

  18. Joe Roskell

    Harquebus. Why do we need to increase supply when we are the biggest producer in the world. The high price is a result of market bastardisation. You know it and so does everyone else. We increase supply, they sell even more overseas cheaper than we can buy it. It is a bullshit argument

  19. Kaye Lee

    Harquebus,

    As I have already shown you many times, emissions and demand for electricity fell between 2008 and 2014 even though the economy continued to grow. Of course reducing demand is important and that is exactly what was happening until the Coalition took over and removed all the incentives for industry to convert to more sustainable practice.

    Under the Coalition governments since 2013 emissions have risen 6 per cent compared with a 10 per cent drop during the 2007-2013 Labor governments.

    I wonder why I bother answering you as you NEVER listen to the facts.

  20. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Was it a decrease in demand or as a result of an increase in alternative unmetered sources and do you think it was enough? My vision of reducing energy use involves job disintegration, negative growth and lowering population levels.

    “Australian energy consumption rose by 1 per cent in 2014–15 to around
    5,920 petajoules, following two years of consecutive decline.”
    “Most of the growth in energy use was for electricity generation, reflecting
    increased demand for electricity and a switch in the generation mix
    “Black coal production rose by 4 per cent in 2014–15 to 12,288 petajoules,
    supported by new capacity for export markets and increased domestic
    demand. Brown coal production also rose by more than 8 per cent. ”
    https://industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/Documents/aes/2016-australian-energy-statistics.pdf

    I have not studied the above article in detail however, having just found it, I do intend to. It appears to contain faults as all economics does. A rare occasion when I post something that I have not read entirely.

    “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” — Mark Twain

  21. Kaye Lee

    One of the reasons demand fell was because of the closure of aluminium smelters. The main reason it is increasing so much is because of the amount of power needed to cater for the huge increase in LNG production. When they talk about a switch in generation mix, they are talking about the increased use of coal, not about “off grid” anything.

    Also….

    “Household demand fell since 2010 due to energy standards on appliances, increasing electricity prices and a one-off behavioural response due to unprecedented political attention to electricity costs thanks to climate policy.

    Now, fewer appliance energy standards are being introduced, slowing the decrease in demand.

    The result is that average electricity consumption per household, which fell by 17% between 2010 and 2014, has stabilised. In the absence of stronger energy efficiency policies and programs, residential electricity consumption can be expected to grow in line with population.

    Business is the largest of the three consumer groups. Electricity demand fell slightly between 2010 and 2014. This is because electricity intensity, the amount of electricity needed to produce economic value, fell 3% each year; that is, slightly faster than the economy grew.

    It now appears, however, that in the past year the fall in electricity intensity has almost ceased, so that total consumption has increased in line with economic growth.”

    http://energy.anu.edu.au/news-events/australia%E2%80%99s-carbon-emissions-and-electricity-demand-are-growing-here%E2%80%99s-why

    And I resent your little quips that I am distorting the facts. You wouldn’t know a fact if it bit you on the arse.

    “My vision of reducing energy use involves job disintegration, negative growth and lowering population levels.”

    That is not a vision…it is a mantra for you that you cannot in any way expand on. You have NO plan on how to achieve a way forward, just endless repetition of coming Armageddon.

  22. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Thanks for that link. I will read that one as well. The title though, seems to contradict your previous statement. “carbon-emissions-and-electricity-demand-are-growing”
    Do you not think that the diminishing returns on energy production that are increasing its price has any effect? I do. My neighbors and I my spent this last winter sitting in the cold only because, we can not afford to do otherwise. Not that it bothered me. I have been expecting consequences like these for quite some time and to me, is just another step in our accelerating descent.
    But eh, don’t listen to the likes of me. Continue on, please. The show is just starting to get interesting.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Ummmm…..I think you will find that I said demand and emissions HAD been falling until they got rid of the carbon price which is EXACTLY what that article is about and in no way contradicts what I have been saying. Do you just look at titles?

    What do you mean by diminishing returns increasing price? Energy efficiency is increasing.

    “Business demand is forecast to increase slightly, while net residential demand is projected to decline as growth in population and appliance usage is offset by increased generation from rooftop photovoltaic (PV) and by energy efficiency initiatives – this trend is forecast to continue, supported by projected falling costs for PV systems, battery storage, and energy-efficient appliances.

    Over the forecast horizon, overall annual electricity consumption in the NEM is forecast to remain relatively flat, with reductions due to increased energy efficiency and rooftop PV offsetting recent consumption increases from Queensland’s coal seam gas (CSG) sector, which has been the key driver behind NEM consumption growth in the last two years.”

    https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Electricity/NEM/Planning_and_Forecasting/EFI/2017-Electricity-Forecasting-Insights.pdf

  24. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    We are referring to different statements. Anyway, we have been here before more than once so, I am going to withdraw and save us both from wasting time. I am willing to let things pan out and have events speak for themselves. Your side won and my side lost. Renewable is going to be attempted because, to do otherwise would mean being forced to implement my mantra.

    Diminishing returns from resources required for energy generation. More lower quality coal required for smelting more lower quality ores and more lower quality crude oil required for transporting same means expending more energy obtaining these resources which, is being reflected in high prices for energy and other resources. The extra costs involved are taken from other sectors or borrowed from the future. It’s all related.

    Search criteria: diminishing returns on resources

    Politics will not find a solution. Their aim is to continue business as usual for the benefit of business and by any means.

  25. Kaye Lee

    “More lower quality coal required for smelting more lower quality ores and more lower quality crude oil required for transporting same means expending more energy obtaining these resources which, is being reflected in high prices for energy and other resources”

    Your stubborn refusal to learn about increasing energy efficiency and the many technological advances being introduced every day makes discussing anything with you pointless.

    If you want an idea of what is actually happening, here are some examples…

    The Geoscience Australia building in Canberra, built in 1990, is heated and cooled using ambient temperatures in the earth’s crust.

    The Northern Territory Government has installed over 10,000 solar panels across 10 remote communities.

    Construction has begun on the solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage system components of the Garden Island Microgrid Project, which is the world’s first demonstration of a solar, battery, wave and desalination microgrid.

    Fosters Group and Carlton United Breweries parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is set to receive all of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025, including on-site solar.

    A new 3D printing system is set to revolutionise not only prototyping but manufacturing as well. It could be the tipping point for large scale 3D manufacturing. The production system is safer and faster than machining, casting, forging and other techniques, with enormous potential for energy savings.

    Kalgoorlie’s Oasis Recreation Centre has been officially acknowledged as a clean energy success story. Solar installations at the facility will offset 8309GJ of natural gas and 206,000kWh of electricity per year that would otherwise be used to control temperatures and heat the pool at the centre.

    The island of Ta‘ū in American Samoa is entirely powered by its own solar microgrid. The system includes1.4MW of generation capacity from more than 5,000 solar panels. A complement of 60 Tesla Powerpack batteries enable the island to stay powered for up to three days without sunlight.

    Hydroponics fruit and vegetable supplier, Nectar Farms, is building a $220m 40 hectare glasshouse in western Victoria. It will be accompanied by a 196MW wind farm built on nearby paddocks, and a 20MW/34MWh battery storage facility to ensure uninterrupted supply.

    Wind power output in Scotland has set a new record for the first half of 2017. The power generated in June was equal to the electrical needs of 118% of Scottish households—nearly three million homes.

    China’s massive floating solar farm – The world’s largest floating solar farm drifts, symbolically, on a lake formed on top of a collapsed and flooded coal mine. Waterborne solar panels have multiple benefits, including a 10% boost in efficiency due to lower temperatures and the ability to stay clean and free of dust and dirt.

    https://www.eex.gov.au/news/08/2017/eextra-august-2017

  26. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    The increased component complexity and reliance on supply chains that efficiency gains requires and which, also suffers from diminishing returns is why, you still do not get it. Physics has its limits.
    Trying to get through your stubbornness is impossible. You are so sure of yourself, let’s see how the renewable world handles today’s very serious problems. If I am wrong, no harm done except to annoy the likes of you. If on the other hand you and the renewable crowd are wrong, the consequences will be so much worse so, you better be right.
    Have a good weekend.

    Oh, by the way, thanks for the links.

  27. Miriam English

    Harquebus, you say the damnedest things. “More lower quality coal required…” The thing about coal is that it’s falling into disuse while there’s plenty of it still available. There are vast reserves of high quality coal still available — more than enough to smelt metal for ages… should we continue to do it that way. My bet is that we will switch to solar furnaces in the near future when carbon costs come in again.

    And low quality ores???? We have mountains of recyclable materials. At some point those will become sufficiently valuable to be worth mining. I expect it will take new, young companies to do so; existing mining companies are too moribund.

    It amazes me that you seem to see the proof that you are wrong as proof that you’re right. Good grief! The power of confirmation bias. If only we could tap that as an energy source. Between apocalyptic loons, religious nuts, dogmatic economists, racist idiots, homophobic fools, and political ideologues, we’d never run out of energy.

  28. Miriam English

    H, increased efficiency doesn’t necessarily require increased complexity. Often it simply comes out of a different, simpler way of doing something.

    An example pioneered by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is to reduce energy costs in pumping fluids in many areas of industry by avoiding right-angled pipes. By simply branching pipes at smaller angles and using straight pipes and gently curved pipes wherever possible, turbulence and resistance is greatly reduced. This means less energy is required to pump, and smaller, less costly pumps are needed. It often means less piping is required too. This is a case of efficiency gained through simplicity.

    Electric cars are another example. Greater efficiency can be gained by using electric vehicles instead of internal combustion vehicles. Internal combustion powered vehicles use a very energy-dense fuel, but discard about 99% of it in waste heat and all the energy required to run all the other parts of the incredibly complex system — fuel pump, water pump, transmission with its wasteful need for multiple gears (because of the narrow band of torque available to such engines), and the weight of all this. Electric cars, by comparison have just an electric motor to replace all that. Batteries are still improving, but lithium ion is already letting electric cars out-compete their internal combustion counterparts. Some of the coming innovations in battery technology will leave fossil-fueled vehicles in the dust.

    Lights are another example. Old tungsten filament lights are very wasteful, and while manufacturing them is not outlandishly complex it is wasteful as well — glass is plentiful, but tungsten is not. Fluorescent bulbs were a more complex temporary solution, but they contain mercury and the fluorescent powder coating the inside of the tube is toxic PCBs I believe. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) on the other hand are incredibly simple, even though the manufacturing technique is an odd combination of simple, but complex. Once the complex production facility is built the manufacture itself is simple. And the raw material — silicon — is one of the most common elements on Earth.

    More efficient computers use less material and are simpler to build, and are far more powerful.

    There are many more examples.

  29. Kaye Lee

    Remember when everyone replaced their petrol guzzlers with small cars? We have gone backwards…everyone has great big Range Rovers and Utes now. Using road for freight and having no mandatory fuel efficiency standards is also causing a problem that CAN be addressed.

    The report concluded that Australia “has no policies likely to slow the growth in emissions from petroleum fuels” either now or in the long-term and “there is no indication of when or if growth in petroleum emissions will stop”.

    “The absence of any serious policy measures to curb the growth in energy consumed by road transport is a failure almost as great as the failure in electricity industry policy,” it said.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/diesel-cars-help-drive-australias-energy-emissions-to-highest-level-report-shows-20170928-gyqfbq.html

    As for “You are so sure of yourself”, I am sure of nothing but I am constantly amazed by the progress we are making – or could be making I should say – the technology is there to do so much better than we are now. Every day I read about new initiatives. I learn more every day … you could too if you weren’t so utterly invested in an opinion you have had for decades which seems impervious to new information. Can you at least agree that improvement is worthwhile?

  30. Frank Smith

    Kaye Lee your reference to floating solar farms is very pertinent. It should be put into practice to power the pumps of the Wivenhoe 500MW pumped-hydro generator west of Brisbane. As you point out the panels are cooled and more efficient, they reduce evaporation and do not impinge upon agricultural land. All winners!

    Regarding smelting of iron, the majority of coal from Queensland’s Bowen Basin is high quality “coking coal” going to Japan, China and Korea to run their blast furnaces. And there is still plenty of it. The Adani and Gina/GVK coal in the Galilee Basin is lower quality “thermal coal” used for boiling water in power stations. An informed person like Harquebus will also know that there are alternatives to old blast furnace technology for smelting iron ore – gas or even hydrogen can be used and actually produces a better product for steel making than the higher carbon “pig iron” produced by coking coal – a number of Indian steel mills use that technology. There have even been successful experiments into smelting of iron ore using electrolytic methods, much like aluminium smelting.

    So, technology advances and we should be at the forefront of it, not back in the “blast furnace” era of the19th century.

    As a postscript, regarding electric vehicles I was fascinated by an interview by Geraldine Dooge on RN this morning of a SA company that has gone into making electric light delivery trucks. What a great idea to replace all those vans and delivery trucks in cities with electric vehicles. It seems they only run about 200km per day and are readily recharged back at their depot overnight. I hope such an enterprise may save some of the Holden closure jobs in SA.

  31. ace Jones

    Coal-ition of egotists = LNP

  32. Andreas Bimba

    Another example of the political horse shit we endure is not one jurisdiction in the world is yet to put in place the best solution to global warming of a steadily increasing carbon tax with a 100% refund to citizens as recommended by Dr James Hansen, Jeffrey Sachs and Bill McKibben to get us down eventually to 350ppm atmospheric CO2 from the current 400ppm.

    If anyone suggests an emissions trading scheme or any other impossible to audit system – tell them to f… off.

    https://citizensclimatelobby.org

  33. Zoltan Balint

    Andreas I don’t know what your point is or what side your on. Getting the CO2 level back to 350ppm would require a negative input. The eqilibrium climate has operated on has been broken and for it to stabilize again zero input is the only way. The zero input will only give a chance for another equilibrium to be achived and no one knows what that could be. The other question is did we achieve a runaway reaction and nothing we do will stop it. Acidification of the oceans is effecting crustacians shell formation and the food chain and thus the food production from the ocean.

  34. Andreas Bimba

    Zoltan I’m like superman without the super bit – I’m on the side of truth and justice.

    Anyone who is genuinely concerned about global warming should make themselves aware of the books, articles and videos produced by Dr James Hansen, Jeffrey Sachs and Bill McKibben who founded 350.org.

    They have mapped out a detailed scientifically sound plan to return the earth’s atmosphere to 350 ppm CO2. It involves putting a price on carbon, an urgent transition to clean energy and environmental sustainability that is affordable and achievable as well as improved agricultural practices, reforestation and some active methods to capture atmospheric CO2.

    I can provide links but I’m in a hurry, sorry.

  35. Zoltan Balint

    As you said Andreas reforestation and active carbon capture confirms what I said negative input. The trouble is deforestation is increasing and active carbon capture is talked about but only for some of the producers on site. No one is talking about setting up an extraction factory built and financed just to do this irrelevant of who created the CO2. Oh I did 2 years of post grad in environmental science.

  36. Kaye Lee

    I have a lot of regard for Dr Hansen but I am hesitant about his support for nuclear energy because of the toxic waste and the devastating consequences of an accident. I am sure he knows more about it than me…am I unnecessarily worried?

  37. Miriam English

    No, Kaye. You have every reason to be concerned. If humans were better at managing dangerous materials and processes, and not so likely to use them for wars, and not so prone to cutting corners on safety, and not so quick to lie and coverup instead of revealing problems so they might be fixed… then maybe we might be trustworthy enough to use nuclear power. But we can’t be trusted.

    The worst thing about nuclear power is that it diverts money and manpower away from renewable sources. It takes decades and vast amounts of money and resources to build a nuclear power plant. It takes mere months to build a wind farm, or hours to install solar panels.

    Even after it’s bought by a government (nobody is fool enough to risk private money on it) it still can’t make as much profit as renewables. Only a few years ago the head of the nuclear program in Germany had a big whinge that it wasn’t fair — wind power was producing electricity too cheaply, so that nuclear power couldn’t turn a profit. I laughed aloud when I read that in New Scientist at the time.

    Of course, there’s all that pesky nuclear waste too. It stays dangerous for thousands of years. They’ve been stockpiling it and guarding it at great expense… forever. It all gives me the willies.

    No. The only nuclear furnace we need is one that is safely 149.6 million km away — the sun.

  38. Zoltan Balint

    Standard business model, we will invest if the pubic who needs this is willing to guarantee a return on our investment. Win win. Once the life of the investment is over the thing we built is yours and you can do anything you like with it. Any suggestion that the waste and potential damage is not your responsibility, well we as the investor at a small, very small return only ran the thing for your benefit.

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