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Why stronger environmental safeguards are a necessary part of climate action

By Dr Michael Seebeck

Response to Dr Jennifer Rayner’s article arguing for exemption of renewables infrastructures from normal environmental laws – “Climate laws are key to protecting nation’s environment” – the New Daily, 26/1/24.

“Clean energy” is a misnomer and a wonderfully successful marketing term for an industry absolutely reliant on fossil fuels (1)(2)(3), and deforestation (4), and other facets of ecocide, including industrialisation of previously intact desert ecosystems (5), and previously never-cleared remnant forests on the Great Dividing Range (6), and decimation of cetacean populations (7).

There are massive environmental problems worldwide, not only in Australia, with the current and planned expansion of renewable industrialisation: “We identified 2,206 fully operational renewable energy facilities within the boundaries of these conservation areas, with another 922 facilities under development. Combined, these facilities span and are degrading 886 Protected Areas (PAs), 749 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and 40 distinct wilderness areas. Two trends are particularly concerning. First, while the majority of historical overlap occurs in Western Europe, the renewable electricity facilities under development increasingly overlap with conservation areas in Southeast Asia, a globally important region for biodiversity. Second, this next wave of renewable energy infrastructure represents a ~30% increase in the number of PAs and KBAs impacted and could increase the number of compromised wilderness areas by ~60%. If the world continues to rapidly transition towards renewable energy these areas will face increasing pressure to allow infrastructure expansion.” (8)

The infrastructure works at Port Hastings, which prompted the article by Dr Rayner (on behalf of the Climate Council in the New Daily), would destroy the integrity of the internationally recognised Ramsar Wetlands (9) there – is Dr Rayner actually suggesting that such international agreements, in this case to protect populations of migratory birds, which are in rapid decline (10), should be binned in favour of industrial development? The ecosystem that many migratory birds rely on are wetlands and freshwater habitats, which are the most destroyed and degraded worldwide (11).

The biggest cause of destruction of our environment is overshoot – population and economic growth (12), which has caused rampant ecosystem and habitat destruction worldwide (13)(14). This has been the case and will remain the case in the future unfortunately, given the power of the proponents of growth (15)(16). Climate change is simply a facet of this (17), and it certainly will cause more damage in the future. And political scientist Dr Rayner neglects to mention that climate change is at least 50% caused by ecocide and agriculture (18), and greenhouse gas emissions from ecosystem destruction are often grossly underestimated (19) and often not reported (20).

In 2013, the world had about 549 million hectares of intact tropical forests left, the study said:

Ensuring their future should now be a priority, with increased efforts and policies to keep them safe, Evans said. That should include better recognition of indigenous land rights and a halt to the expansion of mining, fossil fuel extraction, agriculture and infrastructure which often drives forest loss, he added.”Our results revealed that continued destruction of intact tropical forests is a ticking time bomb for carbon emissions,” the study’s lead author Sean Maxwell, a scientist with Australia’s University of Queensland, said in a statement.”There is an urgent need to safeguard these landscapes because they play an indispensable role in stabilizing the climate.” (83)

The Climate Council published an article on deforestation and climate change in 2019. They alleged that deforestation emissions were 8-10% of total emissions (84). This is somewhat at odds with other information which suggests “land use change emissions”, principally deforestation, accounts for 12-20% of total annual emissions (85); since 1850, 30% of all emissions have come from deforestation. (86) The scientists who reported that emissions from damage to tropical forests were 626% more than what was previously estimated, highlighted the role of edge effects: “we expect that cumulative net emissions from edge effects will approximately double those from direct forest clearance events observed in intact forest in the 2000s.” (87) Wind turbine industrialisation through old growth forests requires thousands of kilometres of interconnecting haulage roads, and often the adjacent degraded forests subjected to edge effects are often the “ecological offsets’ used to supposedly neutralise the damage done by forest clearing. Has the Climate Council updated their article and opinions in light of these findings?

Reducing fossil fuel emissions during Covid lockdowns (21) showed no demonstrated reduction in the upward trajectory of CO2 concentration (22), nor the concentration of any other greenhouse gas. So her stance is based on two false premises, that renewables will reduce emissions, and that emissions reduction, if it were to occur, will somehow solve climate change. There is no evidence for either assertion, except “modelling” based on the false assumption that renewables will stop emissions and committed warming, and that deforestation and loss of C sequestration will somehow cease despite ongoing population and economic growth (23). Hansen et al (24) allege that rapid phasing out of GHGs will stop most of “equilibrium warming” to plus 10 degrees Celsius though they assume that “clean energy” and other unspecified measures will achieve this.

Despite $11.7 trillion having been spent on “clean energy” globally from 1995 to 2022, fossil fuels increased by 58%, and the share of fossil fuels only decreased by 3.8% (25). We have now breached the 1.5 degree warming level and temperatures are rapidly increasing, possibly into a runaway phase (26). There is a 25- to 30-year time lag between greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere and their full warming potential taking effect (26). Whatever we are doing or attempting to do is clearly not working. Obviously tackling growth, stopping and reversing it, is just as important as any attempt to directly reduce emissions. This has never yet been attempted anywhere. “A comprehensive comparison of ‘degrowth’ with established pathways to limit climate change highlights the risk of over-reliance on technology to support economic growth, which is assumed in established climate modelling” (27).

Dr Rayner did not mention that stopping deforestation is just as important for the climate as reducing fossil fuel consumption, which was stated at COP26 (28), and here Dr Rayner is barracking or “quicker approvals”, which one can only surmise will mean more environmental destruction and more rapid environmental destruction for “clean energy”.

Queensland already has “quick approvals” for renewables, so much so that the approval process of any industrial renewable energy facility is virtually automatic. State Code 23 was drafted for this purpose (29); it overrides all other relevant legislation, including the Vegetation Management Act (VMA). The purpose of the VMA was to give protection to essential remnant forests and wildlife habitat. The only factors which can stop RE in Qld now are proximity to schools and churches. State Code 23 has already led to catastrophic destruction of the environment at Clarke Creek and Kaban and Mt Emerald, and allowed ecocidal wind developments at Lotus Creek, Chalumbin (Wooroora), Upper Burdekin (Gawara Baya), and Mt Fox – all destroying remnant biodiverse forests on the Great Dividing Range. Lotus Creek is on the same Connors Range as Twiggy Forrest’s Clarke Creek wind development, which has led to the destruction of several hundred hectares of good koala habitat. Lotus Creek holds probably the best remaining population of koalas in North Queensland, and maybe the whole of Queensland, and was knocked back by Sussan Ley over environmental concerns, then approved by Tanya Plibersek when the proponents, Neoen, a French RE company, re-submitted a revised application (30). Clearly, “quick approvals” for renewable energy can have disastrous consequences. It should also be mentioned that solar farms in Queensland only need local government approval. The massive solar farm at the foot of the DeSailly Range north of Mt Carbine, FNQ, for instance, was approved by the unelected CEO of Mareeba Council. This solar farm will necessitate clearing of around 2000 hectares of dry sclerophyll forest and wildlife habitat.

It’s also a well-known fact that charcoal from tropical forests is used in high temperature kilns in the production of solar panels (31), and that balsa from virgin rainforests in central and South America is used for the blades in wind turbines (32). And renewables are the most land and sea area-intensive form of energy production, meaning inevitably that forests are destroyed for deployment, as evidenced in Scotland (33), Sweden (34), Germany (35), Brazil (36), and Australia (37)(38), and destruction of peat bogs in Scotland and elsewhere (39). The fragmentation and disturbance of wind industrialisation and the thousands of kilometres of haulage roads necessary is catastrophic to the habitat of many species – roads are the leading cause worldwide of habitat fragmentation and degradation, and their presence always leads to more destruction of habitat and ecosystems. New dams for “clean hydro-electric power” are destroying many rivers and ecosystems worldwide. (40)(41)(42) (43) (44). Mining for the “critical minerals” necessary for “green energy” and EVs already has had catastrophic consequences in Indonesia (45), the Amazon (46), WA’s jarrah forests (47), Cape York Peninsula wilderness (48), to name a few. In fact, mining for critical minerals has been identified as having catastrophic consequences to ecosystems and biodiversity worldwide (49). And then there’s the likely catastrophic impacts of deep-sea mining (50), which may cause 25x the biodiversity loss of land-based mining, as well as unleashing unknown carbon emissions from the seabed (51).

Could the reason for Dr Rayner’s stance be related to the fact that billionaires, investors, and the renewables industry itself, are major donors to the Climate Council, and that nature, wildlife, and threatened and endangered species, have no money to invest? A brief perusal of the funding of the Climate Council suggests this (52). The Climate Council seems to be flush with funds, and has had donations from 12 anonymous donors as well as, for example, Boundless Earth, a Cannon-Brookes charity (53), and The Sunrise Project, a renewable energy financing conduit, co-headed by the former chief of staff of Adam Bandt (54), and the European Climate Fund. The European Climate Foundation is funded by many large foundations, many based in the United States. Some of these funders include the Bloomberg Family Foundation (billionaire Michael Bloomberg), ClimateWorks Foundation, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (hedge fund billionaire Sir Chis Hohn), Rockefeller Brothers Foundation (fossil fuel billionaires), the Growald Family Fund (Rockefellers), and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Hewlett-Packard billionaires) (55). These monolithic foundations have all backed renewable initiatives but money for environmental protections is scant or absent. For example, the Bloomberg FF donated only $2.5 million to Pew Charitable Trusts for conservation of marine protected areas (56).

“… billionaires’ investments in climate change solutions are often driven by personal interests, rather than a broader commitment to the planet’s well-being. While it is undeniable that many billionaires genuinely care about the environment, their motivations can be complex and multifaceted. For instance, investments in renewable energy can be viewed as profitable business opportunities, rather than purely altruistic endeavours. This profit-driven approach may lead to an uneven focus on certain technologies or industries, neglecting other critical areas that require attention. Furthermore, the unpredictable nature of private investments leaves room for sudden shifts in priorities, making long-term planning and consistency difficult to achieve.” (57)

I am not supporting fossil fuels – I would agree they should be phased out as rapidly as possible. However, advocates of “clean energy” are completely disingenuous, because if fossil fuels were to be phased out, renewables could not be mined, manufactured, and maintained. Same with steel, concrete, ammonia (food), plastics (58), modern medicine; everything that modern civilisation takes for granted for its current scale let alone growth. The globalism that allows minerals for “clean energy” to be mined all over the globe, transported to the factories, then shipped off to other countries to be deployed, is entirely dependent on fossil fuels. Such trade constitutes 30% of transport emissions and is projected to increase fourfold by 2050 (59). There are many reasons why hydrogen cannot replace fossil fuels for international transport (60), which I won’t go into here.

Scientific research of supply chains has shown that rare earth mining & processing has been responsible for 32 billion tons of CO2 emissions over 10 years (61). Magnets (wind turbines and EVs) are responsible for 23% of that (62); however, the amount mined for magnets needs to increase 11-25x over the next 25 years (63) for the attempted transition, resulting in around extra 16-17 billion tons CO2 emissions/ year (global emissions are currently 38 billion tons CO2e per year). And that’s just rare earths; the mining of many minerals needs to increase by multiples (64), contributing massive increases in emissions. There is doubt that there are sufficient reserves for many required critical minerals (64). And rare earths are difficult and energy-intensive to recycle (65). Increase in “clean energy” of 1% gives a 0.9% increase in CO2 emissions (61) but this may in fact be an underestimate as it’s based on rare earth elements. This calls into question the assumed emissions reductions of renewables, which is based on cherry-picking impacts, limiting scope, assuming unreasonably high average wind speeds (66), assuming insignificant ecocidal impacts, ignoring grid effects emissions of battery storage and balancing FF emissions which increase due to green energy, and fallacious presentation of emissions per energy delivered. That’s a topic for another article.

In addition, it appears that the royalties from coal mining are being used to finance renewables and their required infrastructure in Queensland (67), as well as other facets of new infrastructure made necessary by population and economic growth. It is unlikely that renewable energy could ever contribute to funding of other facets of infrastructure as it has a lower Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) (68) and it is a net drain on government (taxpayer) funds, which seem to be mainly going to billionaires and foreign corporations and investors (69) as they expect return on their “green” investments. It should be remembered that “With the exception of [Australia’s richest person and fellow mining magnate] Gina Rinehart, no Australian has ever caused more damage to the environment than Andrew Forrest,” an Australian Financial Review columnist said in a recent commentary.”(70) “Green” billionaire Andrew Forrest has significant ecocidal renewables investments, including the Great Dividing Range’s Clarke Ck wind farm (power purchasing agreement with Anglo-American Coal (71)) and Gawara Baya (Upper Burdekin) wind farm – adjacent to Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. (Apple pulled out of a power purchasing agreement over environmental concerns (72)). The new Kaban wind industrialisation (owned by Neoen), which decimated old growth forest near Ravenshoe, has a power purchasing agreement with coal miner BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (73). Twiggy Forrest’s climate advocacy should be interpreted in this context.

Perusal of Australian and state governments press releases regarding mining and infrastructure for “critical minerals’ reveals that they actually believe the rampant mining made necessary for an attempted renewables transition to be a great boon for “jobs and growth’ (74), which is clearly what they are most interested in supporting – increasing energy demand, increasing ecocide, and worsening overshoot. “The climate” is just a useful pretext, a specious justification.

Commentary from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Regulator, reveals that increasing electricity NEM spot price is regarded as beneficial for investment in renewables (75). The main investors in renewables in Australia are billionaires Twiggy Forrest, Cannon-Brookes and millionaire Simon Holmes a Court, as well as a large collection of foreign companies including Spanish Iberdrola, French Neoen, Irish Mainstream, Dutch Ingka, Thai Thatchaburi, and Filipino ACEN. Obviously fossil fuel suppliers of electricity also benefit from increasing NEM spot prices. Population growth via mass immigration is the chief means our government uses to increase demand for electricity and increase profits to energy providers, whilst destroying carbon sequestration and increasing overall emissions. Its quite clear who our government is governing for, and it isn’t average Australians, and certainly not our ecosystems and wildlife, and not the climate.

Australia’s Carbon accounting reveals net uptake of carbon during non-severe bushfire years (76). This has been confirmed by NASA satellite analysis of CO2 emissions and uptake over the course of 2021 (77). We only contribute about 1.3% of global emissions, obviously not including exported emissions of fossil fuels, which I do not support. The 1.3% of emissions that Australia directly contributes also does not include the offshored emissions of manufactured items. This obviously includes renewable energy industrial components such as solar panels and wind turbines.

Clearly what we should be doing is enhancing our carbon sequestration, protecting all remaining old growth forests from all development, and restoring degraded forests and farmland, and stopping burning everything, including forests, as the science shows that forests actually increase fire resistance as the fire-free interval increases (78). Forests also have beneficial effects on the climate as well as carbon sequestration. They also sequester energy that would have otherwise been released as heat, increase rainfall to enhance sequestration and cool through evapo-transpiration and shading (79). We should be winding down fossil fuel exports and unsustainable population growth, which contributes to more emissions and destruction of carbon-sequestering ecosystems. And reducing or eliminating the import of industrial products especially those with a high carbon footprint. Our coal-fired power stations should be converted to nuclear, as nuclear power is an easy substitute and does not require vastly increased transmission networks, more substations, switching stations, battery firming/storage and has far lower emissions and negligible destruction of carbon sequestration capacity compared to renewable energy (80). Unfortunately for nuclear power, it does not require the massive overbuilding (81) and mining (and huge emissions burden) that renewables do, so the profit potential is not there compared to renewables, so the billionaires aren’t interested. However, allowing more destruction of forests and habitat for any reason, is simply lunacy, and not based on science and reality.

We must ask ourselves, do we want a planet teeming with life or do we want lifeless industrial wastelands interspersed with monocultures grown for food & timber, in desperate states due to climate change and loss of insect pollinators, with global famines and other aspects of a ghastly future (82) just around the corner, and remnant wildlife populations of selected species incarcerated as breeding populations in zoos, being bred for release into habitat which no longer exists. The billionaires and their proxies in media and governments and environmental and climate NGOs clearly want the latter.

Dr Michael Seebeck, Conservationist with Rainforest Reserves, Far North Queensland

 

REFERENCES

(1) What I See When I See a Wind Turbine

(2) Why do we burn coal and trees to make solar panels?

(3) Through the Eye of a Needle: An Eco-Heterodox Perspective on the Renewable Energy Transition

(4) Renewable energy targets may undermine their sustainability

(5) “Study: California solar farms threaten desert species”

(6) Blowing in the wind: Former Greens eco-warrior says we should all fear wind turbines

(7) Letter: ‘Take’ authorizations prove NOAA is lying about whale deaths

8) Renewable energy development threatens many globally important biodiversity areas

(9) Tanya Plibersek blocks Victorian government’s plan to build wind turbine plant at Port of Hastings

(10) Rapid population decline in migratory shorebirds relying on Yellow Sea tidal mudflats as stopover sites

(11) 75% of Earth’s land areas are degraded; wetlands have been hit hardest, with 87% lost globally in the last 300 years

(12) Recognizing Overshoot: Succession of an Ecological Framework

(13) Population and economic growth are destroying biodiversity

(14) Increasing impacts of land use on biodiversity and carbon sequestration driven by population and economic growth

(15) ‘Extra level of power’: billionaires who have bought up the media

(16) Billionaires are out of touch and much too powerful. The planet is in trouble

(17) Why climate change is the symptom of a much deeper and bigger problem

(18) Why Agriculture’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Almost Always Underestimated

(19) Climate emissions from tropical forest damage ‘underestimated by a factor of six’

(20) Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds

(21) Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement

(22) Broken record: Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels jump again

(23) The Zero Emissions Commitment and climate stabilization

(24) Global warming in the pipeline

(25) Opinion: The world still depends on fossil fuels despite trillions for clean energy

(26) How close is runaway climate change?

(27) Bet on technology or limit growth? Climate modelling shows ‘degrowth’ less technologically risky

(28) Not just coal: End to deforestation sought at COP26 climate summit

(29) Renewable energy project planning and approvals

(30) Australia’s approval of renewable projects has doubled, says Plibersek

(31) Burning down the house: Myanmar’s destructive charcoal trade

(32) A green paradox: Deforesting the Amazon for wind energy in the Global North

(33) 14m trees have been cut down in Scotland to make way for wind farms

(34) The wolf forests of Sweden threatened by onshore wind farms

(35) German government begins razing the forest that acted as a backdrop for many a Grimm’s fairy tale, to make way for wind turbines

(36) In Brazil, rural communities are caught in the eye of the wind farm storm

(37) Conservationists rubbish plan to build a windfarm near protected north Queensland rainforests

(38) The giant wind farms clearing Queensland bush

(39) Climate pollution from wind farms on peat ‘underestimated’

(40) Impacts of hydropower on the habitat of jaguars and tigers

(41) 8,700+ new hydropower plants threaten Europe’s biodiversity

(42) Batang Toru Hydropower Project

(43) Before the Flood: The dam that threatens one of Africa’s oldest national parks

(44) Giving a dam: how hydropower is destroying Europe’s rivers

(45) Nickel miners linked to devastation of Indonesian forests

(46 Ford’s Electric Pickup Is Built From Metal That’s Damaging the Amazon

(47) Mines clear more trees than logging in WA’s threatened forests

(48) Galalar Silica Project

(49) Renewable energy production will exacerbate mining threats to biodiversity

(50) Deep-Sea Mining Could Cause 25x the Biodiversity Loss of Land-Based Mining, Report Warns

(51) Deep Sea Mining and the Green Transition

(52) Climate Council Annual Report 2022-2023

(53) Mike Cannon-Brookes is ramping up the climate tech founder pipeline with Startmate

(54) The Sunrise Project

(55) European Climate Foundation

(56) Bloomberg Family Foundation (Bloomberg Philanthropies)

(57) Why Billionaires Won’t Save Us from Climate Change

(58) The Modern World Can’t Exist Without These Four Ingredients. They All Require Fossil Fuels

(59) The Carbon Footprint of Global Trade; Tackling Emissions from International Freight Transport

(60) Hydrogen Half Truths Keep Shipping Fuel Hopes Afloat

(61) Global environmental cost of using rare earth elements in green energy technologies

(62) Market imbalances for rare earths persist

(63) Critical Rare-Earth Elements Mismatch Global Wind-Power Ambitions

(64) The Mining of Minerals and the Limits to Growth

(65) Why rare earth recycling is rare – and what we can do about it

(66) A review of life cycle assessments on wind energy systems

(67) Queensland’s record coal earnings used for transition

(68) Wind and solar energy are neither renewable nor sustainable

(69) For better or worse, billionaires now guide climate policy

(70) A bit rich? Billionaires’ climate efforts draw scepticism, praise

(71) Anglo American sources 100% renewable electricity supply for Australia operations

(72) Apple pulls out of Andrew Forrest-backed windfarm at centre of threatened species controversy

(73) BMA signs new five-year renewable power purchase agreement

(74) What are critical minerals and why are we mining them in Queensland?

(75) Large-scale generation certificates (LGCs): Strengthening price signal for renewable investment

(76) Australia is already a net zero CO2-e emitter – thanks to our forests and rangelands

(77) Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Tagged by Source

(78) Contrary to common belief, some forests get more fire resistant with age

(79) More than carbon storage – The role of forests in climate change

(80) Two studies make a strong case for nuclear power: less pollution, smaller footprint

(81) ‘Massive overbuilding’ of renewables is the way to 100% decarbonisation

(82) Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future

(83) Carbon emissions from tropical forest loss underestimated, scientists say

(84) Deforestation and Climate Change

(85) What is the role of deforestation in climate change and how can ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation’ (REDD+) help?

(86) Forests and Climate Change

(87) Degradation and forgone removals increase the carbon impact of intact forest loss by 626%

 

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5 comments

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  1. K

    A well argued perspective, I’ve not had a chance to review the citations.

    But I do have some concerns with your logic, on some points.

    Where did the perception that most (if not all) renewable energy start ups are backed by fossil fuel billionaires (and banking, from the names) come from? There are some which have no links to either, but this appears to be the focus of your article.
    This seems to be largely focused on rare mineral extraction from Earth, I believe there are a number of studies that indicate these are more readily available “out there”, eg comets, meteorites, and other heavenly bodies. Access to them at this time is not easy, but… with the progress on this front, the view that we will continue to mine our home seems somewhat…. Simplistic and limited?
    Your NASA stats on emissions should be subject to further analysis.
    3A. Your focus on immigration as a contributing factor smacks a little of xenophobia, but perhaps I’m being overly cynical.
    The spouting of nuclear is concerning. The number of projects in this field for energy that have been shelved due to prohibitive costs is well documented. Reasonable once you have the infrastructure, but starting from scratch? Hardly a winning formula.
    On nuclear and roads etc, is less infrastructure required to build them to deliver uranium and plutonium and transport nuclear waste that for renewable energy? How do you figure that?
    What would we do with nuclear waste? Where do you store it safely? How to dispose of it?
    That whole NZ ( and ANZ ha!) malarkey may be a sticking point, considering NZ stance on nuclear in general, and the agreements on such they are signatory to, especially in the context of Pacific Islands etc, but that’s a whole political can of worms for another day.
    Yes, we seem to have drunk the nuclear subs koolaid, but what about the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons treaties, etc? In a global context, would Australia suddenly going nuclear energy mad raise some interesting questions, considering the terms of the new AUKUS agreement, and overall global tensions in a number of regions?
    The closing paragraph seems to be a succinct summary of the human condition. But, if we get another Chernobyl, will that be any help to Australia’s unique flora and fauna, in the great big scheme of things? I’d bet my left testicle neither US or UK will do much if there’s a disaster. We are an island, far away from their doorstep and voting public. And all they really associate us with is that stupid “where the bloody hell are ya” tourism campaign, the knighthood for what’s his name (who neither needed nor wanted it), and our aspirant leader of the opposition being caught on a boom mike saying…
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2015/sep/11/peter-dutton-overheard-joke-rising-sea-levels-tony-abbott-video

    Does anyone want fries with that?

  2. GL

    Personally, I think stronger environmental safeguards are needed on all the bloody politicians (not mentioning any LNP names just for starters), who are dug in like ticks into the corporate bodies and miners, etc.

  3. Clakka

    Yes, a well assembled and important read.

    I too have not reviewed the citations. At this time, for the sake of my thinking and comment, I trust they are substantive.

    I do not advocate for the continuance of FF-based energy production, and note that it is in a resource-limited death spiral, already beyond viability and being desperately propped-up. The same applies to hydrogen, at this time it is not viable and is being propped-up. The matter of nuclear energy is moot, in that it is in its infancy, and that its precipitate deployment has been hugely expensive, and frought with disaster, although that is not to say it always will be. As for renewables, I well recall recently at uni, a discussion about solar panels, when lifecycle review assessed them as being a CO2 contributor rather than saviour.

    Throughout the read, I was drawn to perpetually thinking about solutions and alternatives, and of course could not escape physics and chemistry and the laws of thermodynamics, never minding the inputs / outputs desires, but the immutable inevitability of entropy. All man-made and systems of nature do not escape and are completely reliant on those laws. And how they operate and function ‘successfully’ is a matter of perspective, of scale and time, from the barely perceptible to obliterative. Of course, the newer mathematics and theories of cosmology has it that everything in the universe (as a singular system) will end – sum to zero, zilch. Entropy wins. Nevertheless they are drawn to the postulation of the multiverse. Aren’t we all, always? For example, the notion of the hand of god(s), the inaudible and invisible, anthrophomorphised as a response to the inexplicable and insoluble. Its a can of worms, but where’s the wormhole?

    It is said we are but reconfigured star dust. A wonderful and beautiful concept, that surely applies to everything that we perceive, and by extension, we are not separate but utterly dependent, and like everything else, in the greater scheme of things, a part of cosmic capital. It seems in some way or another we all recognize this and try to put ourselves at the top of the stack, ironically at the same time encountering the constant frustration of our endless errors.

    It is entirely weird, discombobulating and tragic that there remains a significant element of humanity, particularly those allegedly advanced, that seek to forego beauty and diversity, and belligerently conspire and work to accelerate via killing and destruction, nature’s path to entropy.

    In the now quantum world, does time march on? Or is it an amorphous blob we wrangle, that casts a shadow that we call a future. I guess it’s hard to be sure, but participation or not doesn’t appear to be an option.

    What else could we expect? We are the ones that confer notions of rights, and responsibilities, only because we have ever-changing language driven by perceptions. And this gives rise to debate and argument, a beautiful thing, better than fecklessness. What to do? Keep at it and hopefully in the act of doing, take the best path, heeding errors and making corrections, as it seems there are no absolutes or perfections.

    I’m sure Drs Seebeck and Rayner mean well. It’ll be interesting to observe the sway and the errors, corrections and outcomes.

  4. LambsFry Simplex.

    It is being smashed as it has been for a generation. multinationals and some foreign government do NOT want environmentalism revived.

  5. Frank Sterle Jr.

    As developed nations, we are rightfully expected by the non-developed world to make the first meaningful moves on decarbonization, since we’ve done the most polluting thus environmental damage.

    Many people are fleeing global-warming-related extreme weather events and/or chronic crop failures in the southern hemisphere widely believed by climate scientists to be related to the northern hemisphere’s chronic fossil-fuel burning, beginning with the Industrial Revolution.

    Every day of the year really needs World Earth Day action — with a genuine, serious effort and not just brief news-media tokenism or dismissal.

    Obstacles to environmental progress were quite formidable pre-pandemic. But Covid-19 not only stalled most projects being undertaken, it added greatly to the already busy landfills and burning centers with disposed masks and other non-degradable biohazard-protective single-use materials.

    Also increasingly problematic were/are the very large populace too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family while on insufficient income to worry about the environment, however much it’s much needed.

    Meanwhile, consumers continue throwing non-biodegradables down their garbage chutes, or flushing pollutants down toilet/sink drainage pipes. Then there are the toxic-contaminant spills in rarely visited wilderness.

    Societally, we still discharge out of elevated exhaust pipes, smoke stacks and, quite consequentially, from sky-high jet engines like it’s all absorbed into the natural environment without repercussion. Clearly it isn’t, but out of sight, out of mind, right?

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