December 13, 2012 | Ronda Jambe

Australia will not have the last laugh

Associate Professor Peter Christoff has expressed the reality check we now face much better than I ever could, so I include this link to his recent article in The Age. He teaches climate policy at the University of Melbourne.

It is a marvel to me that so many commentators on postings to Ambit Gambit reject evidence-based science. Recently I’ve read a bit about the late novelist Michael Crichton’s motivations in writing State of Fear, and I share his concerns about the media-legal-political establishment. But they (in particular the Murdoch press) are the ones who are not serving us well – not the humble scientists who feel obliged to tip their hats in the directions of uncertainty and statistical range.
We owe it to ourselves to exercise the muscles of democracy to turn the coal ship around before it sinks us.
I hope you will read this and consider your options:

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 7:31 am | Comments (10) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. “It is a marvel to me that so many commentators on postings to Ambit Gambit reject evidence-based science.”

    Well said.
    Many alarmists have been doing this for years and no one in the MSM bothers to check their claims and its seemingly up to unpaid bloggers to tirelessly point out blatant mistakes,
    Or did you mean the comment as a weak form of “appeal to authority”. ? 🙂

    “and I share his concerns about the media-legal-political establishment.”

    Excellent..many of us do as well.

    “not the humble scientists who feel obliged to tip their hats in the directions of uncertainty and statistical range.”

    err..which un-named “humble” scientists who are proponents of CAGW are doing this.?

    “We owe it to ourselves to exercise the muscles of democracy to turn the coal ship around before it sinks us.”

    And replace that money/energy source with what.?
    The opinion piece you linked to..has stooped to a novel analogy of coal and heroin use..which is on par with people who point out blatant problems with many claims as being “deniers”(holocaust deniers anyone..) or having mental problems(Lewandowsky fake survey “results” anyone ?.
    The piece you linked too. has more of the usual stuff.
    Where all doomed..we must do something about it..get rid of coal etc.
    Nothing is original in the piece.
    And this standard rent seeking classic..
    “It should simultaneously establish a climate adaptation fund by levying (diminishing) fossil fuel exports

    More flipping money..your kidding right.??
    Because the billions spent worldwide on co2 trading/co2 controls/co2 papers/co2 conferences/co2 talk fests/co2 propaganda sites/co2 govt dept have done so much to help the environment.?
    Why not do a piece on where did the money go ?
    Are Carbon “markets” like the tulic mania of years gone by,,contentMDK:23206428~menuPK:5575595~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~theSitePK:4125853~isCURL:Y,00.html

    Comment by Drapetomania — December 14, 2012 @ 7:02 am

  2. An export levy of $2.00 a ton on export coal will raise 800 million a year, says the Professor!
    Yes, and what would happen then?
    Encourage the govt to sign off on additional coal exports, in return for more revenue?
    Yes, we with our energy exports, and coal fired power, may well be responsible for up to 4.8% of all global emission?
    How much does Saudi Arabia and the Middle East contribute? 50-60% maybe?
    Perhaps if they just stopped exporting their energy products, we could start to see a reversal of Global warming? Or maybe not?
    I think the only consequence, would even dirtier more carbon intense examples, like Canadian tar sands/shale oil and gas, replacing the shortfall.
    We have large reserves of NG, and possible hydrocarbon reserves to our immediate north, to rival or eclipse the entire Middle East?
    Australian sweet light crude leaves the ground as a virtually ready to use, naturally occurring sulphur free diesel, needing only a little insitu, chill filtering, to make it better than the highly refined alternative!
    [And often nearby NG, leaves the well head at sub zero temperatures!]
    Meaning, in total numbers, Australian sweet light crude produces FOUR TIMES LESS carbon pollution, when compared beside/with, highly/double refined Middle East/Canadian tar sand products.
    Yet we continue to import up to 80% of our needs from the Middle East, while that which would likely allow us to dramatically reduce our transport carbon component, remains locked away by, I believe, incredibly obtuse policies, that are anything but pragmatic.
    No wonder the energy minister looks back over his shoulder, at those who imposed these preposterous policies on our nation!
    The fossil fuel industry turns over in excess of four trillions annually!
    And are laughing all the way to some very big banks, aided and abetted, by the most asinine public policy paradigms, I believe, only fatuous fools could dream up and incredibly, sell as some sort of good or wise public policy, to the abysmally ignorant and serially pathetic Australian voter?
    Well, if there’s a more credible or cogent explanation? I would like to hear it!
    And if anyone believes they can enforce change, with this or that levy, they’re dreaming!
    Making this or that more expensive, is hardly the answer.
    One simply cannot force poor people to pay more, from money they simply don’t have!
    The very simple maths tell us it is simply not feasible! Sorry.
    It’s so easy for someone like the good Professor, to pontificate, from the leather backed, reclining comfort, of his personal air conditioned office or six figure salary!
    But what do people on a dollar a day do?
    You guessed it, go and chop down trees for fuel/firewood!
    We could and should lift the bans on our northern marine environment, and explore and export from that probably huge resource ourselves.
    Rather than waiting like fatuous fools, for a much more powerful, energy staved nation, to come down and do it for us!
    We should explore and export, from possible Middle East rivalling reserves, safe in the knowledge, that every new customer we supply, can reduce their TOTAL transport carbon component, by as much 75%!
    Given, we can and should completely exclude/eliminate the double refinery component, from the carbon pollution equation, by this pragmatism.
    Imagine Chinese roads and road traffic, and then understand, that the roads and their traffic replete with highly visible smog, still only produce 25% of their transport carbon output, with the rest being created in the quite massive, energy burning, carbon cracking, double refining industry.
    CNG, produces very little particulate created smog!
    And there isn’t a single vehicle plying road or rail, that can’t be adapted to run on CNG.
    And if we add the Hydrogen and oxygen, to the air intake, by simply harassing the spare alternator capacity, [Aussie innovation,] to decompose inboard water, we could extend the range considerably!
    As we also could by direct water injections, with every sixth power stroke, which in turn, make energy absorbing radiators, with their accompanying pulleys and pumps, unnecessary!
    All that’s missing here, is the requisite clean air legislation, and or, the testicular fortitude to introduce it!?
    We need to look at the whole carbon pollution picture as pragmatists, rather than obsess over tiny parts of it, in isolation?
    We can add extra oxygen to ensure a much cleaner coal burn, which then produces less total carbon output!
    Adding superheated steam, that then immediately decomposes into its component parts in a very hot firebox, can also produce a cleaner burn, given, much of the energy created, is through the companion burning of both, decomposed water sourced, hydrogen and oxygen, neither of which produce carbon.
    And given enough heat, endlessly sustainable.
    Smoke stack emission can be fed directly into closed cycle large long clear plastic pipes, where algae production can simply scrub the carbon component!
    [And it has been successfully trialled elsewhere.]
    Extremely hardy algae, absorb up to 2.5 times their own bodyweight in carbon, and under optimised conditions, double that bodyweight and absorption capacity every 24 hours.
    So the hundred tons you have today, if allowed/assisted to flourish, can be two hundred tons tomorrow.
    And who knows how much, by this time next year! [Get the calculator out and multiply by 2, 365 times, to understand the real and very positive implications for changing some crops, for algae production, which only uses 2-3% of the water requirement, of traditional irrigation!
    Interestingly, some algae are up to 60% oil!
    And even more interestingly, a foreign firm is now growing tons of the stuff in Australia’s Northwest, and has plans to profitably, supply a very large mining sector, with its total, home grown fuel needs.
    [Beats trucking it in, and the carbon footprint, that in turn creates!]
    This is fairly typical of our, wait for someone else to do it, less than pragmatic approach.
    We propose this or that levy, which invariably changes very little, except internal revenue; and or, the grumpiness of boardroom meetings, while others get in there and do the very things, we should have already been doing, if we were but lead/advised by pragmatists.
    We talk of solar and wind power, all while ignoring the huge amounts of coal, we need to burn, in order to actually produce something, that still needs to be supported 50-75% of the day, by coal and or gas.
    If we were serious, we would instead, simply crack on with the carbon free nuclear option, [thorium or mass produced pebble reactors,] which in turn would give the mop crops, we ought to be employing, time to clean up the already problematic carbon load in our atmosphere.
    I mean,the tundra is already melting, and threatening to treble the already record carbon load our atmosphere is carrying!
    And thereby putting us on target for temperature increases of 4-6C, by the turn of the century! Or expose the Grandkids, to an environmental Armageddon annihilation event? I kid you not!
    The best solutions will be ones that walk out the door, and be almost immediately available to populations, where a wage of a dollar or two a day, is the common experience, along with very large pools of unemployed people!
    Yet another levy, and a veritable army of bureaucrats to police it?
    Maybe? But only if the new funds can be employed to produce endlessly sustainable and affordable alternatives!
    And then only if we can actual guarantee, said levy, will gain bipartisan support; and then actually lead to/fund desirable change and less carbon pollution?
    Even if that actually means mining the “sacred cow reef” for its much lower carbon producing alternatives!?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 14, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  3. Nice defence of the “reality check” from the blog owner. 🙂
    cricket noises..
    THis site is just mindlessly cut and pasting msm pieces..if you dont understand them and are incapable of “defending” them to really easy criticism..then whats the point of posting them here.
    It aint posters here rejecting “evidence based science”..its the blog owner obviously.

    Comment by Drapetomania — December 15, 2012 @ 5:32 am

  4. Huh?

    well, the thorium part made sense.

    how does msm come into it?

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — December 15, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  5. Middle east sourced oil goes through two refining processes, before it arrives here on an oil burning tanker, as transport fuel.
    The first, fractional distillation requires heat, and or the burning of quite copious amounts of gas.
    [What is transported by an oil burning tanker, on to the next stage is highly sulphuric, tar like sludge.]
    This is invariably followed by a hydrocarbon cracking process, which again requires more energy or heat.
    The final product, [also ferried in an oil burning tanker,] which we burn in our vehicles, only produces 25% of the total carbon attributable to transport fuel production and use, with 75% created in the earlier refinery processes!
    Now, we have an option to use two locally available products, neither of which require the energy intensive refining processing referenced to!
    Australian sweet light crude, which leaves the ground as a virtually ready to use diesel; and natural gas.
    That being so, the total carbon output of these alternative fuels in use as transport options, as largely unrefined fuels, is around just 25% of the fully imported “highly refined” product!
    Most gas wells also produce LPG, which exits with the gas, as a virtually free and collectable condensate.
    LPG power in total, also produces just 25% of highly refined and fully imported fuels.
    We seem to have an embarrassment of riches, in these locally produced products, given how much we now export; particularly, LPG!
    Thorium, which is currently a waste product or mineral sands production or rare earth mining, may well make very good sense; and something we should be utilising without further delay or humbug.
    We have enough of it to power the world for six hundred years!
    There are other things, which are carbon neutral, like biogas, and cellulose sourced ethanol, which utilises waste material, grass clippings, sawdust etc, rather than perfectly good food.
    In the interim, should we continue to burn fuel that produces at least four times the carbon of locally available, naturally occurring sulphur free, transport fuel products?
    What should be given the highest priority, the climate and a dead or dying reef; and or, the current levels of carbon we are mindlessly adding to an already dangerously loaded atmosphere?
    Or, the bottom line of price gouging, foreign oil cartels?
    It really is a very simple question, do you and or every other Australian, want 25% or 100% carbon emission, with that tank of fuel, and the one after, etc/etc, ad infinitum, ad nuseum.
    And or, if we have a very low carbon producing resource to our immediate north, to perhaps rival the Middle East, why in heavens name, are we locking it up and importing fuels which produce four times more carbon, as a total number, to the already dangerously loaded atmosphere?
    What’s the problem, the sheer probable size of the reserve, and the harm it may well do to a very profitable industry, turning over in excess of four trillions, or the damage that might be wrought to a reef already dead, or doomed, if we don’t take such steps as are eminently available to us, right now, to reduce carbon emission?
    Think, the products looked up by manifest misinformation, might well be the very products, in use, that could well save what’s left?
    I mean, it’s not like we are going to be able to power road trains or tractors, with thorium, any time soon.
    Nature will, if just given a chance and some breathing space, no pun intended, clean up the atmosphere and reduce the already dangerous levels of greenhouse gases. If we can agree on that; then why can’t we agree, that we should be utilising, readily available, much lower or carbon neutral alternatives.
    In conclusion, let me add, we should be producing all our power needs very locally, utilising micro power stations! This alone will halve coal-fired or gas emission; and also end gold plating of the grid immediately; and therefore, well worth doing on both counts!
    And given the amount of carbon we wouldn’t make, just by utilising the brains we were born with, why aren’t we already utilising this latter simple common sense option.
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 17, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  6. I’m with Alan – no longer an abstract challenge, but the defining decisions of our epoch. Urgent in fact.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — December 17, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  7. Thanks Ronda, I don’t understand why we are actually having this discussion?
    I mean, Algae absorb up to 2.5 times their bodyweight in carbon emission, and under optimised conditions, quite literally double that bodyweight and or carbon absorbing capacity every 24 hours.
    Some algae are up to 60% oil.
    Extracting that oil only requires de-watering and solar powered drying, followed by a simple crushing process, which apparently squeezes the “ready to use” oil out.
    There are around six thousand algae varieties, many of which can be grown in closed cycle systems, [to keep wild algae from contaminating production,] to deliberately produce ready to use jet fuel or diesel, and or omega three etc/etc.
    [Who needs carbon producing, energy demanding refineries!]
    In most cases the ex crush material, is suitable as safe animal feed.
    Apparently trails in places like India, prove production outcomes of 20,000 gallons of oil, per acre, per year, to date.
    [ No other oil crop comes even close!]
    Moreover, this production only requires some 2-3% of the water required by traditional irrigated agriculture; and, can be conducted on salinated, or extremely arid ground, simply not available for agriculture or any other traditional pastoral pursuit.
    [Salt/sea water and or nutrient rich effluent, eminently suitable.]
    I mean, if we but grew Algae all up and down the Murray, we could save/prosper every farmer, every town or hamlet and much more importantly, the deleted expletive river!
    And there would be plenty of opportunities, to use tail water for under-glass food production or even fish farming/ fodder feed sheds.
    [A half acre fodder feed shed, can produce as much highly palatable, GREEN animal graze, as thirty acres or irrigated farmland!]
    All under glass production, uses vastly less water than traditional farming!
    Look, a fish farm the size of Eagle Farm’s international runway, would produce as much income as thirty thousand acres of sustenance grazing, and vastly more reliably, safe from the vagaries of the weather.
    And the filtered out fish fertilizer, also suitable for co-existing or symbiotic algae production!
    [ We need as never before, practical pragmatists, as opposed to muckraking, self evidently unprincipled pollies, myopically focused on just the media or election cycle, or the pursuit of personal power, profit or privilege!?]
    After that there’s an option to feedlott from some of the ex-crush material and then use the solar pasteurized manure, to produce digestor biogas, which is relatively easy to scrub to pipeline methane gas standards, with just around 2% Co2 content retained.
    This gas could be then very safely fed into modest ceramic cells, [ micro power stations,] to produce onsite power on demand.
    [The grid loses around 50% of the power pushed down the wires; meaning, we produce twice as much carbon as we need to, just to power our homes or industry!
    One can and does make a case for industrial estates, right alongside power stations, which could then wholesale their power directly to the end user, and quite literally cut the carbon component in half, wherever that’s current practise!]
    The sludge from the double digester processes, becomes a high carbon soil improving fertilizer or, virtually free by-product. Which is both sanitary and safe!
    The nutrient rich tail water can also be endlessly recycled through algae production facilities, to keep feeding an optimised closed cycle, symbiotic multi-faceted production process.
    This is not something that could ever happen overnight, but will require the restart of our steel mills/towns and glass/ plastic/metal working workshops, and see them fully employed for two or three decades!
    We will need lots of (recycled) glass/plastic lined tanks and pipes, and powered vacuum/compression scrubbers etc.
    The economic activity, we could create, would both self sustain and snowball.
    This could be assisted by sensible harmonised reform, which vastly simplifies the tax system, and ends both avoidance and often quite onerous compliance costs!
    A virtually self-funded rapid rail system, wouldn’t hurt us or our virtually shut down steel industries industries either!
    The govt has to get out of the business of blame shifting or excuse making, coupled to a, we Aussies can’t do it by ourselves, mindset; and instead, get behind our own people and their better ideas! Ireland did, and they’re much smaller and poorly resourced in any fair comparison.
    Only greed and foreign debt laden property speculation cruelled the economic miracle, their initial pragmatism created!
    [It’s our money they’re managing, allegedly!]
    And wouldn’t that make a pleasant change from, it seems, the usual roll over and beg for a tummy rub, from the usual medley of, debt laden, carpet bagging, asset stripping, foreign investors?
    [If only we had politicians, who could quite literally and self evidently, put the national interest ahead of their post politics or retirement plans?]
    If we really do need foreign capital, then wouldn’t be far more productive to garner it from the sale of govt guaranteed, self terminating, thirty year bonds.
    Something we don’t yet have, and something the whole world’s multi trillion dollar super funds are crying out for, to finally balance the ever growing risk, inherent in Non Australian, manifestly overvalued over-leveraged equities!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 18, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  8. thank you Alan, it is a no brainer, and why we are not doing it is beyond me.

    yes, yes, and yes to an algae oil future.

    the presentation I saw by Julian Cribb included a grid into Asia with algal-fueled electricity, making us a massively important green energy exporter.

    Comment by ronda jambe — December 19, 2012 @ 7:43 am

  9. The yanks have some interesting new nano technology, which produces endless hydrogen directly from a solar process, not too different from photo synthesis?
    Microscopic leaf like objects float on top of water, in closed, long, clear if narrow tanks, producing hydrogen.
    Installed on roofs where the roof structure could support a similar solar array or hot water system.
    The production capacity seems quite remarkable, and the nano technology, and economies of scale, could make this affordable, even in some of the poorest nations?
    I mean, once the infrastructure costs are recovered, fuel production beyond that, is virtually free.
    And most conventional engines will hum away happily on hydrogen, with some reports of total mileage outcomes in excess of 500,000, in the life of an adequately maintained vehicle?
    Hardly surprising, give similar reports are coming from a largely LPG powered taxi industry.
    And both hydrogen and methane will work in modern fuel cells, with an energy coefficient as high as 60%, which by the way, compares very favourably with petrol and diesel, which varies between 20-40, with the higher efficiency paid for, with loss of power and or torque?
    And even then, burn as much as 85% of the fuel, just turning the flywheel, and dragging 1-2 tons of steel around! With just 15% of the fuel burn, propelling the passengers forward.
    We already make the world’s leading ceramic fuel cell, and only need economies of scale to bring the unit price, of a house powering fuel cell, down to around $5,000.00 per unit? Transferred via batteries and capacitors, this amount of energy, is plenty to maintain highway cycle speeds in a vehicle, for several hours.
    Add in regenerative braking and a solar collector paint job, [more Aussie innovation,] and the range for compressed NG or hydrogen, is at least as good, as the very best conventional powered variants.
    We also led the world, in moulded carbon fibre products, meaning we could, simply start making light weight, low cost carbon fibre, mass produced car/truck/streamlined trike/bike bodies, right here, today.
    I’d imagine a rust proof Ceramic cell or conventionally powered vehicle that could be powered by endlessly available, hydrogen produced in solar cells; or home-made, scrubbed biogas, would be very welcome in some of the world’s poorest communities? As would or much cheaper to make, worlds most efficient and economical fossil fuel burning, Sarich orbital engine, which spends just 15% spinning the wheels, with 85% actually propelling the passengers forward. Yes they could be two strokes engines?
    What of it?
    Surely we should be measuring total carbon output, rather than the preferred power plant; particularly, in impoverished communities?
    After all, it’s the current price of fossil fuel they object to, rather than well designed rust proof vehicles; and or boats, which might even serve whole villages; and electrified, maintained to run 30-50 years, serving several generations!
    [Even diff/pump housings, engine blocks etc, could be made from light weight, stronger than steel, moulded carbon fibre!
    Such vehicles and alternative fuel support structure, would likely find and dominate a huge global market; and an after market, parts market.
    We could supply all, in exchange for trade goods, we can’t produce, recycle or make economically?
    And wouldn’t be so very nice to go from a nation that owes the worlds trillions, to one that doesn’t; and, a creditor nation to boot?
    Why aren’t we already exporting these vehicles and support infrastructure? [I mean, we plough enough money into the car industry!]
    Perhaps the answer lies in our so-called leaders, who are just too busy getting down and dirty, muck rake and mud wrestle, they haven’t had the time to look up; and or wonder, how they, as bipartisan pragmatists, might best serve the nation? Rather than self, or the PARTY?
    And wouldn’t that be a very welcome, pleasant and wished for change, Rhonda?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 19, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  10. too many acronyms – but let’s be clear: government is rotten at picking winners. setting the policy terrain so that the baddies (ie fossil fuels) get taxed highly, and the goodies get a modest incentive is where it should begin and end.

    as for solutions: how about a cautious mix of renewables, energy saving, algal oils and deep ocean sequestration.

    Offering a tax deduction per tonne of CO2 stored should be sufficient incentive.

    situation is now so urgent that pulling carbon out of the air or capturing it is the only hope to avoid runaway climate change.

    Merry Christmas!

    Comment by ronda jambe — December 25, 2012 @ 8:37 am

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