July 13, 2014 | Ronda Jambe

Does Mr A have a Plan B?

Has Abbott been jolted awake from his coal-fired stupor yet? Has the Australian
Senate taken the leadership role we have long hoped for?

If science doesn’t convince, the markets eventually will. This article and quote
from the UK Telegraph is yet another of many showing that the fossil fuel bubble
is going to burst.

Quote: The cumulative blitz on exploration and production over the past six years
has been $5.4 trillion, yet little has come of it. Output from conventional fields
peaked in 2005. Not a single large project has come on stream at a break-even cost
below $80 a barrel for almost three years.
“What is shocking is that upstream costs in the oil industry have risen threefold
since 2000 but output is up just 14pc,” said Mark Lewis, from Kepler Cheuvreux. The
damage has been masked so far as big oil companies draw down on their cheap legacy reserves.


The Economist is giving similar warnings to Scotland as it prepares for a referendum on independence.
What will they live on once the oil is gone?

We await our fearless leader’s plan for an Australia after fossil fuels.

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 6:47 am | Comments (10) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Yesterday was the coldest day in Queensland for over 100 years so I expect with the increasing number, lengths and intensities of the cold periods experienced across the world coal and gas demand will increase as oil demand reduces in the economies already adapting or those wqith sources of gas.

    We might see coal and gas export prices return to the high prices we had during the resources boom. That will allow Tony and Joe to clean up Labor’s debt and deficit more quickly.

    Then the foolish Senate will be seen as irrelevant as Tony and Joe will have kept their promises of ‘Stopping the boats, ridding us of the carbon tax, returning us to surplus and paying off labor’s debt’. And that Rhonda is fearless leadership. Actually doing the things they were given a mandate to do.

    Then Rhonda you’d have to say you would be pleased to see politicians actually doing as they promised instead of the lies of the past and the lies and dishonest antics from the current numbskulls in the senate and the Labor mob of union hacks. oh and watch that royal commission.

    Forget peak oil Rhonda the Yanks are already reducing their reliance on oil. It is the Europeans and Chinese who will suffer most from peak oil. our petrol prices may increase but that will only be until we continue to reduce our demand for petrol.

    Things are really starting to look not bad already. And even Labor’s detention centres are emptying.

    How did Labor and the greens get it so wrong?

    Comment by keith kennelly — July 13, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  2. Do you really think climage change is not happening? Or that it doesn’t require urgent action? If so, I have a lot of educating to do.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — July 13, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

  3. Once you’ve driven an electric car, you’ll never ever want to drive A petrol or diesel one ever again.
    Electric vehicles allow us to use local fuel, be it coal, coal gas, biogas, solar arrays, wind or wave power or thorium.
    And if electric vehicles, could be plugged into a house, to also power it overnight, there are enough intermittent supplies, that would immediately become more viable!
    Just not as reliable or viable as homemade biogas, or equally reliable but not as cheap, but still cheaper than coal, thorium.
    but particularly one connected to a very local micro grid!
    And whereas one can still “fill up” an electric car for just a few cents?
    Refueling a conventional vehicle, invariably burns 5-100 dollars!
    As for reliance on oil, that will likely end well and truly before we run out of the stuff, and just on economic, supply and demand issues alone!
    Those among who are smarter than the average bear, will realize this and start looking at the other available options, which for us include, locally available sweet light crude.
    Traditionally, Australian sweet light crude leaves the ground as a virtually ready to use diesel, that needs little if any energy consuming, carbon creating refining!
    Which in turn means, it produces as much as 75% less carbon than the sulfur laden rubbish we import.
    Then there is CNG, which which we have copious quantities of, and will power virtually any vehicle.
    Then there is LPG, which almost always exits gas wells as a free ready to use condensate, which in some places, is such an over abundance of wealth, it’s simply burned off!
    Given, reclaimed by fractional distillation, it might kill the petrol industry and its huge gouged profits, and that needs even more refining, than a now more expensive diesel!
    There will be people that will always claim that climate change is not happening, or is just part of a natural cycle we can’t change but only adapt to.
    And will respond to sound science and reliable readings, with a it’s not happening ridicule.
    Facts are, the Antarctic Ice is melting far faster than in any of the doomsayers assumptions.
    That warm water, as warm as a measured 4C, is the culprit, as is increasing wind velocity?
    There is a reported ocean sized body of above seal level, trapped fresh water down there, that given the latest ice sheer, is now only held back by a relatively thin wall of ice!
    And when not if released, will raise ocean levels by an estimated 3 metres.
    That much increase will drown most of our seaside capitals, and several hot spots, like a Gold Coast, not much more in many places, than a metre or less, above the current high tide mark.
    And given we experience this sea level rise, it won’t arrive gradually, but as a 3 metre tsunami, that comes in destroying much in the process, then hangs around, drowning the rest.
    And in the process, destroying around 70% of our economy!
    Smarter but perhaps more doubtful people, would not ignore the precautionary principle, on these grounds.
    The body of water is down there and only held back by a few feet of often fickle ice.
    That if released, will raise sea levels by a similar suggested amount!
    The only thing we need to know more accurately is when not if!
    Now the deniers can please themselves, but I wouldn’t purchase land less than 5 metres above current sea level.
    And if I lived on an Island Lower than that, I sell it to the deniers at basement bargain prices, always providing, pedantic bankers could be persuaded to throw precaution to the wind?
    And that’s not any banker I know!
    Sellers should take what they can now, while there’s still a market, and just head for higher ground!
    Which strangely, is still cheaper than any island or coastal property.
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 14, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

  4. Thanks, Alan, and I certainly wouldn’t buy near sea level either.

    However, much as I yearn for an electric car, the battery issue has yet to be solved.

    Current batteries aren’t just short on staying power, they are also horribly polluting and need replacing at great expense.

    But that is one I think technology can and will solve, watch that space.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — July 14, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

  5. Yes Rhonda, however, GM is, it seems, on the verge of trialing a prototype battery, said by some seeming insiders, to double Tesla’s range of around 330 Kilometres.
    And if the power companies are looking for a commercial savior, it could be electric car recharging stations.
    Australia is crisscrossed by transmission wires, any of which could be diverted in part, and used to power recharge stations?
    That said, there is another option that doesn’t include a battery bank in an electric vehicle.
    That vehicle uses CNG, to power a ceramic fuel cell, coupled to a couple of capacitators, which then drives all the electrics.
    The exhaust product of a ceramic fuel cell, even one powered by methane, is mostly water vapor.
    And the fact that it could be refueled in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, puts any limited range issue, well and truly behind us.
    The ceramic fuel cell’s 80% energy coefficient, means the most economical combination and the longest range of any other hybrid, which are showing some excellent economy rates, with say a big Diesel powered Merc hybrid, running at around an impressive 4.3 litres, for a 100 kilometres.
    Given a cubic metre of gas has the same calorific value as a litre of petrol; I believe, the locally invented fuel cell, could double the best economy range, of the most economical hybrid, given there are no moving parts that gobble energy.
    In a conventional car, up to 85% of the available energy, can be spent driving the flywheel/alternator etc.
    Whereas, a ceramic fuel cell, with no moving parts to move, might have exactly the opposite equation?
    And the other advantage is a product, that could be plugged into the house, to power it overnight!
    But particularly, if there’s a convenient gas main, to also exploit!
    We lead the world in molded ceramic fibre products.
    We invented the ceramic fuel cell; but, like virtually all our good ideas and best people, it and he, followed a plethora of good ideas and people, offshore.
    We also lead the world in very high capacity capacitators?
    This combination will weigh less than half of the best batteries money can buy, without being limited in any way to the range limitations of, even the best lithium phosphate batteries.
    Meaning, very superior performance figures!
    We have considerable rare earth deposits here and enough thorium, to power the world for 700 years?
    Thorium power, is vastly cheaper than coal, just on the comparative amounts of fuel needed or consumed; but given a maximum 50 MW’s, it is considered unsuitable for our great white elephant of a grid!
    Which not only doubles consumer prices, but carbon emission as well.
    A thorium reactor however, coupled to a very local micro transmission grid, will more that halve the cost of reticulated energy, and without producing carbon.
    A thorium reactor consumes as much as 95% of its fuel, and the waste is far less toxic than conventional oxide reactors, which consume their fuel, in almost inverse proportion to the thorium reactor.
    Yes there are some problems with thorium.
    First there’s no weapons spin-off, meaning this 1950’s technology, was abandoned for one that did have a weapons spin-off.
    A thorium reaction is a liquid one, that produces considerable heat, therefore needs to be buried in bedrock, to make it completely safe.
    It also can’t produce much more that 50 MW’s, and therefore, we’d need quite a lot, to replace the current system.
    Fortunately they can be mass produced and simply trucked on site as a very wide load, to be perhaps producing electricity in just days or weeks, rather than the 2+ years years a coal-fired plant requires.
    The fact that they don’t need thousands of miles of transmission wires, makes them cheaper than hydro, and far more reliable!
    So purely on economic grounds, both the gas powered, ceramic cell, electric car and thorium power, would more than double the cost analysis benefit, and should be preferred on, dry as a cracker, economic grounds alone, rather than they don’t add anything like the carbon to the atmosphere, of conventional systems/options!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 15, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

  6. Even less costly, energy or power for virtually nothing, is biogas.
    Scrubbed biogas will also power (a) ceramic fuel cell(s). This gas is made in, [more Aussie innovation,] a smell free two tank digester system.
    The resultant gas can be stored in simple bladders and used on demand, 24/7.
    Current examples use a modified diesel engine; and the very best example, produces a 40% energy coefficient, and endless free hot water.
    Adding food scraps or wastage produces a salable energy surplus.
    However, replacing the noisy diesel with a super silent ceramic fuel cell, doubles the energy coefficient, and obviously, the salable surplus?
    This surplus cold be sold to the grid, or used to recharge electric vehicles?
    Power companies, could virtually force cooperating communities to invest in these alternatives, by increased price gouging!
    The waste products include, endless free hot water, fully sanitized high carbon, nitrate and phosphate loaded organic fertilizer, and nutrient loaded waste water eminently suitable for oil rich algae production.
    Ex crush algae, with its oil content removed by child’s play extraction, could be used as fodder, or material suitable for endless ethanol production.
    Different/preferential tax treatment of alternative energy investments, would give investors far more powerful reason for leaving the real estate market, and into alternative energy projects! This would also produce more affordable hosing!
    All that’s missing, is the political will, and (a) proactive Government(s)!
    Scales of economy, would produce virtually ready to use bio diesel, and or jet fuel, for as little as 44 cents a litre!
    Given this is so, and algae farming would permanently, not only save the Murray /Darling; but, make it our most prosperous region ever; one wonders, why it isn’t already government policy?
    For heavens sake, closed cycle Algae farming uses only 1-2% of the water normally required for traditional irrigation!

    I’ve seen some travelers allowed to carry there bikes onto commuter trains, and can see no reason, why this facility can’t be extended to hand carried E bikes, E scooters and or, segways?
    Such a facility, would encourage more train travel, and less grid lock on commuter highways!
    One thing not considered, is the creation of hydrogen, which like biogas, is endlessly sustainable.
    Waiting for petrol prices to rise beyond an economy killing $2-3.00 per litre, is not good planning, and can only ever hand the creation of alternatives, to price gouging foreigners!
    A possibility only available or possible, due to the blase attitudes of most politicians, unable to see beyond bagging the opposition, getting this or that policy carried, or their prospects at the next election!
    That’s the wrong focus, when we are seeming to approach peak oil.
    Alternatives will eventually have to replace fossil fuels, sooner is better than later; given supply and demand characteristics, will force the price far too high, to be affordable, or act to further depress already depressed economies!
    I believe we could make H for a few cents per cubic metre, utilizing solar thermal heat, catalytic cracked water molecules, and endlessly available, seawater.
    Modernization, could make this pre electric system, safer than any hydrocarbon cracking oil distillation plant; and vastly less costly than current electrolysis!
    Lighter than air hydrogen can rise to great heights inside plastic pipes and even turn a light air turbine or two, on its way up to any conveniently placed fuel cell facility; say, i.e., one powering light metals smelting or rapid rail, with carbon free power!
    Once The H is consumed in the cell(s), to make raw electricity and pristine water, the water could even turn a turbine or two, on its way back down to its next user.
    These alternatives will like, modernized molten salt solar thermal projects, provide reliable power options, 24/7!
    And there are now over a million Aussie roofs with solar arrays on them.
    Power companies trying to protect their income streams, by compulsion, or protect profit numbers by further price gouging, will only succeed in driving whole and irate communities, to investigate and install some or other of the available alternatives.
    And in finance packages, that could very likely, cost less than current power bills!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 15, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

  7. If multinational, energy dependent Apple, not only believes that Biogas connected to fuel cells, is the most economical combination for its new Headquarters, but has installed it, probably suggests very strongly, this is, to use common parlance, the most affordable combination!
    Given neither governments nor price gouging power companies, seem to want to provide cheaper power?
    1# Because that would mean governments getting back into the energy business?
    And 2#, as we all know, governments that run business are all dirty commies?
    And privatized price gouging power companies can please themselves, if they stupidly bankrupt their consumers or drive them to seek other options, or head offshore?
    After all, they’ve often plowed billions of other poeples’ money into these cash cow projects, connected to a captive market!
    Well at least until now!
    Other equally intelligently led companies, will likely follow Apple’s lead, but particularly if price gouging power companies/Authorities, are simply sending them to the wall?
    No doubt various governments with their hand in the power Authority’s till, will try to legislate or bury them in red tape, to prevent people or companies, choosing the completely self sufficient option?
    [You should have seen the forms they expected me to fill in, long after I’d already installed my officially accepted and contracted household solar power system. Given I know it’s illegal to sign 2 contracts for one service or official approval. I declined!]
    And in the process, drive more of our manufacturers, and self funded retirees etc, offshore.
    Or just create more of the same old same old, that has already created a massive manufacturing exodus from these shores, with car manufacturing, just the latest highly energy dependent example!
    With just one stroke of a pen, our federal government, could have more than halved energy prices, and tax bills, that have combined to already send over 95% of corporate Australia offshore.
    Although something patently pragmatic, may well mean turning “commie” and getting back into the highly profitable energy business!
    I mean, why collect all the available profit, when they can take a tiny portion of it, (sometimes) as tax? [Surely, that’s an inmates running the asylum solution?]
    Given wages inflation in places just like China; a truly sane administration, would stop muttering moronic mantras, [like a government has no business in business,] and just crack on installing the examples shown, and proven shall we say, by Apple’s pragmatic (communist?) example!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 16, 2014 @ 11:47 am

  8. Alan B Goulding
    Bio mass is insufficient to supply much energy.
    Using a very generous conversion efficiency factor of 50% I calculated that all the grain and sugar now produced, converted to liquid fuel, could only supply about 5% of humanity’s current consumption of such fuel. And, we would all starve.

    Comment by John Turner — July 16, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

  9. John Turner, I completely agree, which is why I never suggested biomass.
    For example, if one was to rely exclusively on ethanol, to power all grain to ethanol conversion, one would create an energy debt, and indeed, uselessly and entirely unproductively, churn money!
    It’s it well and truly beyond time, we fail to hold our leaders to account!
    However, the average family, produces enough biological waste, if processed as outlined above in previous posts, to provide all their energy needs 24/7.
    The closed cycle, smell free, two tank system for a high rise residential/small village/modest suburb i.e., only needs to consume as much space as a couple of shipping containers.
    Positioned at the lowest possible site, gravity would replace most of the pumps now needed for conventional sewerage.
    We pump this nutrient loaded waste out to sea, as millions of tons PA, where it does nothing but harm to the marine environment, and indeed, makes swimming more dangerous, given the possible pathogens load, that this can add to sea water.
    Prince Charles, as a very young man, taking a dip in sea water near Sorrento, Vic. suggested it felt like diluted sewerage.
    I suppose he was right, given it is!
    Turning this wasted waste into energy, as is now taking place in parts of Sydney, and at Apple headquarters California, needs to use no food, just that, we humans have already predigested.
    The waste products include, endless free hot water, carbon rich, thoroughly sanitized, organic fertilizer, rich in both expensive nitrates and phosphates!
    Imagine John, we currently burn money by the millions, and increasingly expensive hydrocarbons, to make nitrates!
    I mean, given the tons pumped out to sea annually; how stupid is that?
    The waste water from this process is loaded with thoroughly sanitized nutrient, eminently suitable for oil rich algae production.
    Under optimized conditions, algae literally double their weight and oil content every 24 hours!
    They also absorb direct from the atmosphere, 2.5 times their own bodyweight in carbon.
    You may well ask, if its so good, why aren’t many other doing it?
    Great question!
    Except some more intelligently led nations actually are.
    Dutch scientists i.e., were claiming, they could be producing commercial quantities of algae based jet fuel, by as soon as 2010!
    And we are trialing production at several sites, one being a diesel production facility in our northwest, that relies exclusively on open tanks and sea water.
    And Tarong power, Q’ld, was growing some in open tanks, to offset some of their emission!
    Removing the virtually ready to use bio diesel, or jet fuel, is as simple as harvesting some of the product, [not needed as seed material,] sun-drying it, and then crushing that material.
    The ex-crush material, with its oil content removed. [some as high as 60%,] is possibly suitable as animal fodder or as a base for ethanol production.
    Algae don’t need arable land, will even grow out in seawater, and given scales of economy, could see algae based fuel products, retailed for just 44 cents a litre!?
    It beggars belief John, that we are currently importing 91% of our oil needs, and as sulfur laden, twice refined, Middle East oil!
    And at a cost to us of around 26 billions PA.
    And given the usual multipliers, depriving our own economy of around 180 billions worth of economic activity.
    And all while the Murray /Darling struggles, just like Ardmona, to survive!
    I mean its nearly as stupid as buying soldiers shoes or boots offshore, to save a few dollars, all while ignoring the fact that making the boots here, uses local leather, and means that all the wages and profits stay here, doing at least seven times more economic work!
    Work and other economic spin-offs, that our narrowly focused government, have also handed to foreigners!
    Ditto, possibly our current shipping industry!
    It may be worth waiting and the extra millions expended, if we emerge with a competent expert ship building industry, able to export to the world.
    They will however, need access to vastly cheaper energy, so as to automate and maximize the mass production aspects, that currently seem to be missing from our own submarine and shipping building models?
    Staving in order to produce fuel, is not only not a viable option John, but just about the stupidest thing anyone could conceive, or worse, actually do!
    Alan B, Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 16, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

  10. Afterthought: Aussie scientists have invented a new method of making ethanol, using grass clippings, hedge clipping, begass, sawdust, wood shavings etc.
    Using waste to make ethanol seems like a good plan, as opposed to having it find its way into landfill, to make methane.
    As a greenhouse gas, one unit of methane is worth 21 units of carbon!
    [I also like the idea of using waste from waste’s, waste, to make the same thing. We waste much too much of our waste!]
    Even there, a layer of plastic over landfill is enough to collect escaping methane, and maybe feed it through a ceramic cell or two, and then feed the resultant power into a grid, or some council activity? E waste recovery maybe?
    I believe, given the huge economic advantages that would accrue, in publicly developing some of this local innovation, we could really produce some economic activity.
    But particularly if we (government) started to pick winners and introduced long overdue, real tax reform.

    Ideally, the best reform would result in the lowest tax impost on all of us; and for my money, that has to be a single stand alone, unavoidable expenditure tax, on all expenditure.
    Collected via the banking fraternity, in exchange for a continuing baking licence, [which for our big four,] is a virtual licence to print money.
    The first effect of this patent pragmatism, or an unavoidable expenditure tax, would be to return the 7% averaged, that is currently ripped from Aussie bottom lines, as tax compliance costs.
    Which in effect, would make the comparative rate, some 11% and the lowest in the developed world?
    Given that is so; no sacred cows or the level of endemic avoidance, that is all but killing our teetering economy, and indeed, basic social justice.
    Given a 1.6 trillion dollar economy, a rate of 18% will collect around 380 billions per initially!
    And at least three times that amount as all offshore operations, can no longer avoid a fair share, or pay just the same as every other business, collecting some or all of their revenue/profit here.
    And as that happens and tax revenue doubles and doubles again, the rate can be progressively lowered to as low as 5% variable! The tax rate alone could then varied microscopically, to alone control all inflation; meaning, interest rates could also come way down, to power up the non mining economy!
    Coupling the worlds cheapest energy, to the worlds lowest tax burden, would see the high tech companies, the entrepreneurs, and the self funded retirees of the world over, queuing to relocate to these shores!
    And in the process opening up huge job and wealth creation opportunities for us all!
    What could cruel or kill that possibility, are criminally recalcitrant state governments, acting as they’ve inevitably done, and just act as veritable roadblocks in the path of real progress or modernity!?
    Given they do little else that can’t be done far better by local government/Federal Govt!
    Why should we be FORCED to put up with or contend with, examples of the worst possible costly incompetence at best, or a breeding house endemic corruption/cronyism, that staggers from crisis to crisis at worst?
    Eliminating that one tier of government, would hand back some 70 billions annually of the taxpayers’ money; and a direct funding model coupled to far great regional autonomy, would enable a simultaneous 30% increase in coal face funding!
    A referendum that asked the same questions and for the same reasons as I’ve posed, would likely see the people giving all state legislators, their long overdue comeuppance?
    We can do so much better, than stand as a divided nation, bickering over the spoils of economic defeat; or economic sovereignty, sold down the river!
    And then we wonder why our best people and their better ideas, are bolting for the exit door and heading offshore, with almost obscene haste!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 17, 2014 @ 11:34 am

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