Sunday, 10 June 2007

Rudd backs himself into a Climate Change corner

Kevin Rudd today handed the next federal election to the Coalition with his statement that nuclear power is not needed in order to achieve Labor's 60% reduction in CO2 emission by 2050.
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd on Sunday insisted Australia could reach ambitious emissions reductions targets without resorting to nuclear power.

Mr Rudd said the key was to establish an emissions trading market not to adopt nuclear power.
What this scientific ninny and his clearly equalliy ninnyish advisors are missing is that in order to hit the target existing coal-fired plants must be replaced by some other form of energy that can provide base load capacity. Nuclear is the only technology that can achieve that, as exampled by a country like France that achieves 75% of its energy needs from nuclear power.

"The science of this is pretty basic. All the scientists around the world agree that we have got to reach a point whereby we actually bring total emissions down. That is the carbon target," he told the Ten Network.

Mr Rudd said once the target was set, the emissions trading scheme and the market could establish the most cost-effective means of achieving that target.

"The science of this is pretty basic"??? If that's the case then why has no climate model ever managed to get within cooee of an accurate prediction of past climate let alone be trusted to be right in the future?
"Then you would see a huge investment in alternative clean energies like solar, like wind, like geothermal and the rest. You'd set the right price signals for clean coal technologies and carbon sequestration and also for gas.
Clean coal and gas are still a little way away. Given that Labor is setting a 20% reduction target by 2020 the price signal would have to be huge in order to drive energy companies to bring those technologies on line. Such a price signal can have no other short to medium term outcome than wrecking Australia's economy, which is why critics say that GDP will drop by 10% by 2020 through implementing this target.
"On the question of nuclear ... our position on that is for Australia, with this rich array of other alternative energy options available, we can achieve our overall carbon target without taking on the extra safety and environmental risks which the nuclear option for Australia would represent."
What does Rudd have to say to France and all of those other countries in which nuclear power makes up a massive portion of their energy needs? By the definition above those countries must have unsafe and environmentally risky standards. Why hasn't Labor ever campaigned against them having such technology if it's such a grave threat to the environment?
Mr Rudd said Prime Minister John Howard's commitment to a policy of pledging and reviewing climate change targets sounded like pledging before the election then reviewing afterwards.
You mean, like Labor's plan to do its own 'Stern Review' and not release results until after the election?
"Mr Howard has just got to get fair dinkum about climate change. One of the risks to Australia's economic future is us not acting on climate change and water," he said.
There you go. Linking climate change to water is the first sign of a know-nothing zealot.

"Mr Howard has in fact fiddled while Rome has burned on this question."
Mr Rudd said that dated back to the late 1990s when advice started to emerge on the need to act on climate change and continued right through until the lead-up to the election.
No country implemented anything back in the late 1990s and Labor has already been caught lying its pants off on this one by none other than this humble blogger.
He said Mr Howard had been a climate change sceptic now trying to convince people he was a climate change convert.

"If you are fair dinkum, seriously fair dinkum about climate change there is one benchmark - you would have established a carbon target a long time ago and you'd be setting up an emission trading scheme and doing something about it," he said.
If Labor was fair dinkum, seriously fair dinkum about climate change then it would be releasing the results of its 'Stern Review' along with the economic impact as early as possible. Of course, it's not fair dinkum.

As I said at the beginning, barring some massive mood-altering occurrence, the Coalition has the next election in the bag. It's just a matter of letting election year political events take their normal course.


Bruce said...

One thing is clear - if you own a small business in Australia be very worried about nincompoop Rudd and his Stalinist gang getting government.

enviro said...

I cannot believe that both the Greens, Labor and the Australian environmental movement could not show that there are alternatives to both nuclear and fossil fuel power which will not produce CO2 or send our economy bankrupt and would enable it to function and which can be used in many countries of the world including China. I refer to solar thermal power. This is the simple but effective technique of concentrating sunlight with mirrors to create heat and then using the heat to raise steam to drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. Solar heat can be stored in melted salts and in the splitting of ammonia and then recombining it and this turns out to be a very easy and cheap way so that generation of electricity will continue at night and on cloudy days and no additional fossil fuel burning is required. This storage method allows for variable output for peak, medium and base power production on demand.
Far from being inefficient, and a negative for the economy solar thermal power (CSP) has huge potential to supply the world with a major way to produce clean electricity, jobs and wealth. It has been calculated that, if it was covered with CSP plants, an area of hot desert measuring 254 km x 254 km—which is less than 1% of the area of deserts around the world—would generate as much electricity as the world currently consumes. If used in Australia alone and area 50KM square in desert areas would supply all of Australia’s energy requirements. And it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over long distances using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. 90% of the world's population could be supplied from this source.
US venture capitalist Vinod Khosla of Sun Microsystems says that CSP is poised for explosive growth because of its low costs. In part this has been brought about by the use of simple cheap flat mirrors and the ammonia storage method developed by Australian scientist Dr David Mills. The 'TRANS-CSP' report, commissioned by the German government, calculates that CSP is likely to become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. Information about CSP can be found at and

Michael Stuart said...

"Enviro" is simply posting SPAM! Don't believe this CSP rubbish! Concentrating solar power is no substitute for baseload energy sources such as nuclear.

Not only do these spammers pretend that solar power is the answer to all of our energy woes, "Enviro" (or Viv Rendall) isn't even an Aussie.

It's not that I'm against solar power, but when someone pretends that their pet project is the sole answer to our energy needs, it smacks of disingenuity.

In reality, it will take a combination of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and nuclear (not to mention conservation) to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Michael Stuart said...

OK. I take it back.

Maybe Viv Rendall or "Enviro" really is an Aussie.

But she's still wrong.

GerryWolff said...

It really is nonsense to say that "Concentrating solar power is no substitute for baseload energy sources such as nuclear". With heat storage and the use of gas as as a backup source of heat, CSP plants can deliver any combination of base-load power, intermediate load and peaking power - a degree of versatility that is well beyond the very inflexible output of nuclear power.

There is more information on


enviro said...

We in Australia have a prime minister who is hell bent on taking us down the nuclear path to the exclusion of any alternative source of power that is absolutely clean and green. This has been due to the notion backed up by industry and business fossilized in the past that the two main sources of future power in Australia will be coal and nuclear and renewables will be insignificant sources. Actually the opposite will be true with nuclear and coal becoming minimal or almost nonexistent. If you have looked at the references I and many others have supplied in the many letters, replies and blogs and understood them and I feel you haven’t, you would have come to the realization that there is indisputable solid well understood scientific evidence almost schoolboy stuff, that says we have abundant energy in the form of wind, tidal, solar thermal, and geothermal all provided by our only safe nuclear reactor the sun freely delivered at a rate which will last for another 5 billion years or so and is enough to supply all the world many many times over at any instant of time. Great advances have been seen in the renewable industry and a gigawatt solar thermal plant is being built using the cheap flat mirror system together with the ammonia storage system which turns out to be easy to do and is based on well understood science and mature technology. There are many storage systems but the ammonia one is closed loop and is cheap and efficient and probably supreme in that it has much greater flexibility enabling base medium or peak power on demand. Not only that, this system beats other storage systems in that energy received and locked up chemically during summer can be released during winter or at any distant future time which is not intrinsically possible with the other systems. As economies of scale kick in prices in the not too distant future will plummet and this is where the crunch will come in for the nuclear and fossil fuel industry. So we are now at the crossroads and we have an opportunity never ever provided before; the world can go down the entirely unsafe nuclear path which is from the fact that we live in a world that is entrenched in crazy ideologies and if continued will almost certainly destroy us long before global warming does, or we can use renewables that will not only tackle global warming and provide greatly reduced costs of energy enabling states to survive, in doing so will also reduce nuclear proliferation steering us away from almost certain destruction as well!

Michael Stuart said...

Sorry, Enviro Viv. You can try to discredit me all you with, but I have worked in the energy sector for 17 years and I am quite familiar with energy technologies, especially nuclear energy.

If I may ask, what are your credentials for your claims about nuclear and solar energy? Do you work in either field? Do you hold a graduate degree in either?

I am not saying that solar energy is a dead technology, but today, right now, the only viable energy source that is available in large scale to combat Greenhouse gas emissions is nuclear energy.

But don't take my word for it. It seems that the International Panel on Climate Change backed by the United Nations agrees with me. Where is their statement of endorsement on CSP?

Michael Stuart said...

Can, can, can. What's the difference between a can and it's contents? You can't eat a can, Gerry, and your cans have no contents.

It can also rain frogs, but I'm not going to place any bets on it happening consistently.

Notice that I don't have to say that nuclear power can provide 80% of a country's electricity, displacing hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide.

I don't need to say it "can" because it does!