All about gas, coal has lost it

It is all about gas. Coal has lost it, but it is a good distraction. Petroleum is a convenient price setter. Renewables are the future and the trick is to be to get the traditional utility models to take ownership. But what is the price?

World wide scholarly types have put forward a number of maps of energy analysis for, Japan and globally. Japan is topical because they are more likely to be a first tier part of Australia’s trade. 

The trade approaches call for model development for energy demand, costing, efficiency, and green house gas emission – We trust you noted that models needed included Greenhouse Gas emissions. Why? Because Japan for its energy security must consider its short and long selling trades on energy. Energy needs include considering an individual process basis including fuel cell technology, vehicle technology, internal electricity needs and the usage strata on all levels including regional or national levels with a multiplicity of competing energy processes.

That said, Japan is only one of our global partners with similar concerns. All must consider in their national interest what are some of the comparable energy pathways. Those pathways include: Coal importation, fuels used for electricity production, electricity use in either residential, commercial, and transportation sectors etc. In all these considerations the answers can change over time and some of the drivers will be the relevant technology needs, the gaps in sustainable delivery mechanisms to meet the demands and gaps in supply, and they must also consider the time frames needed to close each fuel supply type and substitute them.

Australia’s politics is sending up a big smoke screen – Coal is King. World prices and demand says something different something like ‘Coal is dead long live the Coal’ 
 We hear of ‘clean coal’ and then we hear it is a nonsense. What is certain is it becoming an undesirable fuel source. This is not saying unnecessary it is simply saying much less attractive on the world stage. Why, technology can now provide better fuel sources without the climate change consequences. So much so that at any price, coal is too expensive. Coal can be burnt, but needs processing to be useful for other purposes. The term embodied energy come to mind here. It means the amount of energy needed to convert may be higher than the value of the material compared to alternative process. Then there is gas! Gas can be used for its molecule – to make fertilizer for instance, to fuel your stove, boiler, it can be a by-product of another process such as syngas. Your waste can even be used to produce it. Gas can be processes or extracted to supply. But the choices are better, cleaner. Granted, not the best energy source, but far more sensible than relying on coal. Hence, the now is all about gas.

Then there is the markets that determine viability to produce. Despite what our Australian policy makers might be telling us – the truth is more than ‘real’, it more than to be affective it is about being effective. It is not good enough to be positioned well, you also need an effective agenda. Or, at least have you agenda smarter than the other guys. What is there to critique about our stance, now:

Carbon Tax – the UK, US Republicans are all active in thinking a Carbon Tax is good. It is a market mechanism that works. This flies in the face of Australia’s Environment Minister saying it does not – even though the evidence suggest Australia’s Carbon Emissions reduced 11% since the introduction of a carbon price. Even more perplexing is why the Australian government put forward to confuse carbon price and carbon tax. For instance in the legislation for clean energy was the term the Carbon Price. The ‘price’ included offsetting for a transition of industry to a low carbon future. In the repeal legislation is substituted the words Carbon Tax as meaning Carbon Price. The UK and US clearly think there is a difference between the two definitions.

An example of the critics is, on 9 July 2014, Lord Deben – a UK Tory and is noted from the Thatcher years to now as expert on the environment has issued a statement through the ABC saying the Abbott Government “appears to be more concerned with advancing its own short-term political interests” than dealing with global warming.

Also, on 7 July 2014, Solar Reserve chief executive Kevin Smith told the ABC’s Four Corners program the company had been deterred by a drift in policy and the planned scrapping of the carbon tax.

It was also concerned about the appointment of Dick Warburton, who doubts that carbon emissions are causing global warming, to lead a review of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

“That policy change pretty much took the life out of the renewable energy sector as far as large-scale projects for utility applications [are concerned],” Mr Smith said.

“Other markets around the world are advancing. Australia is going to get left behind.”

On Mr Warburton’s appointment, Mr Smith said: “Clearly that appointment was made because they want to move back towards conventional fuels, coal and oil.

“It’s pretty clear that the policy in Australia is now being centred around big coal. The coal industry clearly has rallied to move policy away from renewable energies because they view renewable energy as a threat and want to move back to convention coal.”

“Just think, these coal companies won’t be able to sell their coal overseas unless they get sequestration or offset commitments and the only way they can do that is if they have an ETS; they can’t pay for it unless they’ve got carbon credits.

“They’ve killed themselves. Coal is dying anyway, but they’ve killed themselves even quicker.

“The whole politics of climate change has regained a bit of ground.”

Then consider:

Palmer United Party’s commitment to keep part of the architecture of the carbon laws in place – the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority – is a big win, and the reality is it’s driven by the market, ‘Newman’ says.

“That’s enough for now; we’ll regroup. We’ll get there.”

But do we really have to lose the ETS mechanism?

The suggestion Is then that the government cross benches are not happy:

This disaster started to unfold to vote for the ETS in 2009?

“A Victorian senator, Judith Troeth, a senior figure in the Liberal Party’s moderate faction, and a Queensland senator, Sue Boyce, crossed the floor to vote with Labor senators when the legislation was finally put to a vote,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald at the time.

Both these women are now gone. But maybe there are a few other senators willing to vote with their conscience.

It’s a time for bravery. There are Titanic shifts everywhere right in both the US and Australia and impressively they are from the conservative big end of town.

Last week was the think piece in the New York Times from the über-conservative Republican politician Hank Paulson, a former US Treasury Secretary, that ricocheted around the world.

It was based on a bipartisan report, Risky Business, that argued that global warming was no different to the global financial crisis and even more dangerous. And yet it was if the world was ploughing straight into a mountain, Paulson said.”

You might even note here – we are not talking technology, it is the passion of addressing the ‘real’ issues.

We wonder what would happen if you introduced the technology issues with wind-based electricity for water electrolysis for hydrogen production and the use of hydrogen in fuel cell vehicles, the use of biomass to produce biofuels for transportation. I bet the vested interests would do all they can to stop the innovation. Despite how short sighted it is to oppose.

To recap why we mentioned our agenda needs to be smarter. Consider this:

“LNG spot prices for Japan at 3-year low

TOKYO — Spot prices of liquefied natural gas for Japanese buyers have been hovering at the lowest level in about three years due to increased supplies and sluggish demand.

     Spot prices are about $11 per million British thermal units, about the same as immediately after the March 2011 earthquake in Japan. From February this year, the price has dropped about 40%.

     Supplies for Asia are increasing. An LNG project in Papua New Guinea, in which Exxon Mobil and JX Holdings have stakes, began production in May instead of the originally scheduled September or later. Now, more than 300,000 tons of LNG from Papua New Guinea flow into the spot market monthly. And shipments from Indonesia and Australia are also steady.

     In contrast, demand is not as strong. Ten Japanese power companies had 2.44 million tons of LNG inventories at the end of April, up 13% from a year earlier. With the temperature through May having been warmer than usual, these companies did not have to generate as much electricity as a year before.

     In South Korea, state-owned gas company Korea Gas piled up LNG inventories as the country restarted nuclear power plants. It is now asking such Japanese companies as Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power to buy its excess.

(Nikkei)”

Danger Danger no doubt!

Ready Steady Farmer – and the Challenge of Climate Change.

Access to finance is not significant in persuading farmers to adopt other than business as usual (BAU) agricultural practices. It is more likely some farmers’ actions and views are driven by near term happenings, such as extreme weather events. Possibly, the inability of outreach attempts by our Australian Government to have farmers change from BAU is the dogma of the belief we need initiatives to deal with long term problems. To test a farmers response to change might be as simple as determining which are the most are reactive, and who is proactive, in terms of how they manage and respond to impacts associated with climate change. Policies might then tailor the necessary competencies to suit the bands of farmers needing to change.

It does not matter whether we are in Australia, UK, US Russia or whatever, our changing climate and the effects of extreme weather events, such as the recent floods and droughts are having a significant impact on agriculture. Changed practices are required. However, if you don’t understand the problems of the farmers you only ‘feed the chooks’(referring to the media stories). We suggest a survey is necessary after taking note that in the UK the Environment Agency approach is commit to supporting the agricultural industry. Supporting to be more sustainable and resilient to climate change. They also go the extra to know how farmers are responding to the challenge of a changing climate and ask what are their needs?

A better way to promote the Carbon Farming Initiate or BioDiversity challenges could take the lead from the report on the analysis and key findings of the opinions, attitudes and behaviours of farmers across the UK, towards climate change. The report draws conclusions and recommendations that could inform future action, led by the Environment Agency (UK) and its key partners. The evidence came from surveys conducted by the Farming Futures project, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Water Survey 2011, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Irrigation Survey 2009/10 and the Defra Farm Practices Survey.

“The report‟s focus is predominantly on water use on the farm, as an indicator of attitudes and practice. It is recognised that wider agronomic issues such as pests, disease, soil management, plant genetics and nutrient management are important factors within the climate change context; these issues are outside the scope of this report.” The full report is at: http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/PDF/GEMI0512BWKV-E-E.pdf

The key findings in this report highlight (source: Farming Futures 4 Sept 2012):

“Arable and horticulture businesses appear to be the most forward thinking farm types on climate change and are actively preparing for change.

Some management decisions on farms positively address climate change issues, however decisions are usually driven by the need to increase production and resource efficiency and thereby reduce overall costs.

Access to finance is not in itself a significant barrier to farmers changing existing practices.

Farmers need better support to understand climate change and what measures they could take in order that the UK food production becomes more sustainable in the future.

Many of the methods that farming could consider to help them adapt will already be familiar as good environmental practice. These include: maintaining good water quality, conserving water resources, conserving soils, following good nutrient management and improving wildlife habitats.

Many actions can lead to cost savings for example, reduced water and energy bills; and could create new income, for example, generating renewable energy.

Enabling farmers to take action now will result in a more ‘climate change proof’ agriculture industry.

Recommendations for enabling change:

Recommendation 1 – Production of targeted information for farmers on climate change impacts for agriculture.

Recommendation 2 – Establish or utilise existing good practice farm programmes.

Recommendation 3 – Farm advice programmes need to integrate and improve upon how climate change is represented, with information and best practice guidance produced for agriculture.

Recommendation 4 – To monitor and analyse the activities of farmers on climate change adaptation, and in the long term, understand the impact which is made by agriculture.

Recommendation 5 – For the Environment Agency and key partners who work with agriculture, to work in partnership to implement the recommendations identified in this report.”

CO2Land org strongly supports Farming Futures in how they flag practices. It is a signals approach and they allocate their assessment of blogs with ‘weak signals logo’ for yet unrecognized, by mainstream agriculture, ideas, trends, technologies or behaviour changes within the farming industry.  We are sure you will have stories of your own that know of practices that might have a big impact on future farm practices or have disappeared from the radar for no good reason other than they get forgotten or were poorly promoted.

CO2Land org will talk to some friends to see if this problem can be addressed in a better way for Australia.