The point of the article must have gone in search of the story's missing structural coherence. Perhaps they're both in my coat pocket?
Climate change is already affecting rainfall in the Australian state of Victoria, according to Australia's Climate Commission which is therefore advocating a range of mitigation and adaptation measures. Among the suggestions contained in the Climate Commission's report, Victorian climate impacts and opportunities is the …
Tuesday 24th July 2012 04:30 GMT John Savard
Even if the science is settled on the reality of global warming, we are not yet in a situation where large masses of the people are driven to panic by the immediacy of the threat. That would be required before it would be at all politically feasible to make the cuts needed to address the issue... now, while we still can.
So the article avoided taking a position on this contentious issue.
My position is that we're obviously doomed, unless some boffin invents a way to make all the energy we want to live our extravagant and wasteful lifestyles without carbon emissions. Oh, wait. We have one. It's called "nuclear power".
Tuesday 24th July 2012 11:00 GMT Anonymous Coward
Maybe the point was....
...the hypocrisy of the Victoria state government, who presumably want to foist expensive solar energy on their electorate, but meanwhile are busy with a plan to develop several billion tonnes of brown coal resources for export primarily to countries (eg India, China) without Kyoto emissions targets.
Personally I'm not a believer in the whole AGW caboodle, but I don't see how you can justify changing your domestic generation portfolio on the basis of climate change, whilst still proposing to export vast volumes of one of the highest CO2 per delivered kWh fuels we can find.
Given the domestic carbon tax, you'd have thought that the Australian government would be addressing this, as the figures indicate that Australia's coal exports generate emissions elsewhere that are double Australia's domestic total from all sources. But then again, offshoring your pollution and workers rights to China goes on with manufacturing, so why not sell them the fuel as well?
Tuesday 24th July 2012 00:09 GMT Turtle
When O When...
With indescribable expectation and longing I yearn for the day when these 'tipping points" actually arrive and, you know, *tip* - so that the whole matter is a done deal and we don't have to put up with these panic-mongers anymore.
But sadly, it seems that these tipping points are not unlike the horizon: they recede into the future as quickly as you can approach.
Tuesday 24th July 2012 00:36 GMT -tim
The major brown coal plants are selling power at $25 per megawatt hour. That accounts for about $.025 of the $.20 or so per kwh as seen on the power bill. Many places only average about 4 kwh per kw of solar panels so there is a long way to go to be close to parity. The main reason power consumption has gone down is all the extra rain has reduced air conditioning consumption combined with people installing newer air conditioners that are sometimes 10 times more efficient than the ones they replaced. There are also programs to replace electric heating with gas which cuts down on the consumption as well. I still find it very odd that Victorians spend more on heating than Canadians who have to deal with real winters.
Tuesday 24th July 2012 00:52 GMT Ralphe Neill
And Tim Flannery, the chief of the commission, waned us that it was never going to rain again, that Melbourne would run out of water. Since then we've had major floods in Queensland. NSW and Victoria.
Oh ... Flannery also warned that teeth containing fillings should be removed from corpses before cremation to avoid a major pollution threat. Go figure!
Tuesday 24th July 2012 02:24 GMT DougS
Climate change happened in three years? Damn hockey stick!
Seriously, they are comparing rainfall and sunlight from 2009-2010 to this year and because it's different, it must be climate change? Well here in the US midwest where I live we've had 1.25" of rain (in exactly two rainfall events) in the past 2+ months, and just had our 4th day of over 100*. Must be climate change. Nevermind that we had a big drought in 1988 and a bigger one in 1936. And that one in 1936 was not only a drought, but we had 22 days over 100 degrees that summer, a record that I sure hope will never be broken unless the worst predictions of global warming do come to pass. Now if summers like this became the norm rather than the once every few decades exception, then we'll all be forced to concede that climate change is happening, but it'll take a lot longer than a couple years to reach that conclusion!
If Victoria has a bunch of flooding and greatly reduced sunlight in three years hence, I'm sure this will be pointed to as further proof of climate change. Only if it's climate permanently becomes as wonderfully bland and predictable as Hawaii's will they be silenced (probably not even then, they'll come up with some reason why this is a bad thing)
Tuesday 24th July 2012 04:08 GMT John Savard
Even in Australia, sometimes there are clouds in the sky. And there is certainly something called "night".
Electrical power has to be dependable. If you don't want carbon emissions, there are two proven solutions: hydro and nuclear.
Solar and wind power are good for small projects, especially where fossil fuels are still used, because then they can reduce fossil fuel use. But they can't eliminate it.
Tuesday 24th July 2012 06:13 GMT David Pollard
In Australia, and presumably much of the USA, the output of solar energy does match fairly well with its use for air conditioning. So a proportion of needs can be supplied without adverse consequences for the rest of the system.
In the UK, in contrast, consumers are paying through the nose - 43p per unit feed in tariff - to support solar installations which generate energy at the 'wrong' time.
Tuesday 24th July 2012 20:16 GMT Tom 13
Re: ..be supplied without adverse consequences for the rest of the system.
Let's be clear that the system you are discussing is the ELECTRICAL system, not the environment. IIRC part of the hidden hypocrisy of the environuts is that the manufacture of solar panels requires the use of a whole lot of chemicals that are much worse on the environment that the CO2 is alleged to be. And that's before you start dealing with the political implications of the countries from which you have to obtain those chemicals.
And of that is assuming your solar panels can actually run your AC.
Tuesday 24th July 2012 07:10 GMT Chris Miller
Hydro has a non-trivial carbon footprint*. You need a lot of concrete to make the dam (orders of magnitude more per MW than a thermal plant) and if you drown a green valley, decaying (and no longer photosynthesising) plant matter produces a lot of methane. They're one-off costs, so need to be depreciated over the life of the project, but aren't negligible.
* Less so, if you're capturing the power of mountain streams, but Australia isn't Switzerland or Norway.
Tuesday 24th July 2012 07:42 GMT Scott 19
Tuesday 24th July 2012 08:29 GMT Anonymous Coward
What "bullet" is Victoria supposed to bite?
The article notes that the cost of solar has already reached parity with traditional electric sources and a "boom" in roof top solar panels has driven down electric utility (or "wholeseller") demand.
Seems Victoria already bit the solar "bullet" in half. The massive environmental sledgehammer that is China is a far larger problem for Australia than Australia. So what's the point of the article?
Tuesday 24th July 2012 11:43 GMT dwieske
politicians profiting here as well?
it has been demonstrated OVER AND OVER (germany, denmark, belgium etc) that adding solar/wind without any storage capacity not only increases the cost enormously, but also INCREASES fossil fuel use as "fast" (= inefficicient) plants need to be built to compensate for the extreme unreliability of renewables.....and again when scaling up you encounter the issue that in some condiction (lots of sun/wind) you can have so much overproduction you can burn out your grid (almost happened here a month ago)
renewables in a 3rd world country: AWESOME, renewables in an industrialised country: absolute nonsense, higher cost ,more pollution, more infrastructure cost, more dead people (due to fossil plant pollution and deaths from placing solar/wind)...
the only real environmentally sound solution is nuclear power, GEN IV IFR reactors to be more specific..
choosing to exit nuclear is choosing so kill more people with pollution (in a less spectacular fashion), rising prices, lowering reliability, CHOOSING to let thousands die that are saved each year with nuclear medecine, and CHOOSING to actually get stuck with nuclear waste for millions of years (which could be used as fuel in an IFR).....
when it comes to energy production there is no bigger enemy of the environment, nor a bigger (unwilling) supporter of the fossil fuel industry then the "green" "anti-nuke-jihadi". Incidently the lies that eg. Greenpeace are allowed to spread year after year on the subject are no less than criminal, and I for one hope someone puts together a class-action lawsuit to attack these idiots and try to limit the damage their propaganda does.....eg mental issues caused by fearmongering in japan has done more harm than the fukushima disaster...
Tuesday 24th July 2012 12:09 GMT itzman
the reason is simple
Germany has a proportional representation system
Green is big in Germany.
Greens are EX CND types and fear hate and loathe nuclear,.
Germany runs Europe essentially.
SO german companies cant make nukes anymore.
German companies seek a captive market for their technology
Germans fund with other parties the myth of renewable energy.
Politicians seeing fame and fortune climb on board
Everyone suffers from policies that make no sense at all.
Tuesday 24th July 2012 13:20 GMT General Pance