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Shunda barunda

Very interesting Ian.

I have been raising an issue on Frog blog about how NZ could remove all of our emissions and a bit more simply by allowing conifers to spread along the eastern Southern Alps.

Now while this is a dramatic land use change, I am only suggesting this as a solution to the extreme urgency that alarmists keep talking about.
It is an entirely feasible solution that would effectively sequester carbon for the next 200 years!!

What was the response? oh no no, we can't do that it might upset certain (already highly modified) ecosystems.

I maintain that it would be entirely feasible to remove all anthropogenic carbon in the atmosphere through vegetative means and at a fraction of the cost of the proposed ETS.

Now after doing some research on this guess what I found, AGW believers DISCOURAGING tree planting!! They are actually suggesting this would cause MORE global warming!!
These people are not interested in a solution until certain "other" things have been achieved.

If CO2 really is the problem, we can realistically solve it, it would be a massive undertaking but it is possible and it is cheaper than other proposals.

The problem for the AGW faithful is that it means we can probably feel a lot better about burning fossil fuels as well.

These people are not about the solution they are all about using global warming as a proxy for a left wing political agenda.

Thomas Everth

Ian: Copenhangen etc. is all about setting binding targets to reduce CO2 and other GH gases.

A move towards the type of agriculture that LaSalle talks about - and I am well aware of it - would be very beneficial in that regard as would be a lot of other biological means, reforestation etc. and I am all for it!

However if Copenhagen fails to achieve setting targets - something that you and the Carbon selling industries (Oil, Coal, Gas..) seem to be especially keen to assure - then the lack of action will also mean that LaSalles good work would remain in the drawer. A failure of Copenhagen and follow up conferences will cement the status quo of a lot of talk and very little action. Is that what you want?

And whenever the word 'Carbon Trading' is mentioned in blogs like this one - it is never then also said that the biggest carbon traders are and have always been the Oil, Coal and Gas industries of cause, to the tune of $45 Billion Profit of just one of them - Exxon 2008 - let alone the sum total.

Compared to that any trade in emissions quota - the result of incentivising carbon neutral or carbon offsetting technologies such as organic farming etc. is rather minimal in $value.

The Oil market (if valued at $70/barrel) in 2008 was about $US2.2 Trillion.

The carbon emissions permit market was abut $60Billion (2007 number) or 2.7% of the actual carbon trading a.k.a Oil selling market not even counting the coal or gas markets on top of this.

So the carbon emissions trading market - money going from emitters to those who create offsets - is a tiny tiny fraction of the real carbon trading - that of Exxon et. al.

It's clever marketing by the real carbon traders to have coined and hammered in the phrase 'carbon trading' for the emissions permits trading, thereby confusing the public.

Ian Wishart

Thomas, the carbon market isn't worth much at the moment because it is largely in limbo awaiting finality.

But with the EU and others talking about a carbon price north of US$100-200 a tonne, the value will quickly ratchet up and those in on the ground floor (Al Gore, Green Party etc) will make a financial killing - not because it is a genuinely free market but because it will be controlled by UN carboncrats (see draft treaty).

Even Friends of the Earth and other similar groups are starting to loudly warn against ETS schemes and carbon trading, because they can see it's a rort that will make the financial crash look like a party.

Let's face reality. There is currently no viable energy alternative to fossil fuels.

Electric cars? Britain, the US and NZ have all experienced blackouts from existing overloads, how bad do you think it will get if we all have to plug vehicles in each night.

Wind power? It's a joke. The wind is too unreliable in most countries, and the cost of keeping other power stations ticking over for windless days makes windfarms uneconomic in the real world, and of no value in preventing carbon emissions.

Solar technology? The cost of extracting minerals and building solar panels (which have short lives) far exceeds their worth as a viable alternative, and they certainly couldn't provide the grunt for a million car batteries every night.

Nuclear is an option but has waste drawbacks.

It's all very well handwringing about burning less carbon, but the reality is we'll have to return to horse and cart and subsistence living.

All of this might be justified if it could be proven carbon is the problem the IPCC claims it is, but the latest science is suggesting CO2 has been vastly overrated as a problem, and that's even assuming that the current warming cycle is harmful. There is good evidence that it isn't.

Thomas Everth

Ooops.. Ian, I think now you stepped into a bit of bog! You'll need a rather big shovel to dig out from that.

Electric cars?....
With smart metering technology the amount of extra power generation required is astonishingly small. Did you know that on an almost daily basis there is so called 'must run auction' in NZ to auction away the right to dump power for free into the NZ grid at night so that stations with over capacity that do not like shutting down and coming back on later can gain the right to do so?
Electric cars are about 70% to 80% efficient as opposed to IC engines 20%. It is more effective actually to burn the oil in a thermal power station and charge an electric car than to burn the fuel in the IC engine!

I built an electric car and studied the matter extensively. I know what I am talking about.

Wind power? It's a joke....
Opps: You stepped into a big mud puddle there. Why do you think US pension funds and other big investors bend over backwards to invest into NZ windfarms or how do you explain the fact that Wind power provided 19.7 percent of electricity production and 24.1% of capacity in Denmark in 2007 and their CO2 emissions are down over 13% from 1990 levels?

In NZ wind is ideally paired with our water generation as in windy times the lakes act as a perfect battery.

I am a member of NZWIND Assoc and know what I am talking about.

Solar technology? The cost of extracting minerals and building solar panels (which have short lives) ...
OOps again. Many solar panels have been in service in extend of well over 30 years, in fact many manufacturers now give up to 25 years warranty on their panels (BP for example) and pay back the energy invested in the construction of a modern photovoltaic module is typically from 1 to 4 years!
And did you know that a square of PV panels of 231 kilometers on a side will suffice at today's technology to provide all the 17 Trillion KWhrs of global electricity consumption?

That was one of the most sloppy posts you did in here in long shot Ian, completely off the track and besides all facts indeed.

For a brief primer on the potential of alternative power generation I can recommend a fitting article to you form the latest Scientific American.

Thomas Everth

... and as far as a 24/7 reliability of solar: In the arid areas of the US current concentrator solar plants running steam turbines store excess day heat in molten salt to be able to provide power 24/7. The solar technology has advanced a lot over the past decade.



I agree with you that we should be developing alternative energy supplies. Wouldn't our cities and towns be so much more plesant to live in with electric cars?

It seems the bottle neck is battery technology lagging behind.

In the meantime, Ian is right - we are still very dependent on fossil fuels, and it will take some time to alter this. The increasing costs of extraction will make developing alternatives more attractive.


How do you spell Hidden Agenda? Answer: CO2

Thomas Everth

Yes robk, battery technology is where its at with EVs. Mine is running on good old deep cycle lead acids while I am waiting for the price of modern technology to come down or new technology to come to market. But even with the limited range of my current car - 40Km - it has replaced my need to run a IC engine car for my daily needs. Its a joy to drive.

And yes, of cause, it will take a long time to retool and rebuild the energy infrastructure around sustainable technology. That's why we need to do this vigorously now while we still have the benefits of fossil fuels as a low hanging fruit.

It is not going to be easy but it has the convincing argument going for it that here is no alternative if we want to continue our high tech civilization as we descent on the other side of the oil peak...

Ian Wishart

Don't get me wrong, if the technology was there I'd leap at it. There were high hopes for fuel cells a few years back, and of course there's the ongoing but so far unfruitful work on cold fusion.

But we cannot power down civilisation without having viable alternatives already in place.

Turning speculators like Gore into billionaires whilst hoping the increasing carbon prices will somehow 'magic' the new technology into existence by the brute strength of market forces is naive and dangerous.

As I said, justifiable only if the threat is definitely real, and we can't even agree on that.



You seem to have an agenda.

Other articles I have found on the net are suggesting that the market in renewable energy is far from reliable or cost effective.

or this one:

Unless Denmark has changed how it is using the power of wind in the past few months, your comment is missleading at best.

As far as electric cars go; you need to go back to the class room again. The problem with electric cars has always been the limited distance they can go without a recharge. The recharge takes too long to make the electric cars a viable "away from home" mode of transportation.

I would also like to know when John Q Public is going to wake up and figure out that eventually all "green" cars are going to have to carry more of the cost to maintain the transportation infrastructure? Electric cars are not paying their fair share in road taxes. The entire burden of the road system is being paid by the internal combustion engine. Lets add in these extra taxes to the cost of running "green" cars and make a fair comparison of the technologies.

And the last thing I heard was that solar panels have a life of 10 years, with a half life of about 5 years. But I don't have a link to that study. My bad.

So, Thomas, it's back to kindergarden for you.

If you want to make comments about studying the subject in detail and give the impression of being an expert; be sure and do so in a fair and balanced way or you will not be taken seriously.



Thomas Everth

SMS: I think you are stuck in Kindergarten indeed.

Why, if solar panels were to have a 10 year life span is it than that manufactures are giving a 25 year warranty now in many cases. Can you cite other tech items that have a warranty that comes even close?

Electric Cars and road taxes: EVs are paying RUC. My small EV costs as much as a 2Ton Diesel SUV. You think that's fair?

Many studies have shown that the average daily distance driven is well within the EV only range of plug-in hybrids. If you need to go further, the ICE will kick in. Overall your annual average fuel consumption would be in the range of 100Ml/Gal or better.

My daily commuting are several trips of about 5Km. My range is 8 of these. But between each of these trips I plug in. No problem. My EV has replaced my ICE car for 90% of daily driving.

Thomas Everth

... oh, SMS, you asked about my agenda: Yes, I have one and its simple: Do my share to advance towards a sustainable future.

What's your agenda?

And as of knowledge, I have degree in physics and have studied all these topics intently since the late 70ties. Whats your experience?

Shunda barunda

To be really honest Thomas I find your dedication to issues of sustainability admirable. What I don't understand is why you place so much importance on AGW to advance these issues.

Don't you realise how risky this is? to place all your eggs in the AGW basket?

Sustainable living and industry is important regardless of global warming, there are a multitude of reasons (including the energy crisis) to head in this direction that have nothing to do with the climate.

My concern (as somebody currently involved in rehabilitating the environment), is that if AGW turns out not to be the issue the alarmists say it is, the environment most certainly will suffer greater than ever before.

There will be a backlash against this movement, even a relatively passive backlash will be extremely significant because of the pre-eminence that this issue has gained.
The move towards a truly sustainable society will be all the more difficult as the environmental movement as very foolishly attached all of these issues to AGW.
There will be tears.

Thomas Everth

... Wind: SMS, your wind article at energytribune is rather distorting. No surprise really. The editor of the site Economides, is an oil industry man. His site makes his alliances perfectly clear. It is a 'think tank' set up to discredit sustainable energy solutions and arguing for a continuation of our dependence on OPEC, oil and gas. A rather short sited view I would think. But its paying well. The Oil industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry. Each percent in consumption reduction poses a threat of tens of billions of dollars to that industry. Quite a motivator to spend a bit on PR.....

As far has the critique on the Danish wind energy goes, it hinges on the observation that Denmark is a partner in the European electricity grid and exports or imports power. Nothing wrong with that at all. Of cause fluctuating generation such as wind is ideally suited to large grids and especially so if other partners in the grid over a large geographic area also have wind capacity in which case demand and supply can balance best with wind patterns. Overall there is a ceiling of the amount of Wind generation that a given net can reasonably integrate unless we switch to more intelligent energy use patterns. Here in NZ that ceiling is higher than in many places especially thanks to our large water generation which can be turned on and off quickly whereby the lakes function as a virtually loss-less store of energy.

In the end (when the last remaining oil deposits are so deep that they are uneconomical) humanity is limited to three energy flows: Solar (incl. wind), Tidal (Earth rotation energy) and Geothermal. All else rests on limited resources with depletion horizons that are close, with the low hanging fruits mostly eaten and diminishing returns approaching fast (energy returned to energy invested).
In the end we will need to learn to live with the sustainable energy flows or bust.

Thomas Everth

Shunda: I agree completely with your statement:

"Sustainable living and industry is important regardless of global warming, there are a multitude of reasons (including the energy crisis) to head in this direction that have nothing to do with the climate."

And I not putting all my eggs into the GW debate. While in my mind the evidence for GW is irrefutable and the moral mandate to attempt to stop it strong - I guess we will need to disagree about that - I would agree with some of the posts in here that I am skeptical that we will be able to reduce our environmental impact enough to make a sufficient difference to whats heading our way in that regard.

However having said that, there is absolutely no harm in trying and penalizing the use of unsustainable energy use and supporting the development of sustainable technology is the best way forward. Many good heads have tried to come up with a way to do this and the emissions trading system is one such way. It is at the moment the only one that has a chance to actually be put to work. If it succeeds in advancing sustainable energy generation and use technology then it will have made a significant positive impact and future generations will thank us for not waiting until it's to late.

As far as GW: this is one debate that nature will surely end, one way or the other, and tears yes there will be tears!



Not forgetting the difference between GW (natural) and AGW (anthropogenic) is where the argument mainly resides...



Back to Pre-school. Most of the cost of a gallon/litre of gasoine is tax. Taxes to maintain the road system. Tell me, how are you paying your road taxes on that electric car? Through your home electric bill? Think not.

It's nice that you have an electric vehicle. How far do you pull the family camper on the weekends? Made any cross-country trips lately? Think not. Too much time waiting to recharge.

The wind article is spot on. Don't use ad homs to make a point. You lower your own standards.

Your observations on oil reserves are wrong. There is still abundant oil available. Just takes more money to get it out as it is in deeper waters and more hostile environments.

You probably already know that only a small portion of the oil in place is actually recovered from a field before the field becomes uneconomical. To get some of the remaining portion of the oil requires more costly tertiary recovery methods. More money equal more recoverable reserves.

There is also an enormous reserve of oil offshore California and Alaska.

We should not be subsidising green energy sources. They should compete with the current sweet of energy sources. When those energy sources become too expensive the renewables should move in. Not before.

As to the solar panels. I'm an engineer (no degree in physics). I have to use the solar panels. They don't last but ten years and their capabilities start to drop off at their half life.

And don't tell me the new solar panels have a life of 25 years; it hasn't been that long. Tell me in 25 years how long a life they have.



Thomas Everth

SMS: as to the warranty of solar panels:

As to the time in service: I have worked in the Solar industry in the early 80ties. Many of the panels made then still produce good power today. That would be almost 40 years ago now and counting...
Where have you been all these decades?

As to the range of my EV: As I said, it fulfills 90% of my daily needs. I still have a gas clunker which I use for the few long range trips I do.
Now replacing 90% of my driving needs with electricity is not a bad thing for a home built conversion on a small budget don't you think? The next wave of commercial EVs will have three to four times my range. Plug in EVs do away with the range issue completely. If I take my annual miles traveled (EV and ICE) and divide that by the fuel I bought for the occasional trips in the ICE car, then my annual fuel consumption / km has gone down to a fraction of what it used to be. I kind of think that's worth it, don't you?

As far as Road User Charges: I can only repeat, my small EV pays the same road user charges (RUC) as a 2 Ton Diesel van.

Perhaps you are not from New Zealand and do not know the system here? Only our petrol contains taxes for road maintenance, diesel and all non-petrol vehicles buy tax stickers per miles covered.

"We should not be subsidising green energy sources."

I think we should factor the true cost of the fossil fuel based energy production into their price. At the moment that is not done.

Also, many 'green energy sources' such as Wind in NZ are already cost competitive.

Solar hot water is another area that is very cost competitive and pays its investment back in a few years.

However Oil is subsidized heavily, especially in the US through tax breaks while the industry is rolling in billions in profits. Lets have a level playing field!

As far as the 'enormous oil reserves go' I totally disagree with you. Even the rather 'conservative' IEA (which had denied the whole Peak Oil idea for a long while) is now predicting Peak Oil by 2020, other reputable sources put that date much closer.

The rate of decline in the low hanging fruits of the old giant oil fields can not be offset by these new resources.

Thomas Everth

...That would be almost 40 years ago now and counting... should have read almost 30 years of cause... typed to fast...


"Yes robk, battery technology is where its at with EVs. Mine is running on good old deep cycle lead acids while I am waiting for the price of modern technology to come down or new technology to come to market. But even with the limited range of my current car - 40Km - it has replaced my need to run a IC engine car for my daily needs. Its a joy to drive."

Unsustainable Thomas.

More electric cars means more mining and evironmental damage to get the raw materials to make the batteries. :-)

Plus. More Electric cars= More Power stations just to provide the power for them.

As For Wind Powered energy. It's indeed a joke. If it weren't for all the 'Govt green subsidies' at the exspense of the taxpayer for these costly green power generating alternatives Overseas. Many of them would have never been built in the firstplace.

What's even more laughable. The UK now recognises the fact all the $$$ wasted on socalled 'Green energy' isn't going to cut the mustard in the longterm future. So it appears they've approved the construction of 10 nuclear power plants so as to guarantee their longterm energy requirements.

BTW: I'm also fairly well versed with the in out outs of Electric cars and some of these alternative energies. Come from a family who happens to have experimented and played around with these things. including experimenting with Hydrogen power in the 1970s.

On top of that. I'm well versed on how useless the Toyota Prius is. I just happen to also know a top mechanic who services them aswell. ;-)


For many of us. A car with a 40Km range would be unsustainable for most of our daily requirements.

That wouldn't get me to downtown Auckland and back home again. I'd be stuck somewhere on the southern Motorway. :-)

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