Renewables? Future Imperfect

China Tops World In Total Installed Solar PV, Passes Germany

NEA: China Now World’s Largest Solar PV Market, With 43.2 GW Of Installed CapacityPhoto credit: sustainnovate.ae – Electrical and Mechanical Services Department Headquarters Photovoltaics

This is all good and laudable, for now.  But let’s look ahead forty, thirty, maybe even twenty five years, when all of this infrastructure begins to break down, becomes less efficient, or the region in which it is installed becomes barely liveable due to climate change.  What then?

With the mining of fossil fuels banned, unaffordable, or their remaining deposits just plain unobtainable by that time, and the necessary rare earths laying untouchable in the ground, how is this technology going to be repaired, replaced or expanded?

Answer:  It isn’t.

The same could be said for all so-called ‘renewables’.  Their continued operation, maintenance and expansion is totally reliant on the current fossil fuel based energy system which they are unrealistically trying to replace.  Nothing will replace the loss of oil based manufacturing, agriculture, transport and energy production.  Nothing.  Please don’t waffle on about a nuclear solution.  That avenue of progress is just so disgustingly obnoxious that it doesn’t merit even a mention, but I am sure its adherents will not simply just lie down and roll over.

Renewables.  They are a one-generation flash in the pan, stop-gap, temporary, partial solution to energy production.  Eventually the world is going to have to, not by choice but by necessity, power down to pre-industrial levels and sources of energy use and pre-industrial technology (which is actually not as bad as it at first sounds).  The warning is there staring us right in the face.  We use this short, one generation of time, to assist us to accomplish this move to a new less technology based future, or we suddenly find ourselves sitting on our behinds in the dust and wondering how it came to this.  The sudden cultural shock would be the death of many of us.  Our choice.

I would wager, if I were a gambling man, that we blow it.  Our track record illustrates that we do not have the collective genetic predisposition to do anything else.

 

Climate Activists Have No Idea

This post inspired by: A move away from new coal mines adds up

I was going to include the photo from the above article (It’s always nice to have a picture to look at), but I couldn’t in all conscience do that.  Have a look at it and then read on to find out why.  I’ve added a little colour to compensate.

Coal’s days are numbered and the sooner we face up to that the better.” says Ross Gittins, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Economics Editor.

I remember saying something similar myself, at least once not so long ago.

There is absolutely no reason not to stop expanding the coal industry right now.

The effect that would have on jobs‘ is not a valid reason.  Jobs are only a temporary and recent phenomena (and need to go also).

The effect that would have on our economy‘ is not a valid reason.  Our economy is only a temporary and recent phenomena (and needs to go also).

We wouldn’t be able to generate electricity‘ is not a valid reason.  True, but still invalid.  Electricity is only a temporary and recent phenomena (and needs to go also; what? please no, not electricity; sorry, but yes).

All those folks chanting about ‘climate action’ and ‘renewables’, are doing so without the slightest idea of what they are asking for.  Unless we just keep on doing exactly what we are doing now (working our butts off, mining like there is no end to it, living it up with our modern lifestyle), for as long as we can that is (and I am not advocating that as a valid course of action, quite the contrary), then few, if any, of those things that we enjoy today will be available to us in the future that ensues.  If my meaning appears a little obscure, try reading the previous sentence without the bits in parentheses, just the coloured parts.

Very few people, I think, actually get that.  Well, we’d better all start thinking about it …and forget the starry eyes and rose coloured glasses of those who think that by human endeavour and ingenuity, technology, and if we continue to believe that if we reach for the stars, we will somehow get there.  Those people are living in dreamworld.

We just cannot expect to achieve the conditions that would be necessary to at allow some sort of chance to obtain a reasonable climate for the foreseeable future and, at the same time, maintain the sort of lifestyles that we expect, and probably could no longer live without, today.

So.  Not only should we cease contemplating the expansion of coal, we should stop digging it up anywhere, at all, for any reason.  At least until there are just few enough of us left, that whether we chop down a few trees for building and firewood, or dig up a bit of easily obtainable coal here and there, or even stumble across a few pools of oil somewhere, it is not going to make a difference at all to the climate.  ‘Few enough‘ being the operating phrase there …and therein lies the root of our real problem, soon (well, maybe over a few generations) to be solved.

Oh, did you find why I didn’t include the picture?   It’s promoting that good old ‘renewables’ myth again 🙂

The ‘Renewables’ Myth

Picture courtesy of Minerals Council of Australia  (OhMyGosh, never thought I would be promoting something from this particular organisation, but everything has some potential use)

…and this is why (well, one reason why) the world can never be 100% renewables powered.

It is also why so-called ‘renewables’ can never be called ‘sustainable’.

Just to clarify my position, renewables may have a short term (25, 30, 40 years maybe) period of usefulness by helping us (or at least giving us the opportunity) to power our society down to really low-tech, no mining, no electricity, no oil, levels of living.

Won’t that be great?  Imagine the freedom.  Providing everything we need for ourselves, by ourselves, using our own hands.  No jobs.  No mortgages.  No debts.  No central government (you can’t have government without taxes).  Great.