Friday, May 22, 2009

More will come in the next weeks

but for the moment here is a link to good, postive and forward thinking op-ed by Tseporah Berman in the Vancouver Sun.

Instead of having a lot of investment money tied up in the car industry a lot of that can and will go into green electrical power. The free market will support green projects when they show they can be profitable.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Some more the scale of the problem

The estimates are that in the next 20 years we will need to generate a lot more electrical power for all of our electrical gadgets, this according to the International Energy Agency. They are talking about another 1 000 000 Gigawatt hours of electricity per year by 2030. IF the gadgets can be made to require less electrical power, the need would fall to about 750 000 GwH.

We need to add about 40 000 GwH or green power a year globally just to keep pace with the demand for electronic gadgets. If we are not adding that much, we are falling behind. If only add that much we are not cutting into the existing coal fired power base.

Tyler Hamilton has a good article on this in the Toronto Star.

Globally governments have to remove the barriers to the development of a lot more private green power. Government has been the biggest block to increasing green power since the 1960s. We need to work towards a carbon tax on coal, this alone will push the vast majority of green power ideas from marginal into profitable.

I would like to see the money from carbon taxes used to remore green house gases from the atmosphere. I would like to see the tax go high enough that companies find it cheaper to be carbon neutral than pay the tax.

But back to the point, demand for electrical power is still rising and is no danger of falling anytime soon. We have to plan on the standard of living of China and India rising dramatically over the next generation and with that electrical energy use. To pretend that it is not going to happen is to stick one's head in the sand and ignore reality.

By 2030 I expect China and India to have 2 000 000 000 iPhone (or much better) moblie phones in use. I expect that there will be 500 000 000 computers, gaming systems and other electronic equipment to be in use. I also expect there to be a lot more air conditioners in use, one per household by 2030.

There is a huge demand for electrical power coming. Every watt of green power will be one more carbon free watt produced and we need huge amounts to come online very quickly.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From Kyoto to Copenhagen

I was never a fan of the Kyoto protocol because it did not reward good behavior in the past. Those that were causing the least CO2 emissions were expected to reduce by as large a percentage as those with huge emissions. Kyoto has been at best a tool to shame governments into taking looking like they are interested taking some action on climate change.

Now we have Copenhagen and see no hope that this will make any real difference to action on climate change issues.

I may not agree with all Andrew Weaver has to say, but there is some likely limit to which we should not push green house gas emissions. We have a huge problem with the scale of emissions for electrical production in the US and China alone. Shifting cars to emission free form will ultimately be market driven and need not government intervention other than to place a carbon tax on fuels. It is electrical production where the problem.

We need to deal with the CO2 emissions from coal fired power plants. There are only two options, get rid of coal fired power or capture the CO2 released. Neither will be easy or cheap.

Based on how things are going, as an example look at the backlash against green power in BC, we are unlikely to be able to replace the coal fired power in the next 20 years. Conservation is only likely to slow demand and not to reduce the demand. Even if we could achieve a 20% reduction by households over five years, that would only keep demand steady.

In the short term, the next 20 years, the major solution to green house gasses will be through carbon capture and storage. We will see more and more people, governments and businesses pay to offset their carbon footprint. We are already seeing this happen, as an example Habour Air in Victoria is carbon neutral. This will create a real market for carbon capture and storage.

But this ignores the big picture, the 2 000 000 GWh coal fired power in the US problem.

It also ignores the other big green house gas source, eating meat.

We are going down a path of a lot more green house gas emissions for the better part of another generation. A generation of carbon capture and storage as the only major solution.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A good blog post on IPPs. The campaign against IPPs has become the most bizarre campaign of twisting reality I have seen. The people opposing IPPs are doing so with no data that I can see that backs up any of their points.

When environmental protection and business can meet up, we have the best of all worlds.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pembina Institute Review of Platforms

The Pembina Institute has reviewed the platforms of the three major parties as it relates to climate change and energy policy. The information they pull out of each platform is good, I am just not convinced at some of their rankings.

The Greens come out the winners - no surprise there at all. The Liberals and NDP come out more or less tied. The NDP manages to benefit from being vague on a number of issues and not being held to account for how they acted when they were government.

It can not be easy for organizations that have strong personal ties to the NDP to come out and say the emperor is not wearing any clothes. The right wing equivalent is issues around the horrible mistake of deficit spending and stimulus packages - most of the commentators on the right are still having trouble pointing out that Stephen Harper has lost his way and is not governing well for the economy.