Monday, July 13, 2020

Mines, minerals, and "green" energy: A reality check


As policymakers have shifted focus from pandemic challenges to economic recovery, infrastructure plans are once more being actively discussed, including those relating to energy. Green energy advocates are doubling down on pressure to continue, or even increase, the use of wind, solar power, and electric cars. Left out of the discussion is any serious consideration of the broad environmental and supply-chain implications of renewable energy.

This paper turns to a different reality: all energy-producing machinery must be fabricated from materials extracted from the earth. No energy system, in short, is actually “renewable,” since all machines require the continual mining and processing of millions of tons of primary materials and the disposal of hardware that inevitably wears out. Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average, a 10-fold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy.

Among the material realities of green energy:

Building wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity, as well as batteries to fuel electric vehicles, requires, on average, more than 10 times the quantity of materials, compared with building machines using hydrocarbons to deliver the same amount of energy to society.

A single electric car contains more cobalt than 1,000 smartphone batteries; the blades on a single wind turbine have more plastic than 5 million smartphones; and a solar array that can power one data center uses more glass than 50 million phones.

Replacing hydrocarbons with green machines under current plans—never mind aspirations for far greater expansion—will vastly increase the mining of various critical minerals around the world. For example, a single electric car battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials. Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.

Oil, natural gas, and coal are needed to produce the concrete, steel, plastics, and purified minerals used to build green machines. The energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil is used in the processes to fabricate a single battery that can store the equivalent of one barrel of oil.

By 2050, with current plans, the quantity of worn-out solar panels—much of it nonrecyclable—will constitute double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste, along with over 3 million tons per year of unrecyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades. By 2030, more than 10 million tons per year of batteries will become garbage.


House Dems: Climate Change Responsible for Racial Injustice, George Floyd Protests

Democrats’ infatuation with the Climate Change Bogeyman has reached a new low, with the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (HSCCC) blaming climate change inaction for racial injustice and the George Floyd protests. Yes, really.

A recently released HSCCC report wastes no time blaming climate change for everything under the sun, including the George Floyd protests. On page 1 of the 547-page report, the report states, “Climate solutions must have justice and equity at their core. The protests in response to George Floyd’s death are reminders of the consequences of past inaction.”

For the rest of Americans, common sense tells us the protests in response to George Floyd’s death have nothing to do with climate change.

Fighting climate change, House Democrats tell us, is necessary to fight racial injustice. According to the HSCCC report, “Building a resilient, clean economy affords us another opportunity: to acknowledge and commit to correcting past policy failures that created the climate crisis and the systemic economic and racial inequalities that plague our communities today.”

Yes, really. Climate change is not only the greatest-ever threat to human civilization, but it is a symbol and cause of systemic racial inequality, too. And climate activists wonder why – despite enormous funding advantages, one-sided educational indoctrination, and one-sided media coverage – they can’t build consensus support for their alarmist policy prescriptions….


New Jersey Officials Presume Impossible Warming Rate to Justify Alarmist Impacts

In yesterday’s article here at Climate Realism, I pointed out some of the ridiculous claims in the “2020 New Jersey Scientific Report on Climate Change,” published by environmental bureaucrats at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and championed in the sock-puppet media. Examples included ridiculous claims that New Jersey will soon be too hot to grow blueberries (though they grow quite fine in Florida and throughout the South), New Jersey will soon be too hot for the American goldfinch (though they reside year-round as far south as Louisiana), and Atlantic City will soon flood “almost every day” although it sits 7 feet above sea level and sea level is rising at a pace of only 1.6 inches per decade. So, how do climate-alarmist bureaucrats justify such ridiculous claims? The answer is just as ridiculous as the claims themselves.

As The Press of Atlantic City notes in a fawning story about the claims, devoid of any critical analysis, the DEP claims “New Jersey’s annual temperature has increased 3.5 degrees since 1895 and ‘unprecedented warming’ is projected in the future, increasing temperatures 4.1 to 5.7 degrees by 2050.”

Do you see anything striking about the DEP’s presumed future temperatures? The DEP presumes there will be much more warming in just the next 30 years than in all of the past 125 years combined. Moreover, the DEP claims there will be between 2.3 and 3.2 degrees Celsius (4.1 and 5.7 F) of warming during the next 30 years. That equates to between 0.77 and 1.07 degrees C warming per decade, even though warming is currently averaging only 0.13 C per decade. In other words, the DEP assumes temperatures will immediately and without any future interruption warm at least six times faster than is occurring in the real world. That is a ridiculous assumption.

Similarly, the DEP report presumes, “By 2050, there is a 50% chance that sea-level rise will meet or exceed 1.4 feet and a 17% chance it will exceed 2.1 feet. Those levels increase to 3.3 and 5.1 feet by the end of the century (under a moderate emission scenario).” As noted above, and as shown in my article yesterday, sea level is rising at only 1.6 inches per decade and showing no signs of acceleration. The DEP, however, claims it is as likely as not that sea level will rise 1.4 feet during the next 30 years. That would require nearly six inches of sea-level rise per decade, or the pace of sea-level rise increasing immediately and without interruption more than four times its longstanding rate. Again, that is a ridiculous assumption.

Reports like the New Jersey DEP climate report are the reason why climate “skeptics” exist. Alarmists habitually make ridiculous, farcical, over-the-top, impossible predictions and claims, all while the media breathlessly report them as if they were scientific fact. People who care about science and truth feel compelled to say, ‘Yes, we may be causing some warming, but you alarmists make claims as if you were smoking meth.’ And that is the simple truth – we are likely causing some modest, beneficial warming, but the asserted “climate emergency” is about as real as LSD hallucinations.


Brisbane airport flying high with new runway

New runways worldwide are almost always publicly opposed by Greenies and Nimbys so this is a real achievement for Australia

Lengthy delays at Brisbane Airport will be a thing of the past after its new $1.1 billion parallel runway opened today.

Airport capacity will soar from 50 flight movements an hour to 110 – putting it on par with Sydney, Changi in Singapore and Hong Kong airports.

Brisbane Airport Corporation boss Gert-Jan de Graaff said the runway was more than a slab of very expensive asphalt.

“When I look at that 3.3km stretch of runway, I see hope,” he said. “Brisbane is in an ideal position to take advantage of all opportunities on the road to recovery from COVID.

“Today we are making history … and very soon, once again, we will be connecting the world.”

The $1.1 billion privately-funded project employed more than 3740 people during its construction phase.

After a turbulent start to the year as home carrier Virgin Australia’s finances plumetted due to coronavirus travel bans – flight VA78 had the honour of making the first departure.

Piloted by Captain John Ridd and First Officer Troy Parker, the plane flew to Cairns to highlight the connection to the state’s regions.

A crowd of about 200 people, including 10 local plane spotters who had won a prized place at the event, watched on as vintage planes spiralled through the sky in an aerobatics show to celebrate the World War II airfield’s rich history.



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