Monday, February 18, 2013

Two decades too long: regarding renewables and nuclear

Geoff Russell's latest contribution on the Brave New Climate blog is an excellent read for us nuclear advocates, although a little unsettling for us committed carnivores ...

Two decades and counting… « BraveNewClimate:

For the past 20 years, there has been a competitive cacophony about the urgency of climate change by Governments and environmentalists around the world but very little action. The emission reductions supposedly generated by the 1997 Kyoto protocol have in fact been measurably less than the increase in imports of emission intensive products by countries in the first world from countries in the third world. Many countries have simply out-sourced their emissions. This comprehensive failure has accelerated the urgency of substantive action.
During virtually all of these two decades, the French have been generating electricity using nuclear reactors at a CO2 emission rate of about 80 grams per kilowatt hour, compared to the global average of over 500. Australia has a worst-in-class level ofabout 850 grams CO2 per kilowatt hour. The French completely transformed and grew their electricity generation infrastructure over a two decade period in the 1970s and 80s. The spur was oil prices rather than climate change, but the lesson remains. A fast affordable move to low carbon electricity is possible. The French did it. The Swiss did it. The Swedes did it. It isn’t the total solution to our climate problems, but it would be a bloody good start.
In contrast, it’s been 12 years since the Germans introduced a feed in tariff to reward rich Germans for electricity generated by putting solar panels on their roofs. We copied them. During this period the German Government has incurred a 100 billion Euro debt to be paid over the next 20 years to those same rich Germans for a miserable 19 terawatt hours per year of day-time only electricity (about 3.3 percent of its total). And after all this expense and a forest of wind farms they are still generating 450 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour as a result of one the biggest white elephant projects in the history of cool technologies being promoted well beyond their tiny niche of applicability.

Continue Reading the web version BraveNewClimate, or get the .pdf format of the submission to the South Australian Parliamentary Committee on the Port Augusta Power stations

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