Germany could have been 100% fossil free by now

Anti nuclear-FUD is so dangerous and frustrating! Just check the numbers below. Over to Shellenberger writing on Forbes41249029_6109427265531_3949396782869381120_n.png.jpg

Had They Bet On Nuclear, Not Renewables, Germany & California Would Already Have 100% Clean Power

Michael’s latest column for Forbes — please share!

Had California and Germany invested $680 billion into new nuclear power plants instead of renewables like solar and wind farms, the two would already be generating 100 percent or more of their electricity from clean (low-emissions) energy sources, according to a new analysis by Environmental Progress.

The analysis comes the day before California plays host to a “Global Climate Action Summit,” which makes no mention of nuclear, despite it being the largest source of clean energy in the U.S. and Europe.

Here are the two main findings from EP’s analysis:

— Had Germany spent $580 billion on nuclear instead of renewables, it would have had enough energy to both replace all fossil fuels and biomass in its electricity sector and replace all of the petroleum it uses for cars and light trucks.

— Had California spent an estimated $100 billion on nuclear instead of on wind and solar, it would have had enough energy to replace all fossil fuels in its in-state electricity mix.

The finding that Germany could have entirely decarbonized its transportation sector with nuclear is a significant one. That’s because decarbonizing transportation is considered a major challenge by most climate policy experts.

Electricity consumed by electric cars will grow 300-fold between 2016 and 2040, analysts predict. That electricity must come from clean energy sources, not fossil fuels, for the transition to electric cars to mitigate climate change.

As a result of their renewables-only policies, California and Germany are climate laggards compared to nuclear-heavy places like France, whose electricity is 12 times less carbon intensive than Germany’s, and four times less carbon intensive than California’s.

Thanks to its deployment of nuclear power, the Canadian province of Ontario’s electricity is nearly 90 percent cleaner than California’s, according to a recent analysis by Scott Luft, an energy analyst who tracks decarbonization and the power sector.

California’s power sector emissions are over twice as high today as they would have been had the state kept open and built planned nuclear plants.

California’s political establishment pushed hard to close San Onofre nuclear plant in 2013 — triggering an on-going federal criminal investigation — and later to close Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which generates 15 percent of all in-state clean electricity, by 2025.

The political leadership of California and Germany have encouraged other nations to follow their example, and the results have been — consistently, following the new EP analysis — counter to the ostensible goal of climate protection.

Over the last 20 years the share of electricity from clean energy globally has declined because the increase in electricity coming from solar and wind wasn’t enough to offset the decline of nuclear.

Carbon emissions rose 3.2 percent in California between 2011 and 2015, even as they declined 3.7 percent in the average over the remaining 49 states.

In 2016, emissions from electricity produced within California decreased by 19 percent, but two-thirds of that decline came from increased production from the state’s hydro-electric dams, due to it being a rainier year, and thus had nothing to do with the state’s energy policies, while just one-third of the decline came from increased solar and wind.

In the 1960s and 1970s, California’s electric utilities had planned to build a string of new reactors and new plants that were ultimately killed by anti-nuclear leaders and groups, including Governor Jerry Brown, the Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDC).

Other nuclear plants were forced to close prematurely, including Rancho Seco and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, while Diablo Canyon is being forced to close by California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which excludes nuclear.

It remains to be seen if recently-passed SB100, which allows 40% of electricity to be produced from any non-emitting energy source alongside the remaining 60% exclusively from renewables, will motivate the state to save its last nuclear plant.

Had those plants been constructed and stayed open, 73 percent of power produced in California would be from clean (very low-carbon) energy sources as opposed to just 34 percent. Of that clean power, 48 percent would have been from nuclear rather than 9 percent.

In 2016, renewables received 94 times more in U.S. federal subsidies than nuclear and 46 times more than fossil fuels per unit of energy generated. Meanwhile, a growing number of analysts have are admitting that an electricity grid that relies on nuclear power has no need for solar and wind. More troubling, adding solar and wind to a nuclear-heavy grid would require burning more fossil fuels, usually natural gas, as back-up power

As it’s become increasingly clear that Germany would not meet its climate targets, it is coming under criticism from leading renewable energy advocates, who may fear that Germany’s poor record on climate change discredits renewable energy as a solution for climate change.

“If I were a citizen of Germany, I would be concerned about Germany being left behind,” said Al Gore, who is a major renewable energy investor in addition to being a climate policy advocate, last June. “The leadership provided in years past created a reality that now no longer exists.”

“If the world is serious about climate change, we should be keeping existing, safe nuclear power stations open, not shutting them prematurely,” noted Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Michael Liebreich.

But the new EP analysis underscores that the problem is not just closing plants but also choosing to build solar and wind farms instead of new nuclear power stations.

Posted in Global Warming, Nuclear, nuclear power, Renewable energy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And re-writing

Ha ha, I just put up a post about writing being re-writing, and then noticed one more edit to my REZONE page. So it seems writing is re-re-writing.


The mega-mall steals our time and money

Time: Suburbia creates traffic jams and wastes time. One of the greatest myths ever fostered on us is the ‘convenience’ of the mega-mall. You first drive to the mall and then drive around looking for parking. Call that 15 minutes on a good day. Now here’s the irony. After all that driving, it’s stillanother 5 to 10 minutes to walk through the gigantic mall to the shop/s you are actually after. That’s 20 to 30 minutes just to get there. In contrast a New Urban town square is so convenient and pleasant that you visit it a few times a week. Gone is the stress of the weekly groceries shop! Instead you just buy a few groceries on the way home from the tram. After all, you’re not carrying a lot and it’s only a 5 minute walk. If you’re walking from home, you take your granny trolley, buy a few days groceries, catch up with a friend or two and are home again before the suburbanite has entered her first shop!

Wastes money: suburbia wastes money in demanding that we buy cars, lose productivity in traffic jams and raises our municipal rates. Instead of an efficient and cosy town square plan, suburbia sprawls across 10 times the land! That requires 10 times the roads, gutters, pavements, plumbing, wiring, lighting, plumbing, sewerage, drainage, internet and transport of goods and services. Suburbia requires vastly more physical infrastructure. Not only that, it raises our health bill. It replaces walking with driving, clean air with smog, and those oil particulates increase cancer rates. We become isolated and stressed and fat due to our city design!

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Just added this Vox piece on cycling to summary pages

Hi all,

as you know my ‘summary pages’ on the main navigation bar are a summary of my favourite greenie technologies and cultures so far. Media sources investigate these from time to time and release better video’s explaining them. So I’m always pruning, re-writing, and adding to my summary pages. Today I just added something to my Rail page. Rail is great, the lifeblood of New Urbanism and successful city designs. But what if you’re in a rush and the train station stops a kilometre from your destination? (This is probably about commuting to work, not your daily shopping which would be 95% walkable in a true New Urban village.) Enter the Vox piece below. You can see why I just had to add this to my Rail page (under REZONE).

As Vox says, if cycling can happen in New York, it can happen anywhere. Dedicated cycling lanes generate commercial income, prevent accidents, and can actually increase traffic efficiency.

Society is moving to robot-taxis, but they’ll cost more per km than merely riding a bike. We can enjoy both options because riding a bike is pleasurable, but it can also be convenient to catch a taxi home in the rain or when loaded down with too much baggage for a bike. Also, robot-cars don’t need dedicated parking but merely drop you in loading bays, which is ideal given the constraints on parking bays mentioned in the video. Robot-taxis and cycling: perfect partners.

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Winston Churchill argued for a United States of Europe

Well, this was a treat. In his famous “Let Europe Arise” speech, Winnie passionately argues for the hope and necessity of a United States of Europe, and the vision of its hundreds of millions of citizens living in peace and prosperity.

Posted in Global Governance, Politics, War | Leave a comment

European Army

Simon Whistler of Visualpolitik argues for an integrated, responsive, agile European army makes sense.

“Don’t spend more – spend smarter.”

I like this channel!

Posted in Economics, Global Governance, Politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your barber or cab-driver in the Senate?

Australian_Senate_-_Parliament_of_Australia.jpg“This American Life” details how hard it was for a young idealistic Democrat to stick to his political ideals and core policies in the face of the pressure from his own Democratic party to secure campaign funds. In other words, even his own friends and campaigners wanted him to compromise and right from the start! The issue? Medicare for all. As Vox says, 62% of Americans love the idea. Also:-

Historically, Medicare-for-all has meant single-payer health insurance, a national government-run program that covered every American and replaced private coverage entirely, similar to the government-run health care programs in Canada and some European countries.
Vox news

The Economist puts it even more bluntly.

Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, America remains an outlier in health-care provision. It has some of the best hospitals in the world, but it is also the only large rich country without universal health coverage. And health-care costs can be financially ruinous.

If that isn’t putting the cart before the horse, I don’t know what is. Basic healthcare, like getting a gangrenous finger removed or a broken bone set in a cast, should not be a matter of economic privilege. Every citizen of a developed nation should have the right to basic healthcare.


Dr Karl

What kind of system allows a poor single mother to go practically blind and forces her onto a disability pension when a simple $15,000 cataract operation could save her eyesight, and help her care for the next generation of Americans? That particular story enraged Australia’s Dr Karl, our own Bill Nye of the science world, enough to rant on his science show. Yet too many privileged American businessmen – even Democrats – think health care is a market-game. They come up with other solutions by other names that would just tinker with the current system, not overhaul it. In comes the pressure to compromise. But as a new candidate, you need their money!

In America, politics is a rich man’s game. So maybe we should limit career politicians to the Parliament (Lower House that makes laws), as I do think career politicians have some value in the skills and ideas and visions they bring to government. But what if we saved the Senate (Upper House that reviews laws) for the average citizen, and had a system that freed them from the corrupting influence of the campaign trail in the first place? Could it be that we are in such desperate need of fair representation that instead of democracy-by-corrupted-campaigning, we should have at least the house of review represented by sheer dumb luck? We already trust sheer random chance in selecting a ‘jury of our peers’, the average person on the street, in our court system. Government by random representation is called Sortition. To me it makes sense in the house of review. They wouldn’t be drafting the laws, that’s for the Parliament. But review them? You bet!  Maybe you have to meet certain criteria to go in the pool, such as at least finishing High School. Maybe not! If you’re worried — as I was — that the average citizen might not be smart or smooth enough to represent your State or Nation in a house of review, then why are we trusting them in court? As the Sortition wiki says:-

According to numerous scholars such as Page and Landemore[45], cognitive diversity is more important to creating successful ideas than the average ability level of a group. This “Diversity trumps ability theorem[46]” is essential to why sortition is a viable democratic option.[44] Simply put, random selection of persons of average intelligence performs better than a collection of the best individual problem solvers.[44]

Imagine it. Instead of some group of elites with political retirement deals with big business forming a sort of ‘shadow government cabal’, it’s the man and woman on the street reviewing the laws. Your barber or cab driver or school teacher gets to sit and chat with a bunch of other citizens on whether or not a proposed law is fair. If over 60% vote to reject it, then back the bill goes for editing in Parliament. I think it has a chance of introducing a fairer, saner, more honest form of actual democracy. As long as a review referendum was built in for 10 years later, I’d certainly welcome a trial of it here in Australia!

Posted in Politics, Social Justice, Stress | Leave a comment

US Supreme court row reminds me why I don’t like Bills of Rights!

The Guardian today reminds me that while I’m all for human rights, I’m not for a Bill of rights for Australia. It’s just not the best mechanism for ensuring human rights: trusting and engaging with the democratic process is. A bill of rights encodes the prejudices and assumptions of the day into a sacrosanct piece of paper that lives behind glass and a bunch of old (generally white) guys get to interpret it forever. It politicises the judiciary, and I thought those branches of government were meant to be separate! And then in practice…. we get today’s news. “You think this supreme court term has been horrible? If Donald Trump gets to appoint another supreme court justice, we’re staring down 30 to 40 years of vicious, unmitigated attacks on our rights.”
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