Do the Maths: Bill McKibben argues for divestment (reprint)

From the Conversation, further commentary on Bill McKibben’s recent tour and the idea of divestment. 

By Matthew Rimmer

In June 2013, author, activist and academic Bill McKibben is visiting Australia and New Zealand as part of the Do the Maths tour. He has been discussing the carbon bubble, fossil fuels, climate change, civil disobedience, and how we can get away from investing in coal.

His call for divestment has been picked up by the Greens, with Christine Milne asking the Future Fund to stop its “risky investment” in coal industries.

On Monday, McKibben appeared on an unruly episode of the ABC’s Q & A, defending climate science against sceptic politician, Cory Bernardi. On Tuesday he appeared at the University of Sydney; on Wednesday, he presented at the Australian National University; and on Thursday, he discussed climate change in an address to the National Press Club.

Big coal down under: fossil fuels and the carbon bubble

In this presentation, Bill McKibben observed: “The fossil fuel industry are outlaws against the laws of physics.” He contended that the fossil fuel industry needed to lose their veneer of respectability, the way the tobacco industry has. “If it is wrong to wreck the climate,” he said, “then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage”.

In 2012, the Carbon Tracker Initiative released a disturbing report on Unburnable Carbon: Are the World’s Financial Markets Carrying a Carbon Bubble?. The report concluded that investors were exposed to the risk of unburnable carbon: “If the 2°C target is rigorously applied, then up to 80% of declared reserves owned by the world’s largest listed coal, oil and gas companies and their investors would be subject to impairment as these assets become stranded.”

This year, the Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Climate Institute produced a report on Australia’s Carbon Bubble, with similar findings for this country.

Bill McKibben launched his visit to Australia with a feisty piece in the Monthly which contends “The truth is that Australia’s coal has to stay in the ground, along with Canada’s oil, and the huge reserves of gas in the US, and so on … If that carbon is poured into the atmosphere, the equation laid out above won’t work, and the planet will overheat disastrously.”

McKibben concluded that, if you invest in fossil fuels, “You’re betting that we’re going to tank the earth.”

Stop investing in coal

In April 2013, the Board of Supervisors in the city of San Francisco supported divestment from fossil fuels. A dozen more cities and municipalities in the United States have passed policies on fossil fuel divestment. Bill McKibben suggested to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore that Sydney should follow the lead of San Francisco and Seattle.



Lord Mayor Clover Moore was asked whether the city of Sydney would follow Seattle and San Francisco, and divest itself of fossil fuels. Matthew Rimmer

Bill McKibben has warned the carbon bubble means “your pension is being used in a $6 trillion climate gamble.” He encourages universities and colleges to divest themselves of fossil fuel investments. He commented that “students are demanding that their boards of trustees end their investments in the fossil fuel industry whose business plan guarantees these kids will not have a future really in which to carry out their educations.”

Many US universities, led by the Unity College Board of Trustees, have voted to divest itself of fossil fuel investments. Most recently, in May 2013, the University of California Santa Barbara Faculty Senate voted in favour of fossil fuel divestment.

Divestment movements have also sprung up in Australia and Canada in the higher education sectors. The Uniting Church in Australia has pledged to divest itself of fossil fuel investments.

Internationally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been a vocal advocate for fossil fuel divestment:


Archbishop Desmond Tutu on fossil fuel divestment

Bill McKibben highlighted the investments by Australian financial institutions in fossil fuel projects. In Australia, there has been much debate about investments by banks in respect of fossil fuel projects – particularly by the Big Four (Westpac, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, and the National Australia Bank).

The Whitehaven controversy and the ANZ Out of Order campaign certainly highlighted mining investments by financial institutions. The Future Fund has also come under scrutiny for its accounting of climate risks, in Freedom of Information applications by the Climate Institute.

In Australia, health advocates were successful in pushing for the Future Fund to divest itself of tobacco. Isn’t it time we took the next step?
In the middle of Bill McKibben’s “Do The Maths” Tour, the Greens have announced a new campaign for the Future Fund to divest itself of fossil fuels. John Hewson – economist and former Coalition leader – has argued that the Future Fund should take into account climate risks.

In my own view, the Future Fund should not invest in a future of angry summers and extreme weather.

Divesting from coal will take international action

Bill McKibben has been an advocate for substantive international action on climate change. 350.org has been active at the recent climate summits at Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban, and Doha.

However, he has been disappointed by such international climate conferences. In his view, the outcomes of such meetings have lacked ambition, commitment, and enforcement.



Sydney Opera House 350.org

During his visit to Australia, Bill McKibben has stressed that “climate change is driving inequality around the world”. He has highlighted the relationship between climate change, food security, hunger, and poverty.

Bill McKibben has argued that the Carbon Bubble “will require true global diplomacy, since no country can conquer climate change on its own.”

Dr Matthew Rimmer is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, working on Intellectual Property and Climate Change. He is an associate professor at the ANU College of Law, an associate director of the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA), and a member of the ANU Climate Change Institute. Dr Matthew Rimmer receives funding as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow working on “Intellectual Property and Climate Change: Inventing Clean Technologies” and a chief investigator in an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, “Promoting Plant Innovation in Australia”.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

116 thoughts on “Do the Maths: Bill McKibben argues for divestment (reprint)

  1. john byatt says:

    test

  2. john byatt says:

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2013/06/record-floods-in-central-europe.html

    Record floods in central Europe continue to create havoc – Hungary PM Viktor Orban says ‘It is now clear that we are facing the worst floods of all time’

    .

  3. john byatt says:

    @DD

    (NBC News) – Think last summer was bad? You better get used to it, federal health officials warned Thursday. Climate change means hotter summers and more intense storms that could knock power out for days — and kill people.

    New data on heat-related deaths suggest that public health officials have been underestimating them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. It’s an especially important message as summers get longer and hotter due to climate change, and as storms that can cause widespread blackouts become more common and more intense.

  4. john byatt says:

    If Rudd comes back, will the coalition go back to Turnbull ?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-09/julia-gillard-loses-significant-support-in-caucus/4742626

    Australia’s contribution to mitigation hangs in the balance

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      That is a very good question – I just read that too.

      This election year is going to be interesting…

      I’ve been speculating on that very thing for some time:

    • Eric Worrall says:

      I doubt it very much – too much green sky thinking. Abbott delivered one of the strongest comebacks in Australian electoral history, came within a gnat’s hair of winning outright. They’re not going to ditch that kind of electoral skill. And Rudd’s no catch – his incompetence is what got him ditched in the first place.

  5. Eric Worrall says:

    You’ve got buckleys – China is investing in new coal to oil in a big way. As I’ve indicated previously, coal to oil makes tar sands look like clean energy – a gigantic amount of CO2 is released as part of the conversion process, before you even produce the oil – let alone when you burn it.

    The following is a link to a German announcement that China has just ordered a gigantic compressor, for producing 40,000 tons per day of oxygen, required for their coal to oil process. If all the oxygen is converted into CO2, thats 60,000 tons per day of CO2 which will be entering the atmosphere. If the large scale pilot is a success, China will likely place several more orders – 20 plants would see over a million tons of CO2 entering the atmosphere every day.

    http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/MAN-supplies-compressor-technology-for-a-major-CTL-project-in-China_10498.html

    The best bit – China is investing in coal to oil, because they think it will be cheaper than digging oil out of the ground. If that turns out to be the case, everyone else will have to build coal to oil plants too, or see their economies undercut and destroyed by Chinese competition.

    • john byatt says:

      There is nothing on that site that makes any such claim, where is the link that gives the figures?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Thats the only link I’ve found so far. Its possible that MAN is lying about the order – but providing misleading information to the market is a serious offence under German law.

        Perhaps China is trying to maintain a facade of green lip service, by staying quiet about their CTL projects.

      • john byatt says:

        So where did you get your figures, out of your head ?

        it is not a CTL product , it is a compressor for an air separation unit which we have been doing for decades.

        bag of hammer comment eric

      • Eric Worrall says:

        The article clearly states the compressors would be used to generate 40,000 tons per day of oxygen, for use in a “major” Chinese CTL project.

        Here’s another article about the project:-
        http://www.china.org.cn/china/Ningxia/2008-07/07/content_15967894.htm

        According to the link above, the Chinese are spending $40 billion on the project, so its reasonable to assume they plan to process a sh*tload of coal.

      • john byatt says:

        here is some homework

        Techno-economic evaluation of coal-to-liquids – Carnegie Mellon …
        http://www.cmu.edu/…/Mantripragada%20&%20Rubin_Eval%20of%20CTL_…‎
        by HC Mantripragada – 2011 – Cited by 12 – Related articles
        Coal-to-liquids (CTL) processes that generate synthetic liquid fuels from coal are of increasing interest …. The plant-level CO2 in a CTL process can be offset using carbon … (steam or slurry) and oxygen supplied from an air separation unit …

        report back when you have a clue

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Page 2 of the article I linked claims they’ll look at carbon sequestration, or convert the CO2 into Carbon Monoxide, which is useful in some forms of chemical synthesis.

        CCS on that scale is IMO one of the possible end game scenarios for the whole green movement. If green policies destroy a major city, your religion will be in ruins.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos#1986_disaster

        The Lake Nyos disaster only released 300,000 tons of CO2, yet it killed almost everything for 15kms. High concentrations of CO2 are dangerous – they form an unbreathable layer of gas which hugs the ground (CO2 is heavier than air).

        If the oxygen from the German compressors (40,000 tons / day) is converted into CO2, which is stored somewhere near a population centre, and the containment system ruptures, the death toll could be in the millions.

      • john byatt says:

        the something from nothing app?

      • john byatt says:

        Here is a clue

        the amount of CO2 produced is restricted by the amount of Carbon you have, not the amount of Oxygen,

        CO2

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Now you’re just being strange John. The Chinese are building a large plant, the estimated cost of which is $40 billion. The focus of the plant is coal chemistry – CTL, and other chemical derivatives of coal.

        One of the processes is production of up to 40,000 tons per day of liquid oxygen, for use in other processes – which I used as a rough indication of scale.

      • john byatt says:

        1,now how much CO2 can you derive if you have 40,000 tons of oxygen ?

        2 how much carbon would you need for the process?

        3 how much is released into the atmosphere if it is captured,

        4 why are they storing the CO2 up the road from mcdonalds ?

        5 do you have a clue?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        1,now how much CO2 can you derive if you have 40,000 tons of oxygen ?

        60,000 tons – assuming the oxygen is used.

        2 how much carbon would you need for the process?

        At least 20,000 tons.

        3 how much is released into the atmosphere if it is captured,

        Capturing and storing 60,000 tons of CO2 per day, or anything remotely approaching this level, is a significant technological challenge. A concentration of CO2 that large is dangerous.

        4 why are they storing the CO2 up the road from mcdonalds ?

        The Lake Nyos release, 300,000 tons, killed people up to 25km away. The release doesn’t have to be adjacent to the McDonalds restaurant to kill all the customers.

        5 do you have a clue?

        Yes – that’s why I’m not an alarmist.

      • Arctic sea ice volume dropping exponentially. The effects of CO2 on the climate are clear. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/images-terrcryo/g-fig5.19.jpg

  6. Eric Worrall says:

    Tim Yeo, one of the most ardent supporters of green investment in the UK, chairman of the powerful Energy and Climate Change Committee, has just been busted offering to peddle influence for cash, for reporters posing as green investors.

    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/insight/article1271436.ece

    Looks like green investment is the real gamble – but we knew that anyway, from the atrocious performance of green investments over the last few years. Solyndra anyone?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Kickbacks for the benefit of coal miners:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-11/macdonald-to-face-coal-deal-corruption-probe/4511270

      Politicans eh?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Exxon Mobil fined for groundwater pollution:

      http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_04_10/ExxonMobil-fined-033/

      So we provide the other several thosand other examples?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      According to the World Health Organisation coal emissions lead to 1 million deaths per annum:

      http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html#more

      Looks like coal investment is killing people.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      No energy source is cost free – when adding up the costs, you have to wonder how many people would die, especially in countries with harsh winters, if they didn’t have affordable heat from coal.

      But the Yeo affair does have an interesting effect on UK politics. The rise of UKIP, who are blatantly skeptical on climate (Lord Monckton is their climate change spokesman) has put a lot of pressure on mainstream UK parties to temper their green policies. UKIP has successfully put a lot of the blame for skyrocketing energy prices on the green agenda. Rare moments of honesty about green energy prices have helped brush aside suggestions that price rises are not related to renewables.

      With mainstream parties under enormous pressure to reduce energy prices by any means necessary, and with one of the main defenders of the green agenda under a cloud, there is a strong possibility the UK will curb investment in green technology, and start pushing measures to reduce power bills. Since coal is the cheapest form of power, it is an obvious choice in these circumstances.

    • john byatt says:

      seems to be into biofuels eric

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Yeo makes a lot of money from biofuels, but he is also a wind and solar enthusiast – he’s a major force in Tory energy policy.

        He might actually survive this blow. I’m not sure what he did was technically illegal – he did say he couldn’t ask questions for cash, so he could argue that the services he offered were legitimate, that he didn’t offer to abuse his position as a MP.

        And Cameron has demonstrated remarkable abilities to help out his mates when they’re in trouble with the press. Not all the MPs caught up in the parliamentary expenses scandal had to resign, people who were close to Cameron, the stories somehow fizzled out, after a token slap on the wrist.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/surrey/8057038.stm

      • john byatt says:

        but no conflict of interest from wind solar?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Don’t know – but he is a leading green figure in the UK coalition government. His fall if it occurs could give an advantage to treasury opponents of hardline renewables targets.

    • Eric discovers possible right wing twat, therefore no global warming. May I respectfully suggest he’s missed the point – most right wingers are twats is the real point. And in a Murdoch paper too, who needs scepticism, just post?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Reading your post is 5 seconds of my life I won’t get back.

        My point had nothing to do with whether anthropogenic global warming is a threat. I was simply pointing out that the fall from grace of such an important figure in UK government might give an advantage to right wing hawks, who want softer renewables targets.

      • I think Yeo will survive, personally. But I do enjoy puncturing your propaganda.

        As for five seconds of your life you’ll never get back, had you any respect for your readers and their time you’d cease wide-spreading your nonsense. But you don’t. .

      • Eric Worrall says:

        I also stated there is a strong possibility that Yeo will survive, if you bothered to check.

      • Why would I bother to check what you write when you don’t check what you write? (Besides, note that you responded with a strawman – I hadn’t suggested you’d said he wouldn’t survive.)

        You write too much and say too little. No sensible person will bother parsing your noise in hoping to find any semblance of signal. Were you more cogent and concise maybe I’d change my mind. You post much too debunked nonsense and not enough thoughtful scepticism. Like you, I cherry pick, I just cherry pick from your posts.

        Long live blogscience!

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Another pointless distraction.

        My comment was related to the politics of energy, not whether the evidence supports the idea that CO2 is a threat.

      • So, let’s walk through this in the abstract.

        You read an article in a once reputable newspaper noting that a politician has been videoed doing something questionable. Said politician has two notable attributes, amongst many. I shall label the one “green” and the other “blue”. You jump up and down about “green”. To annoy you I jumped up and down about “blue”. In the abstract not much separates them other than the label.

        My logic is unquestionably stupid and annoying. But then I’d simply used your logic.

        I’m only too pleased you’ve seen red.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        I’m glad you explained you are being stupid and annoying, but I don’t consider the Conservatives to be a right wing party these days, so I kind of missed the point of your right wing reference.

      • I’ll use another Worrall manoeuvre. Ah, so you agree that your logic is stupid and annoying?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Blah blah blah…🙂

      • Eric agreed. Good. Mind you, whilst agreeing he won’t change his behaviour.

        We have a word for that, don’t we, children?

    • Yup. Lobbyists. And anti-science swivel-eyed types. Even Catweazle chips in with his usual “Squirrel”. http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/lobbying-from-fiji-fools-to-fossil-fuels/

  7. john byatt says:

    eric”o energy source is cost free – when adding up the costs, you have to wonder how many people would die, especially in countries with harsh winters, if they didn’t have affordable heat from coal.

    300 million people around the world die every year from fossil fuel pollution.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      What are they doing, snorting coal dust?

      Given the pressure from clean air laws, modern coal plants don’t emit much ash anymore – its mainly the CO2 which is the issue, if you care about that kind of thing.

    • Mark says:

      “300 million people around the world die every year from fossil fuel pollution.”

      As an exercise, I thought I’d leave that number up for 24hrs to see if it was picked up.

      300 miliion. Wow that’s a big number. Fossil fuel pollution. We all know that’s bad so it must kill lots of people right.

      So it must be right. No need to even think about it.

      In fact, roughly 60 million people die worldwide of ALL causes. (worldwide death rate around 8.9 people per 1000)..

      So, while 5% of all deaths are caused by AIDS/HIV, in the fantasy world that is WtD alarmism, 500% of all deaths are caused by pollution.

      That’s gold. In a thread called “Do the Maths”. The irony is delicious. And not a single alarmist here even thought that it sounded iffy. Pretty much just what I expected.

      I’m so glad I left that number up there, unchallenged. The response to it proves everything I’ve always thought about alarmism.

      • john byatt says:

        typo 3.3 million

      • john byatt says:

        talking of irony ” it will take a few hundred years to reach a global anomaly of 1.3DegC

      • john byatt says:

        Fossil fuel pollution. We all know that’s bad so it must kill lots of people right.

        Yes 3.3 million people a year plus here are another 100,000 reasons that is bad, Right

        http://tinyurl.com/kqazqyr

      • Mark says:

        A typo? Really? You meant to type 3.3 and those big thumbs got in the way and it came out as 300?

        Yeah that’s much more believable than the idea that you just needed a really big number to try to make your assertions seem more scary.

      • Mark says:

        BTW I wonder how many of those fictitious 3 million death certificates actually list cause of death as “fossil fuel pollution”. Its not as a real number. Its propaganda number and has as much credibility as original original fabricated number.

      • Mark says:

        “A typo? Really? You meant to type 3.3 and those big thumbs got in the way and it came out as 300?”

        Twice😉

      • john byatt says:

        glad that you brought it up yesterday

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/09/us-pollution-idUSBRE9380PZ20130409

        Investments in solar, wind or hydropower would benefit both human health and a drive by almost 200 nations to slow climate change, blamed mainly on a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from use of fossil fuels, they said.

        “Air pollution is causing more deaths than HIV or malaria combined,” Kandeh Yumkella, director general of the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, told a conference in Oslo trying to work out new U.N. development goals for 2030.

        Most victims from indoor pollution, caused by wood fires and primitive stoves in developing nations, were women and children.

        He suggested that new U.N. energy goals for 2030 should include halving the number of premature deaths caused by indoor and outdoor pollution.

        A 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) study found that 3.5 million people die early annually from indoor air pollution and 3.3 million from outdoor air pollution. Toxic particles shorten lives by causing diseases such as pneumonia or cancer.

        “The problem has been underestimated in the past,” Maria Neira, the WHO’s director of public health and environment, told Reuters. Smog is an acute problem from Beijing to Mexico City.

        The data, published as part of a global review of causes of death in December 2012, were an upwards revision of previous figures of 1.9 million premature deaths caused by household pollution a year and 1.3 million outdoors, she said.

        get rid of indoor carbon stoves and fossil fuel and save 6.8 million lives per year

  8. john byatt says:

    Eric1 If Yeo falls,
    Eric2 He might actually survive this blow.
    Eric3 His fall if it occurs
    Eric4 I also stated there is a strong possibility that Yeo will survive, if you bothered to check.

    FFS

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Yeo has been caught doing something naughty – offering to peddle influence for cash. Its breaking news, so there is no way of knowing how badly the scandal will effect him, whether he’ll wriggle out of it – but it does seem reasonable to speculate that this might impact green policy in the UK, of which Yeo is one of the leading champions.

      • john byatt says:

        Eric1 If Yeo falls,
        Eric2 He might actually survive this blow.
        Eric3 His fall if it occurs
        Eric4 I also stated there is a strong possibility that Yeo will survive, if you bothered to check.
        Eric5 “there is no way of knowing how badly the scandal will effect him, whether he’ll wriggle out of it”

        we all following this?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        FFS John its clear enough. Yeo is in trouble – how bad we don’t know yet, but it looks bad. If he falls, it could impact UK green policy.

        Whats so difficult to understand?

    • Eric Worrall says:

      The Yeo scandal does look rather damaging.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2338300/MP-paid-400-000-green-firms-slams-climate-change-peer–hypocrisy-exposed-Mail.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

      Former minister Tim Yeo was filmed appearing to boast that he had previously coached a paying client in private on how to influence the committee he leads.
      Speaking to undercover reporters posing as representatives of a green energy firm looking to hire him, Mr Yeo said he could introduce them to ‘almost everyone you needed to get hold of in this country’, it was reported today.
      The MP, who is a former environment minister and chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change select committee, ‘vigorously’ denied the claims.
      It is claimed reporters from The Sunday Times approached Mr Yeo posing as representatives of a solar energy company offering to hire him for £7,000 a day to push for new laws to boost its business.

      • john byatt says:

        As you said, Tory twit

      • Eric Worrall says:

        But a rather important Tory twit, in terms of maintaining Britain’s commitment to green energy.

      • The Daily Mail? Well then, just look 180 degrees for the truth.

      • john byatt says:

        Eric1 If Yeo falls,
        Eric2 He might actually survive this blow.
        Eric3 His fall if it occurs
        Eric4 I also stated there is a strong possibility that Yeo will survive, if you bothered to check.
        Eric5 “there is no way of knowing how badly the scandal will effect him, whether he’ll wriggle out of it”
        Eric6 “The Yeo scandal does look rather damaging, scrub 4 “

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Yes, point 4 does look in jeopardy – coaching someone how to influence the committee you chair is a major violation of parliamentary ethics. If that sticks, he’s in deep poo.

      • Nick says:

        Can Eric explain how this ‘revelation’ that most of the Tories are carpetbaggers will affect UK energy policy? He says it might,,,now explain why.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Tim Yeo is a leading figure in the defence of generous renewables subsidies against UK Treasury efforts to cut the budget deficit. The effort to maintain subsidies is faltering, if an important defender of the subsidies is forced to leave under a cloud of green corruption, the political position of Treasury opponents of subsidies will be strengthened.

        http://www.standard.co.uk/panewsfeeds/backers-disappointed-by-energy-vote-8644418.html

      • Yup, all the right wing press are on message. A well tended flock, aren’t they?

      • Nick says:

        Yes,I know what Yeo is alleged to have done,Eric,and which he strenuously denies. What you have not demonstrated is why this will affect energy policy!

        We know that subsidies to non-renewables in the UK dwarf that given to wind,and that the Tories and their pals have stakes in bloody everything! They also have a better handle on the gas bubble than you,it seems….

        Are you reading Murdoch’s tabloids again?

  9. john byatt says:

    Eric Worrall says:
    June 9, 2013 at 9:23 am
    1,now how much CO2 can you derive if you have 40,000 tons of oxygen ?

    60,000 tons – assuming the oxygen is used.

    2 how much carbon would you need for the process?

    At least 20,000 tons.”

    so it is CO3 then?

    • john byatt says:

      you need two atoms of oxygen for every atom of carbon

      divide your oxygen by half which gives you 20,000 tons of CO2

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Math fail John.

        If 40,000 tons of oxygen is completely converted into CO2, the CO2 must weigh more than the oxygen which you supplied to the reaction.

        Since you use one atom of carbon to two atoms of oxygen, and carbon and oxygen weigh almost the same, the total weight is weight of oxygen x 1.5 = 60,000 tons.

        Of course, this is all speculative – we don’t know what they’re doing with the oxygen. The oxygen isn’t required for the CTL process I’m familiar with:-

        2C + 2H2O => CH4 + CO2

        So only part of the oxygen may be converted to CO2, or even none of it.

        But 40 billion dollars is a lot to spend on a plant which focusses on coal chemistry – they must be processing an awful lot of coal. And CTL is one of the main processes employed by the plant.

      • john byatt says:

        My cockup using tons

      • john byatt says:

        Carbon At least 20,000 tons.”

        burning 20,000 tons of carbon in the atmosphere gives nearly 80,000 tons of CO2

        is there a mathematician in the house ?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Atomic mass of carbon is 12
        Atomic mass of oxygen is 16

        So if you burn 20,000 tons of carbon, you get

        20,000 / 12 * (2 * 16 + 12) = 73,000 tons of CO2

        So slightly more than my 60,000 ton approximation, in which I assume the weight of carbon and oxygen are the same.

        But since we’re dealing with very approximate quantities, I didn’t think it made sense to calculate to that level of precision – the other uncertainties more than outweigh a few tons here or there caused by different atomic masses.

      • john byatt says:

        SO far so good

        ERIC “Eric Worrall says:
        June 9, 2013 at 5:38 am
        You’ve got buckleys – China is investing in new coal to oil in a big way. As I’ve indicated previously, coal to oil makes tar sands look like clean energy – a gigantic amount of CO2 is released as part of the conversion process, before you even produce the oil – let alone when you burn it.

        so last question is , how much carbon is left in the oil that you made when you burn it?

        you started with 20,000 tons C , you released or captured the 73,000 tons from that.

        you made oil, so what is the “Let alone when you burn it” amount of CO2?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Neither of us know what they’re doing with the oxygen John, as I said, its not part of any CTL process I know. So it might be used in a different process – possibly carbon monoxide synthesis? Who knows. Presumably they are *not* simply burning all their coal, it is supposed to be a coal chemistry plant.

        But as an indication of scale, it shows that a very large quantity of coal is being processed. Since cracking water to extract hydrogen (for hydrocarbon production) requires that around half the coal is converted to CO2, the plant will be releasing a great deal of CO2.

      • john byatt says:

        It took a while eric but we got there

        Eric ” China is investing in new coal to oil in a big way. As I’ve indicated previously, coal to oil makes tar sands look like clean energy”

        You said makes tar sands look like clean energy, yet now concede that you haven’t got a clue to make that claim

        you have been posting this for a while, either find out just how much more than 73,000 tons of CO2 you can get from 20,000 tons of carbon

        or admit that it was just waffle

      • Eric Worrall says:

        We know two things:-

        1. They are using an industrial process which consumes up to 40,000 tons of oxygen / day.

        2. CTL requires about 50% of the coal be converted into CO2, to extract the hydrogen from water.

        Therefore, its not unreasonable to assume, given that CTL is one of the main stated goals of the process, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume coal usage is on a similar scale to their usage of liquid oxygen – which is all I ever suggested.

        In fact, given one of their stated goals is to produce di-methyl ether, which has 2 carbon atoms and one oxygen atom, the scale of CO2 production could be several times larger than the LOX capacity of their new pumps.

      • john byatt says:

        eric CTL requires about 50% of the coal be converted into CO2, to extract the hydrogen from water.

        not answered and it is the carbon content we are discussing not coal which can be 80% carbon

        now answer the question ” how much more than 73,000 tons of CO2 you can get from 20,000 tons of carbon”

        or admit that it was just waffle

      • john byatt says:

        Eric you have read an article about CTL in China, looked up 20th century technology and then declared that it makes tar sands look like green energy by comparison,

        yet nowhere do you even offer any comparison accept to concede that it is perfect for Carbon capture

        The fact is few know much about it, nor the energy efficiency etc of the end products yet you make this ridiculous unsupported claim

  10. Dr No says:

    Renewable energy sources supplied a record amount of Australia’s total electricity generation in 2012, chipping in 13.14 per cent, enough to power the equivalent of more than 4 million Australian homes, according to new figures released by the Clean Energy Council today.

    The Clean Energy Australia Report 2012 says the new milestone of passing 10 per cent electricity supply mark for the first time this century was largely attributable to two factors: rising total production of electricity from renewable sources and a drop in electricity demand

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/solar-spike-helps-deliver-record-for-australian-renewable-generation-22909

    • john byatt says:

      No nick it was not the record rain according to eric it was all the snow melting in one day.

      • Nick says:

        Did you see the stuff,that was not reported here at all, in this whole under-reported week in Europe?: Record high temperatures over eastern Scandinavia and western Russia….

      • john byatt says:

        For all the non reported stuff i go to desdemona every few days,

        what is happening in the real world and what is being reported is a tragedy.

  11. john byatt says:

    Worked out what happened here

    john byatt says:
    June 9, 2013 at 6:39 am
    eric”o energy source is cost free – when adding up the costs, you have to wonder how many people would die, especially in countries with harsh winters, if they didn’t have affordable heat from coal.

    300 million people around the world die every year from fossil fuel pollution.
    looked at source

    it had written 3.3 million , missed the first three and read as .3million

    so meant to type 300 thousand , million was the typo

    gee, glad i was not trying to tell lies for the cause .

    • Mark says:

      So we’ve gone from 300 million deaths to 3.3 million deaths to 300,000 deaths. Struth, another few days of this and we’ll find out that fossil fuel pollution saves lives .
      “gee, glad i was not trying to tell lies for the cause .”

      No, perish the thought😉

      It still doesn’t explain why the swarm was so willing to accept your screwy numbers

      • john byatt says:

        probably no swarm, just an illusion,

        but now I have shown you my cockup I was hoping that you might be willing to explain how your extra .5DegC in a few 100 years was out of context

  12. C. Brown says:

    The naturally occurring hydrocarbons themselves are not making us sick it is the current method of burning them that does. Earth is a carbon based planet teeming with a multitude of carbon based life forms, hypocritical socialists do not want to stop the current methods of burning hydrocarbons because these methods of burning generate obscene amounts of tax revenue. Socialists intent on redistributing wealth could not continue to steal from the haves to keep for themselves under the false pretext of giving their loot to the have nots if clean hydrocarbon technologies are adopted rapidly. I have yet to hear of any of the “climate change” cultists actually giving anything of material value to the”primitive societies” they falsely claim to champion.

    Fearmongering organizations that extoll “do as I say and not as I do ” would rather non-Christians murder themselves by encouraging the trade of weapons for oil, even more non-Christians die due to starvation from not having enough fertilizer and billions more to perish due to a lack of modern civilization’s infrastructure.

    Furthermore people should stop giving verifiable physcophatic, schizoid, paranoids cash for scary fairy tales, it only encourages them to become more frenzied and delusional. 

    According to the cultists the latest CO2 levels recorded at the mountaintop of one of Earth’s most active volcanoes is already over 400 ppm, however modern science has already proven that around 65 million years ago our home planet’s atmosphere  contained over 2,000 ppm of CO2, resulting with Earth having such a bounty of carbon based life forms in her oceans whales started to evolve and land masses such as Greenland and Antarctica were covered in lush forests full of coconuts, dates, and pine trees. We will soon need those land masses thawed again to support our species evolution as we grow in numbers. 

    The daily diarrhea being espoused by “climate change” cultists conveniently do not recognize true science because of their own inability to come to terms with their deep rooted Christian beliefs that indoctrinated them into believing Earth is only several millennia in age, and that they are the only chosen ones, hence everyone else is considered cannon fodder.

    Pollution is very bad for all of Earth’s carbon based life forms but there are billions of our species working everyday toward finding ways to controlling and balancing pollution as our species evolves. On the other hand there seems to be some educationally challenged humans that are incapable of evolving and are intent on pushing everyone but themselves back into the Stone Age.

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