Premium content

To access premium content, please log in or set up a subscription. It's quick and easy.

More from Business Spectator

Comments

Please login or register to post comments

Comments Policy »
The obvious move is to bring in methane to China & Japan via pipeline from Northern Australia (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7). This removes the competition. Coal can be gasified in Australia and CO2 removed then 'shipped' by pipe.
This is cheaper than upgrading coal fired plants to reduce local pollution.
Out of interest as a percentage of total pollution what amount is produced by coal? (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7)
Given power is generally transmitted moderate distances to the point of consumption is beijing's pollution problem as a result of energy creation or is it tied with dirty industrial works?
Finally how do we reconcile the rapid move to urbanisation, which needs to continue for social stability reasons, with a decrease in overall energy consumption? I realise efficiency can increase, I realise high intensity industry can be closed down, but urbanisation requires steel (lots and lots), people moving to urban locations consume more power. All of this points to a rise in power consumption. What am I missing?
The recent heavy pollution in China also has implications for claims by some voices in Australia - that China is doing more than Australia in terms of tackling pollution and that Australia will be left behind (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7). The pollution highlights that Australia is way ahead, not behind. This is backed up by Chinese tourists who state as a major like about Australia: the clean air in our cities.
Hold on, Australia was supposed to be behind China in climate action. We have a higher per capita emissions that China, certainly we are worse polluters? It appears now that China will be doing lots more than Australia just to get more breathable air in cities.
The emissions per capitalists had mislead many with their statistical voodoo of: only focusing on the worst "pollution" statistic for Australia: emissions per capita -- and saying we must lead the world on climate action as we are among the worst.
More rational would be to view Australia through a balance of statistics (and maybe elevate the importance of clean air in cities - we already lead OECD rankings).
The emissions per capitalists don't give any credit for Australia's vast land and girt by sea areas to absorb CO2; plus no they could not come up with a net emissions per capita figure incorporating not only emissions but also absorptions; plus no can't give Australia any credit for our relatively sparse population as if population is not a factor in trashing the environment.
To Geoff Coker (February 7, 8:06), might I suggest instead of pipelines to China, why dont we declare Northern Australia as a Tax Free Industrial Busuness Zone with set emission controls and save on the expensive pipes and allow the use of cheap Asian workers totally outside our Australia high wage Award System.;? Now that surely will save on marine transport costs and bring the manufactured good closer to our doors. (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7)
The burning of coal as a source of heat in London had huge implications.
They cleaned up their act (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
When Beijing decides to shift direction they do so. These days alternative energy solar and wind are being adopted world wide.
In Australia we are still pontificating about these things.
The reliance upon the export of a limited number of naturally occurring commodities to provide Australians with their lavish lifestyle is perhaps a bit silly eh? (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7.)
I guess at least it's a progression from living off the sheeps back :)
What ever happened to "Australia - The Clever Country"?
- it's more like "Australia - The dumb asses who thought they could get away with it"
China hasn't much success in the past imposing limits on coal consumption. These announcements have tended to be meaningless in past (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
That said, coal consumption was down in 2012, largely because the economy was weak and hydro generation bounced very strongly. Given power consumption isn't expected to rebound particularly strongly from weak levels, growth in coal burn will be subdued.
This is bad for Australian producers given where prices have gone and aren't likely to recover. Exports of coal though have recovered quite strongly, with thermal coal shipments at record levels. Most of the growth is heading to China.
So as long as producers competitive with the marginal tonne in China, Australian producers may not be in too much trouble.
Geoff,
I'd like to see the chemical equation that removes CO2 before "shipping" (where is it removed to?) and then to stop it being produced when any carbon based fuel is burnt. If you have the answer, I'll invest! (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7.)
Oh dear - what a tragedy - someone is actually going to cut back on burning fossil fuels (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7). If everyone did that we might lose the opportunity of temperature rise by the end of a century of about to four degrees centigrade, and consequent loss of a lovely sea level rise. So much more sea to sail our power boats in. Who wouldn't want it - apart from those selfish people irresponsibly living in low lying areas - like the Dutch or the people of Bangla Desh?
Loss of Climate Change would be a disaster, We could be sitting around shivering in temperatures that barely reach over 45degrees Centigrade, and as a person living on a hill my family would lose its only chance of waterfront living.
Thank God for people like Gottliebsen campaigning against those other elements that might impede the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - like Carbon Emissions Taxes and Emissions Trading Schemes. Thank God that people like him still campaign for the mining and oil industry billionaires that might be impoverished by a move away from coal or oil consumption. I can hardly sleep some nights worrying about Gina's lifestyle. How could she ever cope with normal Australian moderate prosperity or even poverty? Sometimes I dream of her forced to live in a public housing tower block in Redfern or Waterloo. And when I talk to my mates down the Rissole I find many have been having the same nightmare
Robert reminds us that there is something more vital in life than the common good, than the preservation of our planetary environment in the interests of all people - rich and poor. Surely you should only have a right to breathable and cool air if you work hard enough to earn the money to run purifiers and air cooling systems. Thats how Darwinian style Capitalism works - survival of the fittest - the superior amongst mankind
And shouldn't these superior beings have the right to pollute? After all they know that Coal and Oil consumption is every bit as good for you as asbestos
no mention of nuclear? A much cleaner and cheaper option (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
Sure China might be shutting down a number of older, dirtier coal fired power stations, but with their insatiable demand for energy as a rapidly growing nation, they are also planning to open 350 new coal fired power stations.
(http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3684432.htm)
So I wouldn't press the panic button quite yet. Obviously they can't be too worried about climate chnage whilst they are allowing the more advanced countries to do the heavy lifting in this regard. So we price our energy out of the market whilst they just keep on growing and consuming (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
Given that fossil fuels cannot be rapidly replaced, most likely the volumes lost on coal will merely be replaced by natural gas or LNG exports instead. Hence the actual economic impact may not be as dramatic as sentiments may imply (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
In the end the energy requirements will continue hence this is merely going to be a case of substitution.
No one seems to be thinking about the real reason China is looking at cutting back their coal consumption (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
They are fully aware that world peak coal will occur around 2025 and because of that they have been going around the world buying up oil fields and coal mines.
Their best transition fuel is natural gas. To build a pipeline from Nth Australia to China is fraught with political difficulties because of the need to transit numerous countries, which has political and military risks to supply.
This is probably why China is embarking on a shale oil & gas program. However as the US is finding that is only a very short term solution. Ultimately as coal quality deteriorates and imports become more expensive they will concentrate more on Mongolian coal. They have no alternative especially for coking coal.
They like us are in a bind, can't live with it and can't live without it !
Robert, as you stated yourself, this article is based on the views of two Garnaut Greenies. The scare campaign continues based on guesswork. (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7.)
I will believe this when I see it happen. I certainly would not make any bets on predictions made by Ross Garnaut (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
Alan Oster is not that good at research. In 2010 Australia exported 148Mt of thermal coal. there was a similar amount of coking coal. Who knows what he is talking about? (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7.)
China states that it is going to stop the increase in energy consumption which has been an integral part of it's "necessary for political stability" growth in 2 years. Who knows what the next 5 year plan will say.
There is a bit of difference between saying and doing, even in China which has the impressive ability to force change through on it's population with little consultation.
China will continue to increase it's coal use, at about the same time as India embarks on a massive coal fired power generation phase of development.
It didn't take long until someone raised the nuclear option as a "cleaner" power source. So it produces less Co2 than coal but then it produces radioactive waste that is dangerous for 1000s of years. How is that better? (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7.)
Given China is unreasonably claiming for itself more or less the entire South China Sea, they might also be tempted to extend the line a hop step and jump to the northern Australia gasfields? (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7.)
Far-fetched maybe, but does anyone believe our navy is going to prevent their ever-expanding navy from doing so, especially if the need is regarded as imperative in Beijing?
Mr Gottliebsen The solar power shift is under way thanks to China on a micro level I am drownimg in power 4kw SMA inverter linked to 2 solar arrays of 6700 watts of panels 8000KWA a Year of Juice. When are the Libs going to wake up.
Home Owning Plebs are building there own power stations. (China makes a frightening energy shiftm February 7)
Australia’s 40 million tonnes of coal exports to China are around 1% of the total Chinese consumption cap now being indicated. To put this into perspective, in terms of volume, Australia exports almost 3 times as much coal to Japan as it does to China, and there are many other Australian export markets for coal such as South Korea, Taiwan and India. Our coal exports to China are welcome, but they are by no means a dominant part of the coal equation (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
Iron ore exports to China in both volume and dollars are far more important to Australia than coal, but in this article Robert tries to connect the two by claiming that steel making is an “energy-intensive” industry and therefore, because of the cap, China will need less iron ore because it must now make less steel.
This is a nonsense connection, and Robert should know better. Coking coal, which is used in steel production is used because of its carbon purity. Yes, the steel making process requires energy, but it also requires carbon as a chemical input. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. The percentage of carbon is a critical factor in determining its properties. China currently accounts for about 50% of global steel production and to suggest that somehow they will abandon that dominance for environmental or other reasons is pure fancy.
China has much larger reserves of coal than Australia, but its reserves of coking coal are not so bountiful. That’s why any cap on coal consumption will mostly apply to the less pure thermal coal, which is used for electricity generation. China has plenty of thermal coal and no real need to import much if any.
Robert’s article is mostly a sensationalist headline with no basis in fact, but he is correct to point out that coal, as the most polluting of all fossil fuels, has a very limited potential for long term growth. Coal will still be used for power generation for decades yet, but it is a business about to go into long term decline.
It has been common knowledge for the last two years that China has been taking huge steps in electricity production (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).
China is building and commissioning modern packaged nuclear power stations at a fast rate (believed to be approx 13 per annum)
China is building and commissioning modern efficient and relatively clean combined cycle coal fired power stations at the rate of approx 25 per annum. These units are replacing older power stations and use existing coal supply and power delivery infrastructure. These stations do not necessarily increase total power production capacity. What each station does is replace old tech (14% efficiency) stations with new tech (44-52% efficiency). The outcome is coal consumption (and gas emissions) reduced to one third of previous.
If Australia was serious about gas emissions and future capacity, we could adopt the same strategies to great effect !! But that is another issue.
There is recognition in China that power consumption will continue to increase (thus the nuclear stations) and that they need to do something about cost of coal (hence the high efficiency coal stations).
If anyone imagines China can cap its electricity consumption with the demographics and increasing standard of living – they are in fairyland. China doesn’t think so, why should anyone else. Steel production will not be “capped” or reduced either. Steel production will be driven by demand and exports. Coking coal consumption will be driven by steel production.
This wonderful outcome for China would put the Australian Government's genuine commitment to reducing world carbon to the test! (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 8.)
Politicians are happy to find excuses for new taxes to oil the wheels of domestic power. But if China's REAL & GENUINE commitment to carbon pollution reduction should impact Australia's indirect Iron Ore and Coal industry's world carbon contribution despite reducing tax income from the sector's work force - what a lie-detector test that would effectively become.
And a good thing too. Air pollution doesn't respect national boarders. It slowly and cruelly kills people. Enough already (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7).