Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to the Aussie ABC, Australia’s government broadcast service, things will fall apart unless we ditch coal and start exporting climate friendly hydrogen to a hungry global market.
Australia could fall apart under climate change. But there is a way to avoid it
The Conversation By Ross Garnaut
Four years ago in December 2015, every member of the United Nations met in Paris and agreed to hold global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, and as close as possible to 1.5C.
I have spent my life on the positive end of discussion of Australian domestic and international policy questions.
But if effective global action on climate change fails, I fear the challenge would be beyond contemporary Australia. I fear that things would fall apart.
Australia is by far the world’s largest exporter of iron ore and aluminium ores.
In the main they are processed overseas, but in the post-carbon world we will be best positioned to turn them into zero-emission iron and aluminium.
In such a world, there will be no economic sense in any aluminium or iron smelting in Japan or Korea, not much in Indonesia, and enough to cover only a modest part of domestic demand in China and India.
A natural supplier to the world’s industry
With abundant low-cost electricity, Australia could grow into a major global producer of minerals needed in the post-carbon world, such as lithium, titanium, vanadium, nickel, cobalt and copper.
It could also become the natural supplier of pure silicon, produced from sand or quartz, for which there is fast-increasing global demand.
Other new zero-emissions industrial products will require little more than globally competitive electricity to create.
These include ammonia, exportable hydrogen and electricity transmitted by high-voltage cables to and through Indonesia and Singapore to the Asian mainland.
In 2008 the comprehensive modelling undertaken for the Garnaut Review suggested the transition would entail a noticeable (but manageable) sacrifice of Australian income in the first half of this century, followed by gains that would grow late into the second half of this century and beyond.
Today, calculations using similar techniques would give different results.
The hydrogen absurdity is based on the idea, promoted by academics, that there is an amazing business opportunity to use Australia’s globally competitive solar electricity to produce ammonia or hydrogen through electrolysis, which would be exported to Asia’s hungry energy markets.
Strangely businesses are not rushing in to exploit this amazing opportunity. No doubt there is a big oil conspiracy to suppress the baby hydrogen economy, which could be overcome with lots of government cash.
via Watts Up With That?
November 6, 2019 at 12:46PM