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Climate change and the consumer - news

I wonder which ones should we consider the most important impacts on consumers?

It would have been more meaningful if Finkel could have put an economic cost to the nation of the additional investment required in firming capacity to balance all the investment in renewables.

Perhaps more an aspirational presentation than factual? Although Finkel did take time to argue for Climate Change Science, which is factual.

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Lazard gives credible figures on comparative costs, including “firming”. There’s also quite a lot on Beyond Zero Emissions, then there’s AEMO’s Integrated System Plan or the ANU, among others. That much detail would probably be better on the power prices thread though.

In such a short presentation, how much more detail could be rationally expected?

It is very much a product of the political environment though.

My main criticism of both this and the Stegall bill is that neither adequately addresses the main fear of workers - jobs. There are reportedly far more jobs in renewables than in fossil fuels, but all people see is the jobs that they stand to lose. What will probably be gained is invisible to them.


How the govt of Germany has been able to respond to this challenge is a useful lesson. The best way forward for the climate includes delivering acceptable outcomes for the whole of the community.

The better informed amongst us might add that there are significant structural and financial differences between the coal industries of Germany and Australia. Both however are valued for the employment they provide, directly, indirectly through supporting services and by flow on to communities.

What would it cost Australia? How would the costs flow onto the consumer? No one really knows because we don’t have a plan.

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Some serious commitment to combating climate change.


The ABC article is highly misleading. Germany has only closed its last remaining hard coal mine, but continues to produce/mine large amounts of brown coal, to which it is Europes biggest producer …which incidentally has a higher eCO2 per unit of energy produced than black coal.

The Germany government has a target (not set in stone) to close brown foal mijes but 2038, but whether this occurs is debatable.

Germany is also reliant on coal generation from neighbouring countries to support its electricity network during times of peak demend or when other local generation sources can’t meet local demand.

Some of us can claim “seniors moments“. Is there now a new syndrome we need to consider, a “Trump moment”? Dictionary optional. :rofl:

At least in this instance we know what you were intending to say.

For Aussie consumers?

If you skim and don’t notice the qualifier ‘black’ the first half of the article it looks like Germany has quit coal.

Then in the second half it comes to light that they will be digging much more brown coal over the next 20 years. Some detail of the quantity of coal emissions have been saved and how much more coal will be mined would help provide context.

Some explanation of why black coal went first and brown continues on would also help. There is a hint that black coal was not (very) economical. Does this mean Germany is not leading the way at all but that shutting black coal mines is making a virtue of a necessity? If so we are in for a green PR bonanza when our ageing coal fired power stations (that we can’t afford to keep open) are shut.

The first half is so positive about the achievement and the second starts to show that is doesn’t please all and has a way to go. It’s almost like one half was written with a clear head and the other a hangover. Which?

On the plus side it shows that restructuring of the industry needs to be done and has (partially) been done. In this country we act as if there will never be a need for this as coal will go on forever.

Having a plan and executing it is usually preferable to dogmatic denial of a problem and refusal to even make a credible plan.

It seems all the rage for pundits to criticise everything not perfect and allow the unthinking to continue business as usual on that basis.

If the coalition and ALP made a policy to evolve from coal to renewables, and wind down coal mining on a reasonable schedule, there would still be those pundits criticising them for not doing more.

Many countries are making such plans although longer term than many of us would wish for, but they are well ahead of our own denialist leadership (using the term sarcastically).

I prefer a small step ahead even when a large one is preferable, since no step at all is worse.


The reason why black coal mining ceased in Germany is due to the fact that it has been uneconomic for many years and has been supported through tax relief and incentives from the central government. In 2013, the OECD stated “hard-coal mining is uneconomic and the remaining mines will close by 2018 as subsidies are phased out.”. The German black coal industry can’t compete with cheaper imports from other countries such as those in eastern Europe. As there is free trade within EU countries, it is cheaper for German to import its energy than use local resources. It is also worth noting that Germany’s energy import dependency is at about 63.9 percent, which is very high. I understand that Australia’s import dependency is around 38%, which is mainly from oil imports.

Unfortunately, as a German friend who is active in the green movement in Germany as well as not in Australia, much of the world media is being mislead by the claimed achievements within Germany. He also says that Germany is relying on external factors to claim credit for its success.

The closure of the black coal mines was not due to climate action, but due to raw economics. These mines have been uneconomic for many years (decades) and due to fiscal pressures with the German economy, the government has been slowly removing tax and other incentives to keep the mines operational. As outlined above, Germany is a net importer of energy and it is cheaper for German to import fossil fuels/electricity from its neighbours.

There have also been reports of German planning for a new coal fired power station…which hasn’t been widely reported in countries like Australia.

Aussie consumers can’t rely on what is happening in countries such as Germany which imports most of its fossil fuels and energy from other countries. To compare to Australia is like comparing apples and oranges. If say Australia had an underground transmission cable to Indonesia, and imported a significant amount of energy from Indonesia to allowed Australia to close mines supplying Australian coal fired generators, then it may be possible to compare.

In relation to Australia consumers, as we don’t have an international linked electricity grid, any actions within Australia need to consider the impacts on the whole of the electricity grid.

It would be good if the ABC took the information about Germany’s alleged success to task and reported facts or the bigger picture. Reporting facts/bigger picture is possibly the only way to change public opinion as well as place pressure on countries like Germany to demonstrate a real commitment to emission reduction (rather than still relying on carbon intensive energy generation from neighbouring countries to achieve its own emission target.

My German friend has also indicated that there has been chatter amongst green groups that some European governments are looking into whether the location of emissions for calculations should be changed from the consumer (power station or car) to the producer (say coal mine or oil well). Such would assist them in achieving their future zero emission target. If it occurs, it is creative accounting to achieve a political outcome.

Bad news for food supply:

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An article regarding more homes in Australia to become uninsurable due to climate change.


I doubt the ABC report is being presented as an assessment of Germany’s overall performance in reducing geeenhouse gas emissions.

I also doubt if matters too much whether the coal sector in Germany was profitable or loss making.

The principal observations in the report are contained in the headline.

Germany is shutting down its coal industry for good, so far without sacking a single worker

The content in the report is revealing of the commitments required to achieve this. Some goals already achieved, and others ongoing to deliver this for the remainder of the brown coal industry by 2038.

That Germany imports power and coal does not change the outcome or commitment required from those employed in the industry, the communities and government. Maintaining stability of employment and communities through transition is as relevant to the problems facing Australians as it is those employed in Germany. We are all consumers in similar ways and we all depend on employment and our communities. It is very fundamental.

Don’t we have enough problems with how Australia’s success in reducing GHG emissions is being reported without dissecting another nation?

Off topic, and only slightly relevant, Germany has also decreased it’s imports of black coal! Credit to Reuters.


The video on the German phase-out of coal:

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A blog post on how consumer costs will be needlessly increased.


A sobering summary of the season so far:


That was frightening. Really. :frowning:


An interesting article regarding methane and climate change.

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This has been going on for ages. TTBOMK there is no regular monitoring of methane emissions from open cut coal mines or gas wells in Australia. There is for underground mining as a safety measure but I don’t think it is collected in such a way to give a measure of total emissions, just to avoid concentrations that might produce explosions.

AFAICS all the figures that are fed into the national GHG accounts for extractive industry methane emissions are a guess not a measurement.

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Another article regarding climate change.

This could be interesting.

It is good to see others reaching out and engage. Whether their approach is In the end effective depends?

ABC “The Drum” panel did a great job of dissecting the differences between scientific endeavour and belief (optionally political posturing). Discussion related very current events and news. They offered some great insights on why beating other Aussies over the head with climate science can be counter productive. There are in fact other ways that have been shown to be effective, and some good observations on what is important for all consumers.

Do we need to look beyond science if we are going to make progress and deliver certainty to consumers. There is more than one supportive answer to that question from the panel of wiser ones.