The power problems we had to have

posted in: Life and things | 1
Image from Pok Rie on Pexels

Well gosh. We’ve hit the inevitable crunch over electricity. NSW and Queensland have been warned about blackouts as the states struggle to ensure power suppliers keep the grid working. Cost of power has been capped to protect consumers, so some of those suppliers will be making a loss.

There’s no point in crying about it. It was inevitable when coal-fired stations were closed and no new HELE (high energy low emissions) stations were built. Not in Australia, anyway, they’re going up like mushrooms in China. The Greens, teals, and Dan Andrews have ruled out gas and brought out holy water at the suggestion of nuclear power, despite the fact that nuclear produces no emissions.

It’s not as if we’re the first. Something like this has happened in other parts of the world. California, Texas, and Europe – all making the change to renewables – and all vulnerable to problems with their remaining base generators which use fossil fuels being unable to guarantee supply. Despite the war in Ukraine, many European countries can’t bring themselves to give up Russian oil and gas. And fair enough, in a way. The people who really suffer from sky rocketing power prices and routine blackouts are the poor. Well off folks will complain as they hand over a little more cash to the power companies but they won’t have to make a choice between staying warm and eating.

There’s nothing wrong with using renewables for energy, but the suggestion that we can move to zero emissions by 2050 (without using nuclear power) is straight out of fairyland. Renewables only work when the sun shines, there isn’t a drought, and the wind blows (but not too hard). Batteries won’t be enough to power industry and the pressure on the grid will only increase as we all move to clean, green electric cars.

Maybe we should move back to the 1950’s. No TV, no internet, no mobile phones, nowhere near as many cars. I wonder how that would go down with the current generation?

Instead of believing in our hubris that mankind can change the climate, maybe we should be looking at something that is very definitely our fault and which we can change – if we have the will.

Micro-plastics are everywhere. They have been detected in snowfall at the poles; they clog our oceans and kill sea creatures which mistake the plastic for food; they have even been found in human placenta. This article from Nature explains how pervasive micro-plastics have become and how little we know about their effects. We all ingest lots of plastic every day.

Take a look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It has been there forever, a place where the floating debris on the seas is collected by currents into a few locations. But these days most of what is collected is plastic. We did that. There’s no room for argument.

And yet factories continue to churn out plastic in a multitude of guises and people keep on buying. Maybe this is a time when we should go back to the 1950’s. Wooden toys, paper bags for groceries, milk in bottles, soft drink bottles returned to the factories to be reused.

Yeah, right. A girl can dream.

Meanwhile, here’s a nice picture of the beach that I took with my mobile phone the other day. Winter’s hard in Hervey Bay/

  1. Laurie G.

    Not just California. We’re facing the threat of blackouts here, too. And food shortages since all our food processing plants are mysteriously being destroyed, one-by-one.

    And I so agree with you on the plastics. We need some way to recycle more effectively or, as you suggested, get away from plastics altogether. (Like you, I doubt there’s much chance of that.) I think that pollution, more so than climate change, is what’s really damaging our environment. Problem is, few of those who cry out about saving the Earth can be bothered with setting up a recycling program for their household goods.

    Happy Winter! (We’re pushing 90 F here today.)

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