Instead of cutting forests and burning dung and charcoal, shouldn’t Africa have cheap electricity?
By Duggan Flanakin
China, India, Vietnam and other nations are using more and more oil, natural gas and coal every year to electrify and modernize their nations, create jobs, and improve their people’s health, living standards and life spans. Why in this day and age are the World Bank and other international institutions demanding widespread use of charcoal for heating and cooking in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)?
During the recent 2019 “climate week,” the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change touted increased reliance on biomass – which already comprises 60% of European “renewable” energy – as a tool in fighting climate change and stabilizing Earth’s never-stable climate. Continue reading “Eco-imperialists Impose a Biomess on Africa”
Democrat presidential candidates and Green New Dealers need to face some hard energy facts
CNN recently hosted a seven-hour climate bore-athon. That climate cataclysms are real and already devastating our planet was not open to discussion. So host Wolf Blitzer and ten Democrat presidential contenders vied to make the most extravagant claims about how bad things are, and who would spend the most taxpayer money and impose the most Green New Deal rules to restrict our freedoms and transform our energy, economy, agriculture and transportation, in the name of preventing further cataclysms. Continue reading “Buckets of Icy Cold Reality”
Burning forests to generate electricity is probably the worst green energy stupidity. It destroys forests, creates its own pollutants, is less efficient than coal to harvest, handle and burn and has a low heat value. If all factors are counted, it will take decades of forest regrowth to match the CO2 emissions of burning high-energy coal.
Most coal-fired power stations are built on a coal field with reserves to last the life of the power station. The coal is mined efficiently, the fuel is of known quality and sizing and efficient repetitive methods are used to extract and prepare the coal and convey it continuously into the power station.
The most infamous wood-burning power station in the world is DRAX in Britain. It burns more wood than UK produces and more than any other station in the world. It gets huge subsidies for felling forests as far away as America, then chipping and drying the wood and transporting pellets across the Atlantic. Every step on the way causes large emissions of CO2, but these are conveniently ignored in the mindless war on coal.
If you haven’t already seen it, let me recommend the 1979 Monty Python comedy film “Life of Brian” where John Cleese plays Reg, spokesman for the People’s Front of Judea. In trying to justify his opposition to Roman occupation, Reg desperately asks his colleagues:
“Alright, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, fresh water systems and health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”
Coal and oil are made from plants and animals that died millions of years ago when the atmosphere contained abundant carbon dioxide plant food. They are now very concentrated forms of energy which can be extracted from very small areas of land. Burning these natural hydro-carbons returns CO2 and fresh water to the atmosphere thus greatly assisting global plant growth. If we are lucky these extra gases in the atmosphere may also slightly delay the start of Earth’s next cooling cycle, but this looks unlikely.
Ethanol and biodiesel are made from plants growing now – sugar cane, beets, palm oil and grains. Growing these crops requires large areas of land and valuable fresh water for irrigation.
Growing bio-fuel crops extracts CO2 from the atmosphere but burning them quickly puts it back. This is a zero-sum game that does nothing positive for the environment or the climate.
Coal and oil are thus more enviro-friendly than biofuels. It is environmental desecration to lock-the-gate on coal, oil and gas while supporting policies that waste land, food crops and water for motor fuels.
Speculators should be free to make biofuels but these should not be subsidised or mandated.