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New Report: Australia’s Coal Economy Eroding
A new report from energy consultant Wood Mackenzie warns that Australia’s coal economy is eroding, and with it a major source of the “lucky” country’s good fortune. Nearly a quarter of Australian prosperity comes from mining and resource processing, and for most of the past 30 years, coal has been Australia’s major export industry. The Australian economy itself is highly dependent on reliable and cheap electricity from coal.
Europe is Becoming Energy Poor
Europe’s once comfortable middle class is being pushed into energy poverty as a result of EU hostility to coal generation and a rush to implement costly renewable energy mandates.
Study: Wind Can’t Meet Power Needs
Despite $24 billion in federal subsidies and decades of development, “nowhere in the United States, or anywhere else, has an array of wind turbines replaced a single conventional power plant. Nowhere,” writes geological engineer and Heartland Institute Fellow Jay Lehr in the Wall Street Journal.
Why? “Wind is at best a niche player in energy,” with 300 square miles of wind turbines required to match the power generation of a single conventional power plant. A single mine in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin produces more energy than 50,000 windmills. Turbine breakdowns and accidents are multiplying, wind energy remains unreliable and the Audubon Society now estimates bird deaths from turbines exceed a million per year.
“Grandiose claims made on behalf of wind-generated electricity are rubbish, whether or not renewable-energy advocates admit it… but sooner or later the public will wise up.”
China to Leave Rural Poverty Behind in Historic Urbanization
In a dozen years, 250 million Chinese are on track to relocate from rural villages into newly constructed cities, the New York Times reports. The planned migration will be the largest in recorded human history, with “the number of brand-new Chinese city dwellers [approaching] the total urban population of the United States — in a country already bursting with megacities.”
Why is China replacing small rural homes with high-rises? China’s leaders see a direct link between urbanization and a better quality of life for the Chinese. They seek to spur “a new wave of growth,” fueled by a consuming class of city dwellers. “… new urbanites mean vast new opportunities for construction companies, public transportation, utilities and appliance makers, and a break from the cycle of farmers consuming only what they produce,” writes the Times. And in a nation that is primarily coal fueled, these new urbanites will consume far coal to power this progress.
Urbanization and Level of Income
“Green Energy” Threatens Europe’s Middle Class
The European Union is a green-energy basket case, according to University of Buckingham climate policy expert Benny Peiser: "With 20-20 hindsight [the EU’s 20-20-20 energy policy] has proven to be an economic and social disaster."
As Europe’s Economy Sinks, “Green Consensus” Falters
The European Union’s once solid green consensus is beginning to falter as the continent’s economic crisis deepens. A leaked EU document from a recent gathering of the European Council in Brussels warns that “high energy prices and costs hamper European competitiveness” and recommends that member states reconsider unsustainably costly energy policies as unemployment continues to rise and generation capacity falls. A steady stream of announcements from European manufacturers relocating to lower-cost continents has reinforced fears about industrial competitiveness as the region struggles with a deep recession.
"Many countries now recognise that the EU’s bid to lead the world in “de-carbonising” is leading the European economy towards meltdown," writes Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph.
U.S. Chamber: “Sue and Settle” Soaks American Taxpayers
“Sue and settle” maneuvers have cost the American economy billions, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Researchers found that a small number of environmental activists are successfully shaping America’s regulatory agenda through multi-million-dollar lawsuits.
Priority in Pakistan: Turn on Lights
Pakistan may be a nuclear-armed nation but it’s turning to coal to keep the lights on. Blackouts of 12 to 20 hours a day have cost the economy a crippling $13.5 billion a year, the Wall Street Journal reports. The nation has unveiled an “electricity rescue plan” that would convert four of Pakistan’s largest power plants, which currently burn expensive oil, to cheaper coal – a decision expected to pay for itself in as little as a year. New coal-burning power stations would also be commissioned.
"Pakistan just has to learn from the rest of the world. It doesn't have to reinvent the wheel," says Naveed Ismail, an independent energy-sector expert, in the Journal. "The issue is producing affordable electricity. No new capacity should be added unless it brings down the average cost of power.”
Germany Scales Back Support for Renewables as Costs Spiral
A crucial test case for renewable energy is failing in Europe’s strongest economy. With its Energiewende, Germany sought to transition to renewable energies, but this widely heralded national shift is being scaled back amid spiraling costs, Chancellor Angela Merkel told a recent Berlin energy conference.
Wood Is Not So Green After All
A major source of renewable energy might not be green after all, a Dartmouth College-led study has found. Activists have long urged utilities to burn wood for energy in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but researchers found that this biofuel might, in fact, be bad for the environment. Intensive logging releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas stored in “deep soil.” Woody biomass, which includes trees grown on plantations, managed natural forests and logging waste, makes up about 75 percent of global biofuel production.