Big Rule of Thumb

"The Conversation" has some detailed articles with strong criticisms of the recent Australian Governments Climate and Energy road map, and budget. I find these articles to be rather lame in their criticism. They do not scream out "climate emergency", which ought to be considered the only rational response by now.

Again the enormous subsidies to Coal and Gas mining in Australia are mentioned.

The quote below indicates the scale of Australias biggest "job-subsidy" payment - A$730,000 per mining job per year. This is A$47 billion as estimated by the IMF, divided by 64,300 direct jobs. It is a subsidy for fuel and capital costs, not jobs. The more fuel burned, the bigger the subsidy. It is a subsidy for profits, earnings for the top managers and rich shareholders, on whose authority these state - capital machine systems keep going.

Global economic collapse is happening, about time, helped along by SARS-CoV-2.  Subsidies and lots of financial debt prop up the dying fossil fuel industries in time of too-low commodity prices. Fossil fuel subsidies slow the pace of renewable energy investment.

"By-Catch" in plastic nets. A species extinction effect of our global mega-machines

Subsidies keep our systems of global megadeath machinery in power to consume the last vestiges of surviving bio-systems. Our large ocean swimming mammals - whales, dolphins and porpoises, are now entering the extinction zone, with high losses due to fishing practices ("by-catch"), ocean plastics and pollution. The entire ocean food - web is disappearing from the bottom up. The decline of the smallest to largest of ocean creatures will be our final undoing.

Too much ocean carbon dioxide and warming changes the smallest of ocean-living carbon cyclers

Changing ocean chemistry and temperature is the most massive and dangerous achievement of our global megamachine. It has gradual blow back effects the likes of which we fail to comprehend, in their effects on the smallest and most important creatures of ocean life, which play an important role in the global carbon cycle.

South American Wildfires in 2020

Meanwhile the land ecosystems are not doing so well either. Wild fires are now out of control all the time somewhere. At the moment in South America, its "Total Destruction", where there are fires, according to this Guardian article.

The apocalypse of revelation is here now, unless we are insulated from it by mental blinkers, wealth and power.

If we divide the IMF subsidy figure by the number of direct jobs, the governments of Australia spend A$730,000 each year for every direct job in the coal, oil and gas industry.
Matt Canavan says Australia doesn’t subsidise the fossil fuel industry, an expert says it does

State governments, industrial systems almost everywhere still depend on the supplies of fossil fuels to keep their state machines going. The only exempt parts of our systems, are vestiges of independence in subsistence farming, and those with the least contribution to global pollution, are those in most danger of being wiped out by hungry state powers. Our systems are an aggressive, life destroying cancer. We are the big thumb squashing out the living basis for our existence. It is funded by our money systems - debt and subsidies. And practically, these should be the easiest to change, being non-physical, but allocations of money are protected by the most powerful and rich humans.  The packs of idiots which run our governments keep pretending that the financial levers of power are impossible to move from their present settings. This is the logic of global finance: The money levers are stuck, so global warming cannot be a problem.

Australian governments are practised in deep layers of ignorance and denial. There are billions of dollars in the Diesel Fuel Rebates Scheme. Mining industry requires big trucks and heavy diesel powered machinery. Mining is powered by big machinery, which only require a small number of jobs. Big machines do all the earth moving, transport and primary processing. Diesel fuels are the major cost of fossil fuel mining, after capital costs of buying and maintaining of the giant machinery.

As mining pits get deeper, the distances and climb of truck movements increases. The work, costs and emissions by mining machinery, powered by fossil fuels, gradually increases as a proportion of the mined energy product. Various practices and technology upgrades to the capital equipment are tried to mitigate this, with limiting success. Energy is the major cost of getting energy. Proportionally more fossil fuels are burned so we can continue to burn enough fossil fuels, to run all the other stuff of our wasteful economies.

At this point in time, there is a major slump in most global commodity prices, including the price of Oil, so some mining operations are enjoying a reduction of input financial costs. This does not mean that net energy ratio is somehow getting better. The energy and emissions cost of delivered just keeps going up.

It was interesting to take a brief look at earlier estimates, in 2010 of how mining costs continue to rise. The much studied example is projections of what the price of Copper will be in future.

Barry Golding published a PhD thesis in 2010, for the University of Queensland, that used some complex modelling tools, and concluded that the cost of producing US copper was most likely to be lower in real terms in 2020, than it was in 2002, even with a twofold increase in the real cost of energy, and therefore would still be "sustainable" in 2020.

Now we have more of the real copper price record. The graph below shows that between 1960 and 2000, the price in $US was mostly less than $1.00 a tonne. After 2004, it gradually rose, and peaked around $3.50 between 2008 and 2010, not quite reaching $4.50 in February 2011. There was a temporary price collapse with the GFC in late 2008. The price is now around $3.00. If that is better in "Real Terms" than 2002, is more than a little difficult to decide, what with changes of inflation and relative costs of everything else. Like everything else in this system going "haywire", rates of change are everywhere getting fast and dangerous.

Copper is still an essential resource, for all common electrical power conduction wiring. All power connections for electronics, and all future renewable energy infrastructure and network connections, that are supposed to replace fossil fuels.

Mining requirements of "real energy cost" and "environment costs" continue to rise. While supplies will continue, fresh mined copper ore is not sustainable in the longer run. There is talk about the ability to reuse and recycle, but production systems are still geared to using the newly mined ore.

At some time in the future, mining production costs will exceed what many are able to pay, and total production must fall.

Copper Prices - 45 Year Historical Chart

The total supply of copper reaches a maximum 2030–2045, zinc 2030–2050 and lead 2025-2030, according to models and assumptions using "System Dynamics". A lot of system collapse needs to happen by then.

Michael Rynn
The big thumb of the global megamachine keeps squashing out life systems, while our financial systems are happy to approve.
State subsidies and Debt power fossil fuel mining and burning
Big rule of thumb

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