Thursday, April 18, 2024

Mike's Minute: Coal is a return to the real world

More from our common sense file.

Resources Minister Shane Jones has had a good week and I'm increasingly falling in love with him.

He turned on the country's only electric digger. This is a big mother and may well be the future of heavy industrial work.

He is also going to make it easier to dig for coal. As he points out coal, in terms of extraction, is not dissimilar to extracting lots of minerals and although there are a small, but loud, group of people that want to extract nothing, what happens when you don’t have energy is you either have to bring it in or you sit in the dark a lot.

In a week where we learned we will need ten times the power we currently use just to search the net, given AI sucks up a shed load more power than your current Google search, it might be time to get a bit real about what makes the wheels turn.

While we wait for solar and wind and whatever else to get approved and brought online, the simple truth remains we make most of our energy out of water (which is good), a bit out of hot stuff in the ground (which is pretty good). But we still need coal.

Because we can't really look for more coal the same way we haven't been able to look for more oil, we got a bit stuck. So, we had the absurdity of importing coal from Indonesia.

Not only was it coal, but it was coal not nearly as good as ours, thus defeating the entire purpose of saving the planet.

Speaking of which, surely the numbers also out this week once and for all buried this falsehood that the world is turning on the climate.

We have never used more coal and demand has gone up again in the past year. But we are planning and opening more mines than ever before, led of course by China.

China, along with a long list of players from Greece to Vietnam to Pakistan to Korea, Bangladesh and Japan are all opening mines.

No, that's not ideal. But as Jones points out, utopia in the form of renewables at a level of 100% is years away.

In the meantime, it's back to the real world.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Every part of you came out of the ground - vegetables, meat, carbs, it all grew in soil and came out of the ground and formed you.
Look around , everything you can see came out of the ground in some form, and was transformed into its current state via other ground based processes.
Almost none of that will be around in 100 years - back in the ground at a landfill.

Now, tell me what's so bad about extracting things from beneath your feet ?

Anonymous said...

The two biggest components are CO2 and H2O so yes a lot comes from the ground but not all and probably not even most.

Sven said...

Bloody good, dig more coal, pump more oil, life is good when energy is cheap and abundant, we have the abundant, but not the cheap.