What is it with net zero emissions by 2050? It is so simple for politicians to blurt out these words as near as makes no difference none of them will be in office to take responsibility for any outcome.
As for Australia, PM Scott Morrison has a point that it should be technology led. However let’s think logically about the “cost” which he says Aussies have right to know about.
First of all, no one has worked out how to decarbonize steel. Carbon fibre is derived from petrochemicals. So that is two vital structural materials taken out. Aluminum is hideously power intensive to produce despite recyclability. Scrub the 170,000 jobs in mining. Manufacturing? Another 840,000 roles no longer needed.
No steel or fossil-fuel derived plastics will make it complex for tradesmen to be able to construct let alone repair homes or buildings. Glass also requires a lot of energy. As does gyprock. Bin 1.1mn jobs in construction.
What of a net zero carbon emissions world in other areas?
Let’s start with tourism:
$60bn industry. 8.5million visitors came to Australia in 2018. 1.4m from China. 789k from the US, 733k from the UK and 470k from Japan.
These numbers don’t include Aussies that want to take holidays abroad. 9.5m trips were made by Australians to overseas destinations.
Still to get to net zero, we need to ban air travel. With that, might as well stop Badgery’s Creek airport construction immediately. No point building such extra capacity if we won’t have much time to use it. Wasteful spending.
Tourism? Throw another 1m jobs into jeopardy.
Hotels? Bring your own towels and sleeping bag.
Coffee? Bring your own mug only.
Retail? No carry bags and no goods that are derived from fossil fuels can be sold. Gone. Of the 1.3m jobs in retail, most no longer needed.
Restaurants? There will be no gas to cook your meal. Bring your own utensils.
We need to ban long distance trucks and the haulage business. Forget those living in remote areas who rely on road trains. Forget your out of season fruit and veg at Woolies. Another 600,000 jobs.
Cars? Get rid of them too. The batteries in EVs create 150,000km of CO2-e in the production process before leaving the factory. For safety, cars will be required to use materials to meet crash standards. Even if autonomous driving succeeds, it won’t be 100% foolproof. Better off banning cars outright to meet 2050.
Synthetic rubber in the tyres and door seals made from fossil fuels. Out. Brake and electric motor materials – all made from fossil fuels. Scratch. Air bag with pyrotechnics? Fossil fuel derived. Dashboard, seats, seat belts or iPad centre console? Petrochemicals.
The power grid to charge them? All fossil fuel derived – from wind farms to solar panels and the equipment to make the charging stations. If there are miscalculations on power needs after Dec 31st, 2049 then too bad. Rationing will be required.
No TVs or smart phones or computers. All fossil fuel derived.
No hospital equipment or life saving medicines. All made from petrochemical and fossil fuel derivatives.
In short, in order to decarbonise to net zero by 2050 we’d need to spew carbon emissions like there was no tomorrow to meet the crushing penalties that would result.
Why are governments even entertaining such ridiculous stupidity?
We only want to see Mad Max in the cinema, not in real life.
Here is a picture of HK International Airport check in last night for a bit of context on how a virus can slam an economy before we bother with net emissions