Monthly Archives: November 2021

The fossil-fuel subsidies blind spot

Belgium apparently signed the declaration to end “fossil fuel financing”:

Tweet John Murton 2021-11-12

The guy on the left is John Murton (UK Envoy to COP26) who is thanking Zakia Khattabi sitting on the left (Belgian Minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development & Green Deal from Ecolo, the French-speaking Green Party of Belgium) for joining the declaration. The inconvenient reality is that the Belgian Federal Government very recently approved subsidizing the building of new gas-fired power plants in order to replace nuclear power plants.

Most comments below the tweet highlighted the hypocritical nature of that signature, rightfully so. John Murton tried to defuse the situation by responding that he actually meant “international financing” or “overseas financing”, but nobody was particularly impressed by that intervention, also rightfully so. It is still hypocritical to pledge to end international/overseas fossil-fuel financing while at the same time subsidizing the fossil-fuel industry nationally.

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Pumped hydro more expensive than batteries: a tongue-in-cheek analogy

Having written the last five posts on the comparison between hydro and batteries based on the calculations in the SolarQuotes article Snowy Hydro 2.0: More Expensive Than Battery Storage, I think it is time to conclude this series. In previous posts, I focused primarily on the errors and had split up the series into several posts. This allowed me to discover the different aspects in more depth, but re-reading those posts, I had the impression that the technique that was used to favor the batteries over hydro now might not really that clear anymore. It might also not be very clear how absurd the comparison between average output versus maximum capacity actually is.

I try to remedy this by illustrating those techniques in a tongue-in-cheek example in which I will make the same flawed calculations as done in SolarQuotes article and making equally nonsensical arguments. If you want to appreciate this post and you didn’t read previous posts yet detailing the (flawed) arguments that were made in that article, then it might be advised to do that first or read the SolarQuotes article. Otherwise you might not understand the gist of this post.

To illustrate this technique, I will tell a story of a transport company and its CEO who wants to buy a new delivery van for long-haul transport. He is in favor of a big van that he thinks is suitable for handling the bigger loads that the van is expected to handle.

Now assume that I am an employee of that company and that I am assigned to prepare the dossier. However, I don’t like the bigger van and I am in favor of a much smaller van that unfortunately is less suitable for larger loads. The task before me is to convince my boss that the smaller delivery van is nevertheless the better choice…

That seems pretty impossible to do, but after having written already five posts on the argumentation of batteries versus hydro, I think that I now have sufficient insights to successfully finish this difficult job. Trust me, this is going to be a breeze…

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