Thursday, October 28, 2010

3 1/2 wagons of coal

That's how much coal it takes to completely obliterate all the yearly C02 savings from the QLD government Solar Kindies scheme.

Now the Solar Kindies scheme, which puts solar on kindergartens, is a positive thing and parents and kindy teachers will feel justifiably proud that their premise's are being powered by renewable energy, but how much difference will it really make?

According to Dr Guy Pearse's talk at the University of Queensland tonight, about 42 coal trains arrive at QLD ports for export every day, that's one just over every 30 minutes. Each train has up to 100 wagons of coal, so in the time it has taken me to write this post, the greenhouse gas savings from the Solar Kindies scheme have already been wiped out by QLD coal exports.

What does this mean? Well it shows that if we are really serious about dealing with climate change we need much bigger solar programs and much bolder government action. It also means that at some stage we are going to have to think about the massive amounts of C02 emissions we are exporting to places like Japan and China with our coal exports.

PS: This doesn't mean that individual action, or small actions to reduce emissions are meaningless. A tonne of C02 saved here is as important as anywhere else in the world (after-all, the atmosphere doesn't care who emits the C02, the impact is the same) and a tonne of C02 not emitted is a tonne of C02 warming we won't have to deal with in the future.

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