Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Damn Cars and all hail Solar Power

Kevin Rudd, leader of the opposition in Australia has promised to spend $50 million on household solar panels in an attempt to stem global warming.

"We believe that renewable energy is a key part of Australia's future response to the challenge of climate change," Mr Rudd told reporters.

"We believe that solar power is a key part of Australia's future response to climate change.

"It also helps families to do their bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

He says that the money would be equivalent to taking 4000 cars of the road. It could also be the equivalent to buying 4000 second hand cars and passing them free of charge to the public, but that's another matter.

Even though, the rebate is only for 25%, so I guess in this case, the government are only taking 1000 cars off the road.

But anyway, we've kind of heard these do good do nothing stories before. Banning ordinary light globes and banning screen savers we found do absolutely nothing, but make people feel good - about doing nothing. Aint life easy?

So lets do the sums. Considering that a car generates around 3.5 tonnes of deadly greenhouse gas a year, 1000 cars is equivalent to saving 3500 tonnes per year. Awesome. Good work.

Now lets assume that 100% of recent warming is caused by the deadly gas (extremely unlikely), and given that Australia's greenhouse gas output is 1.5% of the worlds, and that we have seen an increase in 0.6 degrees in the last century we can work out how much we will save.

In fact considering that Australia produces 356,342,000 tonnes a year, we will save a staggering 1/100,000th of our greenhouse gas.

This means that the solar panel scheme of opposition leader Kevin Rudd will cool the world by:

0.0000000009 degrees each year.

Thank goodness the heater works in my car.

1 comment:

Phil_B said...

Solar power (as in photovoltaics) is nowhere near commercially viable and needs the panels to rotate in order to collect maximum sunlight. Not too many people with rotating roofs in Australia.

Solar panels on your roof is just a Greenie fashion statement subsidized by the taxpayer.

Note that passive solar heating of water for domestic consumption or for industrial scale energy production (as is currently being trialed in the USA) does make sense.