Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 2017  

Posted by Big Gav in

I'm not a huge fan of the Maritime Museum as a venue for this exhibition, but I still make my annual pilgrimage to it. Some interesting images still make it through - WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR.

This year wasn't without controversy, with one winner being disqualified after it turned out that he had used a taxidermist's product in his image - Wildlife photographer of the year entry winner disqualified after judges realise it was of a stuffed anteater.

China’s coal consumption has peaked  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Brookings has a report from the China Daily prophesising that Chinese coal use has peaked - China’s coal consumption has peaked.

Looking ahead, we do not anticipate significant new growth of coal consumption this year or in the next few years. First of all, the Chinese government is not setting a higher target of growth for 2018. The traditional drivers of coal growth – construction and manufacturing – will continue to give way to the service sector in economic growth. Real estate development is experiencing the coldest winter ever due to restrictive regulations by the central and local governments. Anticipation of a property tax would make speculators switch from “buy” to “sell” mode.

We stick to our conclusion made in 2016: Coal-fired growth is over, despite the fact that coal remains the primary fuel for the Chinese economy.

Additionally, investment in infrastructure construction by local governments is now haunted by the local debts and is unlikely to grow quickly. In fact, some provincial governments have gone public to acknowledge and correct their overestimations of GDP and revenue. We stick to our conclusion made in 2016: Coal-fired growth is over, despite the fact that coal remains the primary fuel for the Chinese economy.

In addition, the regional coal-cap policy will continue to squeeze coal out of the energy mix, especially in the haze-intensive regions in the north. It is expected that even less coal will be used next winter, when more gas pipes are in place for heating.

The real game changer is clean energy. The price of solar photovoltaic is at an all-time low, enough to compete against coal for power generation. Additionally, wind power is well positioned to play an even bigger role.

Nevertheless, China is still the single largest coal user in the world, and coal represents more than 60 percent of its energy mix. But in the long run, coal consumption will continue declining – with current policies and the structural transformation of the economy from being a heavy industry-led, export-driven model to one sustained by services and domestic consumption – despite the annual and seasonal fluctuations.

We have no doubt that China’s coal consumption has peaked and coal-fired economic growth has come to an end.

Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Bloomberg has a report on the rapidly growing electric bus industry, with China leading the way (adding a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks) - Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry.

Electric buses were seen as a joke at an industry conference in Belgium seven years ago when the Chinese manufacturer BYD Co. showed an early model. “Everyone was laughing at BYD for making a toy,” recalled Isbrand Ho, the Shenzhen-based company’s managing director in Europe. “And look now. Everyone has one.”

Suddenly, buses with battery-powered motors are a serious matter with the potential to revolutionize city transport—and add to the forces reshaping the energy industry. With China leading the way, making the traditional smog-belching diesel behemoth run on electricity is starting to eat away at fossil fuel demand.

The numbers are staggering. China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

All this is starting to make an observable reduction in fuel demand. And because they consume 30 times more fuel than average sized cars, their impact on energy use so far has become much greater than the passenger sedans produced by companies from Tesla Inc. to Toyota Motor Corp.

Roger Waters: Wake up and smell the roses  

Posted by Big Gav in

The propaganda war against Syria has been every bit as bad as the endless stream of lies we were fed about Iraq 15 years ago.

Every time I see another made up story about "chemical weapons" being used by the Syrians (or by the Russians on some random dude they'd long ago allowed to emigrate to Britain) I wonder who believes this nonsense. Judging by the comments section at the SMH and on Twitter there are a lot of skeptics about, even if the mainstream media refuses to air any dissenting opinions at all.

In the Iraq case the propaganda war seemed primarily designed to ensure control of the oil (with military industrial complex profits and the desire of the Israel lobby to destroy all other middle eastern states being the most important secondary factors). In this new war that is being pushed for the latter two factors far outweigh any energy related concerns.

I enjoyed watching Pink Floyd's Roger Waters courteously dismissing those who fall for the party line at a recent concert.

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