India, Greenpeace and Coal

Over at my companion blog 3000 Quads, I recently wrote “This analysis shows that India can potentially shift its fuel portfolio slightly in a ‘greener’ direction, but meeting the economic needs of its people will almost certainly mean continued use of large quantities of coal.”

Sometimes I hate being right. India is cutting off funding to the Indian offices of Greenpeace, freezing seven bank accounts and proceeding with their long battle against the Green NGO. I’m not a big fan of Greenpeace. I believe they ignore the poor in their quest for environmental Jerusalem and I certainly do not consider them to have a balanced or even sane view of climate change. India does not want Greenpeace interfering with their new plans to mine more Indian coal instead of buying it from Australia and Indonesia. Although I understand the government’s actions, I somehow wish a reasonable debate could take place between the government and somebody–maybe not Greenpeace, but somebody–about how to meet India’s energy needs without killing millions of Indians.more indian coal But India needs fuel to run its power plants and coal is the fuel they have access to. Coal is the fuel used to provide 44% of India’s energy needs–and right now they are importing 42% of their coal despite having huge amounts of coal in India. Regulations, corruptions and Byzantine corporate practice make it very difficult to get coal out of the ground in India, something their new prime minister is trying to change.

There are 167 million families in rural India that don’t have access to electricity. Although I’m a big fan of rural solar electrification programs to get some power to the people quickly, in all honesty India needs large scale power plants and the only fuel they can afford today is coal. This is a mortal pity, because India is just as polluted as China–it just goes mostly unnoticed.

There is a solution. Really.

What Greenpeace could do is lobby intensively for Western countries to provide at no cost the scrubbing technology needed to make India’s inevitable dash for coal as clean as possible.

They won’t, of course. Scrubbing technology doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions.

Coal is much, much better for Indians than burning dung or firewood. It’s better for their health, better for their environment, and, dirty and emissive as coal is, is a major improvement on the kerosene used for heating and cooking today.

It would be wonderful if India could skip a rung or two on the energy ladder and go straight to hydropower, nuclear, wind and solar. And they are working very hard to bring those fuels online. But today, Old King Coal is still the answer to India’s energy crisis. It would be nice, if a bit fairy tale-ish, if our Green organizations could find a way to help them make it work. But I guess there’s a whale to save somewhere, or an archeological treasure to trash.

11 responses to “India, Greenpeace and Coal

  1. NPR aired an interesting segment this weekend about the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. NYC has been trying to build a garbage-to-energy incinerator for decades – but environmentalist have blocked it, insisting that burning garbage only decreases the incentive to recycle. So the garbage piles up. This “our solutions at any cost” is killing environmentalism as well as the environment.

  2. Tom, It is important to analyze coal, or any other technology/enterprise in terms of its costs *and* benefits. How many lives will be improved and saved from the power generated by coal? How many good jobs will be created mining, processing, transporting, etc. coal? In the US, Britain, and many other countries, it was millions to the benefit side. I seriously doubt if there are credible numbers showing that millions will die from coal, or even have their lives seriously damaged. If you have realistic numbers on this I would be very interested in reading them.

  3. Sorry, hit “submit” too soon. Excellent take down on Greenpeace. They are an organization that has develoved into little more than a corrupt over funded parasite.

  4. Attentioin silent readers


    I’ve shown below, using the AGW conjecture, that we should expect some areas on Earth to reach temperatures of over 100°C when the flux from the atmosphere is added to the Solar flux in Stefan Boltzmann (S-B) calculations. Hence the whole concept that such flux can be added is obviously false, and so too are the rest of the energy budget diagrams (K-T, NASA, IPCC etc) and of course the computer models.

    It is obvious that in climatology physics courses they brainwash students who end up like Joel Shore and Roy Spencer being adamant that we must add the back radiation to the solar radiation. That is shown to be wrong in my March 2012 paper and also by a professor of applied mathematics in Mathematical Physics of BlackBody Radiation written towards the end of that year.

    Let me explain it simply:

    The AGW proponents correctly estimate the mean solar radiation being absorbed by the surface as 168W/m^2. They then add 324W/m^2 of back radiation and deduct 102W/m^2 to allow for the simultaneous losses by evaporative cooling and conduction, convection etc. This gives them the “right” 390W/m^2 that coincides with 288K that they claim is the mean surface temperature. (Personally I think it’s closer to 10°C than 15°C.)

    Now we need to understand that this 168W/m^2 of solar radiation is a 24-hour annual mean for an average location at a latitude of 45°(S or N) that is half way between the Equator and the relevant Pole. Even that location will receive a mean of twice that in 12 hours of average daylight with average cloud cover. Locations such as this in the far south of New Zealand have mean annual temperatures around 9°C or 10°C.

    You need to remember that we start with the solar constant of 1360W/m^2 which is what the one location on Earth where the Sun is directly overhead would receive if there were no atmosphere. But, again on average, there is about 30% reflection and 20% absorption which reduces that to about half. So, on an average day with average cloud cover at noon where the Sun is directly overhead, that location would receive half of that 1360W/m^2, namely 680W/m^2. But on a clear day there is only about 10% reflection, not 30% because two-thirds of the albedo is due to clouds. So that location receives about 70% of 1360W/m^2, namely about 950W/m^2.

    However, the AGW proponents claim that an average location at 288K receives back from the atmosphere 83% (324/390) of the radiation it emits. I don’t dispute that. But the electro-magnetic energy in that radiation from a cooler source is not converted to thermal energy in the surface. The AGW proponents say it is. Hence they add it to the solar radiation in S-B calculations.

    Now, the solar radiation does not achieve the S-B temperature we might expect for two reasons, the first being that there is simultaneous energy loss by non-radiative processes and the second reason is because there may not be enough time in the day for the solar radiation to reach the maximum temperature. However, if we deduct 200W/m^2 from that 950W/m^2 as a reasonable estimate for losses by non radiative processes (that are only half that amount at 288K) the resulting 750W/m^2 does explain the observed temperatures which have been recorded in the forties and fifties °C. But let’s just use 600W/m^2 (which has a blackbody temperature of 48°C that is realistic) thus making an allowance for the limited time in the day.

    But, if we were to now add 83% back radiation (that is, 83% of something like 600W/m^2 that would be emitted by regions like this on clear days) we get about 1100W/m^2 which of course gives ridiculously high temperatures in the vicinity of 100°C.

    Hence it is obviously wrong to add back radiative flux to solar flux and use the total in Stefan Boltzmann calculations. And so the whole GH radiative forcing paradigm is wrong, as are those models, and that’s why you need to consider the totally different 21st century paradigm here that is based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    • I say we let let Doug stay this time.

      • Okay, Marty–let’s see what happens if we let Doug stay.

        Mr.Cotton, instead of pasting in material from your book, how about a comment regarding why every climate blogger deletes your comments? Do you think we are non-scientific? Jealous? Determined to conceal the truth?

      • Doug, why don’t you comment on something beside your pet theory for a while.

      • Tom,
        Good luck with that. Perhaps you have not been forced to deal with mentally ill people very much.

  5. On Greenpeace: Remember that I’m the one here that got put on their blacklist. My crime? I pointed out the connection between the nuke labs and CAGW hysteria. That must make me the real enemy.

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