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Tag Archives: science

Most electricity in Australia is generated by burning coal. This leads to a few problems, most notably global warming — coal is roughly 80% carbon — but Australia swears by its coal anyway. We have to have electricity, and electricity is produced by burning coal. Therefore, Australia must burn coal. We’ll shame people into using less electricity, so less coal will have to be burned. We’ll up prices to force them to use less electricity, too. We’ll insist on the existence of “clean coal”, a truly mythical form of coal that will not contribute to global warming.

All of this really pisses me off. Why? Because coal is completely extraneous to electricity generation. Electricity is generated by the movement of metal parts. All coal is used for is boiling water such that the steam may move the metal parts. People waving these parts around would generate electricity. You could make bikes with the parts attached to the pedals, and when ridden they would generate electricity. You could stick the parts in the ocean and the tides would generate electricity. You could get some wind to blow the parts around, and you would generate electricity. The only reason we use coal is because thousands of miners would be put out of work otherwise. Well, that and coal generates electricity faster, but that could easily be compensated for with extra generators. The main reason is the miners. Read More »