Coal not candles

African village

The Carbon Sense Coalition today proposed that coal, not candles, should be the symbol of Earth Hour.

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps.

It was coal that produced the steel that replaced shingles on the roof, timber props in the mines, wooden fence posts on the farms and the bark on the old bark hut.

In Australia today, coal provides at least 75% of our lighting, cooking, heating, refrigeration, rail transport and steel. Without it, we would be back in the dark days of candles, wood stoves, chip heaters, open fires, smoky cities, hills bare of trees and streets knee-deep in horse manure.

Coal is fossil sunshine as clean as the green plants it came from, and less damaging to the environment than its green energy alternatives.

Earth Hour candles are green tokenism for rich applause-seekers and nostalgic dreamers.

We should spend Earth Hour saluting the real people who produce the coal on which most people on earth depend.

Viv Forbes is Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition which opposes waste of resources, opposes pollution, and promotes the rational and sustainable use of carbon energy and carbon food.

Views: 38

3 Thoughts on “Coal not candles

  1. Barry on 01/04/2012 at 12:56 am said:

    Viv Forbes always does it well.

    There is another memorable piece on “Earth Hour” by Ross McKitrick:

    It concludes:

    “Through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

    If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

    No thanks.

    I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.”


    Seeing that a microwave oven produces low frequency radiation far more intense than carbon dioxide could ever do, and yet its radiation is not absorbed* and converted to thermal energy in ice, what makes anyone think that radiation from carbon dioxide could warm all the snow and ice covered areas of the planet?

    The mechanism by which microwave ovens heat water molecules is totally different from the excitation of atoms which happens when high frequency solar radiation warms water. The oven emits radiation at a very specific frequency which happens to resonate with natural frequencies of the water molecules which then “snap” or “flip” through 180 degrees and back again in synchronisation with the passing waves of electromagnetic radiation. The molecules in water do have the space to do this, and when they flip there is frictional heat generated by collisions of the molecules. In ice there is not sufficient room to move and flip like this.

    There is no violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics simply because electrical energy was added to the system.

    But the fact that the ice was not melted demonstrates the phenomenon of “resonant scattering” in which radiation is not reflected, not transmitted and not absorbed with conversion to thermal energy. See Section 5 of my publication here.

    * Try this home experiment:

    Obtain two identical small microwave bowls which do not get warm in the microwave oven. Ensure that they both fit in the oven together. Obtain a small ice cube tray and fill it with filtered or distilled water. Pour that water into one of the bowls. Then refill the tray with similar water and place the ice cube tray in your freezer and both the bowls in your frig overnight. Next day, empty the ice cubes into the bowl without water, then place both bowls in the microwave oven and operate for about 60 to 80 seconds depending on the volume of water – try to bring the water nearly to the boil. Observe that the ice has not been affected – you might even try comparing its temperature with other ice in the freezer. To do this, pack the ice samples in a tall insulated mug and insert a meat thermometer with a metal spike.

    Why wasn’t the energy in the radiation shared equally between the water and the ice? If you pour the hot water into the bowl with the ice it will easily melt the ice within a couple of minutes, so this demonstrates that sufficient energy did enter the water.

    Doug Cotton


  3. Doug Cotton says:
    April 5, 2012 at 11:09 am

    “Why wasn’t the energy in the radiation shared equally between the water and the ice?”

    It was, but you’re ignoring latent heat of fusion, which is 80 times greater than the specific heat of water. Leave the oven on long enough and the ice will melt. Ask yourself why most ovens have a “defrost” setting. Apart from that, your across-the blogs trolling is getting tiresome. Don’t you realise your shrill off-topic “statements of fact” are turning people off you or against you? [Edited by moderator]

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