7 pitfalls with climate measures

(letter send to party leaders in parliament)

1 The annual increased installation of solar panels makes CO2 emissions rise. This is because solar panels need about 3 years to compensate for their CO2 during production. So if more solar panels are installed every year than in the previous year, that production CO2 is not yet compensated, and new (production) CO2 is added. Which continues as long as we increase solar panels installation, and effectively it can take 10 to 15 years before there is a net result. [1]

2 Because the production of a wind farms is contracted (hijacked) by companies (like by the Google data center in Groningen), there is no CO2 reduction. After all, the electricity generated goes to extra or new energy use, and has no effect on the reduction of daily consumption. After all, it only goes to new and more commercial consumption. Moreover, the price of CO2 emission allowances will decrease, because there will be more on the market on offer.

3 We have to build a disproportionate number of wind turbines if we do not first tackle the ‘fun’ use. For example: if every family would have a laundry dryer, then more than 500 wind turbines on land are needed ( in NL) to provide (renewable) energy for these. While when the laundry is hung outside, the wind can do its job directly, without expensive turbines. Large numbers of wind turbines are also needed for water-beds, electric doorbells, leaf blowers, patio heaters, etc. [2]

4 Energy solutions move the impact to materials to be invested, with a huge rebound effect. We can therefore expect new problems on the raw material side , if we do not include this impact from the beginning. Example: there is still enough copper, but the ores become less and less saturated: it is from 12% back to less than 1%. Another halving means 3 to 4 times more energy for the same amount of copper. [3]

5 If we introduce a CO2 tax now, without including the exhaustion of material stocks, CO2 reduction will be established by using biobased materials. Which is good in itself, but that can get completely out of hand, especially if for example for wood negative emissions may be counted. An attack on forests is obvious, with worldwide large-scale deforestation as a result.

6 A zero energy house sounds good. And indeed performs ‘ zero emission’ after a number of years. But it is not about 1 home, but about the entire stock. And if we add up the material investments to renovate (completely) all the houses, we already end up above the remaining CO2 emission budget for 1.5 degree heating (because of the materials used). It is always necessary to count on system level, not in individual solutions. This also applies to electric cars, and other applications. [4]

7 every new building contributes to climate change, due to emissions from material production. New housing construction will therefore have a counterproductive effect on CO2 emissions, even if they are ‘net zero energy homes’. (see under 6). The building construction task will therefore have to be examined critically. [5]

In short: Focus on avoiding energy consumption, incorporate material (‘embodied’) energy into the calculations, do not evaluate on product but on system / national level, and above all: always ask for the CO2 emissions graph in which the effects of all measures cumulatively, nationally, and in time, have been plotted, incl. material emissions.


The topics have been analysed in the Book ( in Dutch) Gebroken Kringlopen, (Broken Cycles)  Published by Eburon: https://eburon.nl/product/gebroken-kringlopen/

background also in these articles:

[1] http://ronaldrovers.nl/zonnepanelen-doen-co2-emissies-stijgen-eroi/

[2] http://ronaldrovers.nl/de-windmolen-index/

[3] http://ronaldrovers.nl/het-boek-gebroken-kringlopen-bill-gates-en-roslingroser/

[4] zie hfst 3.1 bij: http://www.buildingscarbonbudget.org/

en http://ronaldrovers.nl/hybride-versus-0-energie-nom-aanpak-2/

[5] http://ronaldrovers.nl/de-woningbouw-opgave-12-500-per-jaar/