web analytics

Brownlee blowing smoke – or is it Coalfinger in disguise?

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 pm, January 21st, 2009 - 16 comments
Categories: cartoons, Environment, humour - Tags: , , ,

Artists impression of Coalfinger

Artists impression of Coalfinger

Gerry Brownlee was puffing smoke this Wednesday morning about his daft (in terms of the Kyoto agreement) decision last month to remove the ban on thermal generation of power. It reminded me of something I’d seen recently, so I dug back through the mental archives. Eventually I re-discovered the mysterious coincidences between the decisions of Brownlee and the plans of the nefarious Coalfinger… See the artists sketch on the right (by THE LINESMAN)

Here is the story to date in a rather amusing parody of a movie franchise by Greenpeace. With the kind permission of Website.net.nz, we have Brownlee ummm – Coalfinger blowing greenhouse gas and spewing soot. Perhaps he landed here, and has taken up his old habits again – in a thinly veiled disguise….


Along with his dopey sidekick Dr. Anthracite, Coalfinger plans to cover the world in coal-fired power stations and destroy the climate in Operation Browncloud. Can Green stop them with the help of his glamorous assistant Katrina Hurkane? Is a top secret hideout involved? Are there plenty of double entendres?

With a soundtrack by composer David Arnold (Quantum of Solace, Casino Royal), the animated Bond spoof features David Mitchell (C4s Peep Show) as secret agent Gaverson Green fighting to stop the evil plans of Coalfinger, voiced by Brian Blessed.

16 comments on “Brownlee blowing smoke – or is it Coalfinger in disguise? ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Well, under the previous administration we banned new thermal generation in NZ. At the same time we were exporting huge volumes of coal to Asia for others to burn. Smacks of hypocrisy by the previous administration. If they were truly principled they would have stopped all exporting of coal as well.

    When the Chinese economy was really cooking I understand that they were building a new coal-fired generator every week. So, one or two more here in NZ is like pissing in the sea, especially when we are quite happy to send it overseas for someone else to burn anyway.

  2. lprent 2

    ts: That is simply a line about our coal exports – a bad one. It is meaningless.

    There is quite a difference between exporting high-energy coal for carbonizing iron (ie making steel) and using brown coals for generating power. The first releases far more energy relative to the volume of gases released. Much of the carbon is used in the formation of the steel. Our coal wasn’t being used to generate power in China – they have brown coals for that.

    So basically your comparison is invalid and just another daft joke from the comedians of the CCD.

    Now the power generation issue in NZ isn’t really much of an issue at all. It is the nearly free market (ie capitalistic version) doing what it does best – maximizing the return from capital. Of course that also means that there will be occasional blackouts and brownouts when things go wrong. After all in a free market all that means to the producers and sellers is that prices go up. The barriers to entry mean that competition is minimal.

    Just at present it means that we are short of transmission capacity between the north and south islands because it was not worth putting a new cable in unless one of the two failed.

    Anyway, it kind of looks like even the Nats (it takes them a while) have figured out why freeing the electricity industry to the extent that they did in the 90’s wasn’t such a good idea. It takes a while for the plant to run down, so it is likely that a lot of the breakage will happen over the next few years (has been for the last few). Be interesting to see how they deal with their mates – because they won’t be amenable to responding to ‘suggestions’.

  3. lprent 4

    Nick – it is a great video…..

    I put the link to the ‘making of…’ rather than the ‘official site’ because they will be able to navigate from there and the former was more interesting 😈 . It meant that I could use my one ‘about the video’ link available on the post more effectively as the making of had more cross-links.

    From google, it looks like this video popped up all over the place.

  4. grumpy 5

    It’s taken a while for people to realise that “Free Market” infrastructure companies make profits by deferring capital investment and maintenence. (See Tranzrail).

    NZ needs new generation and also vital transmission upgrades. Local thermal generation is the “cheap” way to provide it. Ironically Bradford’s stupid reforms made it inevitable.

    I agree with tsmithfield about coal exports to China’s magic chimneys which have no CO2 impact at all. Maybe we just need to import some of these chimneys?

  5. tsmithfield 6

    Iprent “There is quite a difference between exporting high-energy coal for carbonizing iron (ie making steel) and using brown coals for generating power.”

    Well, if the issue is C02, then more efficient burning coals will actually produce more C02 than less efficient ones, because they burn more completely. I don’t see that the purpose for what the coal is used is at all relevant. From an AGW perspective it is still pumping C02 into the atmosphere. So, as I said, to happily ship coal overseas where it will be burned (for what ever reason) so C02 is pumped into the atmosphere, while banning any more coal-powered generation to reduce C02 emissions in NZ is hypocrisy. Plain and simple.

    Let me ask you, would you have a problem if we diverted the high grade coal from export and used it for its lessor purpose of powering a new coal-powered generator in NZ? If so, why?

  6. tsmithfield 7


  7. lprent 8

    Let me ask you, would you have a problem if we diverted the high grade coal from export and used it for its lessor purpose of powering a new coal-powered generator in NZ? If so, why?

    It is easy (and obvious).

    Anthracites and the high end coals actually burn too efficently, and at too high a temperature. That causes all sorts of issues for power stations. In particular it means that they have to go up a few orders of magnitude on all of the engineering. Especially the cost of refactories (I used to do a lot of tech work with those). High temperatures cause chemical reactions to proceed a lot faster, so the refractories have to be a lot more pure and of higher quality. That massively increases the cost of power production because refractories are expensive maintenance items (as are most high temperature engineering systems).

    Power stations work best with lower grades of coal which burn at lower temperatures – after all they are only trying to cook water, not iron. They are often mixed with mid-grades to get a consistent burn pattern.

    Perhaps you’d better go and dig out some info about coal and its variants – wikipedia is a good start. I’m coding at present… But I think I should write a post on coal, if only to stop this type of conversation. It is the third time it has come up

  8. tsmithfield 9

    Iprent, I can understand your explanation. However, you have avoided my question.

    Lets say, for arguments sake, that we developed a generator here that ran best on the high grade coal (say for the benefit of lower soot emissions for instance).

    Would you object to us building an additional coal-fired generator here to use the coal we currently export given that the net change to carbon emissions from a world perspective is 0? If so, why?

    BTW, I see someone has highjacked my tag. Can you sort this out? I am at work and don’t have my log-on details so has probably made me vulnerable to this sort of nonsense.

  9. Slarty 10

    Interesting in the context of this interview with Stern in New Scientist….


    But then, what does one expect from a bunch of crusty old white men?

  10. roger nome 11

    It’s a shame that Gerry Brownlee takes a similar approach to the environment as he does his own body – polluting it it with rubbish until it becomes unsightly and unhealthy . It’s like having a flat mate that won’t clean-up after themselves – you have to put up with their crap polluting your environment, or bust your gut cleaning up after them just so you can live in a nice place.

    Where’s the justice in that? Sometimes i wish captain planet was real!

  11. Matthew Pilott 12

    tsmithfield, if our hypothetical new coal power plants could run on high-grade coal and have fewer emissions, then your question is flawed because ther would be an effect on net emissions.

    It’s a hypothetical question that has so much ‘hypothetical’ that it’s not really worth asking, but here’s a few things to consider:

    You say that if the coal is burned the net effect of emissions will be 0, but this simplisticly ignores what that coal is replacing in terms of energy. Say we set up these power plants to run on expensive coal instead of cheap nasty stuff, we won’t need to generate x amount of power from another source. That source could have had far lower emissions (renewables).

    Also net emissions wouldn’t stay the same because China would still get the coal to make steel from elsewhere, and we’d be adding to the total burned with our new power plants.

    I think there are too many things to consider to make that a viable comparison- which also makes the ‘hypocircy’ point a bit too simplistic for my liking.

    P.S. can tell the other one isn’t you – it’s got a different picture. I knew you wouldn’t say ‘poop’ anyway.

    [lprent: Just looks to me like he/she went to work and managed to use a different IP and slightly different e-mail from the cookie.]

  12. gingercrush 13

    Oh roger nome, somehow I can’t imagine you being a perfect example of what the human species should look like.

  13. roger nome 14

    Ginge – um, not to brag – but, you have no idea.

  14. Peter Burns 15

    Talking about ideas roger nome, have you sent anymore naked photos of Californian Governors lately? Really roger, do all learned academics do that childish stuff? Yeah right!! What a waste of money and resources.

  15. roger nome 16

    Hey dad – Arnold was a legend in his time, and judging by how often you have been bringing his name into political debate for the last two years, you can well appreciate that.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago