Thursday, May 01, 2008

Brumby goes for "green coal" and subverts real action on climate change

Just when I thought government rhetoric and funding (using taxpayer's money) on pretending that the coal industry can somehow be made "green", "clean" and even "carbon neutral" had reached ridiculous levels, Peter Batchelor comes out with this:

"But Mr Batchelor said coal must be used in a more environmentally friendly way and clean coal technologies, such as burying carbon emissions underground and drying coal, offered the potential for zero emissions from coal-fired power stations."

"The future of coal relies on it becoming greener," he said.

Mr Batchelor said that capturing carbon, by returning and storing it underground in a safe and environmentally friendly way, "mimicked nature".

The question here is whether he actually believes this nonsense.

Zero emissions coal fired power stations? Green coal? That's funny, I thought it was brown or black.

Mimicking nature? Oh, we dig it up (using fossil fuel energy), process it, burn, capture CO2 from the chimneys (using more than 30% more energy and coal in doing so), liquefy it (using more energy), pump it a considerable distance (using more energy), squirt it under the ground - if we can find cavities vast enough to accommodate it - then cross our fingers and hope it stays there.

So how exactly does this mimic nature?

Next week's state budget will contain $110 million for an industrial-scale project investigating the capture and storage of carbon produced by power plants.

The Government will also fund a new body, Clean Coal Victoria, based in the Latrobe Valley, and commit $5 million to search for carbon storage sites, such as used oil and gas reservoirs in Bass Strait. So they don't even know yet whether they will be able to store it.

No public money should be spent on this risky venture, which even if it can be made to work, won't be viable until 2020 or later. We need emission reductions now.

So why are they doing this?

Well, there are marginal Labor state seats in the Latrobe Valley and an upcoming by-election in Gippsland which Labor wants to win. Looks like politics wins and real action on climate change looses. Or maybe they do believe their own nonsense.

Link: State puts greenhouse money on clean coal The Age


1 comment:

RVB said...

Right as always, Peter. I might add that the government and the coal industry are so tightly-knitted that it's virtually inescapable for Labor to not support their rhetoric. But then again, Labor's always been rhetorical.