Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Transition off brown coal rather than exporting it

The burning of brown coal is Victoria's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions - we need to establish a transition off using it for power generation and replace it with renewable energy sources.

The export of more brown coal to other countries being considered by the Brumby government will result in further greenhouse gas emissions at a time when we need to be reducing them. This must not be allowed.

Climate change is recognised as the most serious problem facing humanity and life on earth. We need urgent and immediate emission reductions not rhetoric and expanded use of fossil fuels.

There are opportunities to reduce our current use of electricity by up to 40% by introducing efficiency measures - this should be a major priority of the Victorian Government. In addition to reducing carbon emissions it will also save us money and create green jobs and export opportunities.



Grant said...

I think it was published a week or so ago, that China needs to build 3 power stations a month to keep up with their requirement for energy. India also has a the requirement for a large increase in energy every year, so is building a number of power stations each year.
To me, it sounds selfish to tell these developing countries that they cannot develop just because we are emitting more carbon into the atmosphere than we should.
The only alternative for these countries to produce the large increased quantity of energy they require, would be to bring nuclear stations online at a rapid rate, and I am not really keen on that scenario.
As for Australia, the Governments (Federal and State) have been advised that we will require coal generation for decades to come, to meet our peak loading requirements.
Having said the above, there is no reason why we should not be slowly implementing renewable energy sources to supplement coal fired generation, as long as the implementation is controlled, and does not impact our growth.
One possible side effect of exporting coal, maybe the provision of additional Government funds for the research and development of renewable sources, where Government funds are just not currently available.
Remember that we (Australia) will need to provide energy for 30% more population over the next 20 years, for everything from the tens of millions of new electrical appliances (TVs, washing machines, fridges, aircons, freezers, etc, etc) to home lighting, large volume public transport(trains), and new street / safety lighting in the new suburbs that will need to be built to house the increased population. These figures, plus the 800+k (excluding allowance for additional requirements for the 30% increase in population) new motor vehicles a year that go on our roads, plus large increases in business numbers to employ 30% population increase, also possibly point to the feasibility of never reaching even the modest 5% reduction on 2000 figures, in carbon emissions over the next 20 years.
The reduction may be possible if the reduction objective is based on a per person basis, but if based on total country emissions, I would suggest that we do not have a hope in hell, under a democratic political system.

Peter Campbell said...

Grant, I think it is incumbent on Australia and other developed nations to demonstrate how to live a low-carbon lifestyle in a sustainable low-carbon economy replete with green jobs. This would provide a template for developing nations such as China and India to adopt. Unfortunately, our political leaders are intent on providing corporate welfare to polluters to continue on, and are not displaying the leadership we need on this. We don't need nuclear or more coal exports. We need real emission reductions and renewable energy now. And we need to improve energy efficiency by 40% or more.