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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a flawed energy policy « Previous | |Next »
July 25, 2006

Tim Colebatch in an op.ed. The Age makes two good points about Australia's current energy policy, which is currently run by the coal and intensive energy industries that aim to contain renewable energy and limit renewable electricity production. He says:

The PM said Australia needed a "pragmatic, rational and flexible energy policy". So it does. But let's be honest: we don't have that now. Our policies are driven by interest groups, irrational and inflexible. And so they will be until we get the fundamentals right, by adopting a mechanism for the market to find its own way to reduce greenhouse emissions.
He then states:
To be pragmatic and rational in this debate, the starting point is that if the scientists are right, then global warming implies colossal risks for mankind, and policies should actively try to minimise them.Then the task is to achieve the most effective response at the minimum cost. Governments can help foster technology development, as the Howard and Bracks governments are doing - but the real job is to put in place a structure that will see those technologies used.

The coal industry is committing significant funds to take clean coal technologies from the lab to the power stations. What would happen if the technology works but at a higher cost than doing things the old way. Colebatch asks: 'what happens then'?

He answers:

With the policies we have now, nothing would happen as there is no a price mechanism to give firms an incentive to choose (and retrofit) new low-emission technologies. Without a carbon tax (or emissions trading system), there will be no take-up of the carbon capture and storage technology the Government wants.

That's the key point in the whole debate isn't it.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:36 AM | | Comments (0)
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