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sustainable energy futures « Previous | |Next »
April 13, 2007

CoAG is meeting today in Canberra and climate change is still the big issue, even though people are started to talk about productivity and the national reform agenda. Even Peter Costello, speaking in London, is starting to talk sense on the issue. He says:

One of the other factors that is working against our longer term economic prospects is climate change. Climate change is recognised as a crucial environmental challenge – one that calls for a careful balancing of environmental and economic considerations, and a deep understanding of the long-term implications of actions taken today. Australia is on track to achieve its Kyoto target.

Costello goes on to say that for a country like Australia, which has huge resources of fossil fuel, the economic cost of moving to substantial cuts in greenhouse emissions will be enormous. Consequently, the best strategy will be to pursue technological improvements which will allow existing resources to be used more efficiently. And technological improvements will be the greatest assistance we can deliver to our regional partners.

Mark Diesendorf, director of the Sustainability Centre, has an op-ed in The Age where he contests one of the assumptions underpinning Costello's reasoning.

Diesendorf says:

The barriers to a sustainable energy future are neither technological nor economic, but the immense political power of the big greenhouse gas polluting industries — coal, aluminium, iron and steel, cement, motor vehicles and part of the oil industry.

He says that opponents of renewable energy from the coal and nuclear industries, and their political supporters, are disseminating the fallacy that renewable energy cannot provide base-load power to substitute for coal-fired electricity.They are endeavouring to ensure that renewable energy will remain a niche market and to prevent it from achieving its potential of being part of mainstream energy supply technologies.

Diesendorf's recent report, The Base Load Fallacy, challenges the myth that renewables were unable to provide Australia's base load electricity needs and it argues that a mixture of bio-energy, solar thermal, geothermal and wind power could provide the answer.

tAs expected the Howard Government refused to o adopt the states target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2050 at CoAG. The reasoning was the same: the target that could cause damage to the economy, particularly jobs.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:49 AM |