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

elephants in the room « Previous | |Next »
August 5, 2010

Petty misses the really big elephant in the room that the major political parties are steadfastly ignoring. This is the building of new coal fired stations that emit greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming, which in turn, help to dry out southern Australia. This is one real issue that Labor has choked on, and then run away from. Australia is in a state of policy paralysis compared to China.

pettyelephants.jpg

Australia is moving backwards on climate change reform. Consider the plan to build a new coal power station at Morwell in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria. Though its new ''clean coal'' gasification technology would reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 36 per cent lower than the cleanest existing Victorian brown-coal power plant, the plant would still release up to 4.2 million tonnes of gas a year - increasing Victoria's annual emissions by about 3 per cent.

Its current design is also likely to breach emissions standards for new coal power plants announced in last week's state government climate change white paper. The plant's emissions would also cancel the cut in pollution achieved under a government plan to shut a quarter of the Hazelwood brown-coal station by 2014.

Now that will be a test of Victorian and federal Labor's commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions, won't it, given its risk-free politics based on focus-group-driven policies and personality issues. Labor is unwilling to fight on this issue whilst the Canberra Press Gallery are eagerly focused on leaks and manufactured scandals.

Apparently, it will go ahead if the Environment Protection Authority was satisfied it met the emissions limit for new plants - 0.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted per megawatt hour generated, which is roughly equivalent to a modern black-coal power plant.

There's no talk of a carbon tax. The politicians are not considering our future; their concern is just political survivalism over the next three years. As the Garnaut Review pointed out:

Australia has a larger interest in a strong mitigation outcome than other developed countries. We are already a hot dry country; small variations in climate are more damaging to us than to other developed countries.

The scenario of rapid climate change is still regarded as extremism in Australian policy circles!

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:28 AM | | Comments (9)
Comments

Comments

Labor doesn't have a credible policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will continue to allow the power industry to build coal fired stations (protect jobs) and starve solar energy of funding.

What is the $ cost, is it an equivalent situation to desal, for example?
In short, what economics is it predicated upon?

The vested fossil fuel interests ignore the science, continue to undermine any sensible reform and, by special pleading render ineffective even the minimalist reform proposed in the interests of short-term advantage.

The Brumby Government is only a few months from an election and its green rhetoric (but no action) is designed to try and save a few inner-city seats.

I don't know if it says more about me, or about the sorry state of Australian politics... a decade ago I would have been embarrassed to admit I was voting Green. But these days, I'm happy to tell anyone who will listen.

Yes, what a big elephant Rudd is becoming. 2 weeks out of the election he steps out of his hospital bed to bravely campaign for the Labor party that shafted him. What a guy! What a man! What will the polls say about who is the preferred P.M between Rudd and Gillard now? In one weeks time it will likely be Rudd and even if it isnt he will have enough of a percentage to blow Gillard's chances against Abbott.
Looks like they've shooting their feet with shotguns now.

Les,
Michael Gordon in the National Times puts it well with Rudd:

The man who was cut down because the government lost its way is invited back to prominence because the campaign lost its way. The man strategists believed was electoral poison two months ago is now the vital tonic Labor needs to revive its fortunes in Queensland and New South Wales, where the vast majority of the 17 seats Abbott needs could change hands.

Elephants are able to carry heavy loads.

Paul,
I don't know much about the economics of the desalinisation plant at Port Stanvac in SA All I know is that it is costing around $1-2 billion to build and that the cost of water to use consumers will rise by around 12%.

Nan,
yes they have kissed and made up for the good of the nation. That is the only way they can play it at this stage. We will have to wait and see if the punters buy it.
It is quite possible that Rudd could roll Gillard as Leader if Labor scrape home and the polls turn badly for Gillard shortly after. Comeback Kevin they will call him then.