Australia currently uses coal for about 44% of all its energy usage and 79% of its electricity. Photo: Benjamin Newman via flickr
Australia's got a new carbon capture and storage research center: The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. At the launching, prime minister Kevin Rudd said that this showed Australia was facing up to its responsibilities as the world's largest coal exporter. TreeHugger recently did give Rudd a Best of Green award, but I wonder if Rudd hasn't made a deal with the devil here:CCS Can Be Part of the Solution...
Rudd rightly gets that, in his words, "Carbon capture and storage is not the only answer to the climate change challenge" and that it can certainly play a part in the transition to a low-carbon future, but I just don't buy into Rudd's "cold, hard reality" that coal will remain (or at least has to remain) the globe's major source of energy for many years to come. We can choose other energy sources, collectively and to a lesser extent individually.
The coal industry certainly would like to stick around until the last bit of coal is removed from the ground, and pegs this future on the viability of CCS, but considering the myriad environmental problems entirely not connected with carbon emissions that surround coal mining, it's not a future worth supporting.
...But Can Just As Much Be Coal Industry Slight of Hand
I have to agree in large part with Greenpeace, when they characterize the Institute as a public relations exercise on the part of the coal industry.
The government is making sure that Australia remains dependent on dirty coal well into the future, though the government itself admits that emissions from coal are directly related to climate change.
This goal [of building 20 commercially viable CCS plants by 2020] is impossible and the government knows that. They're just using spin to buy an extension to their fossil fuel industry buddies.
via: AFP/Yahoo News
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