Europe

We need a Strong Carbon Price. #auspol #StopAdani 

Leading Economists: A Strong Carbon Price Needed to Drive Large-Scale Climate Action
Berlin, May 29, 2017 – Meeting the world’s agreed climate goals in the most cost-effective way while fostering growth requires countries to set a strong carbon price, with the goal of reaching $40-$80 per tonne of CO2 by 2020 and $50-100 per tonne by 2030. 

That’s the key conclusion of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, led by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lord Nicholas Stern.

Convened by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC)[1] at Marrakesh in 2016 and supported by the Government of France and the World Bank Group, the Commission brought together 13 leading economists from nine developing and developed countries to identify the range of carbon prices that, together with other supportive policies, would deliver on the Paris climate targets agreed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015. 


“The world’s transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy is the story of growth for this century,” said Commission co-chairs Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern. “We’re already seeing the potential that this transformation represents in terms of more innovation, greater resilience, more livable cities, improved air quality and better health. 

Our report builds on the growing understanding of the opportunities for carbon pricing, together with other policies, to drive the sustainable growth and poverty reduction which can deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Commission’s report, released today in Berlin at the Think20 Summit[2], concludes that a well-designed carbon price is an indispensable part of a strategy for efficiently reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also fostering growth. 

It states that a strong and predictable carbon-price trajectory provides a powerful signal to individuals and firms that the future is low carbon, inducing the changes needed in global investment, production, and consumption patterns.

The Commission concluded that a $40-$80 range in 2020, rising to $50-$100 by 2030, is consistent with the core objective of the Paris Agreement of keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees.

 Carbon prices and instruments will differ across countries, and implementation and timetables will depend on the country context. 

The temperature target remains achievable with lower near-term carbon prices if complemented by other policies and instruments and followed by higher carbon prices later. 
However, this may increase the aggregate cost of the transition.


The Commission noted the importance of complementing carbon pricing with a range of well-designed policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, innovation and technological development, long-term investment in sustainable infrastructure, as well as measures to support the population in the transition to low-carbon growth.
“Specific carbon price levels will need to be tailored to country conditions and policy choices,” said Commission member, Professor Harald Winkler of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. 

“Carbon pricing makes sense in all countries but low-income countries, which may be more challenged to protect the people vulnerable to the initial economic impacts, may decide to start pricing carbon at a lower level and gradually increase over time.”
In its five months of deliberations, the Commissioners explored multiple lines of evidence to reach its conclusion on the level of carbon pricing that would be consistent with achieving the 2C-or-below temperature objective of the Paris Agreement. 

They analyzed national mitigation and development pathways, technological roadmaps, and global integrated assessment models.
The Commission found that explicit carbon-pricing instruments, like a carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme, can raise revenue for countries efficiently and these revenues can be used to foster green growth in an equitable way, depending on their circumstances. 

Options include returning the revenue as household rebates, reducing taxes on labor or investment, supporting poorer groups in society through cash-transfer programs, supporting new green technologies, helping companies transition to lower-carbon technologies or investing in basic services like energy, water and sanitation.
The report also points to action on carbon pricing by the private sector with hundreds of corporations already setting internal carbon prices to help inform their decision-making. Together with the Carbon Pricing Corridor Initiative led by We Mean Business and the Carbon Disclosure Project which focuses on carbon pricing in the power sector, the Commission’s report will help contribute to the design of climate policies and carbon pricing instruments around the world.

Press link for more: Carbon Pricing Leadership

We need a Citizens’ Charter on #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Is There A Need For A Paris Agreement Between Governments And Citizens?

Shyam Saran

We need a Citizens’ Charter on Climate Change to realise the promise of Paris

India_Paris Agreement
Now that the United States, under President Donald Trump, has walked out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the role of civil society, communities, businesses and industry, and individual citizens, in dealing with the challenge of climate change has become even more critical. 

All non-governmental constituencies must not only use the instrument of public opinion to persuade governments to do more, but also take the lead themselves and serve as role models.


Climate change is integrally linked to the lifestyle choices we make as individuals and families. 

These, in turn, reflect our deeply ingrained value systems. 

Modern societies treat nature as a dark force to be conquered and subjugated through technology to serve our material needs and aspirations. 

The products we design, produce and consume reflect our preference for disposability over durability. 

We rate novelty higher than reliability. 

Our consumer markets are based on use and discard. 

Our production processes are linear and once-through, using raw materials to produce finished goods with huge waste inherent in the system. 

Affluence is associated with excess. 

It is this value system and mindset that lie at the heart of the climate change challenge.
As citizens, we must be concerned about the threat posed by climate change to present and future generations and recognise the need to adopt ecologically sustainable lifestyles.

 The concept of affluence itself must change.

 Material comforts are desirable, but to have a green earth to walk upon, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink should be valued as indispensable to any concept of well-being.

So what do we need to do as citizens? 

We need a Citizens’ Charter on Climate Change in which participants voluntarily pledge practical actions for their part as citizens, families, localities and civil society groups, to promote a more sustainable lifestyle. 

These could include the following representative examples:
Adopt a vegetarian diet, which can significantly reduce the quantity of resources required to sustain expanding non-vegetarian consumption in the form of beef, mutton and poultry.

 Some people have gone further and become “vegans”, rejecting even dairy products. 

There could be a range to choose from, for example, eating meat only once a week to begin with. 

The idea is to involve citizens actively in promoting ecological security through the frugal use of resources.

Our world is in danger of being choked with plastic waste. 


Our oceans are becoming a toxic pool, thanks to the plastic and other hazardous waste we are constantly dumping into them. 

In our own daily lives, could we pledge to dispense with mineral water dispensed in plastic bottles and use reusable steel drinking bottles instead? Could we dispense with plastic shopping bags and carry our own cloth or paper bags instead? Could we persuade governments to set up water ATMs to dispense clean drinking water at affordable prices so that there is no need felt to buy bottled mineral water?

There are now biodegradable party plates, bamboo plates, glasses and even edible cutlery available in the market for parties and public events. Could we pledge to use them for our family and social events and demand that the government do the same for public events?

We have the right to mobility but not necessarily to own and use private vehicles. 

In our digital world it is possible to operate car pools and share transport services. We should demand efficient and affordable public transportation from governments and accept that financing such projects may need heavy, even punitive, taxation on private transportation. 

We should pledge to use bicycles — but governments must provide safe cycle lanes.

Businesses can make significant contributions by adopting zero waste, power positive and water positive production and distribution processes. 

This would be possible through the adoption of renewables and recycling and pledging never to dump toxic effluents into our rivers and toxic gases into the air. 

As citizens we can promote such change in corporate behaviour through informed choices we make as consumers of products businesses put on the market.

These actions could be organised in small communities and localities; they can be on a national scale and in our interconnected world, even across borders. Witness how in the US, civil society groups, states such as California and several socially aware businesses, are rejecting what President Trump has done and are going ahead with even more vigorous efforts at their respective levels to realise the promise of Paris.
The notion of ecological sustainability is deeply embedded in Indian culture. Traditionally, nature is revered as a mother, a source of nurture and not a force to be harnessed for our material comfort alone. Our culture enjoins upon us to never extract from nature more than its capacity to regenerate. This is the perspective through which we must look upon the bountiful but fragile planet that is our only home in the universe.
Shyam Saran is a former foreign secretary, Government of India. He served as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Climate Change from 2007 to 2010. He is currently member, governing board of Centre for Policy Research, and a trustee of WWF India. Views expressed are personal and do not represent the views of the United Nations or any of its agencies. 

Press link for more: In.one.un.org

The Adani Coal Mine is a Killer!! #StopAdani #auspol 

Will Adani’s coal mine kill 500,000 people?

Credit: J.B. Russell
by Graeme Taylor
If all goes as Adani plans, coal from its proposed mine in Queensland will produce enough air pollution to kill hundreds of thousands of Indians.

 Given that this risk is not only known but avoidable, would it be fair to say that the businessmen and politicians developing this mine will be guilty of premeditated mass murder? 

Here are the facts and the competing arguments: you make the call.

Scientists found that air pollution from coal burnt to generate electricity in India causes the premature deaths of 80,000 to 115,000 people per year from chronic lung conditions, respiratory infections, heart diseases, strokes, bronchitis and trachea and lung cancers. 


10,000 of these victims are children under the age of 5. 

In addition every year tens of millions of cases of asthma and other respiratory ailments are linked to coal pollution including 21 million asthma attacks. 

During the 12 month period studied (2011-2012) 503 million tons of thermal coal was burned. 

Since Adani plans on mining almost five times as much coal in Queensland this massive project could cause half a million premature deaths and 100 million asthma attacks.
These horrifying statistics shouldn’t come as a surprise.

 Breathing the filthy smog in cities like New Delhi or Beijing is equivalent to smoking one to two packs of cigarettes a day—one in eight people in the world now dies from air pollution.

The owners of Adani are perfectly aware that coal pollution seriously damages both human health and the environment. 

However, they maintain that the benefits will outweigh the costs as coal generated electricity is needed to help eliminate poverty in India and end hunger. 

But while this was a reasonable argument in the 20th century, it’s not valid in the 21st, as it is now cheaper to source electricity from clean solar plants than from dirty coal-fired generators.

Adani also reasons that high-quality coal from the new mine will replace low-quality coal from India and Indonesia, thereby reducing pollution from many existing thermal generating plants. 


Since other countries will sell India dirtier coal if Queensland coal isn’t available, building the mine is an ethical decision that will help the environment and save lives.
This argument is called the drug dealer’s defence: if I don’t sell your kids crystal meth another dealer will—and the courts should let me deal drugs because my high-quality products won’t kill as many children as the junk sold by my competitors! 
Although the quality of Adani’s coal is debatable, the bottom line is that even if the pollution from Queensland coal causes fewer deaths than the coal shipped from other countries, it will still kill hundreds of thousands of people. 

Is it possible to justify the production and sale of an additional source of pollution when safe alternatives are available? 

Or is developing this mine just as criminal as building a lab to manufacture deadly drugs? 
In Australia the charge of murder by recklessness applies if a person caused a death through acting in an unjustifiable manner while knowing that such an action was likely to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm. 

On the other hand, a charge of manslaughter by criminal negligence applies if the accused caused unintentional death by choosing to act in a reckless manner even though he was aware that he was creating a high risk of death or serious bodily injury. 
In Nydam v R the difference between the two offences was described as “An instance of the former might be to kill a person in a street by intentionally dropping a large block of stone from a high building into the crowded street below: an instance of the latter might be to kill a person in a street by carelessly letting fall a large block of stone from a high building into a crowded street below.” 
I will leave it up to you (and lawyers) to decide whether either of these criminal charges could or should apply to the Adani mine.

Dr Graeme Taylor is a social scientist, lecturer and writer. He is the author of Evolution’s Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World, which won the 2009 IPPY Gold Medal for the book

 “Most likely to save the planet”.
Press link for more: Climate Code Red

One Canoe, One island, One Planet. #Hawaii #StopAdani 

Hawaii becomes first state to pass laws in support of Paris accord
Sentinel & Enterprise
By Katie Mettler
The Washington Post
When the traditional Hawaiian canoe Hokule’a set sail four years ago, the wayfinders on board — men and women navigating the open sea by a map of stars — vowed to seek a renewed sense of self and share with the world a treasured message:

 Malama Honua.


The Hokule’a, a voyaging canoe built to revive the centuries-old tradition of Polynesian exploration, makes its way up the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Sailed by a crew of 12 who use only celestial navigation and observation of nature, the canoe is two-thirds of the way through a four-year trip around the world.

Bryson Hoe/C


In Hawaiian, it means to care for Island Earth, a mission especially important to Pacific Islanders, whose home and economy is under constant threat from the rising seas and coral bleaching caused by a warming planet.


This week, the wayfinders will return to a Hawaii that on Tuesday took a defiant stand, becoming the first state to legally implement portions of the landmark Paris climate agreement that President Trump chose to abandon.
“Climate change is real, regardless of what others may say,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said at a bill signing ceremony Tuesday in Honolulu.


 “Hawaii is seeing the impacts firsthand. 

Tides are getting higher, biodiversity is shrinking, coral is bleaching, coastlines are eroding, weather is becoming more extreme.

 We must acknowledge these realities at home.”
Ige said the state has a “kuleana,” or responsibility, to the Earth.
“Like the voyaging canoe Hokule’a, we are one canoe, one island, one planet,” the governor said. 

“We cannot afford to mess this up. 

We are setting a course to change the trajectory of Hawaii and islanders for generations to come.”
With Ige’s signature, two bills became law.

 

The first, SB 559, expanded strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide, a tenet of the Paris agreement.

 The second, HB 1578, established the Carbon Farming Task Force within the state’s Office of Planning, to support the development of sustainable agriculture practices in Hawaii, a skill native islanders had once mastered before planes, freighters and Amazon linked them to the mainland.
Both bills were introduced in January, after President Trump moved into the White House and began what many climate scientists felt was a wholesale dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency and a reversal of the steps taken by the Obama administration to combat global warming.
They weren’t meant to be signed into law for several more weeks, Scott Glenn, an environmental adviser to Ige, told The Washington Post. 

But after Trump announced the United States would exit the Paris agreement, Glenn and his co-chair on the Sustainable Hawaii Initiative recommended the bill signing and ceremony be moved up because “this was of such national importance,” he said.
Senate majority leader Sen. Kalani English, a Democrat, introduced SB 559 and said in a statement Tuesday that it gave Hawaii the “legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies . . . despite the Federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty.”
Ige also committed Hawaii to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a collection of 12 states — including Massachusetts — and Puerto Rico who have vowed to uphold the Paris climate agreement on the state level.

Press link for more: Sentine Land enterprise

Catastrophic Floods Predicted #ClimateChange #StopAdani

There’s not much that can stand in the way of a flood—a disaster that can put lives at risk, contaminate drinking water and sweep away animals’ habitats. 

For many coastal cities, the risks of catastrophic floods are relatively low. 

But not for long. 

As The Guardian’s Oliver Milman reports, a group of scientists has a dire message for coastal cities: If greenhouse gas emissions don’t fall, floods that once seemed rare could become much more frequent.

A sobering new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters suggests that major floods may occur much more frequently in the future. 

Researchers assumed that greenhouse gas emissions would continue at their current pace—causing the atmosphere to warm, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. 

They combined those predictions with historical flood frequency data and data about current weather patterns.


The result was a predicted median 40-fold increase of hundred-year floods along the United States coastline by 2050. 

Since the concept of flood recurrence is confusing at best, here’s a quick refresher.

 The term “hundred-year flood” does not refer to the severity of a flood, just its frequency. It means the probability that a flood will reach a certain level once in a hundred years. 

By definition, a hundred-year flood has a one-percent chance of occurring in any given year.
So what does a 40-fold increase in a hundred-year flood mean? 

Essentially it would push the chance of a flood reaching a certain level in any given year to 40 percent. 

And the probability of flooding could be even higher in places like New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Key West. 

In places like San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle, the researchers predict, low-level flooding would likely occur more often than it does now.


Scientists already know that sea levels are rising faster than ever before, but are still teasing out the connections between human activity and floods.

 As Smithsonian.com reported in 2015, the Atlantic coast is thought to be at particular risk of severe flooding as sea levels rise and severe weather increases. 

And just last month, another group of researchers predicted that a rise of just under eight inches will double the risk of storm surges, large waves and severe coastal flooding along every coast on Earth.
It is still possible to curb greenhouse gas emissions and try to slow future damage to Earth’s glaciers. 

But the study’s real takeaway is that it’s time to prepare for the probability of flooding in places that haven’t really been affected by catastrophic floods thus far.

 As once rare floods become more common, a new reality could settle in for coastal cities—and the time to minimize damage is before a flood hits, not after. 

There’s still a lot to learn about how climate change could affect floods, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Press link for more: Smithsonianmag.com

Coal is no longer the best option. #StopAdani 

Other forms of energy production cheaper, cleaner than coal
Coal is no longer the best option for energy creation. 

It isn’t just that coal mining has polluted our streams, sickened our communities and left a scar on the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, it’s that coal just simply is not economically viable anymore.

In his op-ed, not only did Matthew Kandrach ignore the human costs of coal mining, he got it wrong about why the coal industry is declining. 

When it comes to our environment and citizens, coal has had devastating effects. 

While promoting coal as a part of our energy mix, Kandrach didn’t account for the lives lost in coal mining, the lives ruined by black lung disease, the communities dealing with the polluted water and air from abandoned mines.

For example, acid mine runoff from abandoned coal mines can often kill all aquatic life in nearby watersheds and pollute drinking water wells for many decades. 

The clean coal technology the author cities as a means to capture greenhouse gases does not have a good track record, and it is a long way away from being a commercial success.

Four out of five plants in the U.S. and Canada testing carbon capture utilization and storage of carbon dioxide have been beset by technical problems and cost overruns and aren’t successfully producing power. 

This is in spite of $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies spent by the Department of Energy since 2009 to bring online advanced, commercial-scale clean coal projects.

 It seems that turning dirty coal into a clean fuel is a very complex problem.
All the author seems concerned about is new technologies that can help contain the greenhouse gases produced while burning coal. 

But the coal mining companies are not interested in finding new technologies to address the problems caused by extracting coal from the ground because it isn’t worth the money. 
Kandrach seems to ignore what the experts are saying: Coal plants are closing, other forms of energy are cheaper to access, coal production peaked in the late 1970s. 

The reality is, coal as an energy source is dying not because of over-regulation, but because of shifting market demand, and no amount of new technology is going to change that. 
If all the costs of coal mining are included in the equation, coal-fired power generation is not the “nation’s most affordable source of power.” 

Rules and regulations to protect the health of workers and environment are not to blame for the move away from burning coal. 

Other forms of energy production are addressing the issues regarding public health and are cheaper as well.


Yes, America needs a diversified mix of energy sources in the future, but energy production from coal has a high, hidden cost that should affect how much coal is in that energy mix.
Dana Wright is the water policy director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network.

Press link for more: Knoxnews.com

Richard Branson petitions UN for ocean protection #StopAdani 

Richard Branson petitions UN for oceans protection

Richard Branson.© Rex Images Richard Branson.

British entrepreneur Richard Branson handed over a petition with more than a million signatures to the UN, urging governments to protect at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Speaking to reporters after the first Ocean Conference convened by the United Nations, Branson reiterated his criticism of US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, saying it didn’t make sense.


“I think this is where the American President Donald Trump was so naive,” Branson said.
“Clean energy can be massively cheaper than dirty energy and everybody can benefit from it.
“If we can manage our oceans properly and create marine reserves… within these reserves, fish can replenish.”
The petition contained 1,021,874 names. 


Noting a goal to make the world carbon neutral “for our grandchildren” by 2050, Branson also drew attention to the erosion of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
“The Great Barrier Reef is disappearing,” he said.
“It is related to the sea heating up and to lose one of the biggest wonders of the world is to cry for.”

Press link for more: MSN.COM

Climate change a significant threat. #StopAdani

Climate change presents one of the most significant threats to water, wildlife, habitat, and the economies that rely on healthy natural resources.


 If cooperative international action is not taken to reduce carbon emissions at the pace and scale needed, people and wildlife in Illinois, across North America, and the world will suffer greatly from increased flooding, severe droughts, loss and shifting of habitat and migratory corridors, sea level rise, ocean acidification, loss of snowpack, increased wildfires, and other severe impacts. 

Addressing this issue is urgent.

 Science is clear that we have a limited window to reduce emissions before impacts become irreversible.

Ww

The U.S. has the potential to be a world leader on climate action by embracing renewable energy, pursuing climate adaptation, and ensuring that our wildlife and communities are resilient in the face of this challenge. 

Approximately 86 percent of Americans support speeding up the development and use of clean energy in the U.S. (Public Opinion Strategies 2016). 

The United States’ commitment to the agreement signals to the world that this is a critical issue and that we all must play a role in reducing emissions and shifting to new energy sources. 

The Paris Climate Agreement includes over 190 countries committing to reduce emissions. Taking a step back while momentum is building would hurt our country, reducing our credibility with other world leaders and compromising our ability to participate in the booming global clean energy economy.

 For diplomatic, environmental, and economic reasons, the U.S. must remain a signatory to the agreement.
CAROL HAYS, PRAIRIE RIVERS NETWORK EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Press link for more: BND.COM

We need to harness the wind. #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol 

Utilities need to harness the wind
Most people accept that coal is a dirty fuel: Dirty to mine, dirty to burn and dirty to dispose of the ash.


Already there is a shift away from coal-fired power plants, but they still account for 30 percent of our electric power nationwide.

 In many cases, natural gas (also known as methane) has been the preferred alternative fuel.

 Natural gas has some advantages, but it is important to recognize that it also emits carbon dioxide, and the leakage rates of natural gas completely negate its partial benefit as a solution to climate change.


Wind power has caught on briskly in iconically oil-rich Texas, where it generates about 16 percent of the state’s electric power at a lower retail rate than the national average. 

Wind power is equally or less costly than electricity derived from coal-fired power plants in nearly all environments. Various calculations show that there is vastly more potential wind energy available in the United States than the current electricity consumption rate. 
Most of the existing capacity is derived from land-based windmills, but there is enough potential for offshore wind power along the Atlantic coast to supply all the electricity from Virginia to Maine with windmills located in shallow waters.


Some folks don’t like the idea of windmills spoiling their view of the ocean, but my suspicion is that most of these same folks would not want to live near a coal-fired or nuclear-generating station either. 

And all of those who live downwind of coal-fired power plants suffer the consequences of the air pollution they generate. Some birds are killed by wind facilities, but the overall rate of mortality from windmills is much less than that caused by house cats and collisions with buildings.

 There are consequential impacts of generating electricity.
Utilities argue that wind power is problematic, because the wind does not always blow and it may not blow at the time of day or season that corresponds to peak demand for electricity. 

This problem can be overcome by an adequate, interconnected and robust grid of electric lines to move power from where it is generated to where it is needed. 

Mark Jacobson and his colleagues at Stanford University have shown that when using reliable grid and power storage facilities, the intermittent nature of wind power is of no consequence. 

The wind is always blowing somewhere.
All this argues for electric utility companies to spend far less money planning natural gas and nuclear power plants and far more on windmills and improvements to the grid, if they are to fulfill their mission of supplying least-cost electric power to the American public. 

A change of mindset is needed – one that does not embrace old, unhealthy and expensive sources of electricity when newer sources are at hand. 

If the tradition can be broken in Texas, it can be broken anywhere.
William H. Schlesinger is Dean Emeritus of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

Press link for more: new Observer.com

Frydenberg’s carbon capture pipe dream. #StopAdani #Auspol 

By Paul Bongiorno


Frydenberg’s carbon capture pipe dream

Back in 2008 under the perennially polluted grey skies of Beijing, then prime minister Kevin Rudd took a busload of press gallery journalists to the 800 megawatt coal-fired power station in the suburb of Gaobeidian.

 The purpose: to see a functioning pilot program in carbon capture.
On top of the smoke stacks was a device capturing 3000 tonnes of carbon and sulphur gases a year – 2 per cent of the plant’s emissions. 

“A small beginning,” Rudd conceded. 

The $4 million Australian-funded program was developed with the co-operation of the CSIRO. 

A seasoned reporter asked one of the scientists what happened to the captured pollutants. 

The media pack was taken around the corner of the plant, where there was an exhaust outlet. “We let it go,” was the answer. 

The scientist explained that working out how to store the stuff was another project.
It still is.

So it was with some bemusement that some of the old hacks who were on that trip greeted Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg’s announcement that he would remove the legislative prohibition on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to allow it to support investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS). 

The very optimistic minister said such technology could reduce emissions by up to 90 per cent.
ONE CCS PLANT VISITED BY THE ENERGY MINISTER – PETRA NOVA IN TEXAS – COST $US1 BILLION.

 IT’S TOUTED AS THE WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL OPERATION, YET IT CAPTURES ONLY ABOUT 6 PER CENT OF THE OUTPUT OF ITS ADJACENT POWER STATION.

According to its mandate, the $10 billion so-called Green Bank must lend funds to viable projects that would lead to a healthy return on investment.

 Indeed the CEFC – which the Liberals under Tony Abbott wanted to abolish – has been very successful in funding renewable energy projects that have turned a nice profit for taxpayers.
Frydenberg quite reasonably argues that excluding the Green Bank from investing in technology that would deliver clean coal as a reliable energy source is not incompatible with its original mission.

 Except the Greens insisted the Gillard government exclude anything to do with coal from the bank’s mandate. 

“Renewables are the future” was their firm conviction, then and now: taxpayers should invest in the future and leave coal to the billionaires who profit from it to pay their own way in seeking to keep it commercially feasible.
Labor’s Bill Shorten says the government’s announcement is nothing more than kite flying: “It seems like they’re trying to feed some red meat to the right wing of the Liberal Party. 

I think the government needs to explain what is a viable project they want to invest in?”

 Indeed, earlier on the day of the Frydenberg announcement the prime minister told the Coalition party room there would be no price on carbon, ruling out both an emissions trading scheme or an emissions intensity scheme, both of which he once supported and one or other of which business is urging the government to implement.

Seven years ago Malcolm Turnbull’s assessment of CCS was that it was an industrial pipedream. 

He said it was sobering that “as of today, there’s not one industrial-scale coal-fired power station using carbon capture and storage – not one”. 

Both sides of politics had reached the same conclusion about its viability.

 Labor began withdrawing funds from research and the Abbott government shut down Rudd’s $1.7 billion Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program. 

Industry had lost interest. 

Treasurer Joe Hockey returned nearly half a billion dollars of funds allocated to it back to the budget.
This week Frydenberg pointed out that government has invested $590 million in CCS and said it is now being successfully employed in three overseas power plants. 

But a closer look shows the lessons learnt from those plants mean its use has already peaked.

 The proponents of these plants are on the record stating they won’t be investing in any more.

 Renewables entrepreneur Simon Holmes à Court told the ABC that exponential cost blowouts and disappointing results are the rule.


One plant visited by the energy minister – Petra Nova in Texas – cost $US1 billion. 

It’s touted as the world’s largest and most successful operation, yet it captures only about 6 per cent of the output of its adjacent power station. 

That’s “an incredibly low bang for buck”, concludes Holmes à Court. 

Another CCS plant targeted to cost $US2 billion will open three years late and with an incredible final bill of $US7.5 billion.
Holmes à Court agrees with Frydenberg that CCS has a role to play in cutting emissions in industrial processes such as cement or steel production. 

Carbon can be captured in these cases for about $15 to $30 a tonne.

 “So with a healthy carbon price, those projects make sense,” he says. 

And there’s the rub. 

The very government wanting to be a champion of CCS for industry is denying it any incentive to spend a cent pursuing it. It’s commercially cheaper to keep polluting. 

Industry may get away with that but finance markets are now pricing climate change into lending for major energy projects. 

Bloomberg New Energy Finance earlier this year costed CCS coal at $352 a megawatt hour, compared with wind and solar at between $61 and $140 megawatts an hour.
It’s little wonder that experts can’t see private industry investing in new coal-fired power stations without substantial government input. 

But none of this seems to deter the resources and Northern Australia minister, the Nationals’ Matt Canavan. 

With an eye on the Queensland election probably later this year, he sees votes in talking up a new coal-fired power station for Townsville and in giving a leg-up to the giant Adani Carmichael coalmine in the nearby Galilee Basin. 

While Labor parts company on the power station, it has one foot on both sides of the barbed-wire fence when it comes to the Adani mine.

The politics here is excruciating. 

One Labor strategist says there are different fault lines on the Adani project. 

One running from Cairns down the coast is hostility fuelled by fears for the Great Barrier Reef and the 50,000 jobs dependent on it. 


The other fault line runs from Townsville to Gladstone and inland. 

Here support for the project is strong – its hyped promise of thousands of jobs is beguiling in a region of high unemployment. 

Then from Gladstone south all the way to Tasmania support is weak to hostile.
But no matter what voters think of the project, they are overwhelmingly against any taxpayer funds bankrolling the Indian billionaire Gautam Adani. 

Research by the advocacy group GetUp! 

in marginal seats in Queensland and elsewhere has found resolute opposition to any government loan. 

Paul Oosting from GetUp! says opposition ranges from 70 to 86 per cent depending on the seat. 

He has mobilised dozens of his 350,000 members to make 50,000 scripted phone calls into marginal seats in Queensland and around the nation.


It sort of worked with the Palaszczuk Labor government.

 Much to the delight of Adani, the premier organised a royalties pause. 

The miner will be given 60 years to pay the tax, although he will attract an interest charge for any delay. 

That puts all the risk on taxpayers if the project fails to perform as promised or Adani’s labyrinthine company structure for the mine collapses. 

With some companies registered in the Cayman Islands the existence of a lucrative escape hatch for Adani cannot be ruled out.
Ominously, Indian newspapers are reporting Adani is under pressure to sell its Australian assets. 

The Reserve Bank of India is worried about a looming debt crisis and is pressuring banks to demand repayment of loans worth billions of dollars. 

The influential Hindu newspaper noted that the Standard Chartered Bank recalled loans of $2.5 billion from Adani and that “global lenders have backed out from funding the $US10 billion coalmine development project.

 State Bank of India also declined to offer a loan despite signing an MoU [memorandum of understanding] to fund the group with $1 billion”. 

What all of this means for Adani’s bid to get a concessional billion-dollar loan from the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is not yet known. 

It should make it highly unlikely, but given the zealotry of Canavan and his leader Barnaby Joyce for the project such concerns are a mere bagatelle.

Federal Labor’s stand is in line with the GetUp! research, maintaining that no taxpayer dollars should be thrown at the Carmichael mine. 

In that Shorten has the support of Adani’s commercial rivals such as BHP, the Hunter Valley miners and the huge coal port of Newcastle. 

They all say the project should stand or fall on its merits and that it’s not the role of government to use public money to undercut them.
Again we have seen Turnbull’s need for pragmatic appeasement of the conservatives in his ranks undermine his brand on the environment and climate change. 

It probably goes a long way to explain why again in this week’s opinion polls he is still deep in negative territory for approval of his performance and Labor’s lead looks entrenched.
The resignation of Dr Peter Hendy from the inner sanctum of the prime minister’s offices is being read by some in the Liberal Party as a sign the government’s days are numbered. 

The economist, long-time Liberal apparatchik and former MP is planning to hang up his shingle as a consultant.

 “He wants to cash in on his contacts while they are still in power,” was one explanation. Another was: “Peter’s been around a long time and knows when a vote is cemented in.”
On that view Hendy is not waiting to see if the handful of pro-Adani seats in Queensland will be enough to save the federal government. 

Its chances are up in smoke and out the chimney – like the Beijing carbon capture pilot project.

Press link for more: The Saturday Paper