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Australia - Apr 14

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Contraction & Convergence proposed in Australian Senate
(PDF)
Hansard recorder, Australian Hansard
[Page 16-17] Excerpt, statement by Senator MILNE (Tasmania), at 11.10 am.

“I thank the senator for the opportunity to respond to that question. I was perhaps premature in suggesting that he had changed his position in relation to climate change. I had regarded him as a sceptic until today and I was about to change my position, but I now see that the sceptic has returned. The first point to make is that Australia is impacted by climate change probably more than a lot of other places in the world. We are a desert country and, if you go anywhere in rural Australia, people will tell you immediately how we are already being impacted by climate change. If the implication is that Australia should carry on with business as usual with our emissions but expect the rest of the world to reduce theirs so that there is a reduced impact on Australia, that is a ‘Pull up the ladder, Jack; we’re all right’ kind of process.

Australia has agreed that there is a moral obligation for every country in the world to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. We have ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and we have now also ratified the Kyoto protocol and made a commitment to reducing our emissions and to joining the rest of the world as part of a global commitment to reducing climate change because we understand that the impacts of climate change do not stop at national borders and that we are impacted the same as everybody else and have an obligation the same as everybody else to reduce our emissions.

Per capita, we are one of the worst, most selfish people in the world when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. We have a huge obligation to reduce our own emissions.

People who are thinking about climate change all the time are now reaching the position that we should be moving to contraction and convergence, whereby we contract our emissions so that developing countries have some leeway to develop-albeit by decoupling economic growth from energy use.

That is our main challenge and that is the way in which Australia could not only do it but assist other countries to do it. I am certainly a supporter of contraction and convergence and of deep cuts, and I certainly understand the impact of climate change on Australia.

To suggest that, because Australia’s emissions are a small percentage of total global emissions, we should therefore not worry about it so much and should not look at our transport emissions is an unethical and immoral position.”
(19 March 2008)
Contributor DLC writes:

It is heartening to see the worldwide advance of C&C endorsements,
but in the US this necessary climate policy framework seems thus far to be a taboo subject. So can anyone get a question put to Obama on its merits for global climate co-operation ?

Background on C&C at Global Commons Institute : www.gci.org.uk .


'Dammed if we do'

Carolyn Tucker, The Daily (Sunshine Coast, Australia)
Global warming campaigner Steve Posselt shakes his head at the stupidity.

A civil engineer who has devoted his working life to the water industry and wrote his thesis on dam design, Steve is simply staggered by the government’s plans to flood the Mary Valley.

The Traveston dam is an abomination, he said. Economically and environmentally, it defies logic.

So much so that he cannot sit by and let it happen.

“At 55 years of age I’m becoming an activist,” he chuckled, “and I see myself as being pretty good in a scrap.

...His message this time: don’t Murray the Mary.

Steve’s aim is to shake city-dwellers out of their complacency about plans to build the Traveston Crossing dam and show them what is at stake.

He said the world has passed peak oil, we need food sources close to urban centres, the Lockyer Valley is drying up and the government is planning to flood arable land on Brisbane’s doorstep. Moreover, climate change will bring reduced rainfall and the dam will contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, he added.
(13 April 2008)


Coal To Liquids In Australia

Big Gav, Peak Energy
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has been talking about gas to liquids (a subject covered here previously) as part of a strategy to address Australia's dependence on imported fuels. The minister has also previously expressed enthusiasm about coal to liquids projects (declaring at a recent CTL and GTL Conference "I regard this industry as the key to securing Australia's energy future"), so in this post I'll have a look at a few CTL projects currently at various stages of development around the country.
(14 April 2008)
Another Big Gav news round-up. Many more links, excerpts and photos at original.


Food vs fuel in Australia

Zoe Daniel, Landline/ABC (Australia)
... ZOE DANIEL: Ethanol is commonly made from sugar, but it can also be fermented from starch in crops like corn, wheat, canola and sorghum and then blended with existing oil-based fuel. It's one of the key alternatives being introduced around the world to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

KEVIN ENDRES: That'll go into the petroleum distribution and that'll go to the big oil majors. I think it's been announced by the likes of Caltex that they have a very large off-take agreement with us and there'll be a couple of other oil majors in there as well, so it will go into the fuel distribution chain.

ZOE DANIEL: By 2028, world demand for oil is expected to increase by a whopping 70 per cent. The price, supply and climate change implications are enormous. But the scramble for solutions is creating new concerns as more and more food is diverted into the fuel chain.

In the United States, up to a third of the corn crop is now being used to make fuel.

RON STOREY, AUSTRALIAN CROP FORECASTERS: Now, that's a big, big amount of grain in anyone's language, and that has a knock-on effect then: you're increasing the demand for corn and that puts pressure on the acres that are available for other crops, be it soy beans or wheat.

ZOE DANIEL: The concern is that the increased demand for corn is both driving up the price of food and reducing its availability in poor countries.

RON STOREY: I think the debate globally about fuel versus food is something we're going to see more of and probably resolved more by political question than anything else, and certainly I would believe that less-developed countries and poorer countries seeing the price of their food going up is going to create some pressure points. We should expect that.

ZOE DANIEL: Until now, the fuel-related impact on grain and food prices in Australia has flowed largely from the United States' ethanol obsession where 139 bio-refineries are operational and another 61 are under construction. More than half the country's fuel is blended with ethanol and Washington has passed a new law mandating a staggering 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel annually by 2022.

Here in Australia, there are currently only three commercial ethanol plants operating but the industry's ready to expand, possibly at the expense of other rural industries.
(13 April 2008)
Related at Landline: Interview with Todd Sneller, US ethanol developer.

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