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Energy policies - Apr 22

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Fossil fuel industry dominates

Ben Cubby, Sydney Morning Herald
... the flurry of big ideas began to look decidedly modest when filtered through a sieve of committee process and translated into bureaucratese.

The sub-group discussing climate change faced the task of setting a "man on the moon" challenge that fitted the Australian psyche, on a par with the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme, which still provides most of the nation's renewable energy. But one single great idea did not shine through.

The sub-group was heavy with representatives of the fossil fuel industry. It had no one who could unequivocably be said to be from the environment movement.

Even the relatively straightforward issue of cutting energy use, now accepted by many governments and businesses, met obstacles.

Australia might need to emit much more carbon in the future, said Peter Coates, the chairman in Australia of the mining giant Xstrata, as climate change fuelled world food shortages and the nation increased production to fill the gap.

"We may find that energy intensity will increase," Mr Coates said. He called for a "level playing field" for carbon capture and storage technology - an experimental field that already draws large public subsidies.

Anna Rose, from the youth summit climate group, said: "It's outrageous, and I'm really uncomfortable because you can't have a proper discussion about climate change without anyone from the environment movement. I'm being forced to try and represent the climate movement, which I'm not qualified to do. It's really, really disappointing because we were told to come in with an open mind."
(21 April 2008)
Contributor Michael Lardelli writes:
Report from 2020 summit from Sustainability section. A total setup!

See Big Gav's Fossils at the 2020 Summit

Nigel Lawson loses no sleep over global warming

John-Paul Flintoff, UK Times
Nigel Lawson, the Iron Lady’s chancellor, scourge of the miners and father of the adorable Nigella, has joined the ranks of the climate change sceptics. He believes David Cameron’s green agenda is overblown, biofuels are useless and carbon trading resembles ‘nothing so much as the sale of indulgences by the medieval church’
I can’t pretend I’m expecting to get on with Nigel Lawson. In fact, I’m worried that I might lose my cool - say something I’ll regret, perhaps even bop him on the nose.

On receiving his new book, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming, I find myself handling it as though it is toxic; I even flinch at the expression of fierce intellectual arrogance in the author’s photograph.

When I start reading, though, I’m dismayed to discover that I agree with considerable amounts of what Lawson is saying - especially about the current biofuel madness - while also disagreeing with other chunks.

... “People have been talking about ‘peak oil’ for as long as I can remember,” Lawson says, with a sniff. “It’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future.”

Hang on a minute. The Hirsch report, commissioned by the US Department of Energy, concluded that we need to prepare for the likelihood of oil shortages at least two decades in advance. And President George Bush, challenged recently to ask the Saudis to pump more oil for the US, replied that they may not have the capacity to pump more. Lawson is unfazed. “They’ve got plenty,” he says.

End of argument. How can he possibly know this? Saudi oil reserves are not independently audited. But Lawson has a kind of lofty certitude in such matters.
(20 April 2008)

Seeing China's Climate Emissions Clearly

Alex Steffen, WorldChanging
One of the frequently repeated claims in American politics -- used often by those advocating the impossibility of effective action on climate change -- is that China has "caught up" on greenhouse gas emissions, thus rendering useless any steps we might take ourselves.

Even smart, well-intentioned people repeat this claim without much critical distance. But it's worth unpacking all this

1) Generally, what's meant is that China's direct emissions as a nation have caught up to those of the United States. This is possibly true, though the figures used to make that claim skip a bunch of important factors, like meat production and air travel, that may well tip the scales back to the U.S. having the world's largest national share of direct emissions.

2) Even assuming that China is now the world's largest emitter, a large percentage of China's industrial emissions come from goods manufactured for sale in the U.S., Japan, Europe and other developed nations.
(21 April 2008)

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