Thursday, 31 May 2007

Rudd's fast move on PM's plan for climate

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Getting in under the wire, just before John Howard receives the report from the emissions trading task force, Kevin Rudd has announced some plans/ideas to address climate change within Australia. Principally these consist of:

$50 million to upgrade the CSIRO's National Solar Energy Centre

$50 million to further the development of geothermal energy

He [Rudd] also promised that a Labor government would lead by example by making Parliament House and all electorate offices reliant on renewable or clean energy. Government offices would be made to turn lights off at night, all Commonwealth buildings would have to have a five-star greenhouse rating, and all computers, fridges and other appliances in such buildings would have high-efficiency ratings.

He also discusses an emissions trading scheme (cap and trade) that would be in place by 2010.

Just one more quote:

Mr Rudd maintained that the Government's latent approach to climate change was driven by the polls rather than conviction.

Hmmm, let's ponder this plan.

I like the idea of supporting solar and geothermal as I've said from the start. But considering the state of the world, this blogger/voter would prefer to hear discussions detailing the deployment of the technology rather than support for further research.

Emissions trading - YES! (Government mandated/regulated preferred over voluntary industry 'target setting').

Also the plans to 'green up' Government - to lead by example - are noteworthy and admirable. They would no doubt have some positive impact (not sure how much it would cost to make this transformation, but I'll assume for the moment that the environmental impact is the 'greater good').

But the sum total of these efforts will fall well short of the massive shift in energy production technology necessary to reach Kevin Rudd's 60% reduction target. Have a look at this report to get some idea of the greenhouse gas contribution of Australian heavy industry as well as the related energy consumption. I invite all to take a careful look at Figure 4. This normalization of energy supply technologies clearly shows nuclear power's ability to displace coal generation.

To this blogger, Mr. Rudd's / Labor's plans also seem "poll driven". And while there appears to be conviction, I don't see much evidence of a firm grasp of maths, science, engineering or energy production technology in general.

1 comment:

  1. I looked carfully at Figure 4 in your linked pdf, and while it makes a pretty picture, I think it understates the difference that nuclear makes.

    First point. Hydro is pretty much comparable between the two graphs. Claiming this is part of the difference is just a smokescreen to distract from nuclear contributions.

    Second point, more important really. Instead of "stretching" the graph by omitting nuclear & hydro (thus exaggerating the amount of gas in the mix for EU), try replacing nuclear with coal for a true picture. Now it's clear that nuclear power makes up almost all the difference in carbon emissions.