- Date published:
8:02 am, March 2nd, 2020 - 27 comments
Categories: australian politics, climate change, Environment, ETS, national, Politics, same old national, science, uncategorized - Tags: paris, Paris agreement, paris cop 2015
Over in Australia and despite the worst efforts of the Liberal Government the roll out of solar and wind power generation continues.
The place is awash with solar energy. It has over 2.2 million solar panels. The City of Melbourne has 2,200 of these and has certified that it relies on 100% renewable electricity to run core services and street lights.
If only at a state or national level Australian institutions were prepared to match Melbourne’s efforts.
The Liberal Government is a major problem. They hate anything to do with solar or wind with a pathological ideological hatred that is frankly disturbing.
This is shown by this recent announcement that the Government will be favouring untried technologies and ignoring solar and wind, despite their proven ability.
The Morrison government will on Friday signal plans to shift investment from wind and solar to hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, lithium and advanced livestock feed supplements, as part of a “bottom up” strategy to reduce emissions by 2050.
Angus Taylor will use a speech to an economic thinktank to put some flesh on the bones of the Coalition’s much-vaunted technology roadmap. The emissions reduction minister will also declare Australia will take a technology-based long-term emissions reduction “strategy” to the United Nations-led climate talks in Glasgow at the end of this year.
While not ruling out adopting a specific emissions reduction target, Taylor will contend the “top down” approach of countries proposing emissions reduction targets in the global climate framework has “failed” because countries are not delivering on their commitments.
According to a speech extract circulated in advance, Taylor will say the government intends to roll out “a series of detailed pieces of work” between now and the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, known at COP26, in November. Taylor will say Australia wants “to lead the world” on a new approach to laying out domestic abatement plans.
And he wants to leave it up to the market.
“Wind and solar are economic as a source of pure energy at least, and the government should not crowd out private sector investment,” the minister will say. “We must move our investments to the next challenges – hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, lithium and advanced livestock feed supplements to name a few”
So instead of using tried and proven techniques they want to gamble with our future and hope that unproven technologies work out. And leave the roll out of existing technologies up to the market. Without the sorts of market interventions that are vital.
As for carbon recapture I suggest that Australia should do away with the need for the recapturing to occur and just leave carbon in the ground now. No more coal mines seems to be the simple solution.
Taylor’s analysis is crazy. Why invest in unproven technologies when what is required is the mass roll out of existing technologies?
Again from Katharine Murphy at the Guardian:
Australia can achieve a transition to net zero emissions by 2050 with known technologies, but the deployment of low emissions options will need to be accelerated significantly, according to new analysis by ClimateWorks Australia.
The yet-to-be released analysis, which was previewed at a workshop at the Australian National University amid a resumption of the climate wars in federal politics, suggests transitioning to net zero will require Australia’s electricity market to be 100% renewables by 2035, as well as achieving deep energy efficiency and electrification in buildings, and an accelerated rollout of electric vehicles.
The analysis says to remain within 2C warming, Australia would need at least half of all new cars in 10 years time to be electric vehicles. On a trajectory of staying within 1.5C, it would be three in four cars. Current government projections point to one in five cars sold.
Anna Skarbek, the chief executive of ClimateWorks, which is a non-profit advisory body that works within the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, told an ANU forum reaching net zero in Australia was entirely possible. “We know the technology is available, it is about how to accelerate the uptake,” she said.
“Looking just at the domestic economy, not the export economy, the technology mix is available for Australia to achieve net zero emissions within the carbon budget the science requires for 2C and for 1.5C.”
Skarbek – who is a former investment banker and a founding director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – said achieving net zero would require dialling up progress on the known technologies and “vastly scaling up carbon sequestration through forestry to buy us time to also scale up the research and development for the residual emissions”.
“If we want to achieve 1.5C instead of 2C warming, which we know from the science, 2C is exponentially worse than 1.5C, to do that, we can’t afford any of these areas to be going slower than they could,” Skarbek said.
“It’s all in.”
But the Government’s suffocating indifference is stopping projects from proceeding. From Steve Hanley at Cleantechnia.com:
At CleanTechnica, we like to feature all of the amazing clean energy projects taking place in Australia, despite hostility from the federal government. But there is trouble on the horizon. A lack of clear renewable energy policies from the Australian government and difficulty getting approval from the Australian Electricity Market Operator to connect new projects to the nation’s grid have many renewable energy developers ready to pull the plug on further investments in Australia.
According to PV Magazine, during a webinar put on last week by Australia’s Smart Energy Council, government relations manager Wayne Smith said, “They’re done. The sovereign risk in Australia is too great.” During the presentation, Oliver Yates, the former CEO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, said the combination of curtailments and connection failures, together with arbitrary rules governing access to Australia’s transmission network, are all creating “an environment that is starting to become uninvestable.”
He went on to say that after a decade of gibberish from the federal government regarding renewable energy policies, the whole process is “unable to be understood by participants.” Business needs to be able to assign and assess risk accurately in order attract investors. The participants in the webinar warned current policies make it impossible to do so.
And the former General Secretary in charge of the Paris Accord talks is advocating for civil disobedience.
From Jeff McMahon at Forbes:
In a book out tomorrow, the woman who led the negotiations for the Paris Agreement calls for civil disobedience to force institutions to respond to the climate crisis.
“It’s time to participate in non-violent political movements wherever possible,” Christiana Figueres writes in “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis,” which will be released tomorrow by Knopf.
Figueres served as executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-16. She co-authored the book with her strategic advisor, Tom Rivett-Carnac. The two also support voting:
“Large numbers of people must vote on climate change as their number one priority,” they write. “As we are in the midst of the most dire emergency, we must urgently demand that those who seek high office offer solutions commensurate with the scale of the problem.”
But they note that electoral politics have failed to meet the challenge, largely because of systemic roadblocks including corporate lobbying and partisan opposition.
Meanwhile in Aotearoa a ban on default Kiwisaver funds investing in fossil fuel companies has been called virtue signalling by National. It seems to me we need a whole lot more virtue signalling if that is the case.