Monday, January 09, 2006

Kyoto alternative just one big emission.

A day before the inaugral Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate begins, a leader in the Australian power industry identifies that it is logically flawed.

Australia's long-awaited answer to refusing to sign and ratify the Kyoto Agreement is to be the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate where ministers from Australia, the US, China, India, Japan and South Korea will meet to blue-sky technologies that aim to capture and bury the carbon dioxide generated by burning fossil fuels.

But this geosequestration of co2 could be a long way away. And expensive:
It could be 10 to 40 years before carbon capture and storage technologies are commercially viable and well entrenched in industry, and they could double the cost of fossil fuel power.
And, as Tony Woods of Origin Energy points out that unless we set a price on carbon, "There is absolutely no incentive for business to adopt" [such technologies], we will waste all that R&D. And time.
"You would have to put a value or a penalty on greenhouse gas emissions. You need a level playing field in terms of carbon value so the market can decide what is the lowest-cost way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

A research analyst at AMP Capital Investors, Dr Ian Woods, agreed, saying developing new technologies was only half the story. "The other half is the cost at which a technology can compete in the market.

"Currently there is no driver to do clean coal technology."

We've heard it all before.

Since 1990 there has been a sustained effort from beneficiaries of the status quo to undermine climate change action. The claims are documented in a 2002 Greenpeace report entitled Denial and Deception: A Chronicle of ExxonMobil's Corruption of the Debate on Global Warming which singles out ExxonMobil as the key corporation creating the logjam stopping progress on global warming. ExxonMobil, a.k.a. Exxon, Mobil, Esso and Imperial Oil, gave more money to the Republicans during the 2000 election cycle than any other oil company, more than $US1 million. Of its total political donations for that year, 89 percent went to Republicans. They were rewarded when Bush withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol on 11 April 2001 and they quickly suggested:
"the U.S. should move quickly to chart a path forward that will avoid the Kyoto protocol's unrealistic targets, timetables and lack of developing country participation."
On 25 January 2002 an ExxonMobil funded lobby group Global Climate Coalition dissolved with this last public statement:
"The Global Climate Coalition has been deactivated.
The industry voice on climate change has served its
purpose by contributing to a new national approach
to global warming.

The Bush administration will soon announce a
climate policy that is expected to rely on the
development of new technologies to reduce
greenhouse emissions, a concept strongly
supported by the GCC."
Three weeks later, President Bush announced his climate policy. Believe it or not, it is the same as Australia's climate policy; we are to wait for some hitherto not-yet-invented technology to save the planet from climate change (which polluters are going to voluntarily adopt), and in the meantime reductions in emissions are to be voluntary and there will be no participation in market-based carbon trading mechanisms.

The Kyoto alternative was initially scheduled for November, 2005, then postponed, and now that Ariel Sharon is critically ill it looks like the drawcard, US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has pulled out. While Sharon's health problem could not have been anticipated, shouldn't the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate at least try to keep pace with that of global warming in order to keep stretching the credulity of the public and non-scientifically informed industry leaders?

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