‘Clean coal’, CCS and CSG will not save fossil fuels – their game is up

It’s time to accept the inevitable and fix the shambles that is our energy policy.

Every few years the fossil fuel industry pressures politicians to force “clean coal”, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and more recently coal seam gas (CSG) on an increasingly sceptical community to justify its continued expansion.

This cycle started with the promotion of Adani’s massive Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, for coal export to India. The South Australian blackout followed last September when violent storms blew down transmission towers, prompting instant federal government accusations that excessive reliance on renewable energy was the cause, despite clear advice to the contrary. …

In passing, Adani was to be offered a $1bn subsidy to construct the Carmichael rail line, and then a further subsidy for a new domestic coal-fired power plant at the mine was mooted to assist the development of northern Australia.

The prime minister’s National Press Club speech in January emphasised the need for “affordable, reliable and secure energy”, denounced the states for their “unrealistic” renewable targets, encouraged energy storage – and then took an evangelical swing back to coal, straight from the fossil fuel industry hymn book. Priority would be given to “clean coal, and carbon capture and storage (CCS and onshore gas (CSG)”, implying that renewables were neither affordable or reliable.

He continued: “The next incarnation of our energy policy should be technology-agnostic – it’s security and cost that matter, not how you deliver it. Policy should be ‘all of the above technologies’ working together to meet the trifecta of secure and affordable power while meeting our substantial emission reduction commitments.”

So what could possibly be wrong with such a sweeping vision? Well, pretty much everything …

The Guardian: Ian Dunlop

Thanks to Jenny Goldie, Climate Action Monaro, for alerting me to this article.

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