Know Thy Enemy

Knowledge is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.  I have been doing some research about coal and various industry lobby groups that I often write about, who say one thing, but do another, in reference to climate change.  As you have probably read, the coal and mining industry have an active front of these type of organisations, that lobby our politicians into inaction regarding climate change.  One of these is the Queensland Resources Council, who are a not-for-profit peak industry association, as is the Australian Coal Association who quite blatantly are trying to push Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology down the public’s throat as a solution to reducing carbon emissions. I am sorry fellows, I don’t think you are quite right.

They are two of the driving forces behind the New Gen Coal campaign.  Maybe they simply believe that if we give coal a fancy new name, all the problems associated with it go away.  I suppose it is better than the American campaign of Clean Coal!

So to better help everyone understand just exactly what sort of propaganda machine these lobby groups have, I have included this link that demonstrates the potential technology of CCS.  Better to understand than to dismiss, I believe.

A Low Emission Energy Future from QRC on Vimeo.

All good in theory, however the captured CO2 is a ticking climate time-bomb if released back into the atmosphere.  Would you store this stuff under your town?  However, their deception gets even better.  Have a look at this video link titled “Copenhagen, ETS and CCS”  from the Australian Coal Association, who’s delegates travelled to Copenhagen to continue their lobbying effort, which stars the ACA Executive Director, Ralph Hillman.  Herr Joseph Goebbels couldn’t have done a better job at concocting this image.  Goebbels understood the principle that a lie, if audacious enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses.  I realise that the comparison of Nazi Germany’s Propaganda Minster and these lobby groups is a long bow to draw and I don’t believe that these lobby groups are inherently evil as was the regime in WW2, but my goodness, they are certainly behaving like the bullies of those times by their activities in and around the halls of our parliament.  Especially during the lead up to the second vote on the CPRS, and Copenhagen.  Profits before the Planet is all they seem to care about, and certainly not the well-being of future generations.
CCS technology, whilst in its infancy, is a long, long way off from being “bolted on” to existing coal fired power plants.  We have years, not decades to act against climate change, and no amount of money will speed the development of CCS.  All technologies take time to develop as does this one.  However, we have the means of combating the emissions released by these heavy emitting power generation technologies right now.  That is to scale them back and at the same time increase the deployment of large scale renewable energy technologies, like Solar photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, Wind, Geothermal, and many others.
These renewable energy technologies, which are already fully developed and being installed throughout the globe, except in Australia, and are catering for the increasing energy needs of the human race.  Heck, this post was powered by renewable energy generated on the roof of my house!  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that by simply reducing the subsidies that our coal companies and coal power generators receive to exist competitively from our government, and then diverting them into large scale renewable energy projects we will keep up with energy demand and reduce emissions.  That methodology has certainly worked in countries like Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and some US states like California. 

The renewable energy capacity in these countries are expanding rapidly, with government assistance.  Even China, although the largest emitter, are rapidly taking up renewables because they see the massive profit that can be made and are also feeling the pinch of a changing climate.  Most of their water supply comes from two rivers that are fed by melting glaciers in the Himalayas.  Once completely melted, China and many other Asian nations face a very dry future.

So why can’t our government in Australia do the same?  Because they are shackled at the hip to these heavy polluting industries, and don’t have the moral fibre or courage to act decisively or if they do, they are not showing us this courage by their actions.  Sure, we now have a renewable feed-in tariff in most states now after many many years of environmental lobbying, but this is just a start.  We simply cannot generate enough of the required power in this country by small scale renewables, even if we put a small wind turbine and a PV array on every roof in Australia.  Energy efficiency around the home and workplace would help reduce the load, but industry would use that power in an instant, and therefore it would only solve part of the issue.  Large scale renewable generation is the answer in my mind, not coal and certainly not nuclear which would take longer to develop and implement in this country than CCS would! 

Coal fired electricity will (unfortunately) be with us for a while longer, just like the video mentions, but I hope for its rapid demise by 2020.  Otherwise, I will see catastrophic climate change in my lifetime. 

A sobering thought indeed.


  1. says

    Thanks Nevyn. My sentiments exactly. History may have something bad to say about the behaviours of these types of industries in the distant future. Gav

  2. says

    As usuaul, a great post. I tried watching the video but it didn’t play, somehow I must have done something wrong. Typical.

    It’s people like you who should have been at the sorry thing we called Copenhagen, more of the everday person and less of the big corporations.

    I don’t think your Wartime comparisons are a low blow. History has proven that regime to be evil. Perhaps, one day history will prove the coal interests to be just as evil. Are they not deliberately creating a path that they know will lead to disaster but they will still do it because they believe in their cause. Millions died as a result of WW2 and if we are not careful, millions will die as a result of climate change.

    As long as the economy is put before climate change our Government will be seen to be trying to do something, while accomplishing absolutely nothing. That is the real evil.

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