Fossils at the 2020 Summit  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Looks like there was a little funny business going on at the 2020 summit regarding climate change - the hand of the greenhouse mafia at work, perhaps ?

The SMH reports there was a dispute over new coal-fired power stations, with Penny Wong over-riding the recommendation to ban them.

A ban on new coal-fired power plants has been left out of recommendations by the 2020 summit despite widespread support among environment delegates. Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong cited a lack of consensus in not including a moratorium on building plants which did not capture and store carbon.

Stream participant Tanya Ritchie pushed for its inclusion in the final group session after it was left off the draft document. "I would like to propose ... making a statement that we build no new coal-fired power stations unless they have commercially proven carbon capture and sequestration," Ms Ritchie said to applause. WWF Australia chief executive Greg Bourne and Australian Conservation Foundation president Ian Lowe backed the move. ...

Climate scientist David Karoly said industry figures within the stream and some others with concerns about the effects on coal mining communities had blocked the ban idea. "There is and was within the group very strong support and a small minority of opposition that in the end prevented that because the minister and co-chairs wanted consensus," Professor Karoly said after the meeting. "We shouldn't be saying we'll put in new coal-fired power stations now and we'll retrofit them when technology become available."

The SMH also noted that the fossil fuel industry dominated the climate change stream.
But the flurry of big ideas began to look decidedly modest when filtered through a sieve of committee process and translated into bureaucratese. The sub-group discussing climate change faced the task of setting a "man on the moon" challenge that fitted the Australian psyche, on a par with the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme, which still provides most of the nation's renewable energy. But one single great idea did not shine through.

The sub-group was heavy with representatives of the fossil fuel industry. It had no one who could unequivocably be said to be from the environment movement. Even the relatively straightforward issue of cutting energy use, now accepted by many governments and businesses, met obstacles. Australia might need to emit much more carbon in the future, said Peter Coates, the chairman in Australia of the mining giant Xstrata, as climate change fuelled world food shortages and the nation increased production to fill the gap.

"We may find that energy intensity will increase," Mr Coates said. He called for a "level playing field" for carbon capture and storage technology - an experimental field that already draws large public subsidies.

Anna Rose, from the youth summit climate group, said: "It's outrageous, and I'm really uncomfortable because you can't have a proper discussion about climate change without anyone from the environment movement. I'm being forced to try and represent the climate movement, which I'm not qualified to do. It's really, really disappointing because we were told to come in with an open mind."

Some imaginations were fired by a suggestion from the Melbourne University meteorologist David Karoly that giant underwater turbines could be installed between Sydney Heads and the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, to take advantage of concentrated tidal flow.

"It would generate a surprisingly large amount of power," Professor Karoly said. "But there are a thousand good ideas that we didn't have the chance to really consider, like putting solar hot water and photovoltaic panels on the roof of every new house."

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