For Auld Lang Syne —

Not about to get sentimental or self congratulory about ‘our’ achievements in 2012, or make any conciliatory approaches to the leaders of governments and industry who are making life hell for the next generation, in an indulgent orgy of forgiveness and consumption.  I can’t even say that it will be good to see the back of 2012, as it will inevitably be followed by a year in which the current downward spiral continues. There will be no ‘saving graces’ with  the only moderation provided by uncertainty as to how rapid this decline will be.

  In a recent indication of how things are stacked against us, and how the failure in 2012 to even start to redress the balance will be repeated, the International Energy Agency released a pre-Christmas report of its projections and plans for global energy supply for the next 30 years.  In a report on this from the ABC :

the thinking of the energy industry and ‘resource analysts’ is revealed, and in particular their failure to take account of the emissions aspect of energy sources, or even apparently to be conscious of it:

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The IEA report found coal demand is increasing in nearly every region of the world apart from the United States, where natural gas is displacing coal.

David Lennox says that trend is unlikely to catch on in other countries.

DAVID LENNOX: Unfortunately around the rest of the globe, natural gas is not an easy commodity to be transported. It does require billions of dollars to actually convert it to a state where it can be moved.

This makes coal very competitive, and hence coal will for probably many years to come actually still stay quite a significant supplier to the energy market, and especially electricity generation markets.

The implications of this increasing use of coal for CO2 emissions are admitted to in the report, but the ABC lines up someone who can put a positive spin on this, rather than someone who calls for government regulation or change to prevent such a disaster situation developing.   Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute, who is clearly an industry advocate explains his viewpoint:

TONY WOOD: The forecasts that we’re talking about in the IEA do not, cannot happen if the world is to meet its greenhouse gas reduction emissions that the IEA and the World Bank say that we have to meet without carbon capture and storage. And right now we don’t have, in Australia or anywhere else in the world, the technology developments such that carbon capture and storage will work.

— The rest of the report goes on to discuss the lack of spending – “investment” – on CCS, and having just portrayed it as the only solution to the conundrum of controlling emissions while continuing to burn coal, discusses how we can accelerate and develop this (fantasy) – and must:-

Tony Wood says that’s well short of what’s needed.

TONY WOOD: It’s not a very nice solution, but practically it’s the only alternative there is and we are not doing the things that we need to that would be consistent with achieving that.

So in Australia, we’re making a small amount of progress. The Australian Government, to give them credit, did establish the global CCS (carbon capture and storage) Institute and they have established the CCS flagship program, but the rate of progress is appallingly slow, but we are not alone.

Around the world, there is nothing like enough activity to go anywhere near meeting the IEA’s projections of what would be required to have a consistency between expanding fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

And with the Australian government fully committed to expanding Coal and Gas extraction and export in the mid term future it is clear that his extraordinarily blind – delinquent really – attitude to fossil fuels  is shared by our government. Their pathetic attempts to appear to tackle emissions are thus revealed for what they are  – green window dressing.

In the light of all this, we should consider carefully our ‘new year’s resolutions’ – avoid ‘try to do better’ and go for ‘try to do differently’, but most importantly, if you think an ‘extreme’ message might be unpopular, shout it louder….

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