Australia Enrages Activists, Embraces “Technology Neutral” Carbon Credits

The Boundary Dam CCS power plant in Saskatchewan Canada. Credit: SaskPowerCCS

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Looks like Planet of the Humans might be having an impact on policy; The Australian Government has broadened the scope of activities which can qualify for carbon credits, diverting cash away from renewables.

Fossil fuel industry applauds Coalition climate measures that support carbon capture and storage

Adam Morton Environment editor @adamlmorton
Wed 20 May 2020 03.30 AEST

Environmentalists say the Morrison government is directing emissions reduction funding to polluting companies

Fossil fuel industry groups and companies have applauded new climate change measures proposed by the Morrison government, including support for carbon capture and storage developments.

The government has agreed to 21 of 26 recommendations made by an expert panel review headed by the former gas industry executive and business council president Grant King, who was asked to come up with new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at low cost.

Recommendations included paying big industrial companies to keep their emissions below an agreed limit, and allowing the government’s main climate policy, the $2.5bn emissions reduction fund, to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.

Angus Taylor, the energy and emissions reduction minister, said the government agreed in-principle that two publicly owned clean energy agencies, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, would be given a “technology neutral remit” – a proposal that has been interpreted as allowing more funding for projects that do not involve renewable energy.

The plan to include CCS in the emissions reduction fund follows oil and gas giant Santos saying access to carbon credits or a similar revenue stream would be critical if it was to invest in a joint CCS project with BHP in South Australia. The Moomba CCS project, in SA’s remote north-east, is promised to capture 1.7m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year released during gas processing.

Richie Merzian, from thinktank the Australia Institute, said the changes backed by the government would increase fossil fuel industries’ access to a limited pool of funding for climate action, and criticised the lack of process behind the review.

He said King’s four-person expert panel was commissioned in October without public visibility, run without public consultation, and its report was held back by the government until it was ready to also release its response.

“Australians have a right to be frustrated by this, not just because of the support for fossil fuels, but by the appalling process,” Merzian said. “We should wake up to the fact that this is happening at a much larger scale with the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission, which will involve the investment of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/may/20/fossil-fuel-industry-applauds-coalition-climate-measures-that-support-carbon-capture-and-storage

I have no problem with carbon capture, other than the waste of providing any kind of carbon credits, as long as it stays remote. I’m very concerned about the risk when people propose putting large concentrations of CO2 next to large concentrations of humans; a sudden large release of CO2 could cause high rates of death over tens of square miles.

What I find really interesting is this rule change might pave the way for Aussie nuclear power. The availability of gigawatts of reliable green nuclear energy would make any renewable energy investment a tough sell. All we need is someone brave enough to take on the bureaucrats and big green, to make it happen.

via Watts Up With That?

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May 21, 2020 at 04:07PM