Why the Coalition’s “clean coal” plan is crap

11 February 2017 12:27 pm

This week Australia saw Coalition ministers and MPs cradling a lump of coal brought to Question Time on Thursday by the Treasurer Scott Morrison who accused Labor of “coal-phobia”

The Coalition has spent the last few months promoting “clean coal” and modern coal plant technology as a solution for Australia’s power crisis, resulting in high prices and high emissions, all the while attacking renewables, and wind energy in particular.

It’s a strategy modelled on Tony Abbott’s attack on the Gillard Government’s carbon tax and it’s designed to wedge Labour.

Let’s forget the claim the Coalition made during the campaign that power prices would come down when the carbon tax was repealed. Which it was.

Let’s look at the Coalition’s fantasy of clean coal.

According to Dylan McConnell from the Climate and Energy College, emissions from ultra-supercritical coal are actually 14 per cent higher than the outdated number quoted by the Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg.

“This so-called ‘clean coal’ is no better than the average emissions intensity of the market, and insignificantly better than regular coal. It defies belief that we are even talking about building one (a new coal plant) in 2017,” McConnell told Renew Economy.

McConnell says this means the clean coal technology would make it impossible to meet even the Coalition’s modest target of 26-28 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, let alone deeper and longer-dated targets.

According to McConnell’s calculations, replacing all the current coal power stations with this USC technology would deliver only a 17.5 per cent cut in emissions from the electricity sector, and lock in those emissions for 30-50 years.

The problem with the Coalition’s strategy is that clean coal is expensive. There is an enormous cost and logistical challenge of transporting all the captured carbon dioxide and burying it. It would require a vast network of pipelines and storage sites. And that’s not cheap.

The cost of building the required infrastructure would be enormous.

Also, it would take too long to build. The time periods involved would be too long to prevent the risk, identified by the consensus of expert scientists, of potentially catastrophic climate change.

The Coalition’s answer for the energy crisis is garbage, peddled by the mining companies, the Liberal Party’s biggest donors.

2017

December

02 Dec 2017 - What to expect now that Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty

November

30 Nov 2017 - Bitcoin – another Tulip boom

29 Nov 2017 - The irony of the link between citizenship, refugees and indigenous affairs

October

22 Oct 2017 - Trump vow to declassify Kennedy files is a distraction

07 Oct 2017 - What’s ahead for the Minerals Council of Australia?

September

16 Sep 2017 - Australia’s energy crisis shows the stupidity of privatisation

09 Sep 2017 - Why climate change will devastate Florida

July

16 Jul 2017 - Laws of mathematics don’t apply to Australia: Malcolm Turnbull

June

17 Jun 2017 - Political backlash over the Grenfell fire

11 Jun 2017 - A win for Macron is a lesson for Theresa May

04 Jun 2017 - Attacks in London could change the election

May

28 May 2017 - Why Donald Trump will survive and be re-elected in 2020

20 May 2017 - Will the Mueller probe examine Trump’s Russian business ties?

13 May 2017 - Hypocrisy over Chloe Shorten’s necklace

06 May 2017 - Macron vs Le Pen: France is no longer one country

April

29 Apr 2017 - Turnbull government attacks banks over Adani

23 Apr 2017 - Why the French election is important

08 Apr 2017 - Russian navy moves in

01 Apr 2017 - Australia is one of the world’s worst money laundering property markets

March

19 Mar 2017 - Peter Dutton goes poofter bashing

04 Mar 2017 - Trump will take the market to a fiscal bloodbath

February

26 Feb 2017 - Trump’s mental condition

18 Feb 2017 - Adani’s results tell us the company will not develop in Australia

11 Feb 2017 - Why the Coalition’s “clean coal” plan is crap

04 Feb 2017 - It’s Trump versus the courts

January

27 Jan 2017 - The cost of Trump's wall on consumers

21 Jan 2017 - A look at Europe's future

20 Jan 2017 - Can Trump make America great again?

16 Jan 2017 - Trump parallels with Iraq


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