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The Forum > Article Comments > Leaders debate misses the mark on climate > Comments

Leaders debate misses the mark on climate : Comments

By Suzanne Harter, published 31/5/2016

With both major parties talking about innovation as a major part of growing our economy, how is it possible that clean technologies were not connected to that message?

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The fact is the Renewable Energy Target is exceedingly generous in terms of both guaranteed market share and subsidies yet it fails to prevent emissions increasing. In 2015 we had 19 Twh of renewable electricity (excluding legacy hydro) but the 2020 target is 33 Twh, a virtually impossible increase. The LGC subsidy has been about $80 per Mwh or 8c per kwh when the wholesale price of brown coal electricity is about 3.5c per kwh. Solar farms get about 45% of their capital cost paid for by ARENA.

Against that however is the reduction in solar feed in tariffs ordered by state governments so that residential solar takeup is far less than in say in 2012. Some say batteries will have a revolutionary effect but so far few have been installed, no doubt due to the long payback period. We will still require increasingly expensive gas generation to back up the grid in wind lulls and weak light conditions.

I'm all for wind and solar provided they earn their place as low carbon generators not via quotas and subsidies. On the other hand 15 GW of nuclear baseload would knock 30% off Australia's emissions and set us up for overnight charging of electric cars.
Posted by Taswegian, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 9:39:05 AM
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Well they're not alone here and as history and the paleontological record shows, two if allowed will all but guarantee five and unavoidable catastrophe, as the permafrost and the also formerly permanently frozen tundra melts, releasing millions of tons of (at least 21 times more efficacious as a greenhouse gas) lighter than air
methane.

And seen as once again history repeating itself that all but wipes out all life on planet earth? This cause and effect result happened before and the recoverable paleontological record shows just that!

If we can't prevent it, we must prepare and adapt for it and before it's too late.

Push our coastal economy inland, preferably before it's inundated and not after! (Inland shipping canal and linked rapid rail, a national fleet of cargo carrying nuclear powered submersibles) Get busy decarbing the economy with (cheaper than coal)carbon negative and carbon neutral energy provision, which if rolled out as publicly supplied, owned and operated very low cost not for profit energy has massive economic upsides.

And we'll need massive and truly affordable energy provision to cool our overheating dwellings and power the myriad underground systems which will in all likelihood include most food production and transport and piped desalinated water supplies!?

Almost unbelievably, the hottest planet in our solar system is very nearby Venus, rather than an airless mercury, which is vastly closer to the sun!

The difference? Venus has an atmosphere of mostly heat trapping sulfur laden Co2 gas, some of which is both highly acidic and toxic! We should be so lucky!

We have enough (cheaper than coal) thorium to power the world, we're told, to power the world for 700 years; and enough time for the planet to recover, build a sustainable and better future and begin our migration to the next frontier, the stars.
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Tuesday, 31 May 2016 10:09:21 AM
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They probably know that a recent poll on climate change showed public interest to be at an alltime low, only 44% of respondents being non-scepitical. For the majority, it is a non issue now.
Posted by ttbn, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 10:50:43 AM
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The Abbott govt decimated Australia's developing renewable energy industry - to the detriment of IP (intellectual property) and export earnings.
Posted by McReal, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 11:04:02 AM
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Australia's electricity grids can indeed be powered by wind and solar, for a price increase of less than about 2c more per kWh
http://www.sen.asn.au/modelling_findings

This study, which I co-authored, shows how 85% renewable electricity can be installed in Western Australia by 2030, creating thousands of jobs. It also shows 4 other scenarios for 100% renewable power and compares these with nuclear, which is far riskier and more expensive.

WA is an isolated grid, so there are no inter-connectors and there is no need for base load power (either coal or nuclear). Over 80% of energy will come directly from wind and PV, 5 % from storage and about 15 % from gas turbines (OCGT's) powered by gas or biofuels
Posted by Roses1, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:19:01 PM
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Roses1 you must do this to prove the doubters wrong. A cautionary tale is that Germany spent 23.7bn on renewables subsidies in 2015 yet their emissions went up 1.1%. Maybe there was a flaw in their analysis.
Posted by Taswegian, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:43:54 PM
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