A Price On Carbon

Neither the Labor Party nor the Opposition are in any hurry to put a price on the environmental impact of carbon dioxide. This is to the great detriment of Eden Monaro’s regional economy.

Billions of dollars are waiting to be invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency measure, but because there is no price on carbon, that investment is not taking place. Without market certainty, clean energy options are missing out, which means that regional areas like Eden Monaro are missing out on a huge economic opportunity.

Eden Monaro is well placed to be a leader in renewable energy. We have the solar, wind, hydro, bio and wave resources. We have the right sort of community attitudes, and we have all the expertise. What we miss is the investment opportunity, because the environmental impact of dirty fossil fuels is not taken into account. This gives coal fired electricity a competitive advantage that is not justified in the 21st century.

A price of carbon would generate market confidence, which would shift billions of investment dollars towards clean energy. This in turn would create thousands of jobs in regional areas like Eden Monaro.

Saying no to a price on carbon will be a lost opportunity for regional economies. Saying yes may generate the biggest economic stimulus our region has ever seen. Even if you ignore the science of climate change, the economic advantages of a price on carbon for our region are enormous. Whether it be a Carbon Tax, or an Emissions Trading Scheme, surely the investment opportunities for our region should lead to some sort of bipartisan support for a price on carbon.

Am I missing something? Perhaps it’s not as simple as that. Come and find out at a political forum on climate change at the Bermagui Country Club at 6:30pm on Monday 9 August 2010 and hear the Eden Monaro candidates speak on this issue.

Matthew Nott

An Enormous Task

If we do nothing about climate change, and global CO2 emissions continue to grow at the current trajectory, we will see a doubling of atmospheric CO2 by mid century. By 2075 atmospheric CO2 will be three times higher that it has been for the last 20 million years.

We don’t want to live in a world like that, but to avoid it, we need to reduce emissions by around 200 billion tonnes by mid century. To do that – and still leave room for growth – will require a huge global industrial energy project. It will not be easy.

To keep atmospheric CO2 at an acceptable level, we will need to achieve at least 8 of the following tasks;

· Double the fuel efficiency of 2 billion cars.

· Halve the distance that those 2 billion cars drive each year.

· Significantly improve efficiency at all coal fire power stations.

· Replace 1,400 large coal fired power stations with natural gas facilities.

· Increase wind power 40 fold to replace all coal fired power.

· Increase solar power seven-hundred-fold to replace all coal fired power.

· Increase wind power 80 fold to make hydrogen to power cars.

· Halt all cutting and burning of native forests.

· Cut electricity use in all homes by 25 percent.

· Adopt conservative tillage practices worldwide.

Those options don’t include carbon capture and sequestration. As time goes on, carbon capture looks more and more like an unachievable goal from a technical and cost point of view.

Some countries may include nuclear energy as an option, but the problems of storage, arms proliferation, cost, and the fact that we are replacing one finite energy source with another means that nuclear energy is unpalatable in Australia.

It is possible to accomplish this enormous task if we start today. But every year that we delay, the job becomes more difficult. Every year our politicians delay means we have to do that much more the next year- and if we delay a decade, a doubling of atmospheric CO2 becomes unavoidable.

Come and hear what our political candidates have to offer at a public forum on climate change at the Bermagui Country Club on 9/8/10 at 630 pm.

Matthew Nott

A Man Called ‘Aussie’

I have known Aussie for quite a few years, a man who is not quite the ideal patient. He has bad knees, but is too young for knee replacements. He puts up with his knee pain as best as he can, but he struggles.

Aussie has a few other health problems. He is a bit overweight. Actually, he is morbidly obese. He loves fast food, he smokes a packet of cigarettes each day, and drinks himself into a stupor each night.

Last year, Aussie had his first heart attack. It knocked him for six. It took a while, but he finally got over it. Since then, he gets a bit of chest pain when he walks upstairs, and he has had a few attacks which seem more than a little worrying.

Aussie is scared. He knows his shortness of breath will get better when he stops smoking, and he knows that his risk of a heart attack will be reduced if he changes his lifestyle, but he just loves an occasional cigarette.

Aussie knows he needs to change his lifestyle if he is going to see 50. He has seen dieticians in the poast, and knows that when he is ready he can easily shed 30 kgs. Giving up the cigarettes will be a piece of cake. He has done it a couple of times before, so sometime soon he will smoke his last fag. He is looking forward to getting rid of his nagging smokers cough. Giving up the beer will be more difficult, but Aussie now knows that he has to do it.

I prescribe him some nicorettes, organise yet another appointment with a dietician and put him in touch with Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope like hell that next time I see him we won’t be having exactly the same conversation.

It’s not too late for Aussie to give up smoking, but it will be soon.

NSW is planning to build several conventional coal fired power stations over the next few years. None of them will use so called clean coal technology because that technology doesn’t exist.

NSW has a smoking problem.

Matthew Nott

Political Climate Forum for Eden Monaro

Clean Energy For Eternity is hosting a forum on climate change in Bermagui, at the Bermagui Country Club, on 9/8/10. The meeting will start at 6.30pm and will be an opportunity for our region to listen to what the Eden Monaro candidates think about climate change. All the candidates for Eden Monaro have been invited, and I am hoping we can get them all to the forum. The candidates for Eden Monaro will be asked how they can help our region meet a 50/50 by 2020 target.

Each candidate will be given an opportunity to put their views forward, and there will be plenty of time for questions from the audience.

The Rudd government’s popularity plummeted after the Emissions Trading Scheme was dumped. Can Julia Gillard get the Labor government back on track to put a price on carbon? This country needs a mechanism to reduce emissions.

What will the coalition offer Eden Monaro if they are elected into power? Renewable energy is going to be the fastest growing industry this planet has ever seen. Would an Abbott government help Eden Monaro tap into that industry? Remember that renewable energy will create jobs in regional areas, and with the right government support SE NSW is well placed to adopt a leadership role.

What will the Greens have to say? Are they prepared to talk to the major parties and help strike a deal? Climate change is such an important issue that it demands bipartisan support. Can the Greens help Australia arrive at a solution?

New Zealand has established an Emissions Trading Scheme. New Zealand’s rising CO2 emissions are only a small part of the global problem, but they are not using that fact as an excuse for inaction. New Zealand’s very successful “100% pure “ tourism campaign will be helped, as a consequence. New Zealand is not shirking from its international obligation to help come up with a global solution to climate change, and they will reap the rewards of leadership.

Increasingly, Australia’s reluctance to act is being used by other nations as an excuse. That is not something that makes me proud. There is time to turn it around.

Matthew Nott