While the people of New Orleans were still being rescued ten days after cyclone Katrina, and thousands of bodies still remained to be identified, our own Mr Bracks made a very considered, significant and irresponsible decision. After a two year process negotiating with the private owners of Hazelwood, he has allowed the developed world’s dirtiest power station, Hazelwood, to continue operating for another 25 years!
The deadly cyclone Katrina was intensified by the warmer waters of the gulf … which was intensified by global warming … which was intensified by rising CO2 levels …
The deal is – you can have everything you want
The proviso which Steve Bracks is trying to paint as a green condition is that the antiquated station must cap its output of carbon gasses over the next 25 years to 445 million tonnes. That’s nine million tonnes more than it currently emits. He is granting it access to another 43 million tonnes of dirty coal (totalling 480 m t) on the condition that no more CO2 is produced. But as we all know, conditions and promises are easily broken, especially over 25 years – or six parliamentary terms! Limits now, can be irrelevant or “damaging to the economy” later. As Hazelwood provides almost 20% of the state’s power, it would be justified for the government to alter conditions if Hazelwood can’t cap its emissions. What government would penalise the whole state if one power company mucked up? That limit will also be measured over 25 years, not per year. So it can merrily exceed average limits promising to reduce them later. And we all know what a short memory the combined population has over 2 months, let alone 25 years.
Phase out or fry up
Greenpeace has been campaigning for a phase out of reliance on coal power with a target of 25% renewable power by 2020.
But the Institute of Public Affairs spokesperson, Allan Moran, claimed on ABC radio that coal was “pollutant free” and although it emits CO2, so do many other power plants (?!). His logic for using coal power is that closing Hazelwood would have no affect on global warming anyway. His final comments were that we need to use more power as more power equates to more economic growth – but that we could use energy sources that don’t emit so much CO2. Seems the IPA is finding it very difficult to argue the case on behalf of global polluters.
“it’s so much cheaper” Cheap and Dirty
Victoria has more than 500 years’ supply of brown coal but this coal has a very high water content and produces much more carbon dioxide than other fuel source. Each month Hazelwood emits 1.53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the key compound that causes the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately it is also the cheapest source of energy; the critical factor it seems.
Jill / ABC 6/9/05