Fossil fuels

Australia’s coal and gas exports are being left stranded

By Stephen Bygrave, The Conversation, November 21 2014

Australia’s official forecasts for expanding fossil fuel exports don’t match up with what’s needed to avoid severe climate change. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr, CC BY

In the last week the US and China announced goals to reduce emissions by 26-28% and cap emissions by 2030 respectively. India also signalled its aim to end coal imports within 2-3 years.

These are telling signs of a move away from fossil fuels by some of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, including countries that are key importers of Australia’s coal and gas.

Dr Sara Bice

Dr Sara Bice, Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne, talks about her new book "Responsible Mining".

"Responsible Mining " - Is it an oxymoron or is it possible?

Clay Collier

Clay Collier is serial entrepenur and Co-Founder of Kisensum, a Californian start-up software company dedicated to enabling the integration of energy storage to the grid. Their project at Los Angeles Air Force Base uses software that enables them to integrate energy storage, both mobile (EV's) and stationary to support the grid. Managing the largest vehicle to grid fleet in the world has given Kisensum a unique insight into controlling mobile storage and working with many vendors to complete a complex storage integration project.

Prof Kate Auty: Environment IS us

Professor Kate Auty, new Commissioner for Sustainability and Environment brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on Arts/Law, Environmental Science and Aboriginal Affairs. She enumerates similarities between these main areas. "Environment IS us" and climate change is pivotal to everything including water, transport, energy, bio-diversity etc. But leadership (seriously lacking) is important, not that of Napthine for example, who used the term "climate variability" which insinuates that climate change is a natural phenomenon that will right itself.  There is need for leadership such as demonstrated by Cathy McGowan in Indi who has shown a welcome propensity to listening and communicating, and one is reminded of the present Labor initiative such as the old-fashioned town hall meetings etc.

Kate tells us, our present ecological footprint is "outrageous" and 3 times the world average. We need more worlds! (Having a timley interview with the BZE radio team) the 22nd of April is also date for ratifying Paris agreements and Greg Hunt is participating (this accompanied by cynical laughter in the background by BZE interviewers present). 

Despite all this Kate says people should not despair, that BZE is a "standout organisation" and she enumerated some positive grassroots initiatives. We must look to the future with a new approach. One is reminded of Tim Flannery's comment that stress needs to be put now on adaptation rather than on mitigation.  

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

Dr Sara Bice talks social licence

Need for understandable data on increasing prevalence of unconventional gas and its impact on sedimentary basins

The BZE team talks to Dr Sara Bice with a history of journalism, sociology and now research fellow at Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne. 

Dr Sara Bice spoke of the need to create a regulatory basis and need for management of underground resources considering sedimentary basins comprise to a great extent  Australia's primary energy and water for agriculture and general rural population needs - in particular relating to CSG. This will have major effects on environmental economy and communities.  There is of course a need for a baseline for the effects of CSG and fracking in particular and with a moratorium such as that in Victoria.  The growth in CSG wells in Queensland alone has amounted to possibly 40,000 from 3000 in 2003! There is in particular a need for a better connection between University research, industry and policy makers and for the use of social media to provide a strong platform and despite for example, AGL giving the reasons for withdrawal as being financial with no mention relating to the power of protests. Reference to  AGL and "the license to operate" was also made by Green's Jeremy Buckingham. Is "social license" controlled by companies?

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

Coal seam gas debate is more than hot air: Did community opposition have a role in AGL’s decision to quit exploration of natural gas?

The Sustainable Sensibility - Blog by Sara Bice

Sara Bice on The Conversation

Do mining companies have a "social licence" to operate?

Dr Sara Bice Awarded Research Fellowship

Dr Ian Wright

Beyond Zero speaks to Dr Ian Wright, Lecturer in Environmental Science at Western Sydney University, about recent cuts to science staff and the effect of upstream coalmines on Sydney’s water network.

Forther reading:

The Conversation: Cuts to WaterNSW’s science staff will put Sydney’s water quality at risk

http://theconversation.com/cuts-to-waternsws-science-staff-will-put-sydn...

Carbon reduction in Asia will punch $100bn hole in Federal revenue by 2030: report.

RN Breakfast, April 21 2015

Listen to the podcast here.

As the Federal Treasurer tries to plug a widening budget hole - a new report warns that the revenue shortfall is about to get a whole lot worse.

According to the climate change think tank Beyond Zero Emissions, export revenue from Australia's main commodities will fall short by an estimated $100 billion a year by 2030, as major trading partners shift away from fossil fuels and move towards clean energy.

Clouds gather over coal market as Treasury predicts price ‘flatline’

By Sophie Vorrath. RenewEconomy, December 16 2014

In yet another sign that the global coal market is in terminal decline, the federal government’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) has predicted that thermal coal prices will flat-line through to mid-2016 at $US63 per tonne – well below current market expectations.

The gloomy Treasury forecast for coal reinforces multiple analyst warnings that Australia risks being saddled with billions of dollars in stranded fossil fuel assets, as prices fall, climate restraints kick in and fossil fuel projects become uneconomic and/or unsustainable.

Last week, UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey warned that fossil fuel companies could become “the sub-prime assets of the future… Investing in new coal mines is going to get very risky”.

According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the MYEFO coal forecast is further evidence that Australian governments – both state and federal – should exercise extreme caution on any plans to commit taxpayer funds to building infrastructure to open up the Galilee Coal Basin in Queensland.

Is Canberra prepared for a China carbon slowdown?

By Tristan Edis. Business Spectator, November 27 2014

The government is finding itself in the rather uncomfortable position of feeling a bit like former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan. It appears that, in spite of apparently choosing highly conservative assumptions about likely budget revenue, the government faces the prospect of having to make significant downgrades in expected revenue inflows due to a large slide in the price of iron ore and coal.

As the Parliamentary Budget Office illustrated in a report released recently, the outlook for the government budget is built on a series of assumptions of what is believed to be likely to occur into the future. But these can turn out to be wrong for a variety of reasons (as we are now seeing) which can have a material impact on the government budget. For that reason we need to actually prepare for a variety of potential plausible scenarios, not just one single outcome.

Beyond Zero warns Lib-Nat govt on coal forecast

By David Twomey. EcoNews, November 26 2014

A leading climate change think tank has challenged forecasts from Australia’s conservative Liberal-National government on future coal and gas exports, arguing they pose a risk to the national economy.

The Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) report has taken aim at predictions by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) of exports continuing to increase until at least 2050. 

Australia-lng-tanker

BZE said that was despite recent announcements on carbon emission reductions by the United States and China, and the UN Environment Program’s (UNEP) call to end carbon pollution by 2070.

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