How many different ways can Tony Abbott wreck the climate?

Chalk up another one, via Phil Coorey:

 The Turnbull government will almost certainly settle on a clean energy target, but one that will classify so-called clean coal as a low-emissions energy source in a bid to win the support of a bitterly divided party room.

Senior Coalition sources said this was now the only realistic option if the government was going to persist with the scheme in an attempt to restore stability and certainty to the energy market, meet the Paris climate change commitments, and not tear the Coalition apart.

But it will struggle to pass Parliament with Labor, which is prepared to compromise and negotiate a CET, drawing the line at letting coal be classified as a low-emissions source.

Although Labor, like the the rest of the energy sector, believes no one will again build a coal-fired power station, even supporting coal in theory as a low-emissions source will expose the party to an attack from the left by the Greens.

“The definition of clean energy to include new coal-fired power stations just to placate Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce, that would make a complete mockery of the serious process the Chief Scientist and his panel followed over months,” said shadow climate change minister Mark Butler.

This fight is over the baseline chosen for what is included as a low emission source. “Clean coal” would need a benchmark of at least 0.75 tonnes to qualify for the new scheme. 0.7 would enable coal with carbon capture. Of course it should even lower, Finkel himself said:

Finkel was asked about a campaign by the resources sector to set the baseline for the CET sufficiently high to allow high-efficiency coal to be eligible for certificates.

He said his report modelled a scheme where the CET threshold was set at 0.6 tonnes of CO2 per megawatt hour. “I don’t have a strong view about where it should be set: 0.5, 0.6, 0.7 would be the sorts of numbers that are reasonable”.

Finkel seemed perplexed by a push to have the threshold set at 0.7 to favour coal. “It’s not going to be transformational, unless the threshold was set remarkably higher.

“Your guess is as good as mine as to whether governments would ever set the threshold remarkably higher.”

Sadly, as expected, this looks like another dead report offering no greater certainty on anything. We can change the names, the numbers and the modelling but in the end nothing will be done until Tony Abbott is bulldozed out of the way.

Unfortunately, by year end, he (or his crony) is more likely to be in charge.


  1. It won’t pass the senate if it includes clean coal. The Greens won’t back it at all as it doesn’t go far enough. One Nation does believe in climate change so won’t back it either. Which leaves the only path the ALP who won’t back it if it has clean coal.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      But the good news is that ;
      “… by years end he (Abbott, or his crony) is more likely to be incharge.”
      This is seriously good news.
      It has to happen to rid ourselves of this toxic political carbunkle.
      For Abbott (or Crony ) to wrest the leadership without going to the people will instill rage in the community, the spark that will ignite the slow burn of years of frustration with the political system.
      Throw in the shuttering of the car industry with the resulting spike in unemploment, collapse of Antarctic ice sheets, a world recession, and the LNP will be toast. This may cause Labor to consider it’s own fate if it continues with this Noe-liberal game of mates.
      Ah, t’is but a dream, but a happy one.

  2. There is no proven or even theoretically possible carbon capture and storage.

    There is carbon capture a tiny little bit, requiring huge amounts of energy, destroying the cost benefit of coal, and pump it underground where it leaks out within months.

    The idea that you can capture carbon – and pump it underground and it is dealt with is about as feasible as dumping radio active nuclear waste in the city drinking water and claiming job done.

    No where on earth – has any of this been achieved and never will. Ever. Further the ONLY example of it being done was to circumvent environment legislation where it failed in every way.

    Why is the media not discussing these basic, scientific facts regarding this horse shit ?

  3. This is infuriating.

    Globally, coal is dead, and what we’re looking at here is the capture of our political class by those with coal interests who are trying to wring as much money as possible from a resource that won’t be used in the future. We could have low cost energy security if we didn’t live in a country where we got charged more for resources dug up here than folks overseas, or had fuckwits holding lumps of coal in parliament whilst yammering on about their fake concern about the energy needs of poor, dark-skinned people on the subcontinent or had people having a massive cry about seeing large propellers in the country.

    Most mines won’t be remediated. There’s a reason companies with the ability to earn money from other sources sell coal mines for $1. A coal mine costs less than a loaf of bread for very good reason.

  4. oliver47MEMBER

    So, the Minerals Council threatens to bring down another Australian PM…..and, because the LNP is in govt., it simply has to lobby their loony-wing members.

  5. Industries employ consultants around the world to lobby politicians. In Au, the coal industry does not have to employ lobbyists. The LNP politicians are the lobbyists.

  6. This is all very confuzzling. I am 99% sure that when the loons are talking about “clean coal” they actually mean ultra super critical, which is actually just higher efficiency without capture and storage. Everyone else seems to assume they mean carbon capture and storage. This obfucation seems like a deliberate ploy.

  7. Tassie TomMEMBER

    The coalition might actually be doing the environment a favour – by being so hopeless that nobody will vote them back in next election.

    Mind you – I doubt that Labor will be any better. It depends on what the focus groups, internal polls, and dramatic talkback radio callers are saying at the time as to what Labor will do.

    Edit: And on who donates to them and how much.

  8. FFS carbon capture doesn’t even exist beyond $100M small scale pilot plants… WTF is this even being debated?

  9. The LNP’s climate loon pond is chock full of absolute fucking deadshits. Gas the fuckers I say