Climate policy or biffo?

Our media, it seems to me, are more interested in biffo than policy. For example, can anyone in the media tell me why they constantly interview Joel Fitzgibbon as though he had any influence on Labor’s climate policy?

James Massola in the SMH in February gave us an explainer What are Labor’s factions and who’s who in the Left and Right? To cut to the chase, Joel Fitzgibbon is nominally in the Right, but he says:

    The Left’s national conveners are Victorian MP Julian Hill, NSW Senator Tim Ayres and MP Sharon Claydon, while MP Matt Thistlethwaite is the national convener of the Right along with South Australian Senator Don Farrell.

What, no Joel Fitzgibbon?

No Joel Fitzgibbon. Massola says this:

    While Thistlethwaite is the national convener of the Right – and his state faction – frontbench MPs Chris Bowen and Tony Burke are the most influential in that state. Joel Fitzgibbon, long the convener of the NSW and National Right, is now seen as on the outer for the “whatever it takes” faction.

Massola makes a distinction between convenors and people of influence. For example:

    In Queensland, Anthony Chisholm is the convener of the Right but Jim Chalmers [also on the Right] as shadow treasurer is the most senior member of the group.

Labor’s shadow cabinet is a finely calibrated mix of Left and Right. The current state of play is:

    At the moment, of the 94 Labor MPs in the House of Representatives and the Senate, 49 belong to the Right, 43 are in the Left and two are not factionally aligned.

    The Left is currently allocated 14 of the 30 seats in the shadow ministry on a proportional basis and the Right receives 16…

In my experience all members of cabinet sing from the same song sheet on climate change. The one that has caused a stir in recent times is Madeleine King who has been talking about mining coal to 2050 and beyond. Let me first remind readers, so did the International Energy Association (IEA) in its recent Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector. These graphs tell the story:

I have not studied the report in detail, but the above implies that the continued use of fossil fuels would be accompanied by carbon capture, or offset by such means as carbon farming and drawing down emissions.

An article in The Monthly of 16 April 2021 Labor backs coal beyond 2050 (probably pay-walled) tells us:

    Labor’s opposition resources spokesperson Madeleine King has come out in support of thermal coal exports beyond 2050, in a position at odds with achieving the ambitions of the Paris climate accord. In an interview with The Australian (pay-walled), the West Australian MP simultaneously backed Anthony Albanese’s commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050 and continued export of both thermal and metallurgical coal for decades to come. “I think we go beyond the middle of the century, I really do,” she said.

She was asked a direct question about whether she supported the coal sector.

She also said she believes coal will experience “a slow gradual decline in demand”.

Labor’s position before and after the 2019 election was that Australia was not responsible for emissions created by burning exported gas or coal. In effect, if other countries burn coal we will supply it. Labor’s position is consistent with the IEA.

King has been Shadow Minister for Trade and for Resources since Fitzgibbon resigned. On 27 May King had an opinion piece published in the AFR Labor must be honest on climate and jobs.

From The Australian

Then for the summary line underneath the headline, which comes from the editors rather than the author, we have:

    Joel Fitzgibbon says that Labor cannot forget the miners. But it also can’t forget that world markets move on.

Why does a Labor shadow minister have to have her statement cast as a disagreement with a backbencher?

King starts off by reminding us that before World War II wool accounted for a third of our exports. Now it’s down to one per cent.

In the future the same could happen to our current big three merchandise exports: iron ore, liquefied natural gas and coal. Indeed she points out that “rest of the world is moving inexorably to net zero emissions by 2050” so it “is undeniable that the economic realities of climate change will drive the next big shake-up in Australia’s merchandise exports.”

    The movement is backed by international investors. If Australia continues to ignore the reality of climate change, we risk being boycotted by global capital.

    Our exporters face the additional burden of carbon taxes on imports that are seriously being considered by the European Union, Britain and the US, with others likely to follow.

    These taxes will be designed to hit nations, including Australia, that have made insufficient efforts to combat climate change.

Other countries have their own paths to decarbonisation. Some will make use of our coal longer than others. The decision is theirs, not ours.


    as the world decarbonises, new export opportunities will arise and new jobs will be created.

    Australia has huge reserves of the minerals – lithium, copper, nickel, manganese, cobalt and rare earth elements – needed to make lithium-ion batteries, wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles.

And we have an opportunity to process minerals here.

Finally she says that she has listened to the concerns of thousands of miners in the Pilbara and next month (ie. late June) Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will lead the Labor shadow ministry to Port Hedland in the Pilbara, the home of the world’s largest bulk export port:

    Next month’s trip will be an opportunity for many of my east coast colleagues to see for themselves and listen to the concerns of the miners who contribute so much to our national wealth.

    The message to the people of the Pilbara, the Hunter, the Goldfields, Queensland and all other mining communities is clear: Labor unequivocally supports the resources sector – all of the resources sector – and the jobs it creates. Now and in the decades ahead.

I hope that the AFR’s political editor Phillip Coorey reads and takes note of King’s article. Two days earlier he had just written Labor is split on tax cuts and energy. Labor’s position is yet to be resolved on whether tax cuts for the well-off, legislated but not due to take effect until 2024-5, should be repealed or modified. However, Labor has never been divided on energy. It had a rogue shadow cabinet minister, now a noisy backbencher.

Two days before the King piece, the AFR had published an opinion piece from Fitzgibbon Why Labor must not abandon the miners. Does Fitzgibbon say more than King said in her article?

Yes, he does. There is no mention of coal production diminishing over time. He says coal production, metallurgical and thermal, achieved records last year, and miners:

    know they’ll be exporting coal for decades to come. Unless, of course, politicians put the kibosh on them.

No acknowledgement, as we got from King, that financiers and customers are demanding change.

Fitzgibbon speaks of “alarmism” and the “so-called climate emergency”. He says miners:

    are looking for a person or a political party willing to say: “Your industry is critical to our economic fortunes, it has our unqualified support, and we will fight to keep it alive and well.”

He says it would be a terrible mistake to ignore Tony Blair’s thoughtful contribution last week where he:

    warned that centre-left parties around the world must break free of the influence of “radical progressives” and to bravely speak of a new and moderate progressive agenda.

At the end of the article the AFR wrongly designates Fitzgibbon as “opposition spokesman for agriculture and resources and the federal Member for Hunter.”

The best commentary I have read on the Hunter byelection is from national LEAN (Labor Environment Action Network) co-convenor Felicity Wade in NSW Labor followed the Joel Fitzgibbon playbook in the Hunter and look what happened:

    After months of calling for Labor to reject credible climate change policy, Labor head office handed Joel Fitzgibbon everything he wanted at last Saturday’s Upper Hunter byelection. There was a former miner candidate, an embrace of all things coal, a patchy honesty about the economic changes coming the Hunter’s way and some old-fashioned dog whistling about climate change-obsessed inner-city elites.

    When the Labor vote crashed, Fitzgibbon was straight back on the horse, threatening to leave the party that has sustained him for a quarter of a century and arguing the only problem was that the campaign lacked conviction.

    For cooler heads, it was empirical proof that NSW Labor’s decision to abandon its leadership on climate change is a dead end in regional seats, and likely electoral poison in the cities and suburbs.

She said that unfortunately the campaign too much was reduced to binaries such as “city versus country” and “pro coal or no coal” which are false and offer nothing. She says:

    On one of the big questions for the region, how the power of government would be used to intervene to protect communities from inevitable economic change, Labor had very little to say, the cupboard was bare. Leadership, an orderly plan, funding, training and some well-crafted industry policies are needed to ensure the Hunter prospers deep into the 21st century.

Even worse:

    This is core business and there was no excuse for Labor being bereft of this for the byelection. Throughout the campaign, John Barilaro did better than Labor at articulating support for coal workers alongside acknowledgment that change was coming and the region needed to prepare.

She says:

    The ANU’s Australian Electoral Study showed that climate change was one of Labor’s greatest vote attractors at the 2019 federal election. This was confirmed by the Emerson-Weatherill review of the party’s federal election performance.

I would add, we didn’t sell the message well enough, sat on the fence on Adani, and the message was hijacked by Bob Brown’s intervention.

Wade says:

    Anthony Albanese and his front bench are building a credible platform – committing to deliver credible emission reduction targets, backing coal workers, and designing jobs of the future in regions that need it. And supporting locally led initiatives like the Hunter Jobs Alliance.

    The Hunter Jobs Alliance was founded after the 2019 federal election by the Labor Environment Action Network and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. It is a coalition of nine unions and four local community environment groups in the Hunter that aims to turn down the heat in the divisive culture wars, instead finding spaces for workers, community, business and government to come together to deal with the shared challenge of creating jobs now and in the future.

What we need is genuine community engagement.


    Labor once was, and can be again, a party deeply connected to its communities and trusted by them to manage change. Hunter Jobs Alliance aspires to rebuild that kind of community cohesion and connection, bringing interests together and being a vociferous voice for the community interest in a system that often focuses elsewhere.

    NSW Labor has provided the perfect test of the electoral saliency of a simple pro coal agenda, that pretends climate change is not a pressing priority and ignores the rapid shifts in the global energy market. It fails. Labor must lead on climate change and work harder to deliver a sophisticated transition policy and foster trust within impacted communities.

Labor’s policy has been clearly laid out in the draft national platform, which was confirmed by the ALP National Conference on March 31. See Chapter 3, para 20ff for a just transition. Labor (para 23) proposes to:

    establish a statutory authority charged with mitigating the adverse impacts of coal power station closures on regional workforces and communities as a priority.

It’s about the only mention coal gets. Gas is mentioned from para 31:

    Labor recognises and supports the critical role that gas plays in the Australian economy. Labor recognises that gas has an important role to play in achieving Labor’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

    This includes support for new gas projects and associated infrastructure, subject to independent approval processes to ensure legitimate community concerns are heard and addressed.

Thing is, almost no-one reads Labor’s policies. Guy Rundle at Crikey wrote an article about Why the media barely noticed the ALP conference, but I could find no report at Crikey. The ALP site says:

    Following voting, Chapter 3 was adopted and agreed.

The Australian reported two resolutions coming from unions. First, from AWU national vice-president Paul Farrow:

Second, from CFMEU Mining and Energy general secretary Grahame Kelly:

    “Labor supports Australian industry, including agriculture, manufacturing, minerals including coal, oil and gas,” the amendment said.

Then there was a third:

    A resolution pushed by Labor MPs Ged Kearney and Josh Burns committed a Labor government to “recognising a climate emergency”.

A resolution supporting nukes was dumped.

The Oz reports LEAN’s Felicity Wade:

    the conference “confirms Labor’s commitment to showing up to keep Australians safe from a disrupted future where terrifying fire and flood are just the beginning”.

And Anthony Albanese:

    delivered a speech to close the ALP’s national conference, declaring “we’ve generated the light we need for the road ahead”.

    In closing the two-day event, the Opposition Leader said Labor was “on the side of Australians”.

    “If you want an Australia where no one is held back and no one is left behind, Labor is on your side,” Mr Albanese said.

Today’s feed from RenewEconomy reports “Running dead on renewables:” Albanese slams Morrison in clean energy pitch to Minerals Council.

If anyone cares, or does the media just use biffo to attract the eyeballs of a disengaged public?

Irrespective of when the election is held, the campaign has begun.

While there is nothing inconsistent in Labor’s stance over recent years, its stance is firmly committed to following the science, and to accepting the international Paris commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. It’s the only game in town. Much will depend on the release of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) Working Group I The Physical Science Basis which appears to be due on or around 9 August this year.

Readers of this blog will know I believe the IPCC scenario has the wrong aim (we should be aiming to draw down emissions to 350ppm or lower within 10 years), carries unacceptable existential risk, and does not offer hope of a livable planet for generations to come. Dangerous climate change is here; we are collectively planning to make it worse.

I have written about this many times, most recently in The fierce urgency of now: ie 2009…2021…?

20 thoughts on “Climate policy or biffo?”

  1. Much labour went into this post – collecting links and selecting quotes. A number of articles are pay-walled.

    Last night I had to update my credit card for my sub to The Monthly. In the process I accidentally subscribed to the OZ, available for $4 pw for a month, then it goes up to $40. I decided I’ll be a subscriber to Rupert’s rag for a month. It actually has some good articles along with propaganda.

    Meanwhile, ‘she who must be obeyed’ has suggested that I only use my credit card on the net under supervision. If I can accidentally sign up to the Oz then anything is possible!

  2. Today in the AFR three items.

    1. Thermal coal prices soar on China demand, weak supply

    Overall demand exceeds supply. Some Chinese buyers are paying 50% more for Russian coal than coal of equivalent quality available from Australia.

    2. Dirty thermal coal is doing an iron ore

      Thermal coal is at 10-year highs, having climbed 150 per cent in nine months.


      …prices for the dirtiest, lowest-quality coal have also gapped higher in recent weeks, as both Chinese and Korean generators try to get their hands on whatever they can. China’s ban on Australian coal might be exacerbating the situation. Certainly, it appears to be struggling to get its hands on imports with a key supply source not available to its generators.

    3. Tesla eyes $1b-plus of Australian minerals

    Australian Tesla boss Robyn Denholm told the Minerals Council of Australia that Tesla would soak up pretty much all the lithium, nickel and other critical and rare earth minerals it needed for its batteries and electric motors from the Australian market. They are looking for a 100-fold increase in electric vehicle output by 2030.

    Also she said:

      “Mining process currently accounts for roughly half of the carbon footprint of a battery cell. And the best way to reduce the carbon footprint of minerals is to stop shipping them across 9000 kilometres of ocean before refining them.

      “Take lithium for example. There would be 10 times less carbon pollution if Australia’s world-class spodumene is converted to lithium chemicals locally in Western Australia.”

    From RenewEconomy Queensland leads the world in Australia’s coal mining blitz

      A new report published by Global Energy Monitor has found that the world’s coal producers are significantly expanding their supply of coal, despite growing calls to restrict mining projects to help drive decarbonisation.

      The analysis found that 2.2 billion tonnes per annum of new mine projects around the world, a growth of 30% from current coal production, is being pursued globally. A handful of states and provinces in Australia, China, Russia and India are responsible for 77% (1.7 billion tonnes per annum) of the new mine activity.

      If these coal mines are seen through to completion, the product supplied will increase emissions around four times beyond a 1.5°C compliant pathway.

    At a provincial level Qld was champion by a fair margin.

    The increased demand for our fossil fuel may not last, because 84% of our customers have expressed net zero by 2050 targets.

    I just heard on ABC RN PM (you might find it here) that financiers are fleeing metallurgical coal simply because it is coal and the reputational damage that goes with it, making it difficult to supply the coal the world will need to make electric cars, wind towers and everything.

    The first thing one needs to understand about the share market is the power of fear and greed. I’m not sure homo sapiens is up to the challenge we face.

  3. Brian: “I just heard on ABC RN PM (you might find it here) that financiers are fleeing metallurgical coal simply because it is coal and the reputational damage that goes with it, making it difficult to supply the coal the world will need to make electric cars, wind towers and everything.” Keep i n mind that steel requires some carbon in the steel to give it strength. Also keep in mind that CO2 is produced from the fossil carbon in the limestone and dolomite used as fluxes t o remove contaminants from steel.
    This is the sort of thing that happens when there are so many lies being shuffled around on the topic. Having said that steel can be made using green hydrogen to remove the oxygen from iron ore.

  4. Today I had a look at an investment report on Origin Energy.

    Earning per share are forecast to more than halve over the next three years.

    Now we have Shell believes it will never pay resource tax on gas from its $55bn Gorgon project, hearing told:

      Fossil fuel multinational Shell’s recent financial accounts show the company believes no resource tax will ever be paid on gas produced from Australia’s biggest offshore project, Gorgon, a senior tax office official has told parliament.

      The ATO second commissioner, Jeremy Hirschhorn, told an estimates hearing on Wednesday much of the $280bn in credits against payment of petroleum resources rent tax (PRRT) accumulated by the oil and gas industry was “trapped” in projects that would never be profitable enough to pay the tax.

      PRRT is payable based on the profitability of individual projects. The costs run up building the projects are allowed to be carried forward, with interest, until it is operational.

      The tax has been controversial because it has failed to produce much revenue despite a boom in gas exploration and production.

    They are effectively conceding that their investment will become a stranded asset. Technically they are saying that it isn’t an “asset” on their books, and will never be.

    The Gorgon Project is a joint venture of the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (47.3 percent), ExxonMobil (25 percent), Shell (25 percent) plus some tiddlers.

    There is one opinion that the the development of the Greater Sunrise hydrocarbon field remains just a “pipe dream”.

    It may also end up with Timor Leste owing the Chinese a bucket load for a white elephant.

    Initial approval for Gorgon was given by WA in 2003. I think in 2021 governments need to have regard for the ethics of giving approval to fossil fuel exploration and development projects, and not leave it up to the financiers and the courts.

  5. Brian, I think that this is a thankless task, but it is vital that we keep doing it.

    At the same time we need to be deeply analysing where and why the message is failing.

    For my first suggestion to this end I think that we are not being visually graphic enough. We need more symbols. Would you convey traffic control guides with plaques explaining the need to slow in a paragraph or less but including the relevant legislation or would you fashion a graphic image indicating a car skidding off the road.

    Its perhaps a little early for this but what worked for tobacco might start to help with carbon consumption. The approach might be to cover petrol bowsers with images of ones house burning down or being scooped up by a tornado.

    Maybe the whole petrol filling place needs to be bounded by signs that say ….

    “this is where hope for a future comes to die”

    Graphic! …. remove the comfort zone of “everyone does it so its OK.”

  6. This might be an idea, Brian, to take to your next Labor Party meeting on behalf of us here at CP.

    Jumpy too, being a keen participant in the Climate Conference here, would test the idea at the next, and I recognise the difficulty of having meetings of freedom “I’m doing my own thing” loving individuals without there being beer involved, collection of Libertarians and gage the enthusiasm.

  7. Thankyou, bilb. I’ll meditate on that.

    Meanwhile Western Australia gas project ‘would create more emissions than Adani and damage Indigenous rock art’.

      Woodside’s proposed Scarborough development is equivalent of 15 coal-fired power plants, environment experts say
      Part of the LNG projects in the north of Western Australia. Woodside’s Scarborough to Pluto LNG development is on the cusp of being approved without a full environmental impact assessment from state or federal authorities, according to a new report.

      A proposed gas export development in northern Western Australia could result in more than 1.6bn tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions across its lifetime and damage Indigenous rock art, environment and climate campaigners say.

      A report by two groups – the Conservation Council of Western Australia and the Australia Institute – said the Scarborough to Pluto liquified natural gas (LNG) development appeared on the cusp of being approved without a full environmental impact assessment from state or federal authorities.

      Released on Thursday, the report suggested the development could lead to lifetime emissions equivalent to that released by 15 coal-fired power plants. The project includes the development of a new gas field more than 400km off the coast, piping infrastructure and an expanded processing facility in the Pilbara.

      In annual terms, it found the project would release about 4.4m tonnes within Australia – adding the equivalent of nearly 1% to national emissions. The vast bulk of the emissions would occur in the countries that bought and burned the gas.


      Woodside was awaiting final approval from the WA environment and climate action minister, Amber-Jade Sanderson. If approved, a final investment decision on the $11bn development is expected later this year.

    Seems approvals had come in a piecemeal manner for parts of the project:

      the piecemeal nature of the assessment meant there had been no consideration of whether the project was consistent with the latest climate science and the Paris agreement, or to properly consider the potential damage to Murujuga rock art on the Burrup Peninsula.

    The WA Conservation Council president is former Labor premier Carmen Lawrence. They have launched a supreme court challenge. Meanwhile we also have this:

      Woodside announced on Wednesday that the former WA Labor treasurer, Ben Wyatt, who retired from politics at the March state election, had been appointed a non-executive director of the company.

    In effect he has become a highly paid lobbyist.

  8. Solar-hydro energy plant to be built on Liddell coal-fired power station site. The plant will use an innovative technology that uses ammonia as the working fluid.
    “AGL, which operates the soon-to-close Liddell site, has engaged Australian energy firm RayGen to develop the new plant, which will harness mirror-style, solar-charging technologies to store energy in water reservoirs.”
    “So our new approach to solar is we have a field of mirrors that focusses sunlight onto a tower,” RayGen’s head of business development, Will Mosley, said.

    The towers, which are about the height of football-stadium lights, are covered in solar panels that are about 2,000 times more powerful than regular household panels.

    “[The storage] relies on the heat that we capture from the rear of the panels as a by-product … and we actually store that energy as a temperature difference between two water reservoirs,” Mr Mosley said.

    The water in one reservoir is heated up to about 90 degrees, while the other sits at close to zero degrees, creating what is known as a “thermal gradient”.
    The water is then used to produce energy through a turbine.
    “The difference is instead of boiling water, we boil a very small amount of ammonia, which spins the turbine, but we keep the ammonia and recapture it and condense it back to a liquid using the cold water storage,” Mr Mosley said.

  9. John, as it happens just now I was throwing out an old Australian of 17 May, and an article Green strategy for coal country (no doubt pay-walled). They talked about three stages:

      The first three-year phase of the scheme running out to 2024 would produce green hydrogen — where energy used to split hydrogen from water is from renewable energy sources — in the heart of coal country at Muswellbrook. Japan’s Idemitsu aims to repurpose an old coalmine once owned by Kerry Packer into a major energy hub as it looks to develop green ammonia.

      Hydrogen would be transported by pipeline from Muswellbrook to the site of AGL Energy’s Liddell coal power plant, due to close in 2023, while one of Australia’s biggest renewable and storage projects at Walcha in New England could also provide supplies via a WalchaLink pipeline.

      A second stage running from 2022 through 2026 would develop a pipeline from Liddell to Newcastle and incorporate a hydrogen gas power station with both the federal government’s Snowy Hydro project at Kurri Kurri or AGL’s Newcastle plant among options included as part of a clean energy precinct.

      Australia’s largest aluminium smelter, Tomago, could be powered by renewables and firmed up with supplies from the power station as its owners seek a cheaper, low emissions contract to ensure the long-term future of the plant.

      A third stage could see the expansion of a hydrogen pipeline to central west and New England renewable energy zones where the NSW government wants to generate $4.5bn of investment as part of a policy to incentivise the replacement of all coal-fired power with renewable energy by 2042.

    See also RenewEconomy
    Hydrogen Valley: Plan unveiled to turn Hunter into a renewables hydrogen hub

    and The Guardian Australia’s first fully renewable ‘hydrogen valley’ slated for NSW coal heartland

    I don’t know how all that fits together, but something is bound to happen. AGL was common to both stories.

  10. On Queensland, there was a state conference of the ALP last weekend. I did not consider going if for no other reason I avoid crowds where viruses are likely to lurk.

    Given that union reps attend these things, I would have expected there to be divergent views on coal mining. The ALP state draft platform had 132 paras on the environment, and was full of transition, new horizons etc, plus preserving everything that needs preserving.

    The Oz and the AFR indicate there was some headbutting. In this article, mostly about industrial relations, Phillip Coorey says:

      The Morrison government is also starting to wedge Labor on gas. Although the party officially supports gas as a transition fuel to renewables, there are significant divisions inside the federal caucus and, on Sunday, the Queensland ALP branch voted against new gas reserves when the Left faction outvoted the Right.

    If so I would think the coal enthusiasts lost ground by raising the issue.

  11. Brian: The coal unions think that they are the champion for workers jobs. The irony is that it is the export mining boom that killed Australia’s manufacturing industry and in the process killed a lot more jobs than mining produced. (The theory behind this is called the Gregory effect.) If you think of the Hunter valley the steel works and related industries are all gone and all that is left are a few coal mining jobs that are starting to look very fragile.
    See, for example:
    Ironically it is Greens policies that give the working class their best chance of having a future.

  12. John, Bob Gregory was a smart economist.

    One of the issues is that with a floating dollar the A$ becomes a mining play, so we get less for our agricultural and other goods exports.

  13. Brian: “One of the issues is that with a floating dollar the A$ becomes a mining play, so we get less for our agricultural and other goods exports.”
    The other problem with a floating dollar driven up by mining exports is that our manufacturing industry also gets priced out of the internal market as well.
    The other thing about a floating dollar and free markets is that small countries/producers are more vulnerable. (When the currency favours small exporters it doesn’t do much damage to a large customer because the small exporter cannot export enough to damage the large customers internal producers. On the other hand it is very easy for a small producer to be overwhelmed when the currency favours a large competitor.
    Me I favour a damped system based on an import license market. The number of licenses the gov sells into that market grows slowly as the price of important licenses for a particular item grows and the general trade balance moves in Australia’s favour. i.e. import license numbers grow as the product becomes less competitive.

  14. Palaszczuk takes a punt on home grown hydrogen energy with $1.5 billion fund

      The State Government will back the development of a hydrogen energy sector and associated manufacturing with a extra $1.5 billion push in next week’s Budget.

      The hydrogen energy strategy outlined on Thursday by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is regarded as one of the most significant issues in the upcoming Queensland Budget and will form part of a new 10-year energy plan to be devised by the Government.


      The Premier said investments in local manufacturing of renewables and hydrogen would deliver lower cost energy and free up gas as an industrial input for manufacturing.

      “In the absence of a defined energy plan from the Federal Government I have commissioned (Energy Minister) Mick de Brenni in conjunction with other Cabinet ministers to develop a 10-year energy plan for Queensland.

      “We will step up where the Federal Government has stepped out. We know how crucial energy is for regional Queensland and most of the opportunities are here as well,” she said.

      “The Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs fund make sense for the environment, but it also makes economic sense by creating sustainable full-time manufacturing jobs.

      “This fund will support a self-reinforcing cycle of investment – a job-generating clean energy industrial ecosystem.’’

      She said Queensland had all the minerals needed for the development of a renewables manufacturing sector with cobalt, copper, scandium, nickel needed as well as vanadium and high purity alumina.

      “We have the bauxite and aluminium smelting needed for the frames for solar panels and the high purity quartz needed for solar PV. We have the ingredients for titanium needed in hydrogen electrolysers.

      “And we have the solar and wind energy to process and manufacture our minerals.

      “Growing our resources sector is no longer just about what’s below the ground – it’s now about harnessing the solar and wind above the ground and manufacturing renewables locally.’’

  15. Crikey has this summary of the G7 meeting wrt climate:

      “[The G7] seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees” and “net zero no later than 2050, halving our collective emissions over the two decades [sic] to 2030”.

      That was backed by a commitment “to achieve an overwhelmingly decarbonised power system in the 2030s and to actions to accelerate this. Internationally, we commit to aligning official international financing with the global achievement of net zero GHG emissions no later than 2050 and for deep emissions reductions in the 2020s”. And given “continued global investment in unabated coal power generation is incompatible with keeping 1.5°C within reach we stress that international investments in unabated coal must stop now”.

      Morrison — despite months of headlines to the contrary from the press gallery — continues to reject any date for net zero at all. Australia’s emissions reduction commitment — which Morrison falsely says we will “meet and beat” — is just 26% by 2030, half that of the G7. And his government continues to support new coal-fired power — via a handout to Shine Energy to investigate a new coal-fired power plant, its offer to donor Trevor St Baker’s Delta Energy to fund an upgrade of the Vales Point coal-fired plant, and its attempts to force owners to keep unviable and unreliable coal plants operating.

      Thus Australia is positioned as far behind even a watered-down, inadequate G7 commitment to accelerate decarbonisation, including shutting down coal-fired power and achieving 50% emissions reduction by 2030.

    The “two decades to 2030” clanger is from the official summary rather than from the full text of the communiqué.

    They have very much followed the IPCC and IEA playbook. No new unabated coal power is from the end of 2021 and “an overwhelmingly decarbonised power system in the 2030s.”

    I’m hoping Labor will at least match that, because it would mean closing down coal power stations before their use-by date. So far this PM I’ve heard Albanese saying no new coal-fired power.

  16. “Possibility of gas exploration near Twelve Apostles angers locals”
    “Key points:
    The Twelve Apostles, located on the Great Ocean Road in south-west Victoria, is one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions
    An area within nearby has been opened up for offshore gas and oil exploration
    Federal resources minister Keith Pitt says gas and oil exploration helps Australia’s economic growth.”
    Seems to be a rush to open fossil fuel resources before there is a change of government,

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