Doctor and activist

No Target, No Plan for Carbon-Neutral Economy by 2050: Angus Taylor, Energy Minister

20 May 2020

Angus Taylor, our Energy Minister says we cannot be carbon neutral by 2050- 30 years away! Why not? Well we cannot have a target without a plan. And since we have chosen to have no plan, we cannot have a target.

This sort of circular semantic nonsense is what Angus Taylor is all about. He is now taking the Clean Energy Fund and using for that hoax, carbon capture and storage. The man should be sacked for his rorting and corruption, and his actions as a Minister are totally in the wrong direction for Australia.

Carbon capture is just a fossil industry bad joke. A lot of carbon dioxide comes out with natural gas, and is already separated, because of course it would stop the gas burning as well if it went in the gas pipes. So if it is already separated from natural gas. What happens then? It is released to the atmosphere; Obviously- the cheapest solution! Privatise the profits and externalise the costs. So there is lots of carbon dioxide to store or sequester. Is this possible? Perhaps at great cost. If so, it should be part of the cost of selling gas. How economic would gas be then?

But it goes on. Coal is concentrated carbon. When it combines with oxygen it releases a lot of energy in a process commonly known as burning. And instead of a compact little bit of carbon that can be passed around a Parliament there is huge amount of gas that has to be captured from the atmosphere, and stored somewhere, presumably under a lot of pressure and presumably forever. This is quite a problem, will be difficult to do and will cost a lot of energy, perhaps as much as burning it released. You could call it it a difficult scientific problem. Or you could call it a very silly thing to do. Create a problem, then spend a lot of money and time to try to find a way to fix it.

But the fossil fuel lobby wants to get at the clean energy money to try. This has two advantages. One is called ‘opportunity cost’, which the economists’ way of saying that if you have spent your money on A, you do not have that money to spend on B. You spend your clean energy money researching an unlikely solution to a problem that you have created by burning, and you do not have that money to spend on something like pumped hydro, which would allow the problem of energy storage of renewables to be addressed. So real progress towards renewable energy can be slowed. Also you can pretend that capturing the huge amounts of carbon dioxide is a scientifically feasible option with just a bit more government funded research. All this suits the fossils fuel industry who can continue to burn as usual. The parallels with the tobacco industry denying the obvious health effects and profiting from delayed definitive action is striking.

Angus Taylor came from a grazing family, went to Kings School, St Andrew’s College at Sydney Uni and Oxford. He studied Economics and Law and worked with investment bankers and was in a group that tried to buy Cubbie Station.

He may or may not know any science, but his track record of using taxpayers money for the interests of his connections are already the stuff of scandal and have led to calls for his resignation. This last lot of nonsense simply adds to that imperative.

Arthur Chesterfield-Evans

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