THE government’s lead adviser on a key low emissions technology has written to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, warning that the government will not meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets unless its policies are changed.
Modelling for the new carbon tax assumes gas- and coal-fired power stations fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) – trapping carbon dioxide emissions and storing it deep underground – will provide 30 per cent of Australia’s generation by 2050.
It also assumes the technology will be available in the countries to which we will export $44 billion worth of coal this year.
Pushing the technology was a priority for the former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who saw it as the way for Australia to continue long-term coal exports while advocating tough action on climate change. The Rudd and Gillard governments have pledged a total of $2.5 billion to develop the technology, but much of the money is sitting unspent.
Last year CCS was excluded from the new $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, having already been left out of the renewable energy target.
The chairman of the government’s low emissions technology council, Dick Wells, wrote to the Prime Minister warning that without some government assistance the assumptions underlying the carbon tax would prove wrong.