UH OH. The “clean energy future” we’re promised with the carbon tax is based on Treasury figures now falling apart.
Half the “green” power the Gillard Government predicted by 2050 is from new sources that still can’t be made to work.
Last year Treasury backed government claims that the carbon tax would slash our greenhouse gases by 60 per cent by 2050 by forcing us on to other sources of “clean” power.
The most important source was coal-fired and gas-fired generators fitted with carbon capture and storage technology, which captures carbon dioxide emissions and buries them.
Said Treasury: “Once commercially viable, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will deliver significant emission reductions, comprising almost 30 per cent of generation by 2050.”
The other big source was geothermal power, which pumps water underground on to hot rocks, creating steam. Treasury said this would create another 13 and 23 per cent of our power.
Trouble is, the Rudd and Gillard governments have put up nearly $2.5 billion for CCS projects, but none applicable to power stations have got off the ground or are likely to for years.
The problems are proving as big as the costs. To make CCS work with coal, stations must burn up to 30 per cent more of the stuff.
Geothermal is also in strife. In 2009, the Government gave $90 million to Geodynamics, whose shareholders included warming preacher Tim Flannery.
Flannery said the technology was “relatively straightforward”, but Geodynamics has had wells collapse and its shares nosedive. It is years behind schedule.
Last month, Central Petroleum gave up its own geothermal exploration licences, saying the “heavy expenditure obligations” weren’t worth it, “particularly in light of the recent conventional oil discovery at Sunrise” it would develop. We still have no large-scale geothermal generator and aren’t likely to for many years.
So government claims that its carbon tax will slash our emissions are based on imagined technological breakthroughs, and still missing is modelling of the difference all this will actually make to the world’s temperature.
Answer? Zip. It’s make-believe.