And the biggest emitter in Queensland is the State Government.
Following the report yesterday from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the pressure will be on governments to act quickly to reduce CO2 will be intense and for the Queensland Government to deal with its own hypocrisy on the issue.
The IPCC report found that the world was likely to heat to 1.5 degrees or more above pre-industrial levels by 2040 which was described as a code red for humanity.
But despite the rhetoric from the Palaszczuk Government about all the good work it is supposedly doing about meeting its renewable energy targets, it energy generators, Stanwell and CS Energy rank third and fifth in the nation for CO2 emissions behind the AGL and Energy Australia. Origin, which has a huge presence in the state is fourth.
Add to the emissions from the 50 or so coal mines in Queensland and the massive coal seam gas and LNG projects and it’s pretty clear that Queensland is in the frame as a guilty party in climate change. In fact, Queensland has the highest scope one CO2 emissions of any state, according to data compiled by the Clean Energy Regulator and published in February. Scope one emissions are direct greenhouse emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organisation.
More directly, the bulk of the emissions feed the power grid so the real responsibility is the state’s energy users, so everyone apart from those exclusively using renewables.
So what? Well, Suncorp summed it up this week when it revealed the financial cost to it from climate change was a touch over $1 billion and that really only touches the surface of the impacts.
These are not shock findings. The Government has known and been warned about its coal assets. Richard Van Breda was the chief executive of Stanwell until earlier this year when he made the mistake of mentioning that the Government would have to retire its coal-fired generators earlier than predicted, mostly because they were no longer competitive as solar energy gets cheaper.
He resigned shortly after, apparently after unions expressed outrage about the potential job losses.
And let’s not forget former Treasurer Jackie Trad’s admission that coal workers in the state would have to get retrained.
Only a few weeks ago the head of one of its other generator companies CleanCo’s chief executive Maia Schweizer said about 80 per cent of Queensland’s carbon emissions could be avoided through existing technology that could be implemented and repaid by 2050.
“That is, they will more than pay back their cost to implement. That makes it an easy choice for all sectors, and even individuals, to take up technologies like electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and renewable electricity generation,’’ Schweizer said.
“We can get started on 80 per cent of decarbonisation without breaking the bank, and some of the world’s brightest minds are working on the rest.”
So according to the people who know and worked (or worked) in the area, not only is economically viable but also practically viable.
Schweizer also pointed out that there was a huge push from corporations for green energy. It could even be argued that in Australia, at least, corporations and investors are doing more than the Federal Government to force change in energy use.
So the investment community is on board as well.
It would be wrong to say that the Palaszczuk Government is sitting idly by. It does have a hydrogen policy, a renewable energy policy and $1 billion clean energy fund, but that does not let it escape the issue of its emissions.
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