How much evil is the current government going to inflict on our world before we wake up and boot them out? Forget their unprovoked attacks of Afghanistan and Iraq, their murder of innocent civilians and destruction of infrastructure, of all the crimes against humanity that little Johnny and his pack of vandals have committed; the sabotage of our renewable energy industries ranks as no 1. Since they gained office they have systematically slashed funding from renewable energy and climate research.
While the MRETis a good idea, the pathetic addition of 9500 GWh over 10 years (significantly less than 2% of our rapidly growing gluttony for power, with electricity consumption up by 30% in the last decade) will have next to no impact on our status as the worst greenhouse polluter in the world.
To add insult to ignorance they want to throw half a billion dollars of our money to the beleaguered coal industry in an attempt to hide our sins of consumption underground, (little wonder we are called the mushroom society). At a time of record profits for the largely overseas owned coal companies, we are going to throw a huge wad of cash at an entirely unproven technology, which will be used primarily to extract more gas and oil out of rapidly depleting fields. The cost of extracting the 3 tons of CO2 produced for every tonne of coal burnt, liquefying it (which is extremely difficult), transporting it to our oil fields and pumping it underground will make coal fired electricity more expensive than solar; currently the most expensive form of renewable energy.
Electricity produced from the hot dry rocks of the Cooper Basin (in South Australia) is predicted to be cost competitive with coal, with enough energy underground to provide all of our electricity needs three times over. Wind power is getting close to the cost of coal fired electricity, while run of river hydro is also an attractive option for the few areas which continue to receive rainfall as our continent heats up and dries out. If the externalities are counted then renewables are already far more cost effective than coal fired power. Why are we willing to risk the extinction of our species along with all the others we are pushing into oblivion for a couple of cents a kWh?It is up to everyone to act for the future. Turn on to green power and abandon the infernal combustion engine, if you want to be remembered by your grandchildren, rather than be cursed by the few remnants of humanity who survive the coming catastrophe.
Simon Cripps Clark