The Australian Climate change Authority has released its final assessment on what Australia's climate emissions reduction target should be. They say that the global conditions have clearly been met for Australia increasing emissions reduction from 5 per cent on 2000 levels to 19 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.
This week Alcoa announced the closure of it's Port Henry smelter and aluminium rolling mills after a review conducted in the last year. This is a definite employment blow to the Geelong region, coming on the heals of the Ford factory announced closure. But it can provide impetus to reduce carbon emissions for climate change mitigation action by shutting down polluting coal fired capacity now excess to demand. The Alcoa closure will result in a reduction of about 360MW of electricity currently supplied to the Port Henry aluminium smelter. The Anglesea coal fired power station provides 150MW of this power, which would mean a need to reduce La Trobe Valley generating capacity by about 210MW.
New research on energy demand in the National Energy Market (NEM) by Pitt and Sherry's carbon emissions Index (CEDEX) shows demand for power for electricity has been falling since late 2010. Power generation from black coal (mainly in NSW) has been falling since the start of 2009, while there has been a fall in generation from (Victorian) brown coal since July 2012.
Almost certainly the Federal Governments Renewable Energy Target (RET) driving construction of wind farms, and now the Carbon Tax increasing the cost of coal fired power, as well as energy efficiency programs and drop in electricity demand from consumers, has been driving these trends.
For years, governments, industry, and TV ads told us natural gas is the safe bridge fuel while we move away from dirty coal and oil.
Cornell University scientist Robert Howarth wondered "Is that true?". When Howarth found no science to back up big claims for the gas industry, he and a team from Cornell went to work.