Archive for the ‘Express 88’ Category

Profile: Anthony Pratt

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

Profile: Anthony Pratt

What Australia has been waiting for – green business leadership. Anthony Pratt says that environment and green issues will increasingly dictate success in business for the foreseeable future. “Business has a key leadership role to play as it pursues the goal of turning green into gold”. His companies have turned waste into jobs, creating 5500 green-collar jobs in Australia and 3500 in the US.

Anthony Pratt, 49, is executive chairman of Visy and Pratt Industries USA, and works with the Climate Group. Son of the late paper and packaging billionaire Richard Pratt, Anthony is a former McKinsey consultant, who spent almost 20 years running Visy’s U.S. operations.

This week an article written by Anthony Pratt appeared in The Australian. We also reproduce here an extract about his US operation Pratt Industries taken from my book The ABC of Carbon:

By Anthony Pratt in The Australian 12 December 2009:

REGARDLESS of the eventual outcome in Copenhagen, one thing is clear. The environment and green issues will increasingly dictate success in business for the foreseeable future.

The political divergence over the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation notwithstanding, both of Australia’s main political parties are committed to reducing greenhouse emissions. Consumers want action.

The result is that the new curve for businesses and economies is increasingly being cast as a green, low-carbon one. Businesses that stay ahead of the curve can turn green into gold, converting low carbon into new profits.

Global investments in renewable energy companies and projects totalled $US155 billion last year, overtaking similar investments in fossil fuels for the first time. Some estimates have put the global value of green products and services worldwide at more than $US3 trillion and rising. The green component of the recent financial stimulus in Australia alone totalled almost $US10 billion.

Although there are undoubtedly challenges, the growth in low-carbon technologies, services and markets represents one of the best business opportunities for Australia we have seen in years.

Australia is a resource-rich nation. We have been good at exploiting our minerals base and agricultural sector for exports. But we also have enviable natural resources for renewable energy generation. Our abundant sunshine, rich geothermal potential, large biomass-growing land base and extensive coastline could become the bedrock of a golden 21st-century industry that will create thousands of new jobs and a stream of long-term investment.

We have already seen the kind of progress that can be made. By the middle of last year, Germany, a country hardly celebrated for endlessly sunny days, had managed to create 40,000 jobs in its solar industry alone. Israel, a country not long in water resources, enjoys a disproportionate share of the hi-tech water efficiency market.

My company in the US, Pratt Industries USA, has grown from scratch to become a billion-dollar business based on recycling, as well as the largest Australian-owned employer of US citizens. Recently we commissioned a US$60 million plant in Atlanta that gasifies waste from the recycling process and timber construction waste, turning it into clean energy which then drives our recycling mills and reduces our energy costs.

We have plans for similar investments in Australia. Producing clean energy from non-recyclable waste is an important part of my future vision for family company Visy Australia.

Given the right incentives, our agricultural sector also has the potential to flourish in a sustainable way. New carbon sequestration technologies mean that farmers can lock carbon dioxide into our soils, creating carbon credits and opening up a very welcome source of income. As a means of building on the water legacy left by my father, Richard Pratt, I am backing former governor-general Mike Jeffery’s initiative to restore our precious rural landscapes by mainstreaming sustainable farming practices.

These techniques also increase the carbon content, fertility, water retention and productive capacity of our soils, which have eroded through decades of unsustainable practices. There is no reason why Australia cannot lead the world in this technology if we start taking steps to do so now.

If we do, our farmers, our food processors and our consumers will be in much better shape.

Visy has a vested interest in achieving this outcome because 70 per cent of our packaging customers are connected to agriculture in some way, either as growers or food processors.

As the global trade in carbon continues to gather pace, Australia has the opportunity to establish itself as a hub in our region for a trade the World Bank estimated as being worth $US126 billion last year, about 12 times what it was worth just three years earlier.

My faith in the economic potential of the low carbon economy is not an untested prediction. Here and in the US, Visy has built a multibillion-dollar business based around a closed loop of packaging and recycling. In so doing we have turned waste into jobs, creating 5500 green-collar jobs in Australia and 3500 in the US.

But this is just a small part of the global green picture. The international race to win a share of the new green markets and opportunities is already well under way. International non-government organisation the Climate Group recently reported on the extent to which green businesses and technology development have become a mainstream element of China’s growth strategy.

The country is already the world leader in solar energy, supplying 40 per cent of the world’s photovoltaic panels. It is doubling its wind generation capacity every year. Chinese companies are leading the way with electric vehicles, creating the first car that can travel 400km on a single charge, as well as starting mass production of such vehicles.

In the field of carbon trading, South Korea is looking to assert itself in emerging green markets, having spent more than 80 per cent of its stimulus package on green investments. Along with Singapore, it is now a serious contender in the competition to become the Asia-Pacific’s dominant carbon trading centre.

Australia is on the cusp of an exciting economic opportunity but if we are to make the most of it, we have to move with more purpose than we have done so far.

And we should not rely solely on governments. Business has a key leadership role to play as it pursues the goal of turning green into gold.


Extract from “The ABC of Carbon”:


Visy papers US. Australian Anthony Pratt made a USS$1billion commitment towards investment in paper recycling and waste-to-energy infrastructure at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting in New York 26 September 2007.


The money will enable the construction and operation in the US of at least 3 new paper recycling mills, 4 waste-to-energy plants, and 30 MRFs (materials recovery facilities), as well as ancillary packaging plants to fully integrate the paper mills. It will save hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide from going into the air during the first half of the 10 year commitment period and more than 1 million tonnes per annum by the end of the decade.


Pratt’s company, Pratt Industries USA, is the largest Australian owned employer in the USA with over 3200 American employees. Anthony Pratt said the US was moving towards a zero waste society, so the company’s plan was to increase US recycling rates dramatically by investing in recycling operations and by helping to create a recycling movement. ‘As almost one quarter of all carbon emissions are from landfills and deforestation, every tonne of paper we divert from landfill stops 1.2 tonnes of carbon emission, hence our view that recycling is one of the most important weapons against climate change,’ Pratt said.


Currently Pratt Industries produces 720,000 tonnes of 100% recycled paper annually in the US. The construction of Pratt’s first US waste-to-energy plant, which will convert wood waste (otherwise destined for landfill) into energy to power their existing recycled paper mill in Conyers, Georgia, will be operational by March 2009 at an establishment cost of US$50 million. Pratt Industries USA is a sister company to Visy, Australia’s largest packaging and recycling company.


A Better Climate Deal for Queensland

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

A Better Climate Deal for Queensland

In this first special report from Copenhagen Kate Jones, Queensland’s Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability tells us what she’s been up to in the United Kingdom and her hopes for a meaningful climate outcome, while we also get updated on who’s been behind the hacking of climate researchers’ computers.

Special Report for ABC Carbon Express from Kate Jones, Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Queensland (12 December 2009):

While things hot up for COP-15 and we need a global deal more than ever, Queensland is punching above its weight.

As world leaders descend on Copenhagen over the next week, I’ll be engaging in climate change talks knowing that Queensland has a lot at stake.

For a state with around a fifth of Australia’s population, Queensland accounts for nearly a third of the nation’s emissions.  And it’s one indicator that we don’t want to be a leader on.

The UN recognises that state and regional governments will action up to 80 percent of mitigation measures and here in Queensland we have shown that we are more than up to the task through initiatives to force down emissions through ClimateQ and complementary measures.

Significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions is vital to our state’s future. With a number of climate-sensitive industries and ecosystems we will be the hardest hit of anywhere in Australia. We need global action. And we need it now.

We certainly don’t need the sideshow that we have seen in Canberra in recent days.  In the UK Gordon Brown and David Cameron stand side by side when it comes to climate change.  They are looking to implementing cuts. The science is not up for debate.

To complement our work, this week I have been working with world leading climate experts from Reading University, The Walker Institute and the Met Office Hadley Centre.  And while there has been some distraction in relation to leaked emails giving heart to the sceptics, we have been focused on the task of carrying out collaborative research on Flood Risk and Climate Change in Queensland.

Our partnership has culminated in an announcement this week that there will be the establishment of a ‘shop front’ for the Hadley Centre within the Ecosciences Precinct at Brisbane’s Boggo Road in 2011 as part of a Queensland-UK Climate Science Fellowship Program with four Fellowships to commence in the first half of next year.

The program will further enhance our role in contributing to the International Panel of Climate Change 5th Assessment report – the pre-eminent international science on climate change.  We’re helping to inform the IPCC through a climate modelling project with the help of a A$4 million super computer at the our Indooroopilly base.

Further, Queensland and UK experts in hydrology, climate and meteorology are also exploring the frequency and intensity of Queensland’s historical climate and how it related to changes in the flood risk.  They are looking at what the latest climate models were telling us about the future flood risk, focussing on rivers, streams and sediment loss.

This is particularly important in Queensland giving the devastating effects of flooding and the potential risks associated with climate change and because 80 per cent of Queenslanders now live on the coast.

It’s why we recently had out for public comment a new Coastal Management Plan to better plan for tidal inundation.

We are focussing on providing the best possible science to mitigate the consequences of climate change and provide certainty for Queensland communities.

Next week is vital in order for us to make bold steps towards avoiding dangerous climate change in the future, but Queensland will continue to act now to best place us to operate in a decarbonised world, however it may look.

December 7, 2009

Was Russian secret service behind leak of climate-change emails?

By Shaun Walker in The Independent (7 December 2009):

FSB accused of paying hackers to discredit scientists after stolen correspondence traced to server in Siberia

The news that a leaked set of emails appeared to show senior climate scientists had manipulated data was shocking enough. Now the story has become more remarkable still.

The computer hack, said a senior member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, was not an amateur job, but a highly sophisticated, politically motivated operation. And others went further. The guiding hand behind the leaks, the allegation went, was that of the Russian secret services.

The leaked emails, which claimed to provide evidence that the unit’s head, Professor Phil Jones, colluded with colleagues to manipulate data and hide “unhelpful” research from critics of climate change science, were originally posted on a server in the Siberian city of Tomsk, at a firm called Tomcity, an internet security business.

The FSB security services, descendants of the KGB, are believed to invest significant resources in hackers, and the Tomsk office has a record of issuing statements congratulating local students on hacks aimed at anti-Russian voices, deeming them “an expression of their position as citizens, and one worthy of respect”. The Kremlin has also been accused of running co-ordinated cyber attacks against websites in neighbouring countries such as Estonia, with which the Kremlin has frosty relations, although the allegations were never proved.

“It’s very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services,” Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, said in Copenhagen at the weekend. “It’s a carefully made selection of emails and documents that’s not random. This is 13 years of data, and it’s not a job of amateurs.”

The leaked emails, Professor van Ypersele said, will fuel scepticism about climate change and may make agreement harder at Copenhagen. So the mutterings have prompted the question: why would Russia have an interest in scuppering the Copenhagen talks?

This time, if it was indeed the FSB behind the leak, it could be part of a ploy to delay negotiations or win further concessions for Moscow. Russia, along with the United States, was accused of delaying Kyoto, and the signals coming from Moscow recently have continued to dismay environmental activists.

When Ed Miliband, the Secreatary of State for Climate Change, visited Moscow this year, he had meetings with high-level Russian officials and pronounced them constructive. But others doubt that Russia has much desire to go green.

Up in the far northern reaches of Russia, there are stretches of hundreds of miles of boggy tundra; human settlements are few and far between. Often, the only inhabitants are indigenous reindeer herders, who in recent years have reported that their cyclical lifestyle is being affected by the climate: they have to wait until later in the year to migrate to winter camps, because the rivers do not freeze as early as they used to. In spring, the snow melts quickly and it becomes harder for reindeer to pull sleds.

Much of Russia’s vast oil and gas reserves lie in difficult-to-access areas of the far North. One school of thought is that Russia, unlike most countries, would have little to fear from global warming, because these deposits would suddenly become much easier and cheaper to access.

It is this, goes the theory, that underlies the Kremlin’s ambivalent attitudes towards global warming; they remain lukewarm on the science underpinning climate change, knowing full well that if global warming does change the world’s climate, billions of dollars of natural resources will become accessible. Another motivating factor could be that Russia simply does not want to spend the vast sums of money that would be required to modernise and “greenify” Russia’s ageing factories.

But global warming also brings with it a terrifying threat for Russia, the melting of permafrost, which covers so much of the country’s territory. Cities in the Siberian north such as Yakutsk are built entirely on permafrost, and if this melts, are in danger of collapsing, along with railways and all other infrastructure.

But many in Russia’s scientific community are deeply sceptical of the threat from global warming. And only 40 per cent of Russians believe climate change is a serious threat, a survey shows

Russia’s commitments ahead of Copenhagen have been modest. In June, the President, Dmitry Medvedev, said Russia would reduce emission levels by 10 to 15 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. But what this actually means is a whopping 30 per cent rise from the present levels. Using the 1990 figures as a benchmark is a way to gain extra leeway, because emissions in Russia have tumbled since the Soviet Union collapsed and much of its polluting industrial complex went down with it.

Of course, Russia is not alone in falling short on climate commitments. But nor does it have a track record for openness for dismissal of the claims against the FSB to be straightforward. The Tomsk hackers in the message along with their leak, wrote of their hopes that the release would “give some insight into the science and the people behind it”. Similar insights into the hackers themselves look extremely unlikely.


Global Deal for China & US Leaders

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

Global Deal for China & US Leaders

It might be ultimately down to the US and China leaders, but Nick Rowley thinks what is the most likely outcome is an “agreement on the parameters of a more effective global climate treaty and the process for agreeing the rules”. David Hood reports from Copenhagen that having aviation and maritime emissions included raises big attribution issues, particularly for “flags of convenience” nations.

Special Report for ABC Carbon Express from David Hood, Brisbane engineer and Chairman of the Australian Green Infrastructure Council (11 December):

Literally thousands have gathered here in Copenhagen for the UNFCC Conference of Parties (COP) 15.    Last figures put the total registrations at over 35,000 from NGOs, Parties to the Convention, negotiators, media, and a world of other observers.    It is now being claimed that next week, Thursday and Friday, will see the biggest ever in history gathering of world leaders in one place.  

Seems that some think we might just have a little problem to solve.    The Bella Centre where it is all happening only holds 15,000.   But worse – the main plenary hall only holds 2,000, so getting close to the real negotiations is difficult indeed.    

The mornings are cold (around 4C), and the foggy wetness of Copenhagen can be depressing, but once inside the mood is changing – there is a sense that something big is about to happen.

To get close to the happenings you have to wait to pass quite thorough security lines, and registration checks, then scan the daily agenda that is stretching up to 50 pages as the delegate numbers grow, then wander bewildered, through the vast halls and meeting rooms, wondering where we are supposed to be, and how we can best “make it happen”.   

But it does have a warming family feeling – we are here for a purpose.  On the buses, in the lines, over dinner, we mix and chat, negotiators and NGOs alike.  With no protocol, we can simply walk up to senior officials, Ministers, CEOs, and executive directors to chat about issues and concerns, and the response is welcoming. 

So far I’ve said “Hi” to Penny Wong, chatted with Tim Flannery, Greg Bourne, and met with, and been briefed by a number of Australian officials, and been welcomed at Al Gore’s Climate Project office.  

However, beating all of them is Brisbane’s Anna Keenan now in her 36th day of fasting for Climate Justice which is starting to show as weight loss and tiring, but she is amazingly happy, full of fight and spirit.  I just hope that our leaders realise her commitment and respect her and our concern with a serious outcome next week.   See Anna at

Each evening, our business groups meet at Copenhagen’s NASA Club for Climate Spark’s presentation by CEOs from some of the world’s leading sustainability businesses (and some who just think they are), swapping notes and networking over a red wine or two.   It is all quite inspiring, if you put aside the fact that the energy consumption and greenhouse output from the event itself would most likely exceed that of some small evolving nations.

So, what’s been going on so far?    The “Danish Text” has caused a stir that you’ve no doubt read about as “having split the Conference”.   It is all part of the game, and now the UN and parties in a closed session this morning have negotiated and released a revised alternative text on which a response is due to be debated this weekend. 

There’s naturally disagreement from many parties on parts of both texts – for instance Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is proposed to be included in the new protocol, and Brazil is strongly opposing.   Measurement, Recording and Verification still has very problematic areas that Australia is particularly concerned over and is seeking greater transparency.   

Aviation and maritime emissions are going to be included (no more “fugitive emissions”), and these are raising big attribution issues, particularly as most of the world’s shipping is registered in evolving nations (the so called “Flags of Convenience”), unlike the airlines which “belong” to the big polluting nations for reasons of “national pride”. Interesting.

Attended a very good session today on Denmark’s sustainable buildings industry – they have been doing energy efficiency for years, and leaving us for dead!

Their energy efficiency regulations and voluntary uptake of simple things like insulation, double glazing, and thermostats on gas heating, as well as centralised precinct heating have reduced annual average energy across the built environment (commercial and residential) from 140kWh/sqm to less than 35kWh/sqm in recent years. Interesting to note a comment on growing research in Denmark on the integration of cars and buildings, as cars will more and more become mobile energy storage devices.

I’ve also connected usefully with a group promoting greater understanding of earth system science and how human activity is, and is not working with, what James Lovelock calls Gaia.  They had not thought of the significant links with engineers and how we consider systems in our artefact designs.  As most will know I believe that Environmental Engineering needs to more definitively link these two areas of learning and practice.     More to come, stay tuned.      – David A Hood FIEAust CPEng


Lenore Taylor in Copenhagen for The Australian (12 December 2009):

The first week in Denmark points to a mistrustful relationship between the US and China

THERE are 32,000 people at the Copenhagen climate change conference, but in the end its success will depend largely on just two: US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The leaders of the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters have both promised substantial emission reductions: Obama, a 17 per cent cut from 2005 levels; and China a reduction on business-as-usual emissions of about 10 per cent.

Both superpowers have been reluctant to bind those commitments into an international agreement and neither is prepared to do its bit if the other does not.

China’s preference would be for the US to join in with a second round of pledges under the legally binding Kyoto Protocol while it was left to its own devices to make good on any promise.

The US could not be any clearer that this idea is unacceptable. “The United States is not going to be part of the Kyoto Protocol, so that is not on the table. And if you mean taking the Kyoto Protocol and putting a new top on it, then we are not going to be part of that either,” US special envoy on climate change Todd Stern said this week.

That China is still clinging to hopes of such an outcome was flushed out in the posturing and pre-positioning at the Copenhagen talks.

First China and the Group 77 organisation of developing nations reacted with rather over-dramatised fury after one of their own number leaked a draft document formulated by the Danish government as a possible political deal for a single new binding treaty covering all countries. This would kill the Kyoto Protocol, they fumed, and was a plot by rich countries to avoid their responsibilities.

But when Ian Fry, a Queanbeyan-based Australian who works for the Tuvaluan government, demanded the Copenhagen meeting actually talk about one of the things it was supposed to be talking about — a new, legally binding Copenhagen Protocol to cover developing countries, to sit beside the Kyoto Protocol’s rich country pledges — China and the G77 hyperventilated even more.

China’s reluctance appears to be partly an issue of sovereignty, an unwillingness to have outsiders scrutinising what it does, and partly a fear that signing on to an agreement and failing to meet its targets could leave it exposed to the kind of carbon border taxes advocated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and contained in the US House of Representatives’ Waxman-Markey legislation.

The US is stuck in a political catch-22. The way it could build trust with China and the G77 is by offering deeper domestic emission cuts. But its legislation has not yet passed the US Senate, so it cannot put more on the table than the 17 per cent cut in the House of Representatives bill. If the Copenhagen deal fails to secure an agreement that includes China, the chances of passing strong domestic laws diminish.

The US has gone all out to prove it’s bona fide in Copenhagen in other ways, including the attendance of the President on the final day, the attendance of four cabinet secretaries and an information centre to explain all the emission-reducing things the US is doing.

But the first week of climate change talks became hopelessly mired in the debate about the form of any agreement, a debate that was really a proxy for the mistrustful stand-off between the US and China and other developing countries.

Possible outcomes include a new set of rich country pledges under a second stage of the Kyoto Protocol and another legally binding agreement containing the pledges of the US and developing countries or — Australia’s preferred option — a clear agreement for a single new treaty for everyone.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says more important than the form of the agreement is what it contains, and that has to be verifiable commitments from all large emitters. Nick Rowley, director of Australian-based consultancy Kinesis and former climate adviser to British prime minister Tony Blair, thinks the outcome is likeliest to be a single agreement similar to the much maligned Danish draft.

“The leaked Danish text is a very early draft of what is likely to form the outcome of this meeting: agreement on the parameters of a more effective global climate treaty and the process for agreeing the rules within that treaty,” Rowley says.

“Kyoto has long been viewed as the sacred cow of international climate policy, yet it has serious flaws,” the most obvious being that it does not require anything of China and is unacceptable to the US.

But this week in Copenhagen has proven that Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen was right when he decided months ago that the negotiations were never going to result in a final agreement unless political leaders stepped in and took over.

If you look at how many leaders are turning up wanting desperately to report home that they have played their part in making history, there is reason for optimism. If you look at the mistrust and lack of progress on display in the Danish capital, there is not. And, with several thousand observers on hand to scrutinise the outcome, it will not be possible for the leaders to issue a statement of fine-sounding words and spin it as an earth-saving outcome.

That’s why this meeting is such a high-stakes game.


COP15 Initial News: WMO, WWF & IMF

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

COP15 Initial News: WMO, WWF & IMF

World Meteorological Organization’s says the first decade of the 21st century is likely to be the warmest on record. George Soros suggests the IMF use its gold reserves as the collateral for green loans to developing countries.  WWF says clean energy technology is on track to become the third largest industrial sector globally, with Australia languish behind most industrialised countries.

Samantha Donovan for ABC’s AM Programme (9 December 2009):

Some annual reports are drab lifeless documents that are consigned early to dusty shelves or recycle bins. But one report that came out overnight will be pored over and have a life long after today.

According to the World Meteorological Organization’s annual statement, the first decade of the 21st century is likely to be the warmest on record. The snapshot of the globe’s temperatures was released at the climate change conference in Copenhagen overnight.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, Michel Jarraud, says the first decade of the 21st century is likely to be the warmest on record. And 2009 is set to be the fifth warmest year since records began in 1850.

MICHEL JARRAUD: There were above normal temperature in most part of the continents and only in USA and Canada there were significant areas with cooler than average condition. But in large part of southern Asia, central Africa, these regions are likely to have the warmest year on record.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Michel Jarraud says the year has also been notable for extreme weather events.

MICHEL JARRAUD: China with the third warmest year in the last 50 years, heat waves in Italy, UK, France, Belgium, Germany, an extreme heat wave in India, and Australia the third warmest year on record with three exceptional heat waves.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Those heatwaves hit the south-eastern Australia in January, February and November and the sub-tropical east in August.

Blair Trewin, a climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre, isn’t surprised that the WMO has highlighted those events and the deadly February bushfires.

BLAIR TREWIN: You know it’s not often you see long term stations which have been going for a long time break monthly temperature records by two, three, four degrees and to have it happen three times in the same year in the same continent is pretty significant.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The WMO report also observes that an El Nino weather pattern began midyear. It’s dreaded by Australian farmers because it means lower than average rainfall, particularly in the east.

Blair Trewin says the El Nino pattern is well-established.

BLAIR TREWIN: So far the impacts in Australia have been a bit more modest than those of the last two in ’02 and ’06. It’s interesting to note that in the strongest El Nino years what you tend to see is that the year in which the El Nino ends tends to be a particularly warm one. Globally we saw that in 1998 and it will be interesting to see if something similar happens in 2010.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The WMO will release a final report on 2009 next March. Secretary-GeneralMichel Jarraud says at this stage it’s impossible to predict what global conditions will be like next year.

MICHEL JARRAUD: On top of the trend there’s a lot of variability, so we are in a warming trend, we have no doubt about that, but what will be the prediction for next year I would be very, very hesitant to tell you that.

TONY EASTLEY: Michel Jarraud, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization ending Samantha Donovan’s report.


By Europe correspondent Emma Alberici for AM, ABC (11 December 2009):  

George Soros suggests the IMF use its gold reserves as the collateral for green loans.

Billionaire investor George Soros has unveiled a proposal to provide up to US$110 billion (A$120 billion) in cash for poor countries to help them develop climate-friendly technology.

Mr Soros made a flying visit to the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen to suggest the International Monetary Fund (IMF) use its gold reserves as the collateral for green loans.

He implored the 192 nations at the climate conference to consider this mechanism as a simple way to transfer money from rich to poor nations.

“There’s a gap between the developed and the developing world on this issue, which could actually wreck the conference,” he said.

“Developed countries are labouring under the misapprehension that funding has to come from their national budgets, but that is not the case. They have it already.

“It is lying idle in their reserves accounts and in the vaults of the IMF.”

Under the Soros proposal, countries would hand over their special drawing rights – international foreign currency assets distributed by the IMF.

“I propose that the developed countries… should band together and lend $US100 billion worth of these SDRs for 25 years to a special green fund serving the developing world,” Mr Soros said.

The money could be invested in low-carbon energy sources, reforestation, rain forest protection and programs to adapt to drought, floods and other consequences of climate change, he said.



Australia missing out on clean energy boom

Copenhagen, Denmark – A WWF report released at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen today shows clean energy technology is on track to become the third largest industrial sector globally, with Australia languish behind most industrialised countries.

Clean Economy, Living Planet – Building Strong Clean Energy Technology Industries is the first ever worldwide country ranking by clean energy sales, finding that relative to GDP, it is wind energy and insulation pioneer Denmark and bio-ethanol giant Brazil that are leading the way, with Australia ranked 28th.

The report predicts that by 2020 the industry will be worth €1600 billion a year, ranking behind automobiles and electronics as the third largest industrial sector. In 2007, clean energy technology had a sales volume of €630 billion and was already larger than the global pharmaceutical industry.

“Without an emissions trading scheme and greater support for emerging clean technologies Australia is at risk of missing out on the clean industry revolution,” said WWF Climate Change Policy Manager Kellie Caught.

“While the Government’s target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and its Flagship grants program will begin to grow Australia’s clean energy sector, it will not be enough to lift Australia to the top of the clean energy rankings.

“China, one of Australia’s major trading partners is ranked fourth in terms of clean energy technology absolute sales, and sixth relative to its GDP. As with manufacturing, Australia stands to lose the opportunity to create a thriving export market and risks thousands of clean energy jobs.

“Australia has a competitive advantage in solar thermal, geothermal, and wave technology. We need to modify the Renewable Energy Target (RET) or utilise Feed- in-tariffs to grow these industries now.

“Forgoing these opportunities for the sake of propping up an ageing, polluting fossil fuel sector for as long as its lobbying power remains significant is acting for vested interests not the national interest.”

Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative, has urged nations consider the potential of an agreement in Copenhagen to drive growth in clean energy.

“Clean energy is where the money is going to be, and where energy security is going to be.

“We are already seeing clean economy growth happening now with only a partial Kyoto protocol international framework supporting clean energy development, patchy national support for green energy and huge subsidies to fossil fuel use.

“Imagine what is possible with a successful Copenhagen climate deal and the national mechanisms to deliver its outcomes.”

The report advocates countries seeking to develop their clean energy technology sectors should “follow the leaders” with technology action plans to take technologies from research to demonstration and commercialisation.

Central banks could help by encouraging the inclusion of “carbon risk” into financial modelling.  Access to seed or venture capital has also been a factor in the success of clean energy in the leading countries

The report also emphasises the importance of developing a strong domestic market in technologies with a strong domestic fit. 

For further information:

Clean Economy, Living Planet – Building Strong Clean Energy Technology


Peace Prize & Power on Emissions & Efficiency

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

Peace Prize & Power on Emissions & Efficiency

President Obama humbly accepts his Nobel Peace Prize in the same week as his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it has the power to introduce tough regulations on emissions and the US National Research Council says energy efficiency technologies lower projected energy use 17-20% by 2020, and 25- 31% by 2030.

REUTERS report (8 December 2009):

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week cleared the way for regulation of greenhouse gases without new laws passed by Congress, reflecting President Barack Obama’s commitment to act on climate change as a major summit opened in Copenhagen.

The EPA ruling that greenhouse gases endanger human health, widely expected after it issued a preliminary finding earlier this year, will allow the agency to regulate planet-warming gases even without legislation in Congress.

The agency could begin to make rules as soon as next year to regulate emissions from vehicle tailpipes, power utilities and heavy industry under existing laws.

Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress will still pursue legislation in Congress, which has been slow to act. But the EPA move gave a timely push to the president’s aims of securing short-term limits to harmful emissions.

It was expected to inject some optimism into the two-week United Nations meeting in Copenhagen, which Obama is due to attend next week, but was criticized by some U.S. business groups who fear it could push up costs.

“EPA has finalized its endangerment finding on greenhouse gas pollution and is now authorized and obligated to make reasonable efforts to reduce greenhouse pollutants,” said Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator. “This administration will not ignore science or the law any longer.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA had the right to regulate emissions of the gases under the Clean Air Act. But under the administration of former President George W. Bush, the EPA said Congress was the right place to frame action.

Business groups said the EPA announcement would hurt the economy and endanger jobs just as the country emerges from a deep recession.

Legislation by Congress would be more palatable politically for Obama, because it would represent a compromise between business, politicians and other interests rather than through an imposed ruling.


The EPA ruling applies to six gases scientists say contribute to global warming, including the main one, carbon dioxide.

There had been fears that Obama, who has made fighting climate change one of his priorities, would arrive almost empty handed at the U.N. conference because climate legislation has stalled in Congress.

“The EPA move strengthens Obama’s hand at Copenhagen,” said Joe Mendelson, global warming policy director at the National Wildlife Federation. “It gives him additional authority that if Congress doesn’t pass climate legislation, the agency can put the country on the path to meet his climate goals.”

Obama will pledge at Copenhagen that the United States, the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will cut emissions by roughly 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

World leaders hope to reach an agreement at the meeting on getting rich and developing countries to share the burden in fighting climate change.

The climate bill has been delayed in the U.S. Senate by a debate over a sweeping reform of healthcare, but lawmakers hope to pass a bill in the spring. Climate legislation passed narrowly in the House of Representatives in June.

The Obama administration has always said it prefers legislation over action by the EPA.


If the EPA acts alone it could face a slew of legal challenges, including from business groups who say the action would overstep the administration’s authority, as well as from environmentalists who seek stronger steps.

But the administration had pressed the EPA to prod business to support efforts in Congress, and to show the world Washington is committed to fighting climate change.

Democratic Senator John Kerry said the EPA move was meant to spur Congress to act. But he said “imposed regulations by definition will not include the job protections and investment incentives we are proposing in the Senate today.”

Republicans said the move was equivalent to imposing an energy tax. “By seeking to sharply curtail carbon dioxide (and thus energy usage), the EPA is in effect working to decrease economic activity,” the Republican Study Committee said.

One business group was quick to criticize the EPA.

Keith McCoy, vice president of energy policy at the National Association of Manufacturers said the EPA was moving forward with an agenda that will put additional burdens on manufacturers, cost jobs and drive up the price of energy.”

The EPA decision, which now will be open for public review, does not preclude legislation. Any new regulations could take a long time to implement, giving Congress room to act.

Still, big industry could learn about changes soon. Jackson said car makers will know by the end of March about required increases in fuel economy standards for cars built for the 2012 model year.

“All industries will be called upon to reduce carbon emissions,” said Dave McCurdy, chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

An administration proposal unveiled in September would require a boost in fuel efficiency by 40 percent by 2016 and aim to cut carbon emissions by 21 percent by 2030.



WASHINGTON — Energy efficiency technologies that exist today or that are likely to be developed in the near future, could save considerable money as well as energy, says a new report from the National Research Council. Fully adopting these technologies could lower projected U.S. energy use 17 percent to 20 percent by 2020, and 25 percent to 31 percent by 2030.

Achieving full deployment of these efficiency technologies will depend in part on pressures driving adoption, such as high energy prices or public policies designed to increase energy efficiency. Nearly 70 percent of electricity consumption in the United States occurs in buildings.

The energy savings from attaining full deployment of cost-effective, energy-efficient technologies in buildings alone could eliminate the need to add new electricity generation capacity through 2030, the report says. New power generation facilities would be needed only to address imbalances in regional energy supplies, replace obsolete facilities, or to introduce more environmentally friendly sources of electricity.

Many cost-effective efficiency investments in buildings are possible, the report says. For example, replacing appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, furnaces, and hot water heaters with more efficient models could reduce energy use by 30 percent.

Opportunities for achieving substantial energy savings exist in the industrial and transportation sectors as well. For example, deployment of industrial energy efficiency technologies could reduce energy use in manufacturing 14 percent to 22 percent by 2020, relative to expected trends. Most of these savings would occur in the most energy-intensive industries, such as chemical manufacturing, petroleum refining, pulp and paper, iron and steel, and cement.

Although there is great potential, many barriers exist to widespread adoption of energy efficiency technologies, the report points out. The upfront costs can be high, which can deter investment despite the possibility of long-term cost savings.

Volatile energy prices can cause buyers to delay purchasing more efficient technology due to a lack of confidence that they will see an adequate return on their investment. In addition, there is a shortage of readily available, trustworthy information for consumers hoping to learn about the relative performance and costs of energy-efficient technology alternatives.

Investments in energy-efficient infrastructure are particularly important, as these can lock in patterns of energy use for decades. Therefore, taking advantage of windows of opportunity for infrastructure is crucial.

Overcoming these barriers will require significant public and private support, and sustained effort. Many energy efficiency initiatives have been successful, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star labeling program. Efforts undertaken by California and New York have yielded large energy savings for those states. These experiences provide valuable lessons for national, state, and local policymakers on enacting effective energy efficiency policies.

This is the final report in a series from the National Academies’ America’s Energy Future project, which was undertaken to stimulate and inform a constructive national dialogue about the nation’s energy future.

The America’s Energy Future project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, BP America, Dow Chemical Company Foundation, Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation, GE Energy, General Motors Corp., Intel Corp., and the W.M. Keck Foundation. Support was also provided by the National Academies through the following endowed funds created to perpetually support the work of the National Research Council: Thomas Lincoln Casey Fund, Arthur L. Day Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fund, George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science, and the Frank Press Fund for Dissemination and Outreach. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.


Build Sea Walls for $22 Million

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

Build Sea Walls for $22 Million

As six inhabited islands in Queensland’s Torres Strait are threatened by rising sea levels, the Government says it is now considering funding mitigation work in addition to Pacific Islands aid promised, while the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said this week that the rollout of the National Broadband Network would reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by 5%.

By Jeff Waters, on ABC News (9 December 2009):

The Australian Government will consider a request to provide about $22 million in climate change mitigation aid to the Torres Strait Islands.

Residents of the islands had said their appeals for funds were being ignored by authorities – even while the Federal Government was promising $150 million in climate change aid to Pacific Island nations.

Now, following an ABC report broadcast on the Australia Network, Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the Government will consider the Torres Strait Regional Authority’s aid request.

“We’ll continue to look at the best ways to enable communities both to adapt and to deal with the impacts of climate change,” he said.

Six inhabited islands in Queensland’s Torres Strait are threatened by rising sea levels, an assertion that has been backed up by a Department of Climate Change report.

But those who live there call themselves the forgotten victims.

Residents have been shocked by recent king tides which damaged homes and threatened fresh water supplies. More king tides are expected in January.

Infrastructure needed

Dr Kevin Parnell, a coastal erosion expert at Queensland’s James Cook University, has studied the islands and says the two mud islands, Boigu and Saibai, may soon have to be abandoned unless they are given significant help.

“The options for some of the islands are much reduced or less than some of the other islands,” he said.

Dr Parnell says the complexity of currents, winds, and other conditions means no two islands are affected in the same way.

He says four coral islands also need funds to build infrastructure.

“With appropriate adaptation strategies put in place, with support for those adaptation strategies, there’s no reason that these communities won’t be able to survive for a significant period into the future,” he said.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority says it needs roughly $22 million to build sea walls and other infrastructure.

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has visited some of the low-lying islands in the Torres Strait, and says the Government should spend money at home before helping Pacific Island nations.

“Obviously Australia’s first responsibility is to its own citizens before it is to those of other countries,” he said.

“Plainly it is very understandable that Australian citizens would be angry if the Government is giving $150 million to cope with the impact of climate change in the Pacific Islands and elsewhere but [is] apparently not interested in giving assistance to the Islands of the Torres Strait which are affected by inundation by the sea.”


Mitchell Bingemann in The Australian (11 December 2009):

KEVIN Rudd tied together two of his most contentious election promises yesterday — the $43 billion national broadband network and the emissions trading scheme — by claiming both were vital to the effort to tackle climate change.

Speaking at a government-backed forum on the future of broadband in Sydney, the Prime Minister said the rollout of the NBN would reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by 5 per cent.

The NBN aims to connect 90 per cent of the population to a fibre-to-the-home network capable of delivering internet access speeds of 100 megabits per second, almost 100 times faster than today’s average.

“Together, the NBN and Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme are critical to Australia’s efforts to address climate change,” Mr Rudd said.

In his first major speech on the NBN since announcing the project in April, he described it as a “historic act of nation-building” and essential for Australia to compete on the global market. Mr Rudd told the forum, attended by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the government would inject $26.5 million into projects that would “stop the rot” in broadband infrastructure for rural and regional areas.

“The reality is that Australia’s current broadband infrastructure is not up to scratch,” he said.

The funding forms part of the government’s $60m digital regions initiative, announced in the May budget. The money will go to seven projects to deliver better health, education and emergency services to regional, rural and remote communities.

More than $3m has been allocated to regional bushfire prevention and detection schemes using advanced technologies, while the biggest allocation of $7m will help 17 remote towns in the Northern Territory get e-health services, benefiting about 30,000 mainly indigenous patients.


Rescue Plan for a Sinking Ship?

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

Rescue Plan for a Sinking Ship?

 “WE are all in the same boat. A hole at one end will sink us all”. These are the words of former head of the United Nations Kofi Annan, who now runs the Global Humanitarian Forum.  He was talking to Graham Readfearn in the Courier Mail about the so far unseen response from world leaders on climate change.

Graham Readfearn in the Courier Mail (11 December 2009):

“WE are all in the same boat. A hole at one end will sink us all”

These are the words of Kofi Annan and he was talking about the so far unseen response from world leaders on climate change.

After 10 years as the head of the United Nations, Mr Annan is now the president of the Global Humanitarian Forum. In recent weeks he’s been pushing for a “fair and just” deal on climate change. But what does this mean and what will need to change?

Here are his answers to questions I put to him, via email.

Australia is the world’s biggest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases and one of the largest exporters of coal. You are asking for a deal on climate that is just and fair – what does that look like for countries like Australia, the US and UK whose economies rely heavily on the coal industry? What lifestyle changes may a just and fair global deal mean for the citizens of these countries?

A workable and effective deal must do two things. First, it must lay the basis for a global regime and subsequent agreements that limit temperature rise in accordance with the scientific evidence. Second, it must have climate justice at its heart. This means it must provide clarity on the mobilization and volume of financial resources to help developing countries adapt to climate change. For it is a tragic irony that the countries which have done least to cause climate change are not only those which will suffer most from its impact, but are also those least resourced to protect their people. If you believe in the “polluter pays” principle, as I do, the implications for countries like Australia are clear. On one side, they need to find innovative ways to reduce emissions dramatically. They have the intellectual, technological and financial resources to do so. On the other side, they need to support poor countries in protecting their populations and meeting the incremental costs of climate change. These resources must be additional to and separate from existing development aid commitments. While there are bound to be some lifestyle changes for Australians as a result, I am convinced that they will be to the better, both for them and for the planet as a whole.

In your home country of Ghana, there have been reports that climate change is threatening the future of the cocoa industry and predictions of increased drought, floods and excessive heat. How can poorer countries like Ghana prepare for the future and should the “west” help? And is it time for major “developing” countries such India and China to commit to a common global future?

Every country, regardless of whether it is Ghana, Australia or China, needs to do its part in accordance with its capacities and historic responsibilities. Industrialized countries such as the United States and Australia must naturally take the lead in reducing emissions and supporting others in following suit, but developing countries like India or China also have an increasing responsibility to do so as their economies continue to grow. Unfortunately, it is the poorest and least responsible that will have to bear the brunt of the climate challenge as rising temperatures exacerbate poverty, hunger and vulnerability to disease for billions of people. As I have said before, they need both immediate help to strengthen their climate resilience as well as long-term support to adapt to climate impacts, reduce deforestation, and pursue low-emissions, clean energy growth. The bottom line is clear. The climate cannot be “fixed” in one country or continent and not in another. Climate change does not respect national borders. We are all in the same boat; a hole at one end will sink us all.

On the chances of a fair deal in Copenhagen – are you an optimist or a pessimist?

I am a realist. Despite the mounting evidence of the negative effects of climate change, reaching a deal will not be easy. It will require extraordinary political courage – both to cut the deal and to communicate its necessity and implications to the public. It will require leaders to think for future generations, and for citizens other than their own. Short-term considerations, including from special interest groups and electoral demands, will need to give way to long-term solutions.  But it is important to remember that any agreement in Copenhagen – however ambitious, universal, and fair it may be – is only the beginning of an enormous challenge for all of us.

Your career was spent working your way to the top of the United Nations – how hard was it to step away, knowing the enormous challenges the world still faces from climate change?

There will always be enormous challenges in the world and I am confident there will always be people who are willing and able to take the lead in tackling them.

Australia, with its relatively small population, is not a major player in the politics of climate change. How much difference, realistically, will our citizens signing an online petition make to the bigger scheme of things?

Every person on the planet has an important role to play. As individuals, you can make a contribution by the choices you make everyday – the food you eat, the transport you use, the energy you consume. You can help to increase awareness of the issues at stake and lobby your political leaders to cut a fair deal in Copenhagen. Signing an online petition is not only an unmistakable sign that you are committed to this cause, but also provides organizations like the Global Humanitarian Forum with the necessary political clout and legitimacy. That, in itself, is a priceless achievement.


Waves Breaking for New Clean Energy

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

Waves Breaking for New Clean Energy

Michael Ottaviano, CEO of Carnegie Wave energy company, has been in the news this week with licensing go ahead for a 5MW commercial demonstration project off Garden Point, Western Australia, while low emissions generation moved closer with Queensland’s ZeroGen project being short-listed under the Federal Government  Clean Energy Initiative CCS Flagships Program.

Report from Carnegie:

Licence for Perth wave energy site signed

• Carnegie & WA Government sign wave energy license

• Allows the installation of commercial scale CETO unit off Garden Island

• This will be the first commercial scale wave power unit deployed in Australia

Wave energy developer Carnegie Wave Energy Limited (ASX: CWE) is pleased to advise that it has executed a deed of licence with the State of Western Australian Government for access to a designated area of seabed in waters to the west of Garden Island off Perth, Western Australia.

Carnegie has been working with the Department of Regional Development and Lands (DRDL) who manage Crown Land in Western Australia, along with other State Government Departments, to process Carnegie’s license application over recent months. Execution of the licence provides Carnegie with permission, subject to specific covenants, to install and operate a commercial scale, autonomous CETO wave energy device to verify its energy delivery performance for a period of up to 3 years.

The activities to be undertaken under the licence form part of Carnegie’s 5MW commercial demonstration project supported by $12.5m of State Government Low Emissions Energy Development (LEED) funding.

Activities in the licence area are well progressed. Deployment of the first commercial scale, autonomous CETO wave energy unit will begin shortly with the installation of the unit’s mooring system. This will be the first commercial scale wave energy unit to be deployed in Australia.

About CETO

The CETO system distinguishes itself from other wave energy devices by operating out of sight and being anchored to the ocean floor. An array of submerged buoys is tethered to seabed pump units. The buoys move in harmony with the motion of the passing waves, driving the pumps which in turn pressurise water that is delivered ashore via a pipeline. High-pressure water is used to drive hydroelectric turbines, generating zero-emission electricity. The high-pressure water can also be used to supply a reverse osmosis desalination plant, replacing greenhouse gas emitting electrically driven pumps usually required for such plants.

CETO Technology characteristics include:

• CETO converts wave energy into zero-emission electricity

• CETO is environmentally friendly, has no visual impact and attracts marine life

• CETO is fully submerged in deep water away from popular surf breaks

About Carnegie

Carnegie Wave Energy Limited is an Australian, ASX-listed (CWE) wave energy and clean technology developer. Carnegie is the owner and developer of the CETO Wave Energy Technology intellectual property.


Tim Boreham, Criterion in The Australian (9 December 2009):

Investors are already spoiled for choice on carbon-friendly plays. Despite that, says Carnegie Wave’s Michael Ottaviano, the true clean-energy sector accounts for only about 0.5 per cent of the local market’s capitalisation.

Carnegie (CWE, 12.5c) is a pertinent example of the disconnect between the local market’s caution (and, perhaps ignorance) of the sector and the more gung-ho valuations ascribed in Europe.

“The market here is still grappling with what all of this means,” Ottaviano says. One misconception is that the failure (to date) of the emissions trading legislation spells the end of renewable-energy incentives, but a 20 per cent renewables target is already l-a-w law.

Having secured a crucial government lease permit this week (and a jack-up rig from the NorthWest Shelf), Carnegie is about to build a 5 megawatt demonstration plant off Garden Island, aimed at proving the viability of its patented CETO wave technology.

CETO deploys sub-surface buoys to harness the waves, with the pressurised water used either for onshore generation or desalination.

Existing facilities, popular in Scotland for example, directly generate from offshore plants.

Despite expectations, Carnegie’s virtues didn’t convince the feds to assign the company a grant from the big-ticket Renewable Energy Development Program. Carnegie shares were poleaxed as a result.

Chief executive Ottaviano says the sell-off was unjustified: such grants might have an impressive headline value but the cash comes in dribs and drabs and depends on the company putting up two or three times more dough.

In any event, Carnegie has procured a $12.5 million West Australian government grant to co-fund the $50m project.




ZeroGen short-listed for CCS Flagships funding (8 December 2009):

Low emissions power generation with carbon capture and storage moved closer this week with Queensland’s ZeroGen project being short-listed by the Federal Government for funding under its Clean Energy Initiative CCS Flagships Program.

The company is proposing to build a commercial scale baseload Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) low emission coal power plant in Central Queensland by late 2015.

ZeroGen Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tony Tarr said ZeroGen was clearly now well placed to become one of the first commercial-scale IGCC with CCS projects in the world following the announcement by the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson.

ZeroGen is a project of world significance as part of the national and international collaborative effort to accelerate the deployment of low emission technologies.

The project is currently funded by its partners the State Government, Australian Coal Association Low Emissions Technologies Ltd (ACALET), and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“The ZeroGen project ensures Queensland is a world leader in the development and deployment of this crucial technology. Our IGCC with CCS project will capture and safely store up to 90% of CO2 emissions, while at the same time support a sustainable future for Australia’s $24 billion coal export industry and the 130,000 jobs it supports,” Dr Tarr said.

“CCS has been identified by leading organisations such as the International Energy Agency, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, WWF-Australia and the Global CCS Institute as being essential in lowering greenhouse gas emissions globally,” Dr Tarr said.

“It is widely understood that if several large scale integrated CCS demonstration projects are not developed within the next decade, there is a real possibility we won’t be able to deploy the technology in time to prevent greenhouse gas emissions from exceeding reasonable limits.

The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, of which Australia and Japan are members, recently recognised the project as one of the most important Carbon Capture and Storage projects in the world and it is one of 10 new projects now added to the existing CSLF portfolio of Research and Developments projects.

The International Energy Agency’s 2009 World Energy Outlook predicts fossil fuels will account for 77% of the increased global demand for power between 2007 and 2030. Demand for coal will grow by 53% in that time.

Dr Tarr said projects like ZeroGen are essential in enabling the rapid and widespread commercial deployment of low-emission technology around the world, including emerging countries such as China and India.

ZeroGen supports a portfolio approach to achieving Australia’s energy targets and meeting global demand for energy, a portfolio that includes a combination of low-emissions coal, renewables and energy efficiency.

“Importantly, projects like ZeroGen will play a critical role in such a portfolio, significantly reducing technology risks and costs to pave the way for rapid commercialisation of low-emission coal fired power plants in Australia and around the world.”

ZeroGen’s CO2 drilling exploration program is continuing in Central Queensland and is the most advanced of its kind in the world.

“Our team in the Northern Denison Trough has drilled more than 50% of all the wells in the world for the specific purpose of geological storage of CO2,” Dr Tarr said.

“Test injections of CO2 are now underway and results to date have been encouraging and have confirmed the geology’s ability to safely and securely store large volumes of CO2. Investigations are ongoing to determine the amount that can be stored cost-effectively.”

An extensive prefeasibility study, to be completed mid 2010, is examining the potential for the power plant to be built in the Central Highlands region, close to coal supply, existing infrastructure and a secure storage site for its CO2 emissions .

An Environmental Impact Study will also be completed as part of the feasibility process and on current timelines all studies are expected to be completed by September 2011. An extensive community consultation program will be carried out throughout these studies.


Linfox Sees Green Business as Big Business

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

Linfox Sees Green Business as Big Business

Regardless of what happens in Copenhagen, green business is becoming big business. For trucking firm Linfox the need to show its international customers it was meeting world-class environmental standards was the driving force behind its program — not any new law in Australia. Peter Fox says the initial target of reducing emissions by 15% has been met ahead of time.

Glenda Korporaal  in The Australian (11 December 2009):

LINDSAY Fox reckons he doesn’t know what an ETS is, but the 72-year-old founder of the international Linfox trucking and logistics empire, and his son Peter who now runs the company, committed to an ambitious environment and climate change policy some years ago.

The impetus was not any change of policy in Australia or any international agreement on climate change, but pressure from the group’s big US customers.

Linfox provides trucking services in Australia and Asia for many big US companies, including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Kellogg’s, Mars and Campbell Soup.

Fox senior says the group has some 40 people involved in its GreenFox strategic plan for 2008-11, designed to cut the group’s greenhouse gas emissions globally by 15 per cent of its 2006-07 level.

With more than 14,000 staff and 5000 trucks operating in 11 countries it was a big ask.

The plan included shifting to hybrid vehicles for company cars, programs for fuel-efficient driving, paper recycling, switch-off-lights programs, tree planting, energy audits, carbon mapping software to analyse carbon emissions from each step of the supply chain, and closer monitoring of fuel usage (the major source of the group’s emissions).

Peter Fox says the initial target has been met ahead of time.

“It came about by seeing our American customers,” explains Lindsay Fox.”They asked us what was our green program.”

The bitter political debate over the Rudd government’s proposed emissions trading scheme, and the inevitable controversies at the Copenhagen conference, have overshadowed the ongoing and widespread pressure on businesses to become more fuel-efficient and to reduce their carbon footprint.

The failure of the ETS legislation has overshadowed the fact that green business in its various forms is becoming a big field, and is set to become even bigger.

In the case of Linfox the need to show its international customers it was meeting world-class environmental standards was the driving force behind its program — not any new law in Australia.

Having surfed to power on an anti-ETS platform, Coalition leader Tony Abbott still felt the need for a photo opportunity this week looking at rooftop solar panels.

Some of Australia’s companies already must report details of their carbon emissions under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme. Passed in the final months of the Howard government, the law requires large energy consumers and emitters to submit their first reports from last October.

Jonathan Jutsen, who 25 years ago founded consulting company Energetics, argues the controversy over the possible costs of carbon reduction in Australia overlooks the fact that companies can get real cost savings by taking a closer look at their energy usage, fuel and other carbon-related costs.

In the latest edition of The Deal magazine, in The Australian today, aviation writer Steve Creedy takes a detailed look at the plans of the big airlines, including Qantas, Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand, to cut fuel costs with a range of measures.

These include more fuel-efficient aircraft such as the A380s, more fuel-efficient flight paths and lighter catering trolleys, and installing dryers to reduce moisture in planes, cutting their flying weight.

Australia’s small market and its abundance of cheap energy have meant it has not always led environmental developments. Much has been made of Australians in the solar power business having to go overseas to commercialise their ideas.

Conversely, Australia has a growing diaspora of expats who have developed expertise in various facets of green business.

Advance, established several years ago, initially in New York, to connect successful Australians around the world, has established an Advance Green Network of people in green energy businesses.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong launched the Advance Green Advisory Group in New York in September.

The group aims to promote networking among Australians in the green energy business around the world, advise the government on climate change and environmental issues, and help to identify green opportunities for Australian businesses overseas.

The group’s members include Jack Whelan, chief operating officer of Environment Business Australia, James Cameron, vice-chairman of Climate Change Capital, Martijn Wilder, global climate change and emissions trading business head at law firm Baker & McKenzie, Ken Newcombe, chief executive of Washington-based carbon finance business C-Quest, Geoff Sinclair, global carbon sales and trading head with Standard Bank and Josh Carmody, a fund manager with the Asian Development Bank’s Asia-Pacific Carbon Fund.

Another person to watch in the group is Mina Guli, a lawyer who worked with the Sydney Futures Exchange in 1999 to design the structure of the first exchange-traded carbon credits.

She is now based in China, running Peony Capital, which she founded about two years ago with business partner Tim Clisshold, author of the book Mr China.

Peony is a carbon fund that encourages innovation and action to reduce greenhouse gases in China.

Several members of the group — including Cameron, Newcombe, Sinclair and Carmody — will attend the Copenhagen conference.

The defeat of the ETS legislation in Canberra will not stop the global pressure on businesses to curb energy usage and emissions.

Regardless of what happens in Copenhagen, green business is becoming big business and Australians have a role to play.


A Better Place With Local Hybrids & GoGet

Posted by admin on December 13, 2009
Posted under Express 88

A Better Place With Local Hybrids & GoGet

Lend Lease Ventures’ investment is an endorsement of the Better Place model for an electric vehicle future, while Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has launched the first Australian-built hybrid car at Toyota’s plant at Altona, west of Melbourne, and Australia’s leading car share business GoGet is adding 50 more cars to its Sydney fleet.

GoGet, the Sydney based car share business, is excited to announce that it’s adding 50 cars – yes, 50 – to the fleet in December, just in time for Xmas!

Message from GoGet latest newsletter:

The 50 cars will be spread out across the Sydney network, so keep an eye out for them. We’ll let you know as they become available for booking.

And this month, you can find out how to “buy” someone a car for Xmas, or book one for a whole month at a much lower rate than car rental. We also unveil our 60 second GoGet video and we think we have found the youngest person to travel in a GoGet car!

ABC News reports:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has launched the first Australian-built hybrid car at Toyota’s plant at Altona, west of Melbourne.

The new Toyota Camry has a 2.4-litre engine and an electric drive motor. It will produce 30 per cent less emissions than a regular car.

Mr Rudd was joined by Victorian Premier John Brumby and around 2,000 Toyota executives and staff to see the first pre-production car come off the assembly line.

Mr Rudd says production of a hybrid Camry will contribute around $90 million to the Victorian and South Australian economies.

“More than 50 hybrid-unique parts will be sourced from local suppliers,” he said.

In June last year, the Federal Government announced that it would allocate $35 million from its Green Car Innovation Fund to support the development of the Camry; it is expected that up to 10,000 hybrid cars will be produced each year from next year. The Victorian Government also committed to making a financial contribution to the project.

The Prime Minister says the manufacture of hybrid cars will help Australia cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s good for the economy, it’s good for jobs and it’s good for action on climate change,” he said.

He says the outlook for Australia’s car manufacturing industry is bright.

“This is the beginning of a whole new era in Australian motoring,” he said.

“Australia is one of only about 15 countries around the world that design, engineer and build a car from scratch, and that’s an important achievement for our country.”

Australia is the fifth country to produce a hybrid car after Japan, the US, China and Thailand.



Better Place Australia this week announced it has secured an initial round of funding of $25 million for its planned charging and services network for electric vehicles (EVs).

The funding round was led by Lend Lease Ventures, the venture capital arm of Lend Lease and included investments by ActewAGL and several private investors.

As the lead seed round investor in Better Place Australia, Lend Lease Ventures will also take a seat on Better Place Australia’s board.

Better Place Australia also today announced that global banking leader, Harrison Young will join its Board as independent Chairman. Mr. Young is currently a member of the Board of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Court of Directors of the Bank of England, Chairman of the Howard Florey Institute Foundation and Deputy Chairman of the Asia Society AustralAsia Centre and Asialink. Mr Young was Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia from 1997-2003 and Chairman of Morgan Stanley Australia from 2003 until he joined the board of the Commonwealth Bank in 2007.

The $25 million in funding represents the first part of Better Place Australia’s five-year plan to raise $1 billion for the deployment of an EV network powered by renewable energy in Australia. Macquarie Capital Group acted as advisors on the fund raising. This initial round of seed funding will finance a range of planning, engineering, demonstration and trial activities in the lead up to the first stage of deployment, which will commence in Canberra in 2011.

“We’re delighted to welcome Lend Lease Ventures as an investor in our Australian business – working with us to help the country take a generational leap forward toward oil independence and sustainability,” said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place.

“The investment marks our second successful financing in 2009, and we believe it’s indicative of growing interest in Better Place from institutions and far-sighted corporations seeking thematic investment opportunities to fight climate change.”

Evan Thornley, CEO of Better Place Australia, said that Lend Lease Ventures’ investment is another in a growing list of endorsements of the Better Place model for an electric vehicle future.

“The backing of a strategic investor of the calibre of Lend Lease Ventures, our Canberra deployment partner, ActewAGL and some of Australia’s most successful business people is further validation that our plans are appealing to our industry partners and seasoned investors alike. The appointment of a respected business leader in Harrison Young as Chairman adds to the strong endorsement we have received from leaders in the energy, auto and oil industries who have also joined our senior management team in recent months.”

Chief Executive Officer of Lend Lease Ventures Anthony Pascoe said of the partnership, “Significant investment in new renewable energy generation combined with the commercialisation of new technologies and infrastructure solutions are critical to achieving Australia’s renewable energy targets.”

“Lend Lease Ventures’ mandate is to invest in emerging clean-tech companies that complement our global property capabilities and help keep the wider Lend Lease group at the leading edge of the curve in terms of sustainability. We believe that Better Place Australia is well positioned for success and are excited to be partnering with such an innovative and well credentialed organisation.”

Better Place, the leading electric vehicle services provider, is accelerating the global transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and optimise energy use.

The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia.