Clean Energy and Climate Change
In our quest to combat climate change, it seems that political philosophy and denial, spurred on by vested interests, are our greatest impediment to successfully avoiding an unmanageable outcome. Recently the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, warned that the planet is on track to be 3 to 5 degrees warmer within 80 years, that’s more than double the warming that scientists believe we can safely endure.
In fact, it is now predicted that the manageable 1.5 degree maximum warming could be reached as early as 2024, after which, continued inaction will likely have catastrophic consequences.
With this dire warning front and foremost, one would think there would be some degree of urgency to address the situation, but no, instead, some Australia politicians are advocating for Clean Energy Finance Corporation money to be used to fund new coal-fired power stations, arguably the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
On the other side of the equation, forests across the globe, one of nature’s most efficient carbon depositories, are being cleared at increasing rates for agriculture, and more recently to be burned to generate electricity. Apparently, the term “renewable” is being manipulated to imply burning timber is somehow “clean” and acceptable, and that’s given denialists the opportunity to promote the use of ‘biomass’ here in Australia.
The escalation of biomass use is so great that a group of over 500 international scientists have written to the Presidents of the US, the European Council, the European Commission, and South Korea, as well as the Prime Minister of Japan, asking them to intervene to end the practice of industrial scale wood-burning for energy production. They rightly argue that the practice is seriously undermining efforts, not only to address climate change, but to protect biodiversity as well.
Native forest timbers are already being burned to produce electricity here in Australia, although not yet at the industrial scale occurring overseas. However, Australian forest timber is already being exported as biomass, referred to as ‘biopellets’, to Japan and elsewhere, for burning to generate electricity.
The insanity continues!