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Carbon capture laws dodge liability question

Carbon Sequestration bill up for consideration

According to the Australian Greens, Rudd Government legislation setting up a regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage, vaunted as a 'world first', fails to deal with the biggest regulatory issue the industry faces. They state that, if carbon dioxide leaks, who will carry liability will become a problem without a solution in the legislation proposed.

Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne has made additional comments to the Senate Inquiry Report into the Bill tabled today. It sets out the Greens position that the taxpayer must not be saddled with the risk while coal companies walk away with the profits.

Senator Milne said "Who will carry the liability if and when stored carbon leaks? The Government apparently thinks this question doesn't need to be answered, but it is quite obvious that that approach would leave everybody - supporters and opponents of goesequestration alike - in limbo."

She said that Prime Minister Rudd would have to be prepared for some tough questions on liability. In her opinion, the world would not be coming to Australia for advice about carbon sequestration if it squibs on the biggest question.

"The Greens will work hard to ensure that the coal multinationals do not get away with privatising their massive profits and socialising their risk with geosequestration."

Companies should post bond to cover future liability

Senator Milne stated that "My additional comments to this report set out a proposal under which companies seeking to bury carbon dioxide would post a bond to cover their future liability in case the climate-changing gas leaks after the company moves on."

She said, "That would be a reasonable and responsible approach to take, ensuring that those seeking to make profits also carry the risk.

"While the Coalition predictably wants the taxpayer to carry the can for coal corporations, the Government, inexplicably, thinks it is OK to leave the liability question unanswered. I am committed to working with the Government on amendments to make sure ordinary Australians don't end up hurt by the short-sighted greed of the coal sector."

Australia should be a global solar hub

The senator said that a sensible plan for the future would see Australia pitched as a global solar hub, taking advantage of our world's best solar scientists. There should be a forward-thinking strategy to help coal communities move into a green-collar future.

"Instead, Mr Rudd is deepening Australia's economic vulnerability by locking us into a risky, unproven technofix that is already being leapfrogged by the truly clean renewable energy and energy efficiency alternatives."

(A technofix is a technical solution for a systemic problem which may or may not work and therefore should not be relied upon.)

Source: Greens Press release, Canberra, Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

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Comments

The use of sophisticated software systems for coal mining (thermal coal, steam coal and metallurgical coal) that is mostly burnt for power generation and steel production and adds to the greenhouse effect is valid for western countries who may allocate resources and funds to alternative and more greener sources of power. Some of the alternatives may be "safer" than the traditional mines. Unfortunately, coal reports and coal statistics show developing economies are more likely to increase their use of thermal coal & metallurgical coal in coming years because of its affordability and to meet increasing demands for electricity and steel. Whether they will embrace and utilise sophisticated software systems that no doubt add to the cost of production is yet to be seen. Cherry of www.coalportal.com

Candobetter ED.

"coalportal®.com is a subscription based publication and coal price index service for the international coal market. Subscribers can download publications, reports and key price indicators covering key coal producing regions such as Australia, China, South Africa, Indonesia, North & South America and India."

Recent posts to candobetter from Cherry at coalportal are quite interesting and pose valid cases for assuming that the use of coal in its cleaner and its dirtiest form will prevail unless something else as cheap comes up (which has not happened yet). Candobetter values would say, then we must do everything to rein in production and population growth which cause ever growing need for coal and other forms of fuel that cannot be provided via flow energies.

The problem with our capitalist society is that anything that makes cash will be pursued, even if it kills us and makes us miserable. That goes for population growth, growth itself, and coal.

It would be good to have a thoughtful article about this from Coalportal, if they are able to think beyond investment values there or to translate those trends in to projections on how much coal really is out there and how fast it is disappearing. Or something else related to coal which may not have been canvassed widely yet.