What will we do when it’s all gone?

An unnamed senior official at the International Energy Agency (IEA) has told The Guardian that the agency has deliberately been underplaying a looming shortage of oil for fear of triggering panic buying.

The source claims that the United States has influenced the internationally respected watchdog to underplay the decline rate from existing oil fields while exaggerating the prospects of discovering new reserves.

See full story – http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2565


Great Quote

…our care for the world we inhabit is not simply a duty laid upon us but a dimension of life made whole: a redeeming activity grounded in the character of our own redemption, a revelation of the true ‘face’ of creation as we ourselves undergo the uncovering of our own human face before God. Going back to the root meaning of the Hebrew word, what we’re asked to undertake is in fact a conversion – a turning – towards the truth: towards the God who is eternally active and giving in ways beyond our concepts, towards the hidden depths of who we ourselves are – and thus towards the face of the earth, seeing it freshly in its unfathomable interrelatedness.

Rowan Williams, ‘Renewing the Face of the Earth: Human Responsibility and the Environment’, http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/2351

The Low Down On Our Solar Rebates

An economical truth (from the Australia Institute)

The solar panel rebate announced by Peter Garrett this week sounded like just the news we need after the weak five per cent emission reduction targets were revealed in the White Paper. Finally, it seemed that the Government was doing something serious to reduce emissions. No such luck.

Minister Garrett chose his words very carefully when he explained the benefits of this new scheme. It would be a boost to the solar industry. True. It was great for families who wanted to put solar panels on their roofs. True. The removal of the means testing meant more families would be able to access the rebate. True.

But what is missing from the Minister’s statements is any mention about Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The silence on this issue is no slip-up—it is part of an elaborate strategy to try and ensure that the public continues to ‘do their bit’ in their homes without revealing the awful truth behind the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme. After 2010, nothing households do to reduce their use of f ossil fuels will reduce Australia’s emissions by one kilogram.

The Rudd Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme, now known as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), will work like this. The government will issue a fixed number of permits to pollute, with the number of the permits ensuring Australia’s emissions will fall by five per cent by 2020. Once these permits are given away (a small number will be sold) to polluters, the polluters can buy and sell them among themselves.

The problem for households keen to ‘do their bit’ to reduce climate change is that if they have shorter showers or put solar panels on their roofs, all they will do is reduce their personal demand for electricity. If less coal is burned to provide households with electricity, the coal-fired power stations won’t need as many permits and they can then sell their ‘spare’ permits to the aluminum or steel industries so that these polluters can INCREASE their emissions.

The real sting in the tail is that the less energy households use, the cheaper the permits bought by the big polluters will be.

Hopefully the Senate will modify the CPRS so that individuals who reduce their energy use can ensure that any ‘spare’ permits get ripped up, thereby reducing Australia’s total emissions. But in the meantime, if Peter Garrett’s announcement has made you think about installing some solar panels, it might be best to call his office first. The question you need to ask is a simple one: ‘Will installing solar panels on my roof reduce Australia’s emissions?’

Feel free to let us know if he answers.

Canberra Forces Give the Nod…

I have always been a big fan of Midnight Oil but in particular Garrett’s edgy ability to speak up for things that matter. In the past year I have seen a steady comprimise in him for the sake of ‘the party’ and I guess his career. This decision (which overides the Premier of Tas not to extend the reporting time for Gunns) is just the last nail in the coffin for me, my old hero of environmentalism is gone as far as I can see. Every time I listen to The Oils now it is with a sense of sadness 😦

Peter Garrett ‘grants further favours’ over pulp mill

Christian Kerr | September 09, 2008

THE Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has been accused of granting favours to forestry company Gunns over its controversial pulp mill project in northern Tasmania.

Mr Garrett yesterday granted Gunns an extension until January next year to complete the environmental impact management plan for the mill.

“It is not unusual for major projects to need additional time to ensure that all environmental matters are fully investigated and properly addressed,” he said.

“The comprehensive assessment of every aspect of the Gunns EIMP by both my department and the Independent Experts Group must not be rushed.”

Gunns welcomed the decision. “Approval of the EIMP modules is a complex and time-consuming process,” Gunns’ resource manager Calton Frame said.

Ed Cooper, from activist group GetUp!, accused Mr Garrett of “granting further favours to Gunns”.

The Opposition said Mr Garrett was “doing his best to indicate” the approvals process “has nothing to do with him”.

Environment spokesman Greg Hunt said: “Every time he is quizzed about the planned mill, he hides behind the work carried out by his department, the Independent Experts Group and the former government.”

The extension was slammed by the Greens.

“It was a condition of Malcolm Turnbull’s approval that Gunns would have 12 months to finalise their approvals process,” Senator Christine Milne said.

“Gunns knew that, and they failed to meet that deadline.”

Source The Australian