IPCC Report shows it’s time to get real and drop magical thinking about ‘clean’ coal

The IPCC special report released this week noted that solar and wind energy and electricity storage technologies had advanced “dramatically”, while ca (CCS) had stalled in its infancy.

The report states [1] :

“The political, economic, social and technical feasibility of solar energy, wind energy and electricity storage technologies has improved dramatically over the past few years, while that of nuclear energy and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) in the electricity sector have not shown similar improvements”

A spokesperson for NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin told the Sydney Morning Herald this week that NSW could achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by ‘balancing’ out emissions from fossil fuel-power with carbon storage.

Greens Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the statement was an admission by the NSW Government that it would miss its emissions target given carbon storage was an unproven and unbelievable technology.

“The NSW Government’s response to the IPCC report on global warming is relying on magical thinking that carbon capture and storage can make coal ‘clean’ – and they can fail to act.  The truth is every utility-scale CCS project has failed and it’s unviable both technologically and financially,” he said today.

“The public and media should stop letting the Coalition and coal industry off the hook with this magical thinking that technology will save them. They should demand a proper, realistic plan to rapidly reduce carbon emissions to avoid more than 1.5 degrees of global warming.’

“While the IPCC scenarios to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees rely on reforestation and bioenergy carbon sequestration, they have stressed that burning coal is incompatible with tackling climate change.

“The choices made now will decide whether we avert catastrophic climate change and keep warming below 1.5 degrees. Clean coal does not exist and therefore we must phase out coal, ensure a just transition for coal-affected communities, and fast-track investment in renewables and battery storage,” Mr Buckingham said.

 [1] Page 5, http://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_chapter4.pdf

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