18 February, 2009

Queensland needs safe, effective leadership more than ever (not gasification of coal)

From: Rowan Barber
Sent: 18 February 2009 14:39
To: 'Mount.Coot-tha@parliament.qld.gov.au'; 'ferny.grove@parliament.qld.gov.au'
Cc: 'Premiers@ministerial.qld.gov.au'; 'mulgrave@parliament.qld.gov.au'; 'brisbane.central@parliament.qld.gov.au'; 'Hervey.Bay@parliament.qld.gov.au'

Subject: Queensland needs safe, effective leadership more than ever

The Honourable Andrew Fraser and the Honourable Geoff Wilson

Dear Mr Fraser and Mr Wilson,

I would like to commend the Bligh Government for initiatives like the “Climate Smart” programme, aimed at helping individuals and families reduce their Greenhouse gas emissions. I would like to sincerely thank the Bligh Government for investing in establishing a second wild colony of Northern hairy-nosed wombats near Saint George. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the Honourable Warren Pitt for his service to the State of Queensland as Minister for Local Government and Main Roads. I agree wholeheartedly with the Member for Mulgrave who said: “With the worldwide economic situation becoming more dire by the day, Queensland needs the safe, effective leadership provided by the Bligh Government more than ever.”

It was heartening to read that coal tonnage forecast for the first two years of the project was 90% lower than what was originally requested. I then read in horror that the Bligh Government’s plans to allow trials of coal gasification projects to proceed. Has anyone done a greenhouse gas inventory on gasification of coal? Replacing coal fired power generation with gas fired generation from coal gasification, does not led to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing liquid fuels derived from crude oil with liquids fuels derived from coal is not going to help reduce the global greenhouse gas inventory. There is no leap of logic that can possibly make “Gas derived from coal” a path to a cleaner energy future. Gas derived from coal is a path to escalating catastrophic, anthropogenic climate change. Expanding Queensland’s coal industries is not safe, effective leadership. In the emerging carbon economy there has to come a day when coal is worth more in the ground than as products of combustion in the atmosphere.

I read with interest the article in the Guardian on Sunday February 15 2009 by James Hansen one of the world's foremost climate experts. He launched an excoriating attack on Britain's long love affair with the most polluting fossil fuel of all – Coal. To see this story with its related links on the guardian.co.uk site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/15/james-hansen-power-plants-coal

I wonder why is the Bligh Government is putting such a disproportionate amount of money into ensuring the private companies profiteer from the extraction, processing and export of coal? At the same time, the Bligh Government appears to be sinking good money after bad into so-called “clean coal” technologies, which are decades away from any real breakthroughs. If the Government really wanted to ensure job security for QR workers, might I suggest that the Bligh Government fast track expansions of the passenger rail network to Caloundra, Maroochydore, Noosa, Redcliffe, Burleigh Heads and better networks to service the Western suburbs of Brisbane?

In the lead up to a State Election, I would like to think the Government might be more responsive to the growing tide of Queenslanders looking for cleaner, greener solutions to the economic downturn. Like California in the United States of America, Queensland could lead the way in renewable energy, creating new jobs in new industries.

It is impossible to pin any one unusual weather event (such as flooding in North Queensland or bush fires in Victoria) on climate change. However the evidence is emerging that suggests that climate change is already influencing the weather. The IPCC reports that both heat waves and intense rain events have increased in frequency during the last 50 years, and human-induced global warming more likely than not contributed to the trend. Satellite-based rainfall measurements show tropical areas got more rain in the form of large storms or light rainfall instead of moderate storms between 1979 and 2003. Since the 1970s, the area affected by drought and the number of intense tropical cyclones also have increased, trends that IPCC scientists say were more likely than not influenced by human activities.

In the wake of recent flood events, I trust that the Queensland State Government will consider re-building Green. Let’s replace roads with rail. Lets replace the burping & farting beef cattle with more sustainable agriculture. If we want to cut the extreme weather greenhouse cycle for future generations, post-disaster periods are an excellent time to rebuild green, encourage more energy efficient transport and re-think green lifestyle choices.


Rowan Barber


Minister for Mines and EnergyThe Honourable Geoff Wilson

Bligh Govt gives green light to thousands of jobs

Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson has given the go ahead for two competing industries to tap into Queensland's rich coalfields in a move that will create thousands of jobs across the state. Minister Wilson said State Cabinet had approved trials - near Chinchilla and Kingaroy in southern Queensland - of underground coal gasification, a potential new energy source. "We've come up with a solution that gives certainty to industry in tough times. This is about creating jobs and keeping the economy going," Mr Wilson said. "Two industries will benefit from our decision, but the ultimate beneficiaries will be Queensland's environment and our economy. This will generate thousands of jobs for workers around the state," he said. The State Government's decision will pave the way for the joint development of coal seam gas - a multi-billion dollar industry - and trials of underground coal gasification. "Coal seam gas is powering ahead in Queensland. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. Its success is due in no small part to our world-leading gas scheme which requires big electricity companies to source at least 13% of their energy from gas-fired generation. We're increasing it to 18% by 2020. "Gas is a vital path to a cleaner energy future. It has half the emissions of coal-fired power and it's in abundance in the Surat Basin which is set to rival the Bowen Basin as the state's economic powerhouse. "Our gas scheme is an investment in people who live and work in cities and towns like Gladstone, Miles, Chinchilla and Dalby. It's an investment in their future," Mr Wilson said. Coal seam gas converts into liquefied natural gas or LNG. There are seven LNG export projects being considered by the State Government. Cabinet's decision to progress thousands of hectares of gas acreage towards tenure approval will give certainty to the LNG projects. "When these projects are up and running, they will inject billions of dollars into Queensland's economy and lead to around 1750 jobs on site, and up to 4,000 jobs during construction stages." Mr Wilson said three pilot projects would also be able to tap into Queensland's rich coal resources. "These pilots plan to convert coal seams into a synthetic gas for power generation, industrial heating, diesel fuel and ammonia," Mr Wilson said. "Underground coal gasification is an emerging technology that's largely untested in Australia. We're going to allow trials under strict monitoring conditions. "They will have to meet the most stringent environmental standards," he said.


TreasurerThe Honourable Andrew Fraser

Bligh Government committed to Northern Missing Link

Treasurer Andrew Fraser today confirmed that the government was committed to building the Northern Missing Link project.
"We are proceeding with the Northern Missing Link project, including the doubling of Abbot Point Coal Terminal,'' he said.
''Yesterday was the date the current contracts with coal companies expire, but we have offered (through Ports Corporation of Queensland) to extend the contracts for another three months, with a further three month extension beyond that (ie to June) as we seek to provide every opportunity to the coal companies to commit to the timing and scope of the project.
''The coal companies have come to the government (through QR and Ports Corporation) saying that they now have very different tonnage profiles for the coming years.
''The downturn in the resources sector is massively reshaping the sort of volumes the coal companies believe they will need.
''Whereas we previously faced infrastructure bottlenecks, there is now going to be 30 million tonnes of spare capacity on the network this financial year.
Mr Fraser said that coal tonnage forecast for the first two years of the project was 90% lower than what was originally requested.
''We are committed to building the link, the volume it carries will be determined by what capacity the coal companies believe they want.
''In short, we will build what they want when they decide they want it.
Mr Fraser confirmed that no QR employee would lose their job.
''The alliances with the construction companies for the project remain in place,'' he said.
''The early works project is nearing completion.
''We announced the early works program previously to prepare the site for construction.
''As the early works program concludes the construction companies who are part of the alliance will seek to redeploy their staff.''

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