Combet to save coal from carbon tax?

This is a quixotic plan, at best. Or perhaps just a sign of a lack of planning?

“‘I’ve got a responsibility to support those people’s jobs. The coal industry is a very vibrant industry with a strong future. What you’ve got to do is look to how we can achieve in the longer term things like carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power stations.'” Extract from Coal industry is safe, says Greg Combet | The Australian

Abatement of atmospheric carbon can be achieved only if there is an international reduction in coal consumption, because that’s where the emissions that the alarmists worry about come from. Any unilateral cuts we make are liable to be offset by relocation of production to markets where emissions are not contstrained That is, the Gillard/Garnaut tax on carbon will contribute to a cut emissions only if our major coal markets cut back on current consumption (let alone current growth rates in consumption).

Combet can’t have it both ways: either he wants to cut carbon use globally, calling into question the future growth of our major export industry, or he wants to impose a tax he knows will be utterly futile.

The ‘clean coal’ experiments in Europe and Australia have spectacularly flopped having acquired only astronomical debts ($150m in debts in Queensland last year) and and vapourous technology. Understandable really. Emission-free coal is like barely-damp water; an oxymoron from the outset, if not a contradiction.

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