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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