Will Australia reduce greenhouse gas emissions? No because our current federal government refuses to do anything significant outside of increase taxes. Perhaps poverty will drive people to use less energy because they will no longer have the money to buy anything.
State but not federal
Australia has one federal government and seven state governments. Two of the state governments made decisions that do help reduce our emissions. The current federal government does nothing. Only the previous federal government did anything useful.
The current federal government offered a subsidy for placing insulation in the roofs of houses but did not require the insulation to be useful or safe. Installers died. Houses burnt down. The subsidy was scrapped. The substandard insulation will have to be removed from hundreds of thousands of houses before the residents die. The government should have discussed the scheme with someone intelligent or knowledgeable before announcing the stupid scheme. They should have researched the type of insulation to be installed. They should have offered subsidies only for insulation appropriate to each house. Many of the houses
insulated under the scheme had existing useful insulation and the working insulation was replaced with less effective insulation that will now have to be removed. The whole sorry affair was never anything more than a publicity stunt with no real effect on anything other than sending Australia further into debt. The people who received a subsidy now have to pay it back in the form of higher taxes and interest rates.
The New South Wales state government spent a massive amount of money installing a giant sea water desalination plant to supply drinking water to Sydney. For the same amount of money, they could have implemented a dozen ideas that would have all produced more water, ideas they will have to implement anyway because the desalination plant is too expensive to run long term. The original government plan was to burn coal to provide energy for the desalination plant. After a huge public protest, the government switched to using wind powered electrical generators. Hooray! An intelligent useful decision at last.
The Victorian state government made a quieter and more significant change. They let people use solar panels to generate electricity and feed excess power back to the electrical grid. To encourage everyone, they are replacing all household electricity meters with a new type that allows flow in both directions and measures the flow both ways. You get a credit for supplying the grid during the day and then use the credit to buy electricity back at night. Brilliant! In most other states, you have to argue with the government and the electricity supply companies before you can sell electricity back to the grid plus you have to pay for the meter replacement yourself. Victoria is leading the way. Every other state should make that type of meter and connection compulsory in all new houses and all major renovations.
One publication described the previous federal government as a
do nothing government in relation to the environment. That is sheer political lies. The previous federal government did the following.
- Introduced ethanol to replace petrol.
- Helped start the meeting that produced the Kyoto Protocol.
- Set a carbon emission target of 12 percent.
The same publication praises the current federal government. Why? Here is the track record of the current federal government.
- Created a small subsidy for the building of a token number of hybrid cars but failed to publish an energy saving target other manufacturers could aim at.
- Failed to increase the carbon emission reduction target (their promise before the election) and instead reduced the target.
- They are ignoring biofuels and are allowing car manufacturers to reduce the use of the biofuel blend introduced by the previous government.
- They promised a carbon trading scheme before the election but instead tried to introduce a heavy tax grabbing system coupled with token subsidies.
Biofuel is easy to produce. The car manufacturers do not want it because the people who own the car company shares also own shares in petroleum companies.
Dr Rudolf Diesel ﬁrst developed the
Diesel Engine to run on vegetable oil in 1895 and he demonstrated the engine in 1900 using peanut oil at a World Exhibition in Paris.
Replacing diesel oil with vegetable oil is easy but the current government refuses to look at it. Arnold Schwarzenegger converted his diesel guzzling Humvee to vegetable oil with no problems. Australia produces huge quantities of various vegetable oils and exports almost half of the production. The Australian government subsidises the supply of diesel to remote areas. If those subsidies were directed at biodiesel instead of petroleum diesel, Australia would achieve a significant reduction in green house gas emission.
Replacing petrol with ethanol is also easy. Brazil uses 100 percent ethanol and all the car makers were able to change their fuel systems overnight. The typical new car in Brazil automatically detects the percentage of ethanol and works perfectly. We could have part of that success here with ethanol blends. The previous government did the hard job of getting the process started and the E10 blend into gas stations. Some of the current state governments are continuing the trend by making more gas stations supply E10.
Unfortunately the current federal government does nothing. They let car makers sell cars that use petrol but not the E10 blend. All the government has to do is set a quota for the percentage of petrol engine cars designed for E10. No, they refuse to act. There is no difference in power between E10 and other petrols. Samuel Morey invented the internal combustion engine in the year 1826 and used ethanol as the fuel. Ethanol was the original fuel additive used to fix engine
knock problems back in the 1930s. General Motors switched to tetraethyl lead only because Dupont was the largest shareholder and Dupont owned oil refineries. Shell sold an ethanol blend petrol in England from the 1920s through to the 1960s because it was better than adding lead. Racing cars have the highest compression ratios and use ethanol and methanol exclusively.
General Motors now want you to use ethanol, http://www.chevrolet.com/experience/fuel-efficiency/biofuels/, but the current federal Australian government does not. The current government also refuses to set a higher ethanol percentage as a design requirement for future cars.