Friday, May 21, 2010

Coal from Newcastle

Greetings from Caves Beach, north of Sydney. As I look out over the ocean there are about 20 ships at anchor, waiting to load coal at the port of Newcastle. This is a reminder as to why we need to learn how to use energy more efficiently (I am currently teaching an online class of ACS students from Australia and the South Pacific about Green ICT).Link
The ships at anchor represent a failure in several ways. The ships wait, sometimes for weeks. This is a waste of shipping resources. There is more demand for coal than the port can handle.

Despite the Australian Government's claims to be working on reduce greenhouse gas emissions (coal being one of the most polluting ways to generate electricity) the Australian Government is helping fund expansion of the coal export facilities, rather than funding ways to replace the coal with less polluting, sustainable energy sources. The likely result will be that Australia will continue to be able to export coal for the next ten to twenty years. By then there will be alternative renewable energy sources developed. Australia's coal will then worthless and considered too dangerous to use, much as Australia's large deposits of previously valuable asbestos is now. Having not invested in alternative sources of energy, Australia will then have to import energy technology.

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