The Future of Energy: The Most Likely Scenario – Emergency Action is a submission by CPD fellow Ian Dunlop as a response to the government’s 2011 Draft Energy White Paper (DEWP).
The DEWP confirms perceptions that the Australian Federal Government is, as yet, unwilling or unable to face up to the strategic risks to which this country is now exposed from the integrated climate change and energy dilemma.
Some key concerns from The Future of Energy include:
• Climate Change and Energy are inextricably linked. However, the DEWP focuses on energy and makes only passing reference to climate change, implying that it is taken care of by the Clean Energy Futures package (CEFP)
• Addressing climate change will require far more extensive action than is contained in the CEFP, as the government is well aware from the scientific advice it is receiving.
• Peak oil is discounted as a risk, despite continuing instability in global oil markets, the empirical evidence that the peak in conventional oil has passed, our increasing reliance on international supply as domestic refining capacity closes, evidence from reputable bodies such as the IEA, and our lack of strategic oil reserves.
• Rather than making Australia’s energy system more resilient, the DEWP would lead to overextended high-carbon growth with potentially catastrophic consequences.
In summary, the DEWP is wholly inadequate as the basis for Australia’s energy future to 2030 and beyond. It seems unable to move much beyond the old “official future” of our high-carbon, dig-it-up and ship-it-out economic model. It should be withdrawn and a comprehensive, whole-of-government, scenario framework developed which is prepared to “think the unthinkable” and seriously address the need for emergency action to transition rapidly from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy.
The policies currently enacted to address climate change, in Australia and globally, are clear evidence of this failure. They are woefully inadequate, leading toward temperature increases in excess of 40 Crelative to pre-industrial levels, with catastrophic consequences – a world of 1 billion rather than 7 billion people.
Ian Dunlop was formerly a senior international oil, gas and coal industry executive. He chaired the Australian Coal Association in 1987-88, chaired the Australian Greenhouse Office Experts Group on Emissions Trading from 1998-2000 and was CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors from 1997-2001. He is Chairman of Safe Climate Australia, Deputy Convenor of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil, Director of Australia 21, Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development and a Member of the Club of Rome.
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