The Politics and Policy of Carbon Capture and Storage
Edited by James Meadowcroft and Oluf Langhelle
Chapter 3: CCS in Australia: From Political Posturing to Policy Potential
Darren Sinclair and Neil Gunningham The prospect of using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a major component of the climate change policy debate in Australia. Not only is it viewed by many as a way of reducing emissions from within Australia – potentially avoiding costly closure and replacement of an existing coal-fired power plant infrastructure – but also as a means of securing the longterm viability of Australia’s valuable coal and natural gas exports. In respect of the latter, it is anticipated that indigenous CCS technology may be exported to major international consumers of Australian coal, in particular rapidly developing countries such as China. Unsurprisingly, CCS has received widespread support from both sides of the political spectrum and business in Australia. Environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been far less enthusiastic, although even some environmental groups have now moderated or withdrawn their opposition. There have been substantial CCS developments across a range of areas including technology, institutions, policy, legislation and regulation. These developments have accelerated in recent years, culminating in the start of Australia’s first CCS pilot project and the completion of draft Commonwealth offshore CCS legislation. The current support which CCS is receiving from across much of the political spectrum, however, belies a chequered history. For until the demise of the Howard government in November 2007, CCS had been the subject of an extremely heated and divisive debate and the subject of deep political division. This debate, however, has taken place largely outside the...
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