In an article published in the New Zealand Herald’s 2 November 2005 on line edition, Senator Ian Campbell (also identified as Australia’s environment minister) stated: “Any politician who stands in the way of providing uranium to the world is committing an outrageous act of environmental vandalism.” As is often the case for a politician, he sure knows how to turn a phrase that will capture attention.
The comment was made in the context of a speech to a major environmental meeting in London that was organized by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to address the growing problem of global climate change. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Kyoto Treaty agreements are inadequate; the limits agreed to by that treaty do not apply to India, China or other rapidly growing economies, and the US has continued to refuse to ratify the treaty. Even if fully implemented, the Kyoto accords will not prevent many postulated effects caused by continuing increases in greenhouse gases.
The meeting has also discussed such topics as “carbon capture” a complicated and unproven techological concept that envisions outfitting coal fired power plants with systems capable of capturing, compressing, liquifying and injecting thousands of tons of CO2 and other noxious gases into deep underground repositories every single day.
Not surprisingly, coal producers are excited about this concept. Not only does it allow them to talk about a “clean coal” powered future, but if it works it will lead to a vastly increased market for their product. Best case estimates is that the systems for capturing CO2 will consume about 25% of the power output of the plant to which they are attached.
I think the concept is crazy.